Revise an Argumentative

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Touchstone 4: Revise an Argumentative Research Essay

ASSIGNMENT: Review the in-text comments and summary feedback you received on your Touchstone 3.2 draft to enhance your writing. You will then submit a revision of your Touchstone 3.2 draft that reflects the evaluator’s feedback. Make sure to include a copy of your Touchstone 3.2 draft below the reflection questions for this unit.

As this assignment builds on 
Touchstone 3.2: Draft an Argumentative Research Essay, that Touchstone must be graded before you can submit your final research essay.

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Sample Touchstone 4

In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.


A. Final Draft Guidelines

DIRECTIONS: Refer to the list below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.



1. Editing and Revising

❒ Have you significantly revised the essay by adjusting areas like organization, focus, and clarity?

❒ Have you made comprehensive edits to word choice, sentence variety, and style?

❒ Have your edits and revisions addressed the feedback provided by your evaluator?



2. Cohesion and Source Integration

❒ Is the information presented in a logical order that is easy for the reader to follow?

❒ Have you included smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs?

❒ Have you introduced your sources clearly and in a way that demonstrates their validity to the reader?



3. Conventions and Proofreading

❒ Have you double-checked for correct formatting, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization?

❒ Have you ensured that any quoted material is represented accurately?



4. Reflection

❒ Have you displayed a clear understanding of the revision process?

❒ Have you answered all reflection questions thoughtfully and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?

❒ Are your answers included on a separate page below the composition?



B. Reflection Questions

DIRECTIONS: Below your assignment, include answers to all of the following reflection questions.

1. How much time did you spend revising your draft? What revision strategies did you use and which worked best for you? (2-3 sentences)

2. List three concrete revisions that you made and explain how you made them. What problem did you fix with each of these revisions? Issues may be unity, cohesion, rhetorical appeals, content, or any other areas on which you received constructive feedback. (4-5 sentences)

3. What did you learn about your writing process or yourself as a writer? How has your understanding of the research process changed as a result of taking this course? (2-3 sentences)



C. Rubric

 

Advanced (100%)

Proficient (85%)

Acceptable (75%)

Needs Improvement (50%)

Non-Performance (0%)

Revising (40 points)

Demonstrate comprehensive “re-visioning” of the composition.

There is evidence of comprehensive re-visioning of the draft composition, including adjustments to organization, focus, clarity, and/or unity where needed or appropriate.

There is evidence of significant re-visioning of the draft composition, including adjustments to organization, focus, clarity, and/or unity where needed or appropriate.

There is evidence of some re-visioning of the draft composition, including adjustments to organization, focus, clarity, and/or unity where needed or appropriate; however, a few areas need some additional revision.

There is little evidence of re-visioning of the draft composition, such that multiple areas in need of changes were unaltered.

Revisions are absent or did not address the issues in the essay.

Editing (40 points)

Demonstrate comprehensive sentence-level edits throughout the composition.

There is evidence of comprehensive edits to the draft composition, including adjustments to word choice, sentence completeness, sentence variety, and/or style where needed or appropriate.

There is evidence of substantial edits to the draft composition, including adjustments to word choice, sentence completeness, sentence variety, and/or style where needed or appropriate.

There is evidence of some edits to the draft composition, including adjustments to word choice, sentence completeness, sentence variety, and/or style where needed/appropriate; however, some issues were overlooked.

There is little evidence of edits made to the draft composition, such that many errors remain.

Edits are absent or did not address the issues in the essay.

Source Integration (20 points)

Integrate source material appropriately and effectively.

Introduces sources smoothly and effectively through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.

Primarily introduces sources effectively through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.

Introduces some sources effectively through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary, but more variety could be used.

Relies too heavily on one method of source integration (direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary); does not thoughtfully apply source integration techniques.

Shows no attempt to integrate source material into the composition or relies on quoted source material for over half of the composition.

Cohesion (20 points)

Establish and maintain a logical flow.

Sequences ideas and paragraphs logically and uses smooth transitions (within and between paragraphs) such that the reader can easily follow the progression of ideas.

Sequences ideas and paragraphs logically and uses transitions (within and between paragraphs) such that the reader can easily follow the progression of ideas.

