PLEASE READ ALL INFORMATION BEFORE YOU BEGIN!
Research Paper Assignment
Length: Minimum of 1,200 words (no more than 1,400)
Type in MLA format with in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
(Upload it to the â€œResearch Paper Drop Boxâ€ in the Writing Assignment Drop Boxes module.)
For this assignment, you will choose a short story, a poem, OR a play from our course schedule and connect it to something in the real worldâ€” a current issue. In this weekâ€™s module, I have posted a sample student paper to give you an idea of how to approach this assignment. In this paper, you will incorporate elements of argumentation by
- constructing a thesis statement that clearly states your position.
- providing adequate support from both the work and secondary sources that develop the connection you have made between the work and the current issue.
- including a refutation of least one source that disagrees with you or sees your interpretation of the work from a different perspective.
You might think about, for example, the way in which Chopin examines attitudes toward queer identity in â€œQueer Theory: â€ and how many of those attitudes still prevail today. Or you could contrast the way post-partum depression is treated now and the way it was treated in Gilmanâ€™s â€œThe Yellow Wallpaper.â€ As you can see, there are quite a few topics for you to ponder. Just remember that you need to analyze the poem or short story in light of its relevance to a current issue or topic.
You will be graded not only on your depth of analysis and critical thinking but also how well you integrate secondary sources into your writing and how closely you adhere to MLA documentation. Your paper must be logical, unified, organized, well supported, and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Your primary source is your textbook. You must also include at least four (4) secondary sources. Secondary sources will be any literary criticism that relates to the story or poem that you are
Secondary sources may be in the form of scholarly articles, essays, books, or electronic resources. A good way to approach this assignment is to look for two literary sources that relate to the point you are making abut the work, and two sources that relate to the issue itself.
Use the PSC Library database to acquire your sources. You are responsible for making sure your sources are credible and appropriate for a college-level research paper. Do not use Wikipedia, Enotes, Monarch Notes, Sparknotes or Cliffnotes, Suite101.com, Schmoop, Gradesaver, Bookrags, 123Helpme.com, Cummingstudyguide, Classnotes, or Masterplots. To access the PSC Library, go to the column on the left hand side of our course home page; you will see the link at the bottom.
For additional information, read Chapter 11 (204) in your textbook. Here, you will find valuable information about how to begin. You can also find sample entries for the most common types of sources and how to document them correctly within your paper and in your Works Cited page. A sample research paper begins on page 222 in your textbook.
Notice the way the writer organizes the content and integrates the sources into the paper. In this weekâ€™s module, I have also provided a sample research paper that reflects our specific assignment.
Your paper must be typed in MLA style (double spaced, 12-point font) with parenthetical references and a Works Cited page. A cover page is not required.
HOW TO BEGIN
1) Access the PSC Library online or visit the PSC Library on any one of our campuses and ask a librarian for help. He or she will be happy to get you started with your search. Be sure to bring a copy of this assignment with you.
2) Keep in mind that it is always better to gather more sources than you will need. Search for articles in scholarly journals; print any articles you select. If you locate a book that might contain some material relevant to your topic, scan the table of contents or the index. Many times, only one chapter or a few paragraphs will be helpful to you. If you take any sources off the Internet, print them out and make a note of the date you acquired the information.
3) Make sure to write down all the bibliographical information for each source. Begin keeping a Works Cited page.
4) Avoid collecting biographical information on the author. This type of information is usually irrelevant to the analysis of a literary work.
A FEW REMINDERS
â€¢State your thesis clearly in the first paragraph.
â€¢Check your paper for unity (staying focused on your thesis) and coherence (using transitions between paragraphs).
â€¢If you are writing about a short story, do not summarize the plot!
Retelling the story only shows me that you have read it; it doesnâ€™t show me that you are thinking critically about it. Use only the portions of the story that develop your point.
â€¢Integrate your sources smoothly into your paper. Make sure it is clear to your reader why you are referring to a particular source.
â€¢Remember that a direct quote cannot stand on its own; it needs some type of introductory tag. A good rule to follow: Donâ€™t begin a sentence with a quote.
â€¢Proofread your final draft–check grammar, punctuation, and adherence to MLA format and documentation. Make sure that you have at least four secondary sources (your textbook or another anthology or textbook that contains one of the stories you are discussing does not count as a secondary source.)
â€¢It is normal to delete a source or two from your paper after you decide it does not fit in. If you do so, though, make sure to delete it from your Works Cited page as well. Always check to be sure that the sources
you cite in the text of your paper match up with your Works Cited page. Alphabetize your works cited entries.
MLA documentation requires two steps: including your parenthetical (in-text) citation in the text of your paper AND listing the complete information for your source on your works cited page. To understand how it works, think about someone who is reading your paper and sees a source that he or she would like to read in full. That reader should be able to go to your works cited page and easily locate that source. In other words, what you list in the parenthetical citation should match what is at the beginning of the Works Cited entry