Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1302: Composition & Rhetoric II

This guide was created for Dr. Brinkman's English 1302: Composition & Rhetoric II, spring 2023.

Research Essay

Here, you will take the ideas you’ve developed from reading the short story and your research to make a claim about the value of your chosen fiction. Your essay should be a well-written, researched response to “How does your chosen literature foster a sense of empathy in the reader and why does it matter?”  

Include the following:

  • An arresting, well-developed introductory paragraph  

  • A developed thesis, at the end of your introduction, that answers the question posed by the prompt. This thesis should be restated at the beginning of your conclusion. 

  • A summary of the short story (no quotes, 4-6 sentences) 

  • A paragraph discussing the importance of empathy 

  • 2 analytical paragraphs that explain how the story fosters empathy in the reader. These paragraphs tend to be most successful when they focus on overarching themes or messages OR specific scenes. Each of these paragraphs should contain quotations from the literary text and analyze how those quotes – or the ideas/actions therein – help to make the reader more empathetic. When you are thinking about how a story creates empathy, you can think about negative examples, themes/morals, specific scenes, or the ways in which a story makes a reader adopt new perspectives. 

  • A reflective paragraph in which you discuss the value of the story on both a personal and social level 

  • A thought-provoking conclusion that restates the thesis and leaves the reader with something to think about 

  • MLA formatting 

  • At least 900 words 

  • Written in edited academic English 



Point Value 




  • 12-point TNR, double-spaced 

  • Heading, header, title 

  • Paragraphs indented, no extra spaces 

  • In-text citations 

  • WC page properly formatted  



  • Mentions author’s name, story title, date of publication 

  • Discusses overall theme or message 

  • Hits major plot points 

  • Discusses intended effect upon a target audience  




  • At least 2 academic-authored sources integrated properly. These sources can be support sources; they do not need to be the focal point of the whole essay. 

  • Quotations from the short story provided, embedded correctly, and explained in the analytical and reflection paragraph 

  • Author makes well-thought out, substantiated claims 

  • Ideas flow logically from one another 

Organization and Development 


  • Paper follows the trajectory laid out in the thesis. 

  • Introduction and conclusion paragraphs. 

  • Paragraph explaining the importance of empathy. 

  • Transitions between ideas. 

  • Developed paragraphs.  

  • Ideas and points clearly articulated and explained. 



  • Academic vocabulary 

  • Variety in sentence structure 

  • Edited for usage 

Reflection paragraph 


  • Discusses how the story can benefit both individual readers and society 

  • Provides examples 

  • Author explains his/her/their position thoroughly and cogently 

LSC-Kingwood Learning Commons | Ask Us: | Reference: 281.312.1693 | Circulation: 281.312.1691 | LIB 100, 20000 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood, TX 77339