Primarily sequences ideas and paragraphs logically and uses sufficient transitions (within and between paragraphs) such that the reader can generally follow the progression of ideas.

The progression of ideas is often difficult to follow, due to poor sequencing, ineffective transitions, and/or insufficient transitions.

The progression of ideas is consistently difficult to follow, due to poor sequencing and lack of transitions.

Conventions and Proofreading (20 points)

Demonstrate command of standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and usage.

There are few, if any, negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

There are occasional minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

There are some significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

There are frequent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

There are consistent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

Reflection (10 points)

Answer reflection questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; consistently includes insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses, following or exceeding response length guidelines.

Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; includes multiple insights, observations, and/or examples, following response length guidelines.

Primarily demonstrates thoughtful reflection, but some responses are lacking in detail or insight; primarily follows response length guidelines.

Shows limited reflection; the majority of responses are lacking in detail or insight, with some questions left unanswered or falling short of response length guidelines.

No reflection responses are present.



D. Requirements

The following requirements must be met for your submission to be graded:

· Composition must be 6-8 pages (approximately 1500-2000 words, not including your references or reflection question responses).

· Double-space the composition and use one-inch margins.

· Use a readable 12-point font.

· All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.

· Composition must be original and written for this assignment.

· Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.

· Submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your composition.

· Submission must include your graded Touchstone 3 assignment.

· Include all of the assignment components in a single file.

· Acceptable file formats include .doc and .docx.



E. Additional Resources

The following resources will be helpful to you as you work on this assignment:

1.

Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Formatting and Style Guide

a.
This site includes a comprehensive overview of APA style, as well as individual pages with guidelines for specific citation types.

2.

Frequently Asked Questions About APA Style

b.
This page on the official APA website addresses common questions related to APA formatting. The “References,” “Punctuation,” and “Grammar and Writing Style” sections will be the most useful to your work in this course.

3.

APA Style: Quick Answers—References

c.
This page on the official APA Style website provides numerous examples of reference list formatting for various source types.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

Logan Stevens

English Composition II

December 22, 2019

Where’s the Beef?: Ethics and the Beef Industry

Americans love their beef. According to a 2005 study on beef consumption, between

1994 and 1998, Americans consumed an average of 67 pounds of beef per year, the equivalent of

approximately three ounces of beef per day (Davis & Lin, 2005). Despite this high rate of

consumption, in recent years people in the United States have grown increasingly concerned

about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and what environmental and health

impacts result from its production. These concerns can be distilled into two ethical questions: is

the treatment of cattle humane and is there a negative environmental impact of beef production?

For many, the current methods of industrial beef production and consumption do not meet

personal ethical or environmental standards. Therefore, for ethical and environmental reasons,

people should limit their beef consumption, and the beef that they do eat should be humanely

raised, locally sourced, and grass-fed.

The first ethical question to consider is the humane treatment of domesticated cattle. It

has been demonstrated in multiple scientific studies that animals feel physical pain as well as

emotional states such as fear (Grandin & Smith, 2004, para. 2). In Concentrated Animal Feeding

Operations (CAFOs), better known as “factory farms” due to their industrialized attitude toward

Comment [SL1]: Hi Logan! This is a great title.

Comment [SL2]: Good use of data as an effective hook
statement.

Comment [SL3]: This is a very strong, well-formed thesis
statement that takes a clear stance on a debatable topic.
Well done.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

cattle production, cattle are often confined to unnaturally small areas; fed a fattening, grain-based

diet; and given a constant stream of antibiotics to help combat disease and infection. In his essay,

“An Animal’s Place,” Michael Pollan (2002) states that beef cattle often live “standing ankle

deep in their own waste eating a diet that makes them sick” (para. 40). Pollan not only describes

Americans’ discomfort with this aspect of meat production. He also notes that they are removed

from and uncomfortable with the physical and psychological aspects of killing animals for food

as well. He simplifies the actions chosen by many Americans: “we either look away—or stop

eating animals” (para. 32). This decision to look away has enabled companies to treat and

slaughter their animals in ways that cause true suffering for the animals. If Americans want to

continue to eat beef, alternative, ethical methods of cattle production must be considered.

