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Essay 3:

Combining the Modes[1]

(This version is approx. 850 words; Portfolio Version is approx. 1000 words)  

Essay Prompts (choose one):

Option 1 (in 13th edition textbook only): In addition to self-segregated lunch tables as seen in “Graham’s “The ‘Black Table’ Is Still There,” many places have single-race or gender clubs like campus clubs, dormitories, fraternities, etc. Do you see a problem in such behavior? Does such self-segregation divide our society (that is, as a cause) or does it reflect divisions that already exist (that is, as an effect)? Explain what you feel causes this pattern of segregation and what effects, positive or negative, you have observed. Use descriptive personal, observational, and/or hypothetical examples. Also include textual examples from two sources: one must be Graham’s article and the other your own research (outside source, preferably our library’s database, Ebscohost). However, do not use more than five quotations (no block quotations and no paraphrases [summarizing what sources have said]). (2+ sources)

Option 2: “Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” (p. 128), “Who Killed Benny Paret?” (p. 337), and “On Dumpster Diving” (p. 672) all encourage readers, either directly or indirectly, to take action rather than remain uninvolved. What are the causes and effects of remaining apathetic during a crisis? Include two sources: Use descriptive personal, observational, and/or hypothetical examples. Also include textual examples from two sources: information gleaned from at least one of these essays from our textbook and information from a researched article (outside source, preferably our library’s database, Ebscohost). However, do not use more than five quotations (no block quotations and no paraphrases [summarizing what sources have said]). (2+ sources)

Option 3: When Chua’s essay was published, it elicited thousands of responses, many of which were negative. For example, some readers thought that her parenting methods were tantamount to child abuse, while some readers admired Chua for her resolve and her emphasis on hard work, and others said that her methods reminded them of their own upbringing. Chua herself responded to readers’ comments by saying that her “tough love” approach was grounded in her desire to make sure her children were the best that they could be. Compare and contrast “Western” parenting to parenting from one or more other cultures. Use descriptive personal, observational, and/or hypothetical examples. Also include textual examples from two sources: Chua’s article and one outside source, preferably our library’s database, Ebscohost. However, do not use more than five quotations (no block quotations and no paraphrases [summarizing what sources have said]). (2+ sources)

Option 4: Choose three or four of Ericsson’s categories from “The Ways We Lie,” and write a classification-and-division essay in which you explore lies that have some sort of connection. To have a debatable thesis, you’ll need to tie your categories together with an adjective for the “connection.” For example, A, B, and C are the most forgivable; or unfavorable type of lies; or most disgraceful; most innocuous, etc. –choose one adjective. Use descriptive personal, observational, and/or hypothetical examples. Also include textual examples from two sources: Ericsson’s article and an outside source, preferably our library’s database, Ebscohost. However, do not use more than five quotations (no block quotations and no paraphrases [summarizing what sources have said]). (2+ sources)

Option 5: Martin Luther King Jr.’s plea for equality in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” was written in 1963. Over twenty years later in 1986, Brent Staples in “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space” confirms that King’s dream has yet to reach complete fruition as he exemplifies the struggles of African Americans despite the progress of the Civil Rights Movement embodied by Martin Luther King Jr. For this prompt, answer this question: Have African Americans achieved equality? Show, via examples, in what areas equality has or has not been achieved. Even though King spoke over fifty years ago and Staples wrote over thirty years ago, you will find that certain inequalities still persist. Within supporting paragraphs, it might be helpful to define “equality,” compare and contrast the experience of whites and blacks, etc. In other words, use a variety of modes to achieve your goal. Sample thesis: While great progress towards equality for blacks has been achieved, equal opportunities evade many African Americans in housing, in careers, and . . . . You do not need to set up your essay this way; it’s just an idea if you’re stumped. Draw upon your own descriptive observations and experiencesdraw upon textual examples from King’s workdraw upon textual examples from Staples’ work, and finallydraw upon at least one outside source from our library databases. (3+ sources)

Option 6: Students for Gun-Free Schools wrote, “Why Our Campuses Are Safer without Concealed Handguns.” The group was founded in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, and much of the discussion and activism in the aftermath of Virginia Tech and other shootings has focused on guns. Do you believe that firearms and gun laws are the central problem in mass shootings, or do you think the emphasis on these is misplaced in the context of other issues such as illegal firearm usage, mental health, etc.? To reword the question, what is to blame for the increase in mass shootings? Use a variety of modes such as comparing and contrasting mass shootings, defining specific gun laws or mental health laws, etc, show the cause and effect between mental health and gun availability, etc. Draw upon your own descriptive observations and experiencesdraw upon textual examples from Students for Gun-Free Schools’ workdraw upon textual examples from Students for Concealed Carry’s workand finally, draw upon at least one outside source from our library databases. (3+ sources)


