Topic Proposal and Research Paper: English
Topic Proposal for the Research Paper
Review the guidelines for the research project, especially those that concern appropriate secondary sources.
First, provide a description (1-2 fully developed paragraphs) of the argument your paper will be addressing. Include any context for, or background about, the topic that will be important to your discussion of the topic.
Next, provide a working thesis statement. This must be a statement, not a question.
Your thesis statement could, for example, focus on the themes, motifs, style, plot construction, or use of symbolism or imagery in a primary text or texts of your choice.
It would be easier and more convenient to limit yourself to material in the course anthology, but you may, with my approval, explore a primary text outside course readings.
Then, provide works cited entries for any primary and secondary sources you have found thus far.
Last, provide at least one paragraph for each secondary source that explains why you are planning to use it. Explain how it will help you support your thesis statement.
You may also include any questions or problems you are having – what kind of feedback from others would help you?
This paper will allow you to investigate a single author’s work, or a pair of authors’ works, in greater depth. You may do this on any of the authors we have already or will read this semester. For authors we have not read, you will need to clear your topic with me first.
This paper should be 1,250 words at a minimum, but no longer than 1,800 words.
Your paper could focus on the themes, tropes, or use of symbolism or imagery, use of point-of-view, foreshadowing, or characterization in a primary text or texts (short stories or novels). It would probably be easier to limit yourself to material in the course anthology, but you may, with instructor approval, explore a primary source outside course readings.
After selecting your subject matter, begin researching by using the Library’s literature-oriented databases. You will need to find at least three (3) sources of scholarly literary criticism that support your assertion. You must integrate these secondary sources into your analysis of your primary source(s). Informative and narrative research papers are unacceptable.
What You Should Do
Make sure to review the grading rubric (see the attached PDF).
Make sure that write about all texts using what is termed the “literary present tense.”
Do not use either the first- or second-person voice in academic writing unless it occurs within a direct quotation.
Only the titles of longer works (books, films, TV series, journals, albums, etc.) should be italicized. Underlining is no longer used. Bold font is not required.
Your essay’s title (for this class, never title your essay after the assignment itself) needs no special formatting unless it contains the title of another work, which should then be formatted per MLA guidelines, e.g.:
A Fifty-Year Vintage in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
Reconsidering “A Rose for Emily”: the Camouflage of Antebellum Ideals.
Make sure all papers have an introduction that makes a debatable claim or proposal (your thesis statement), a set of body paragraphs (with each having a single focus), and a conclusion that brings closure to your paper’s interpretative claims.
Make sure that your paper has the proper header—your last name and the page number—in the header field, not the body, and which uses the same font as the rest of the paper.
Make sure that your paper has the proper heading: this material begins on the very first line of the page, flush with the left margin, and includes the following:
28 July 2016
Note that the date is recorded in the European format, Day Month Year and that all months except May, June, and July are abbreviated. Also, there should be no extra spacing between the heading and the title; just hit “enter” and type the title, which must be centered.
Double-space all work.
Document all borrowed passages, claims, or ideas—whether quotation, paraphrase, or summary—each time using parenthetical citations that point to specific works cited entries.
What You Should Not Do
A full biography of the author. Any biographical section you include should be the shortest part of the paper, and it should strive to connect events from his or her life to his or her art.
A summary of the story, stories, or novel—that is, don’t provide a “book report.”
Excessive copied passages/block quotes. Quote sparingly. Paraphrase or summarize instead, and always, however you do it, cite your sources in the essay itself using parenthetical citations that clearly correspond with works cited entry.
A paper consisting of facts that are neither discussed nor analyzed.
A paper that discusses the events of a historical period that does not tie these events to the novel.
Style Sheet for Research Papers
Each paper must be at least 1,250 words long, typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
Use a 12-point font and a standard (readable) font type (i.e., Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial).
Be sure to include a title of your own, at the top middle of the first page of your essay. This should not simply repeat your topic. No separate title page is required.
Quoting and Documenting Requirements:
You need to use quoted material from the story or stories that you refer to in order to support and illustrate your exploration of this phenomenon. You also need to use at least three (3) quality outside sources of scholarly literary criticism about the primary source or sources your paper examines. I want you to use the databases provided by the school’s Library, but I am also open to scholarly sources of literary criticism you find in other databases.
Sources like Spark Notes, eNotes, Book Rags, Wikipedia, ipl.org, or random (non-professional; non-scholarly) blogs or other such study guides will not meet the requirements for your paper’s outside sources. Also, book reviews and author/work overviews will not count toward the required number of sources. The use of such sources instead of scholarly literary criticism will prevent your paper from being graded, which is the same as earning a zero.
The quotes, paraphrases, and summaries must be properly documented within the text and on a Works Cited page using correct current MLA documentation style.