Research Paper

Assignment Specifications Type: Written Paper Style: Modern Language Association Format Length: 1,500 words or more Description: Throughout the course, students will be working to prepare a 1,500-word research paper. To create a research paper the student is expected to create a topic of his or her choosing, research that topic using ONLY scholarly sources, and report his or her findings using appropriate grammar and format. The research project and paper is an effort to further investigate a key element of our study. The paper should make use of either empirical or secondary data wherever possible to enhance the analysis. Suggested Genre: Drama What Should the Topic of my Paper be? The topic of your research is one of your own choosing. However, the topic must reflect one of the readings we have engaged in over the term. Throughout the course, we will be reading many authors and studying various critical schools that scholars use to engage with the readings. As you read you should be on the lookout for possible topics for your research. This is a fundamental part of the course! By selecting your own topic you are entering into an area of research of your own choosing. This is the first step to true scholarship. I strongly suggest that you write notes on each reading. These notes should include observations you’ve made while reading that reflect the topics covered in week 7: critical schools. For example, if you’ve found the treatment of gender interesting in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants be sure to note it in reading notes. This is a very rich topic for later research! This process can be repeated with any of our reading and any critical school you find interesting. As always please send me your ideas as they occur to you and we will work on getting the research paper together. Your paper should: • Contain an introduction paragraph which 1) introduces the audience to the issue being addressed, 2) identifies clearly the writer’s claim, 3) examines why this information is important to the specified audience, 4) announces the organization of the paper. • Offer a thesis statement in the form of an argument. • Offer academic sources to support the thesis statement. • Include evidence of scholarly research such as peer-reviewed academic articles • Maintain focus on the paper’s thesis throughout. • Organize the material presented in a consistent, rational manner. • Contain a conclusion that reasserts the writer’s thesis statement and reiterates the introduction. • Use transitions to achieve unity between ideas and paragraphs. • Use conventions of standard written English (appropriate diction, no omitted words, grammar, punctuation, spelling). • Follow MLA format guidelines. Please be certain that your treatment of your topic is complete, thoughtful, and well-researched. The topic of the research paper can be any of the subjects covered over the course of the lecture series. Listed below are a few “seed ideas” for students that have difficulty getting started. As always, please contact me with any concerns. Be certain your research paper contains all of the following elements: 1. sound argumentation techniques 2. coherent source synthesis 3. correctly formatted MLA-style parenthetical citations 4. standard grammatical usage The research project and paper is an effort to further investigate a key element of our study. The paper should make use of either empirical or secondary data wherever possible to enhance the analysis. Students are expected to follow Modern Language Association writing style. TIPS: Your paper should: • Contain an introduction paragraph which 1) introduces the audience to the issue being addressed, 2) identifies clearly the writer’s claim, 3) examines why this information is important to the specified audience, 4) announces the organization of the paper. • Offer a thesis statement in the form of an argument. • Offer academic sources to support the thesis statement. • Include evidence of scholarly research. • Maintain focus on the paper’s thesis throughout. • Organize the material presented in a consistent, rational manner. • Contain a conclusion that reasserts the writer’s thesis statement and reiterates the introduction. • Use transitions to achieve unity between ideas and paragraphs. • Use conventions of standard written English (appropriate diction, no omitted words, grammar, punctuation, and spelling). • Follow MLA format guidelines. Please be certain that your treatment of your topic is complete, thoughtful, and well-researched. The topic of the research paper can be any of the subjects covered over the course of the lecture series. As always, please contact me with any concerns. SOURCES: The paper must utilize no less than three sources. One of these sources must be the primary text you are using such as our textbook. The other sources must be scholarly journal articles or appropriate books. Be sure that the articles you select to use are peer-reviewed works from respected academic sources. The best resource for students to use in the research process of this project is the reference librarians of our college library. We will be visiting the library during the semester for a training seminar on finding scholarly sources. REMEMBER: • Be connected to your topic—you should pursue a topic that interests you and perhaps fits in with other studies you are engaged in. • Specifically, state your thesis early and often. • Spend your effort working to prove your argument based thesis. DO NOT waste time summarizing if it is not needed to further your argument. • Acknowledge and refute counterarguments. • Remember to cite when needed. This includes quotes, paraphrases, and summaries you add to the paper. • Make sure your paragraphs are fully developed and have topic sentences and concluding sentences. The suggested genre for this paper is Drama. As always, please contact me with any concerns. FAQ Over the course of the semester, there are always many questions about the research paper. I have created an FAQ (frequently asked questions) below to help answer questions about the task. What is the difference between a critical response essay and a research paper? The critical response essays and research papers are similar as both of these papers require an argument based thesis. This means you must be trying to prove something with the paper. Often beginning college writers confuse summary with argument. It is important that you understand that a paper that spends too much effort summarizing the plot of work is not correct. Below is an inappropriate thesis: Poe’s “The Raven” focuses on a man longing to find a way to return his lost love, Lenore, back to life. Note how the sentence above merely summarizes what is happening in the plot of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Now let’s read a more appropriate thesis: Poe uses symbols such as a bust of Pallas, ancient books, and a foreboding Raven to imply that all people suffer from thanatophobia, better known as the fear of death. The author of the above thesis plans to argue that Poe is using three symbols to communicate to the reader that everyone suffers from thanatophobia. An argument requires something that could be disagreed with. Do I need sources? Yes. You should have no less than three academic sources as secondary sources (sources that address the play, poem, or narrative you are writing about) as well as the primary sources (the play, poem, or narrative you are writing about) An academic source is a source written by a proven expert in the field. The best way to ensure that you are working with academic sources is to use the “Peer-Reviewed” button on the database you are using. How long should it be? 1,500 words. What should my paper look like? Your paper must be written in MLA format. Below is posted a movie that shows students how to format a paper in MLA format: Your paper must be written in MLA format. Below is an example of what a papbcqer in MLA format looks like:

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