Writing & Research / Research Paper Assignment Overview
Students in English 101 conduct research and write proposals, annotated bibliographies, and research essays. The research paper will include the basic steps of the research and writing process. Students will begin with a research tutorial led by a librarian and follow that with the basic steps of the writing process, including finding the right topic, brainstorming, developing a thesis statement, outlining, developing major and minor points, writing the draft and revising the draft to writing the final paper. Completion of these Library assignments will contribute towards your final grade for the research paper. Students develop research topics and questions; identify, summarize, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize relevant sources; and present arguments based on their findings. Students document where information and ideas come from by using MLA style. We will learn about documentation and integration of quotations this semester.
Students will also participate in academic conversations by doing research that builds upon existing knowledge and delivering presentations at the end of this semester. Completion of the research paper is required in order to be eligible to pass this course.
The three major stages of the project are:
The proposal and annotated bibliography are intended as preparation for writing:
You will have two opportunities to complete both the Research Proposal and the Annotative Bibliography (if needed).
Think through your research topic and question before you propose to spend the next few weeks researching and writing about it. We will approach this research paper in sections, so it does not become an overwhelming and daunting process. Have fun with it and pick a topic of interest to you. Choose a social/controversial topic you want to learn more about this semester. Narrow the broad theme into a specific topic, something that you can reasonably collect information on and write a research paper (8-10 pages in length). You may discuss both sides of the controversy, but you will convince or persuade the reader that your opinion of the issue is the stronger one because you have supported your view with reliable and responsible resources. You can use several of the methods of writing we have discussed in class; for example, comparison and contrast, persuasive, example, etc. or just one style, persuasive.
Explain why and how your topic is a social issue. Take a position on the issue and present your findings. Remember after you have chosen a topic, we need to discuss it before you begin your research.
Moving from a general topic to a more specific topic can be challenging. Ask yourself the following questions after you have chosen a topic: who, what, when, where and why. Ask yourself each of these questions and answer these questions. As you answer these questions, modify and refine your research topic. We will practice this exercise in class, but follow these steps as a way of narrowing your topic and developing a position, an argument. Do not be afraid of narrowing your topic. Do not focus on not having enough to write about, you will. Do this exercise. You may consult with me to decide on your final topic and or your final thesis statement.
Suggestions: The narrower your topic the easier it will be to research and to write.
Analyze the issue by describing the problem. Why is this controversial? What thoughts did you have when you began to write this paper? How did your ideas change as a result of your research? What are the opposing views? Who are the groups behind a certain philosophy? What can be done to solve the problem? Who can do it? Why do you believe you are right about your views? Your paper will convince your peers and this reader that your views are the ones that make the most sense based on the research you have included in your paper. Use quotations or paraphrased ideas from your research to support your ideas. However, your paper is not to be a string of quotations, but rather a thoughtful presentation of information carefully supported with the use of your resources.
Students are expected to develop arguments that answer or respond to a question or problem, argument is the assignment’s general purpose. You will be expected to analyze information, so analysis is also a general purpose of the assignment.
After you have received a grade for this essay assignment, you will be required to present your topic and findings with the class in the form of a short presentation.
You are required to include at least 5-6 sources. You may use material such as web, library print, library database, books, periodicals, interviews, other audio/visual materials, government documents, statistical, etc. as they relate to your topic. Check with me or with a librarian if you have any questions about the appropriateness of your research information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! Use the Ask a librarian feature.
Use authored articles only and peer reviewed journals when possible. This paper must follow MLA format. Any material taken from a written source (whether quoted directly or paraphrased) must be cited in the text of the paragraph, and you need to include a complete list of works cited on an attached page.