1) APA paper format: Title page (with running head, title, your name, the course, and the date of submission), abstract (always page 2), title on page 3, source list (titled References) following the last page of your essay (Watch the Formatting Your Research Essay in APA Style video in the Assignment 4 module.)
2) Introduction: Start the essay with a description of the problem you’ve studied or an anecdote (scenario, news story) that vividly presents the problem or issue–before stating your thesis
3) Thesis: Whether you are making a value judgment (quality argument), proposing a solution to a problem or a course of action or decision (policy argument) or simply defining and explaining a problem or issue in vivid, precise detail throughout your essay, your essay is an “argument” because it requires supporting evidence from your own prior knowledge, experience, and good sense in addition to your authoritative or expert sources.
4) Framed direct (quotation) and indirect (summary, paraphrase/translation) references to sources that support what you want to say and mean:
Remember that quotations do not “speak for themselves.” You need to tell your ideal, imagined readers (which we’ve all tried to be) how to understand and appreciate what you have highlighted from your sources. If you find it helpful, take another look at the P-I-E strategy in the Assignment 4 module.
Remember, too, that any numbers, phrases, and other specific details imported from your sources into your own writing–no matter how plain and simple–must be cited somehow, either with an “in-text citation” [e.g., Clark, 2018)] or a reference to the author or source title in your lead sentence. See Purdue OWL on in-text citations (including block quotations) at this link: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
5) Coherence: Read your intro then first sentences of subsequent paragraphs, then conclusion for a sense of the overall “flow” of your essay. Read paragraphs with similar attention to the sequence of ideas.
6) Precise, concise, and vivid word choice: Opt for an explanatory phrase rather than a cliche. Resist assuming that readers will have the same examples or scenarios in mind that you have–describe and explain what you want us to imagine or know. Remember that specificity and preciseness takes up space! Even when you “trim the fat,” “cut the clutter” from your writing, you will have plenty to say if you remember that your “job” is to explain. NOTE: Your essay should be at least four pages long; five or six pages would be better.