In addition to the inhumane treatment of animals, CAFOs also raise ethical questions in

terms of the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture. Because cattle raised on factory

farms are primarily “grain-fed,” meaning that their diet largely consists of corn and/or soy rather

than grass or other forage, huge amounts of grain are required to provide the necessary feed. This

grain comes primarily from “monocropping,” an agricultural practice that involves planting the

same crop year after year in the same field. Although rotating crops to different fields each

season helps to retain the natural balance of nutrients in the soil, mono-cropping is considered to

be more efficient on an industrial scale, providing larger yields of grain even though it also

requires the use of more chemical fertilizers to provide adequate nutrients for the plants.

According to Palmer (2010), these chemicals can leach into the groundwater, polluting both the

surrounding land and the water supply.

The emphasis on a grain-based diet, and therefore a reliance on mono-cropping, also

contributes to the inefficient use of available land. The vast majority of grain production (75-

Comment [SL4]: This is a much better way to connect your
ideas regarding the physical and psychological aspects of
killing animals and how Americans deal with them.

Comment [SL5]: Yes!

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

90% depending on whether corn or soy) goes to feeding animals rather than humans, and cattle

alone account for a significant share. As a result, a majority of land available for agriculture also

goes to producing livestock, whether actually housing the animals or growing grain to feed them

(Lappé, 2010, p. 22). This inefficiency means that a disproportionate amount of agricultural,

food, and monetary resources are poured into a type of cattle production which has been

demonstrated to be inhumane and to have negative environmental consequences.

Other environmental issues include the amount of manure produced by factory farmed

cattle. Traditionally, cattle graze a large area and distribute their waste accordingly. In contained

situations such as CAFOs, however, animal waste builds up in a relatively small area and the

runoff from rainstorms can potentially contaminate the groundwater (Sager, 2008, para. 7).

Furthermore, because closely contained animals are more prone to disease, factory-farmed cattle

are routinely treated with antibiotics, which can also leach into the local ground and water,

potentially affecting humans. According to Brian Palmer, a man who has done extensive

research on the topic (2010), “Based on some estimates, we spend more than $4 billion annually

trying to clean up CAFO manure runoff. In addition, the long-term, low-dose antibiotics CAFOs

give livestock can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, further undermining our dwindling supply

of useful medicines” (para. 12). The negative impacts of antibiotic runoff, manure

contamination, fossil fuel use, and mono-cropping indicate that sourcing beef from CAFOs is

neither an ethically responsible nor an environmentally sustainable decision.

An alternative to the grain-fed cattle raised in CAFOs is cattle which are allowed to range

and forage for grass and other greenery as their primary form of nourishment. This “grass-fed”

beef is, almost by definition, more humane than grain-fed beef because the animals are allowed

to move freely and eat a more natural diet. There is also some evidence that grass-fed beef is

Comment [SL6]: Great job tying these ideas together here.

Comment [SL7]: Much better.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

healthier than grain-fed beef for the humans who consume it: it is higher in cancer fighting,

vitamin-A producing beta-carotene; it is much lower in fat, including having half the saturated

fat as grain-fed beef; and it contains many more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid

(CLA), which prevents cancer growth, and vitamin E, which prevents cancer as well as heart

disease (Ruechel, 2006, p. 235). Due to the benefits of a grass-based diet, as well as the benefits

of being raised in pastures rather than feedlots, grass-fed cattle themselves tend to be healthier.

Taken altogether, grass-fed cattle production is better physically for both the cows and humans.

It is important to note that grass-fed does not inherently mean organic, which is a

separate, legal category with its own requirements. It is possible to find grain-fed beef from

cattle raised or slaughtered in inhumane conditions that is labeled “organic” because the cattle

were fed organic grain, whereas grass-fed beef may come from cattle that have been raised on

land that does not meet the requirements for organic labeling (Sager, 2008, paras.10-15).

However, in a guide to raising grass-fed cattle, Julius Ruechel (2006), notes that “Raising [cattle]

in a pasture reduces or even eliminates the use of toxic pharmaceutical pesticides to control

parasites and all but eliminates residues of high doses of antibiotics used on cattle in feedlot

conditions” (p. 236). Even though it may not always be organic, choosing grass-fed beef reduces

or eliminates many of the environmental and ethical concerns raised by factory farming.

