Length: Approx. 1500 words (6 double-spaced pages)
Citation Style: MLA
Sources: At least TWO scholarly/academic sources and FOUR reliable popular sources required.
Purpose and Audience
The research paper is a major component of your English 112 learning, and the grade you get on it will account for 30% of your final grade. This may be the first time you have ever conducted serious scholarly research. Be assured that it’s not an impossible task, but it will have frustrating moments. With good planning and guidance you can succeed and learn more about a topic that interests you.
You will be writing a formal, argument-based research paper for fellow classmates who may know very little about your topic.
Focus and Expectations
In order to keep from becoming overwhelmed, we must break down the tasks that need to be accomplished and do them one at a time. Many of these steps will be due in class as homework. Here are the basic steps:
Select a topic, either on your own or from a provided list. There are many “best research topics” lists online; here’s a decent one that even includes research questions. While I am leaving topic choice up to you, keep in mind that some topics work MUCH better for academic research than others.
Develop a research question that will guide your search for information and will eventually be answered in your paper.
Write a brief research proposal.
Spend time researching online and in the library to find reliable, relevant, recent sources.
Read and take notes on the materials you find.
Create an annotated bibliography to organize your findings.
Develop a thesis statement that answers your research question.
Organize all the information you have found into major supporting points for that thesis. Select details and quotes to support your thesis.
Draft the paper.
Revise, revise, revise!