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Cindy Wheeler ENGL 1102 Online Research Project: Assignment

Research Project

English 1102

Research Project


For this assignment, you will write a research paper on one of the topics listed below.  The research paper counts as 25% of your course grade and may be assessed as part of IC@GHC. The assignment requires you to read one of the following plays: Othello, Oedipus Rex, Fences, or Death of a Salesman. These plays can be found in your literature textbook.

The research paper should present a thesis developed from one of the assigned topics. The research, in the form of direct quotations and paraphrases, should support your points, not dominate the paper. See additional tips for writing essays at the end of this handout.

Sources: You will be required to cite a minimum of four critical articles on your selection.  These articles must come from literary journals and books either hardcover or electronic via GALILEO. Instruction in using GALILEO and other scholarly online sources will come at the research workshops. Make sure you read the actual article and not a synopsis or review of it.   In addition, do not use reviews of the plays. These may be interesting but are not relevant to our objective here.  Also, you will be expected to support your points with specific examples from the text of the play. 

Text: Your paper should be 5-7 pages, typed (10 or 12 point Times New Roman font with one inch margins) and double-spaced with a cover sheet and Works Cited page and in MLA format.  Papers shorter than four pages or longer than eight pages will not receive a passing grade.

Cover page:  consists of your name, due date, course name and paper title.

Works Cited: a separate page at the end of the paper. Your Works Cited page should consist of the play you read and the critical articles you discuss (at least 5 sources in all).  It will not count in the page total. All information should be in MLA format.

             Do not write a summary of the play. The paper must demonstrate and will be graded on thorough knowledge of the selection, proper structure (unity, development, coherence), use of research material, citation mechanics, spelling, grammar, punctuation, correct citations adherence to MLA format and original thinking. Evidence of plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment.  Students will submit both rough and final drafts to All information about MLA can be found in the Harbrace textbook. The project consists of several components due by the dates listed below.

All of the below components will be posted under the Assignments tab, with the exception of the rough draft and final draft, which are due to More details about that are below.

Tentative Topic Due                                                          October 23 (2 points)

Topic, Thesis Statement, Outline Due                          October 30 (4 points)

Tentative Works Cited (MLA format) Due                    November 2 (4 points)

Rough Draft of Research Paper Due                            November 20 (10 points)

Final Draft of Paper Due                                                   December 7 (80 points)

Electronic source material (secondary quotes) will be highlighted and submitted to the professor via GeorgiaView Vista. Copies of materials from books must be scanned, saved and submitted to professor via GeorgiaView. Instructional videos about how to do this will be posted.

Keep up with this schedule! Turning in the components a little at a time is effective, but only if you stay on track. Getting assignments to me on time is essential. I will need time to grade each one so you can get it back and begin work on the next portion.   

Topic choices:

  • ·         Linda Loman’s role in Willy’s downfall (Death of a Salesman)

  • ·         The role of individualism or the American dream or anti-capitalism in Death of a Salesman

  • ·         One of the themes of Othello: jealousy, good vs. evil, order vs.chaos, self-knowledge, pride, honesty

  • ·         Causes/reasons for Othello’s downfall

  • ·         How August Wilson uses the motif of baseball in Fences

  • ·         Fences as a comment on African-American life/culture/barriers

  • ·         The theme of guiltless guilt or sight/blindness in Oedipus Rex

  • ·         Iokaste’s role in Oedipus’s downfall                            



Remember, the research should only supplement your own points and analysis, not make up the majority of your paper. The primary source is the textbook. Secondary sources are the books and journal articles you find to support your points.

The paper itself should follow this pattern:

  • ·         Intro

  • ·         At least three points of analysis—Think a point per page. The page should consist of mostly your analysis of the point, supporting quote(s) from text, and supporting quote from outside source.

  • ·         Conclusion

If, after completing your first draft, you find the paper is short of the required minimum page total, add analysis, not quotes. Remember, the cover page and Works Cited page are not included in the page total.

Don’t write the paper first, adding quotes later. This makes the paper choppy.

Quotes of more than four lines are called block quotes. I have posted an example on Vista of how to handle them.

I have also posted a sample MLA citation sheet. Works Cited pages should be alphabetized, double spaced and the second line should be indented. (Use the hanging indent feature under Indentation from the Paragraph section.) Do not number or bullet the entries.

I have also posted a sample research paper so you can get an idea of length, format, etc. You can also use it as a guide to parenthetical citations, Works Cited and cover page.

We have an embedded librarian in the course. Her name is Jeannie Blakely, and she will be providing mini-lessons on how to do the research searches. She has also created an assignment guide that can be accessed here:

The link to the above is also posted under Weblinks on GeorgiaView. The assignment guide will be your one-stop shop for a smooth research project experience.

Ms. Blakely is your main source for questions about finding the required sources. You can e-mail her at or via e-mail on Georgia View. If you browse for recipients you will find her listed as Jean Blakely.

It’s important to stay on deadline with each of the components. Communication with me is key. If you encounter difficulties with any of the aspects of the project, let me know immediately.

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