Grass-fed beef also comes with some benefits to the environment. As noted earlier, most

grain-fed beef relies on environmentally damaging mono-cropping. This problem is not an issue

with grass-fed beef, which relies primarily on forage and does not require the same crop to be

planted year after year. Further, if the grass-fed beef that one eats comes from local farms and

ranches, it lessens the environmental impact, whereas the long-distance shipping required by

factory farming practices consumes fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming. Lappé

Comment [SL8]: Interesting!

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

(2010) explains the massive effects that industrial food production has on the environment,

noting that throughout the life cycle of production, processing, distribution, consumption, and

waste, our food chain may be responsible for as much as a third of the factors causing global

climate change (p. 11). However, as Pollan (2002) argues by the end of his essay, farms which

focus on traditional agricultural practices are both more humane and more environmentally

friendly than CAFOs. Ultimately, food decisions should be made with an eye to sustainability

and humane treatment, ethical stances that are both supported by local farms focused on

sustainable diversity.

Despite grass-fed beef scoring better on an environmental impact level than grain-fed

beef, it is still not perfect, a fact that highlights the problems of eating beef at all if one is

concerned with environmental ethics. Most notably, to assuage Americans’ rapacious appetites

for beef, landowners in South America often clear cut rainforest in order to create grazing land.

“The realities of the global market are a great temptation to many: Where land is cheap and the

demand for grass-fed cattle is on the rise, the local economy may respond by cutting down a

forest to create pasture or by planting grass where millet or rice has been grown” (Sager, 2008,

para. 21). This practice has negative environmental impacts on the local landscape and the planet

as a whole, since losing vast swathes of rainforest increases the amount of carbon dioxide in our

atmosphere, contributing to ozone depletion. In their article for Science magazine, scholars

Molly Brown and Christopher Funk (2008) examine how climate change will affect food

security and find that people in the developing world are at particular risk for a lack of food due

to climate change. Mono-cropping and mono-grazing practices, designed to snag American

dollars in the short term and not to sustain the local population in the long term, will only

exacerbate these effects (p. 580–81). Furthermore, the rise in the market for grass-fed beef has

Comment [SL9]: Great use of signal phrasing here.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

meant that much grass-fed beef is shipped to the U.S. from South America and Australia. Even if

these animals are raised in a humane and sustainable manner, the long distances they travel to

reach American bellies has significant, negative environmental impact, again due to the use of

fossil fuels (Sager, 2008, para. 21). This reinforces the importance of buying beef which has

been locally produced, reducing the impact of long-distance shipping and potential mono-grazing

in other countries.

No matter how ethically sourced, one can still identify some serious ethical problems

with the raising and slaughter of beef, and those ethical quandaries are passed on to consumers.

While grass-fed beef is clearly an ethical improvement over grain-fed beef in terms of humane

treatment and potentially in terms of environmental impact, “No matter how you slice it, eating

beef will never be the greenest thing you do in a day. Scientists at Japan’s National Institute of

Livestock and Grassland Science estimate that producing 1 kilogram of beef emits more

greenhouse gas than driving 155 miles” (Palmer, 2010, para. 2). A kilogram of beef is about the

equivalent of two generously sized rib-eye steaks. Multiply this by the amount of beef consumed

by Americans in a year and the impact of these greenhouse gasses cannot be ignored. However,

as compelling as this argument is, it is not reasonable to expect that Americans will stop eating

beef altogether. In the short term, it is more practical to encourage Americans to eat humanely

raised, locally sourced, grass-fed beef, which will ultimately lessen the ethical and environmental

consequences.

If consumers are truly concerned about the ethical treatment of animals and the

environmental impact of agricultural production, then the logical action is to stop eating meat

altogether. If Americans are not willing to do this, then the next best action is to focus on

humanely raised, locally sourced, grass-fed beef, while acknowledging that this may affect our

Comment [SL10]: Great concluding sentence.

Comment [SL11]: Good. You’re not dismissing the counter-
arguments, but you’re indicating that your argument is
more persuasive. Well done.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

beef consumption at many levels. Pollan (2002) concludes his essay by acknowledging that more

humane treatment of animals would likely cause higher prices and lower consumption. However,

he states, “maybe when we did eat animals, we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony and

respect they deserve” (para. 82). This emphasis on the respect for and well-being of the animals

cultivated for food benefits both the animals and the consumer, acknowledging the desire to be

true omnivores while satisfying our need for ethical clarity.

