AP Language Sample Research Papers

Yeah, so the Voicethread thing isn’t working. It is totally NOT because I don’t know how to do it, though. Just so you know.

So, below I have posted three sample research papers that received various grades. While you could certainly just read through them, the best thing to do would be to read each and use the rubric I handed out in class to try to determine the grade each received and why. I would even encourage you to post your comments (constructive, mature comments!) on this post to have a type of “discussion” about them. (This is what I wanted to do on Voicethread, but, oh well…) Getting various points of view about the papers will, hopefully, deepen everyone’s thinking about the paper criteria and how to best meet it.

Tomorrow evening, I will post MY actual grade and comments for each paper so you can see if you and I are “on the same page,” so to speak.

paper A

paper B

paper C




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8 responses to “AP Language Sample Research Papers

  1. In order of highest grade to lowest grade, I would predict the papers to be A, C, B.
    I rated paper B (G8 Agenda) last for a variety of reasons. Although the paper had an argumentative thesis, they didn’t focus on it as well as they should have. Starting out, I expected the author to explain and focus on the G8, since I was clueless as to what it was, but I felt disappointed by the explanation and confused by the lack of references to the G8 throughout the rest of their paper.The essay also contained many conventional errors and lacked a professional voice at times. I felt that the paper had potential, but did not meet the standards it set for itself. It also fell short of the length requirement, as it was only six pages long.
    Paper C (The Flight of Free Trade) made second place. I considered it mediocre. The introduction immediately gave me a sense that the author was trying too hard. The amount of adjectives stuffed into the first paragraph is excessive and unnecessary. Though they used some logical appeal and a little pathos appeal (several rhetorical questions), I felt that they were adding literary techniques merely for the sake of having literary techniques. I thought that the ending was rushed and not the best thought to leave the reader on, too. The paper included many similes that I found irrelevant and overdone, and few of the rhetorical devices actually served a purpose. This paper also had conventional errors, though it didn’t have as many as paper B, I thought.
    I rated paper A (Occupy Wall Street) as the highest of the three. Although the vocabulary was way beyond my own, it felt more natural than the vocabulary of paper C. I thought the author did a fantastic job touching on all the points of a broad, difficult-to-tackle thesis. They successfully employed both logical and emotional appeal. The paper was effective in its incorporation of visual sources, as well, and their organization was logical. The ending was strong and left the reader wondering about the topic for themselves while hinting back at the introduction. I was also able to find and label the arguments with ease, which could not be said of the other papers. Furthermore, the paper had fewer conventional errors than the other papers.
    I know very little about economy and politics, though, so I did not completely understand some of the arguments. Maybe they made more sense to those more fond of the subject?
    Sorry this comment is so long…
    Feel free to agree/disagree with me! 🙂

  2. A- lots of be verbs, they distract me from the argument. (not that I’m that good at eliminating them myself)
    Gwc. Good amount of emotional appeal
    Good support=>logical/ethical appeal
    B- two word ag
    Narration is decent and frames the topic well enough for me to get the gist.
    The beginning of the confirmation strays from the topic and doesn’t really mention the g8. An entire paragraph about Barack Obama?
    Not much emotional appeal.
    A dangerous amount of the author’s support was unconvincing.
    C- Interesting choice for an ag.
    Already, I’m seeing lots of emotional appeal.
    The author seems confident. I’d believe her. Good ethical appeal.
    It makes sense! Good logical appeal.
    All of the emotional appeal!

    C,a,b is my rating from best to not-the-best.

  3. I agree with Tori on the order. A was defiantly the best because it was more developed than both of the other papers. In the concession/refutation I felt as though the author explored multiple points of view. I also saw a lot of ethical, emotional, and logical appeal. I felt the ending was very witty and related back to the intro nicely. The beginning of C was really good! But I didn’t like how the conclusion ended with a cartoon because I felt that it took away from her final argument. B was not the best because I was left with a lot of questions in the end. Like what countries are apart of the G8? The topic sentences needed to relate better to the thesis and I felt there were some logical appeals when it said “If this….then this….” I also thought the ending could have had a bigger punch.

  4. gmartc285

    So here is how the grades worked out and why:
    Paper A earned an 88% and broke down this way:
    Narration = 25/28 (While the background is sufficient, only one side of the controversy was mentioned, so the controversy wasn’t sufficiently “framed.” This actually points to a larger problem with the paper overall: it started out with a value claim rather than a policy claim. While the claim in the thesis is a policy, the topic does not really lend itself to this type of claim–and the body paragraphs demonstrate this.)
    Confirmation = 41.5/48 (Good synthesis of various types of research, but a good deal of the confirmation focuses on why Wall Street is bad rather than the policy stated in thesis about narrowing goals. Again, this is a continuation of the problem in the narration. Also, there is less emotional appeal in this part of the paper.)
    Concession/Refutation = 41/48 (There are some issues with paragraphing–a really long second paragraph that has at least two main ideas–and support. Notice that the first part of the long paragraph is very light on any research to back up the claim. Finally, the writer gets props for attempting to look at the “shades of gray” issue, but is vague about some of them–i.e. “others believe…”)
    Intro/Conclusion = 25.5/28

  5. gmartc285

    Paper B earned a 64% and broke down this way:
    Narration: 18/28 (First, there are documentation issues that occur throughout. Notice how two sentences are cited with just a page number. What’s the source? None is mentioned in the sentences that are documented. Therefore, this is technically plagiarism. Also, the narration lapses into a little argumentation in the first paragraph rather than actually framing the controversy. Finally, some parts of the background–like what the G8, what it does, and how it makes decisions–are too brief while other parts–like the definition of poverty and the inclusion of Marx–are either too long or not needed at all.)
    Confirmation: 33.5/48 (The biggest issue here is that, due to a lack of key words and strong topic sentences, the only paragraph that seems to directly support the thesis is the one that starts, “The G8 and similar groups oftentimes cannot recognize a corrupt government ” The other paragraphs are only tenuously related to the policy statement, and some information in them seems downright distracting–like the corruption in Detroit. Also notice that there is not a really strong mix of sources or of paraphrase/summary vs. quotes.)
    Concession/Refutation: 26.5/48 (Where’s the refutation? The writer acknowldeges a credibly souce who says aid can work–then turns to a completely unrelated topic [to both the concession AND the thesis] in the next paragraph. Also, not “counting the second paragraph of the concession/refutation, which isn’t even relevant, notice that only one source is used in this section.)
    Intro/Conclusion: 26.5/28 (While I’m no fan of the fragment attention-getter, and while the thesis feels a little tacked on to the intro, this section meets all the necessary criteria. And I probably tacked on a couple of points I wouldn’t normally have given here due to the low grades on the last two sections. I’m not totally heartless, after all!)

  6. gmartc285

    Paper C earned a 98%.
    Narration: 27/28 (Usually, whenever anything involving numbers or business is brough up, my eyes glaze over. This is NOT my strong point. However, this narration gave me background–maybe a little TOO much as far as the history of trade–and, more importantly, defined the basic terms I needed to know as well why there is a controversy. While it was clear and understandable to someone who is NOT strong in this area, the writer also managed to use various types of subtle emotional appeal throughout–i.e. verbs such as “tug,” etc.)
    Confirmation: 45.5/48 (I don’t remember where the points were lost here.)
    Concession/Refutation: 48/48 (‘Nuff said.)
    Intro/Conclusion: 28/28 ( While I do agree with Tori that there may be a little bit of “trying too hard” in these sections, it is not so bad that I lose the general point or feel that every sentence has been “thesaursusize”. It tends a little too over writing, but not so much it is annoying!)

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