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Davidson - Research Paper - ENGL 1102  

Guide for Ms. Davidson English 1102, Spring 2014 Research Project Assignment
Last Updated: Sep 30, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Ms. Davidson

English 1102

Research Project Assignment


The research project accounts for almost one-third of the potential points in this course, so your commitment to accomplish ALL of the requirements of this assignment is essential to your success in this course.  In order to be successful, you must carefully follow each of the following steps.


STEP 1.          Select a topic:  Select a Topic from the following List of Approved Topics.  Try to pick a topic that you have some personal knowledge, interest, or experience in, and do some preliminary research before finalizing your choice.   You must carefully consider your topic, learn a great deal about both sides of your chosen issue, narrow the topic, and choose a position on your topic.   Only one person in our class can work on a given topic.  I want you to write about a topic that you are interested in learning more about, so I will work with you outside of this list if necessary.  See me; you do NOT have my permission to write about abortion, gun control, capital punishment, or a number of other very tired topics.


Step 2.            Claim your topic and post your topic and tentative thesis statement in Desire to Learn (D2L).  If someone claims your topic before you do, you must either change your topic or talk with me about how to take a different approach than your classmates’.


Step 3.            Conduct Effective Research: Locate at least SEVEN sources that you have vetted and feel will be helpful in analyzing and then supporting your argument.  Be sure to research both sides of the issue—your ethos is at stake.   Most of you are quite comfortable with Google searches and understand the credibility problem inherent in most Internet sources, so most of your secondary research will not be conducted on the Internet.  Instead, you must rely on sources you locate in Gil and Galileo to help you better understand your topic and support your argument.  You will use ALL of these in the Annotated Bibliography Assignment, but you may not choose to use all of them in your final paper.  Your sources must come from the following types:   

  • Three of these sources must be from peer-reviewed journals
  • One must be a book source
  • One must be a credible internet source
  • The Two remaining sources can be from film or other sources obtained from Galileo. 

Of the seven sources you locate and analyze in the annotated bibliography, you must use five (5) sources in your final research paper. Remember, no more than ONE source may come from the internet


Step 4.            Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: A bibliography is a list of books, articles, essays, or other sources that you use to support your argument in your research paper.  An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that contains descriptive or evaluative comments in addition to the MLA citation.  For each of your SEVEN sources, you must include the following information:


  • An MLA citation
  • A description of the type of source (see list above)
  • A defense of the source.  Tell me how you know that this is a credible source (2-3 sentences)
  • A description of how you think the source will be helpful to you (informing you about the opposition, as good support for an important element of your argument, etc).
  • Copy and Paste several passages that you think you might use in your paper.  Of course, these passages should be in quotation marks and you should give the page number (Parenthetical citation).
  • Your entries for each source should be alphabetical (according to the first word in the MLA citation).


Step 5.   Mandatory Conference with Ms. Davidson:  You are required to schedule and attend a mandatory conference with Ms. Davidson.  You will need to bring a draft of your annotated bibliography to the meeting and be prepared to discuss your tentative thesis statement and the types of proofs you plan to use to support your position.


Step 6.  Write Research Paper:  Your research paper should be at least 1400 words or approximately 5-6 double-spaced pages, plus a Works Cited page.  Your essay will include an introduction that respectfully acknowledges the opposition, per Rogerian strategy, and a carefully articulated, analytical thesis statement.  Since this is your paper and not just an accumulation of experts’ opinions, your thoughts and words will dominate your essay.  Your position will be carefully constructed of your own thinking (with supporting examples and explanation), but will also include the support of outside experts.    The originality report from should be approximately twenty percent.


As always, your well-crafted essay will incorporate aspects of the strategies previously studied in English 1101 (description, exemplification, definition, process analysis, compare-contrast, division-classification, argument, persuasion), will be carefully and beautifully written, and will comply with the requirements of MLA.


The format of your paper should follow the conventions of MLA (See Chapter 33 of Harbrace Essentials and use the Model Essay on Page 324 of Harbrace Essentials as a guide.  Any borrowed ideas or words must be cited both parenthetically (in-text) and on the Works Cited page whether you use the original source’s words or not.  If you do use someone else’s words (and I recommend that you select important words and phrases only), you must use quotation marks in addition to the in-text citation and Works Cited entry..  We will work on MLA citation in class, but this procedure is also explained in your Harbrace text.


Step 7.  Peer-Review or Peer Mark Paper:  Your draft paper will be submitted to prior to class date listed on the Schedule of Assignments.  During this class period you will review two of your classmates’ papers and you will receive feedback from two of your classmates.  This review process will allow you to check your originality score and help you to see if you need substantial revision before the final paper is due.


Step 8.  Present Your Research Project Results:  You will present the basics of your research project in a five-minute (or less) poster presentation to your classmates.  Your presentation should include a summary of your position on the topic and the proof that you used to support your position.  Feel free to show your classmates an interesting website or surprising finding or statistic. 


Final Steps

Turn in Your Final Paper:  You will turn in your final research paper in according to the Schedule of Assignments.

Turn in Copies of the 1st pages of your sources: Please include a photocopy (electronic screen shot is acceptable) of the first page of the sources you used for this research project. Bring this to class.

Turn in Your Final Annotated Bibliography:

Turn in Your Final Reflection Essay: Compose a one-page reflection paper analyzing your process and efforts for this research assignment.  What worked well?  What didn’t go very well?  What do you want to remember to do differently next time? This should be submitted according to the Schedule of Assignments in



List of Approved Topics:


Family Issues:





            Declining Marriage Rates

            Foreign Adoption

            Foster Care

            Single Parenthood

            In-vitro Fertilization



            Jim Jones, Jonestown, and the People’s Temple

            Occupy Wall Street

            Black Panthers

            Gay Marriage

            End Time Predictions

            Green Peace

            See Me


Gender Issues:

            Feminism Today

            Males as minorities in higher education

            “Sexy” Little Girls

            Women, Violence, and Rap/Hip Hop

            Male Hatred

            See Me


Identity Issues:



            School Uniforms

            See Me


Health Issues:


            Childhood Obesity


            Crack Epidemic

            Stem Cells

            Socialized Medicine

            See Me


Controversial Court Cases:

            Roe V Wade

            Gay Marriage

            Affordable Care Act

            See Me


Political/Economic Issues:

            Balanced Budget Amendment

            Flat Taxes


            Trade Imbalance with China

            President Obama’s Healthcare plan



            School Shootings

            Religious Extremists


Environmental Issues:


            Alaskan Pipeline

            Global Warming

            Electric Cars

            See Me


Art and Music

            See Me



            Scandals (Sandusky, Lance Armstrong, etc)

            Pay for Performance at College Level

            Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

            BCS Playoff System

            See Me


Discrimination Issues

            African Americans and the Court System

            Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement

            Muslim Fear/Hatred

            Hate Crimes

            Bi-racial Marriage

            See Me


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