- RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT
The final written assignment in this course is the production of a formally documented research paper. Writing a research paper seems like a daunting task, but if you understand the process that you are undertaking, and if you break the work into steps, producing such a paper is more easily achieved.
LENGTH: 8-10 pages, exclusive of Works Cited page
GOAL: Your goal is to provide a balance of information and interpretation.
MODE: Any combination of modes that is best suited to developing your thesis.
Research: 7 – 10 sources, half of which may be website resources.
(Note: Articles that you access via the internet but were originally published in print form do not count as website resources.)
Topic: For your research paper, you may pursue any topic that meets ALL of the following criteria:
–the topic stems from one of our readings from 50 Essays
–the topic lends itself to analysis
–the topic means something to you, emotionally or intellectually
–the topic can be shaped, narrowed, and limited so as to yield a strong thesis that can be adequately addressed in an 8 to 10 page paper.
Remember that a research paper is a synthesis of materials. You will select sources that can teach you something about your selected topic; you will select materials from those sources that can help you support the thesis that you devise for your essay.
- USING ONLINE RESEARCH INFORMATION
A wealth of information is available to you for free on www.bedfordstmartins.com/researchroom
Please identify the areas of importance below by the subject heading and review the links on the webpage above. If you have any questions, please post them on the appropriate DB – labeled Research Paper Questions.
PLANNING YOUR RESEARCH
Exploring Topics, Narrowing Topics
The information here can help you avoid “trash” sources and other time-wasting traps in your research process.
AVOIDING PLAGIARISM WHEN USING SOURCES
Avoiding plagiarism begins well before you ever write a sentence of your research paper, as this chapter points out. Most plagiarism problems are unintentional, but ignorance is no excuse! Every word of this chapter is valuable and reading it could keep you from committing unintentional plagiarism—which is a very bad thing.
WRITING/DRAFTING THE RESEARCH PROJECT
Knowing how to smoothly deploy direct and indirect quotations is a make-or-break skill in research writing.
Refer to this section when revising and compiling a Works Cited page. (In English, your documentation style is MLA.)
Things I’ll be looking for in your paper:
–A thesis that takes a stand (i.e., makes an evaluation of some sort of your selected essay)
–Topic sentences that clearly link body paragraphs to the thesis idea.
–Well-developed paragraphs: detailed illustrations of assertions; material from your selected essay used to support assertions.
–Quotations integrated smoothly and correctly into the body of your sentences/paragraphs.