  1. Do not save using special characters like hyphens, extra periods, spaces, etc. or long file names. Essay3RoughDraft or Essay3Version2 would make strong file names.
  2. Make sure your Works Cited page is not a separate document; it’s simply the last page of your essay.
  3. Prewrite to generate ideas (Consider visiting your journal writings for ideas).
  4. The last page of your essay should be a formal outline (see p. 62-64) of your essay (paragraph by paragraph) (it does not count towards your word count).
  5. Audience: Assume your readers are skeptical, college-level readers. Think of those who disagree with you as colleagues, not adversaries
  6. Use two or more hooks in your introduction: Anecdote, Quotation, Profound Question or Statement, the Opposition, Statistic or Fact, Description, Definition, Comparison (simile/met.), or Brief, Engaging Background Information. Be sure to transition.
  7. Please state your debatable thesis (must satisfy prompt) at the end of paragraph one for this essay.
  8. Before, after, or connected to your thesis, state the preview of points/reasons (what your different supporting paragraphs will be about). Use parallel structure for this list. Challenge yourself and try to include these within your thesis sentence. If you remember, use bold font for your thesis statement and underline your preview (reasons in support of your thesis)
  9. Note that each supporting paragraph has a topic sentence that not only introduces the paragraph topic but also reflects the idea set forth in your thesis statement. This should insure paragraph unity.
  10. After the topic sentence, a paragraph will include support for the statement made in the TS. Make sure there are transitions between your examples and between supporting paragraphs to ensure coherence.

Required Support  (evidence in supporting paragraphs)

  1. In supporting paragraphs, try to further your argument by incorporating a variety of Modes of Development such as narration, description, exemplification, comparison/Contrast, Process Analysis, Division/Analysis, Classification, Cause/Effect, Definition, Argument/Persuasion (see each corresponding chapter from our textbook)
  2. Personal, Observational (such as current events), and/or Hypothetical Examples filled with description such as concrete detail, senses, dialog, similes/metaphors, lively adj., adv., and verbs (see Weeks 01 & 02 for a review). Also be sure to analyze the examples you provide to explain how each example proves the topic sentence of each paragraph
  3. Textual Examples from Assigned Readings. (see p. 528-29 and Weeks 06 & 08 for additional guidance)
  4. Introduce author’s full name and full article name the first time you cite a source
  5. Introduce each quotation/paraphrase (Cisneros argues, acknowledges, adds, admits, agrees, asserts, believes, claims, comments, confirms, contends, declares, illustrates, implies, insists, notes, observes, points out, reasons, reports, suggests, thinks, writes, “         ”). This is called a Signal Phrase see p. 722
  6. To quote, use EXACT words from the text (don’t alter them) and place “quotation marks” around these words
  7. To paraphrase, use a reworded, restructured translation of the original quotation (so that the idea is the same, but it looks nothing like the original quotation). Even though you have reworded someone else’s words, you must give the author credit to avoid plagiarism (see “e”)
  8. Include MLA citation to avoid plagiarism. After each quotation/paraphrase, place the writer’s last name and page number in parentheses: “The Carpet-Baggers were greedy crooks” (Wilson 12). Note where the quotations marks end and where the period is located. If you’ve already mentioned the author’s name within the sentence introduction (the Signal Phrase), then omit it in parenthesis (12).
  9. If there is no author bolded right under the title, cite the article name in the text or an abbreviated title name in parentheses followed by an ellipses (three dots separated by periods) w/ quotation marks around the abbreviated title. For example, “We are overworked by eight hours a day” (“Work. . . ” 25).
  10. Textual Examples from Outside/Researched SourcesBring in quotations from two outside sources from our library databases (EbscoHost, SIRS, etc.). You could research factsstatistics, or expert opinions related to your topic. Make sure they are credible sources (p. 527-28). Also your sources should be relevant, representative, and sufficient (p. 528). If you do not properly cite this research in MLA format, your grade will suffer. Be sure to include in-text citations and a Works Cited list for this entry. For help, go to (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  11. Analyze All Examples: After (or before) each example, quotation, or paraphrase, perform an analysis: Probe the example in order to explain how it proves the topic sentence. Ask yourself how and why the evidence relates to your topic sentence (and thus your thesis since your thesis is alluded to in your topic sentences). In other words, in order to explain how your example proves your topic sentence, you will need to analyze your examples such as particular words, images, references, and so forth. Look at Ch. 14 for help.
  12. For Textual Example Analysis: To perform an analysis of a textual example, examine a quotation’s partssuch as word choice, tone, figurative language like personification, similes, and metaphors to show how these support the topic sentence.. You can even look at such whole story elements as the title of the story, the main idea/purpose of the story, the structure of the story if these elements help improve our understanding of why you’ve included the example in your paragraph. An analysis can also include inferences (assumptions, interpretations, conclusions, deductions, etc.).
  13. Optional: Inferences: When you make inferences, what was implicit becomes explicit. What can you assume from the analysis of the quotation? This is also where you draw conclusions about an example based on your own store of experience and information. You can bring in descriptive personal or hypothetical examples or bring in observational examples [like current events, widely agreed upon facts/statistics, etc.]). Also, what can you assume about the creator’s background and biases (like presenting one person more favorably than another). Here you are evaluating the strength of the writer’s argument based on the analysis. Is the writer’s evidence strong? What makes his or her examples strong or weak? Is it one-sided? Can you make any assumptions about the writer based on the answers to these questions?
  14. Refute Opposing Arguments: Your analysis can also include research findings that contradict the evidence you provide (quoting authorities who disagree with you) so that your argument has fairly represented and critiqued the opposition’s views. By conceding an opposing viewpoint’s strengths (admitting it’s valid), you appear fair; however, be sure to identify its limitations in order to move your argument to more solid ground. See p. 529 for additional guidance.
  15. When you analyze readings (a source’s quotations and paraphrases), if appropriate consider using language such as valid, hypothesis, inference, jumping to conclusion, inductive leap, claim, grounds, warrant, fallacies(p. 532-34). If you notice a textual example using pathos, ethos, inductive or deductive reasoningToulmin Logic, point it out.
  16. Concluding Sentences: Within a body/support paragraph, the concluding sentence will summarize the argument being made. It may re-affirm why the argument is correct and the consequences that may occur if the argument is not heeded. If your paragraph is short and easy-to-follow, you may omit a concluding sentence. You can also use this sentence to link to the topic in the next paragraph (or you can instead tack on such transitional phrases to the beginning of the next paragraph’s topic sentence).
  17. Concluding Paragraph: The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off. You could give a recommendation, call to action, or prediction. Refer to the conclusion handout for help.
  18. Grammar/Sentence Skills Requirements: One of our Student Outcomes for the class is for you to be able to edit your own work. Proofread for flawless academic English, varying sentence structures, figurative language, etc. Use formal language (not to be interpreted as fluffy, flowery, or verbose) instead of the vernacular or slang.
  19. A “Works Cited” page is required. This is an alphabetical listing of sources from which you quoted. It is the last page of your essay. You will have two sources listed in your Works Cited list. For help, again go to (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Works Cited

