English and Literature

Assignment Objective: To write a library research paper–analyzing, interpreting, citing, and documenting various sources (from different media) (1,500 words, excluding the outline and works-cited pages).

The research project expands the knowledge you gained in writing your argumentative essay. The most important preparation of this research is the research question, what you want to find out about your topic, what you want to know. The research question should be phrased in such a way that you can easily search answers to it from various sources. Consider the following steps:

1. Select your topic thoughtfully. When selecting a research topic, select a topic from areas of your academic and career interests in order to make the project meaningful and your efforts foundational. If you choose your topic carefully, you will make the whole project a focused investigation into something to pursue further in the future (graduate school, for example).

2. Create a research question. Use “what,” “how,” and “why” to ask many questions about the broad topic you have chosen. (The following are samples of how you should ask the research question.
a) How have opportunities for women in the U. S. Army changed since World War II?
b) What effect does the opening of adoption files have on the people involved in child adoption?
c) How successfully have support therapies, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, performed in their programs to improve people's lives?
d) How have legal initiatives developed to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities?
e) What is the solution to the rising suicide rate among U. S. soldiers?

2. Create a thesis for the essay. Remember that the thesis of your essay should be the summarized answer to the research question. For example, if your research question is “Why is ISO 9000 important to American business?”, your answer to the question may be: “The ISO 9000 has become an important part of the American manufacturing because it makes 'made-in-America' products readily available to consumers worldwide.” Before you can answer the research question fully, you will have to read about the question from various sources. Whatever method you use, be sure to have a thesis for your researched essay.

3. Create a sentence outline based on your thesis statement.

4. Use at least five different sources (including books, periodicals, newspapers, etc.) to find out what other writers have to say on the topic. In other words, do not use all books or all journal articles. You must use a mixture of sources (books, periodicals, newspapers, etc.). If you use the Internet to conduct the research, do not use Internet-based articles. Use articles from only online academic/research journals, government publications, online versions of well-established magazines and newspapers ( Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Christianity Today, Roanoke Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, etc.). Be aware though that some of these sources may charge fees. If you do not understand the difference between Internet-based articles and articles from online academic/research journals, contact me.

5. Summarize or paraphrase borrowed sources for inclusion in your research. Discuss your thoughts on each aspect of the topic and what others have to say about it. Develop each paragraph fully with specific details that prove the thesis of your essay. Use the sample research paper on pages 547-555 of The Student Writer: Editor and Critic, 7th edition, as your guide.

6. Create a “Works Cited” page and document each of your sources, using a style manual (MLA, APA, etc.) of your choice. You must use the same style manual to document all your sources. At the end of your “Works Cited” page, specify the style manual that you have used.

7. Do not document a dictionary or an encyclopedia as one of your sources. However, you may use them to familiarize you with your topic.