Award-winning essays will possess all of the following characteristics:
- Control of Syntax / Mechanics: Writing that includes sophisticated use of language, virtually error-free spelling, grammar and sentence mechanics, and has a strong sense of authorial “voice.” The paper will also include a clearly articulated thesis statement.
- Information Literacy: Data and research that include a variety of facts, figures, and data that successfully support the authors’ argument. The author will also smoothly integrate high-quality sources into their argument at the sentence level.
- Content Development and Organization: A topic that is addressed in a manner that is complex, nuanced, and acknowledges multiple perspectives on the issue.
- Design/Visual Literacy: Expert deployment of visual rhetoric to appeal to the unique characteristics of online audiences
- Critical Thinking: Carefully calibrated use of the four elements of rhetoric (Kairos, Ethos, Logos, Pathos).
- Context and Purpose for Communication: An argument centering upon a topic that has recently risen to national/international prominence (i.e.: within the past 12 months or less).