Author’s last name, First. “Article Name.” Book from Which Article Came. Editor’s First and Last name, Edition,

          City, Publisher, Latest year, Pages of specific article.

Staples, Brent. “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space.” Patterns for College

          Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell, 13th ed.,

          Boston, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 238-41.


  1. To strengthen your argument, don’t forget to include examples from BOTH your own observations and experiences AND from textual examples from your textbook and from outside sources. At least two of these textual examples should be from our library databases.
  2. Use MLA Format (Modern Language Association):
  3. Ellipses: use an ellipses . . . (three periods with spaces in between) when omitting information in a quotation, but be sure sentence is still grammatically sound.
  4. Brackets: use brackets [ ] when adding or changing information within quotations.       For example, “The group [of kindergartners] took the law into their own hands” (Wilson 13). If there is a grammatical error in the sentences you are quoting, you can place [sic] right after the problem to indicate it is the original text that is incorrect not your quoting of it.
  5. Quoting Quotation Marks and Indirect Quotations: If you would like to place a sentence or word in your essay that already has quotation marks around it, you need to convert those double quotation marks that are present in the textbook into single quotation marks. For example: Wilson contends, “These men, mere ‘carpet baggers’. . . acted like new masters of the freedmen” (Wilson 12). If you are quoting an indirect source and cannot quote the original text, be sure to include the author being quoted and place “qtd. in” in parentheses (qtd. in Miller 84). Also, make sure your quotation marks are facing the right direction (“    ‘     ’       ”).
  6. Quoting Passages Over Four Lines: If in your essay a quotation is over four lines, indent the whole quotation two tabs (10 characters) from the left-hand side of the page and do not add quotation marks to the quotation. The indent takes the place of quotation marks. Only place a period directed after the quotation but before the source in parentheses. This is only for longer quotations. It is preferable to break up most quotations so that they do not go over four lines. If reasonable, analyze the long passage in smaller sections. In other words, break up long quotations by interjecting your comments between each quotation. Refer to Week 01 and Week 02 for tips including transitions, senses, unity, cohesion, etc.
  7. And again, if you save your document file w/ special characters, long titles, spaces, extra periods, etc., I won’t be able to annotate it (mark it up). Essay4RoughDraft or Essay4GradedVersion would be acceptable file names. Also, your essay should be a single file; don’t save your Works Cited or your outline separately.

[1] Comparison/Contrast, Classification/Division, Cause/Effect, etc.

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