Comment [SL12]: Very good concluding statement!

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

References

Brown, M., & Funk, C. (2008). Food security under climate change. Science, 319

(5863), 580-581. doi: 10.1126/science.1154102

Cook, C. (2004). Diet for a dead planet: How the food industry is killing us. New York,

NY: New Press.

Davis, C., & Lin, B.H. (2005). Factors affecting U.S. beef consumption. Retrieved from

https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=37389.

Grandin, T. & Smith. G. (2004). Animal welfare and humane slaughter. Grandin.com.

Retrieved from http://www.grandin.com/references/humane.slaughter.html

Lappé, A. (2010). Diet for a hot planet: The climate crisis at the end of your fork. New

York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Palmer, B. (2010, December 21). Pass on grass: Is grass-fed beef better for the

environment? Slate. Retrieved from

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2010/12/pa

ss_ on_grass.htm

Pollan, M. (2002, November 10). An animal’s place. The New York Times. Retrieved

from http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/10/magazine/an-animal-s-place.html

Ruechel, J. (2006). Grass-fed Cattle: How to produce and market natural beef. North

Adams, MA. Storey Publishing.

Sager, G. (2008). Where’s your beef from?: Grass-fed Beef: Is it green, humane and

healthful? Natural Life Magazine. Retrieved from

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/0812/grass-fed_beef_green_humane_healthful.htm

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

Reflection Questions:

1. How much time did you spend revising your draft? What revision strategies did you
use and which worked best for you? (2-3 sentences)

I spent about an hour and a half revising my draft. I spent a lot of time going over each of the
critiques I was given, and thinking about how I can implement those in a way that will truly
make my essay better. Creating unity and coherence was the most satisfying to me, because
it allowed me to put everything together in a way that made me proud.

2. List three concrete revisions that you made and explain how you made them. What

problem did you fix with each of these revisions? Issues may be unity, cohesion,
rhetorical appeals, content, or any other areas on which you received constructive
feedback. (4-5 sentences)

One I came up with was moving the paragraph on how the production of meat can raise
questions in terms of environmental impacts. This helped increase the flow and effectiveness
of how the information was being presented. Another critique I made was including a more
focused thesis statement. This helped include all of the points I made. Another revision I
made was adding more appeals to my claim that chemicals can leach into the groundwater,
polluting both the surrounding land and the water supply. This helped add legitimacy to my
argument.

3. What did you learn about your writing process or yourself as a writer? How has your

understanding of the research process changed as a result of taking this course? (2-3
sentences)

I learned that writing a truly good Argumentative Essay is way more than just writing and
research. You need to dig deep into your sources, and really learn about both sides of the
arguments are you taking on. The entire process is important to make your argument a solid
and supported one.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II
SAMPLE TOUCHSTONE AND SCORING

Final Research Essay Rubric and Feedback

Rubric
Category

Feedback Score
(acceptable, needs
improvement etc.)

Revising

There was a clear effort to adjust your previous
draft. You effectively revised the organization of
your essay to gain a better focus on the
argument being presented.

35/40

Editing

You did a great job strengthening your
arguments by editing some of the word choices
throughout your essay.

38/40

Source
Integration

You were able to introduce your sources
effectively and seamlessly using a variety of
different types of citation.

19/20

Cohesion

Updating the flow of your argument throughout
your essay has really made it a more effective
argumentative essay. Well done!

18/20

Conventions
and
Proofreading

You have done a great job ensuring there are no
major convention errors.

19/20

Reflection You demonstrate thoughtful reflection,

consistently including insights, observations, and
examples in your responses.

10/10

Overall Score and Feedback: 139/150
Logan – You have written a very thought-provoking and well-researched essay. You use
relevant information from credible sources in order to support your argument. You
strike a good balance between these sources and your own discussion, allowing the
reader to see how you are using this information to further your own, unique
argument. You write very clearly, linking your ideas and paragraphs together in a very
logical and smooth manner. You remain consistently focused on your argument
throughout. I really enjoyed reading your essay! Nicely done!

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