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English 1102 Research Project (MW) - Cindy Wheeler: 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. The assignment requires you to read one of the following plays: Othello, The Glass Menagerie, 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.

Sources: You will be required to cite a minimum of four critical articles, secondary sources, on your play.  These articles must come from literary journals and books. No more than two GALILEO sources may be used. Instruction in using Galileo will come later in the semester. Only online sources found through GALILEO will be accepted. 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, which is the primary source.

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. This will be discussed later in the semester.

             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 We will cover citations and bibliographic information in Harbrace.  The project consists of several components due by the dates listed below.

Tentative Topic Due                                              February 22 (2 points)

Library/Research Workshop/Training              February 29

Topic, Thesis Statement, Outline Due              February 29 (4 points)

MLA/Works Cited discussion                             March 19 (bring Harbrace to class)

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

Rough Draft of Research Paper Due**             April 9 (10 points)

Final Draft of Paper Due                                       April 23 (80 points)

**Students will be required to attend a conference with the instructor to discuss rough draft. Conference dates will be announced later.

In a folder along with the final draft, you should include all of the components above plus photocopies of all cited source material with quoted or paraphrased material highlighted. The author’s name and the page numbers should be visible. The copies should be sorted in the order in which they are cited in the paper.        

Keep up with this schedule! Turning in the components a little at a time is effective, but only if you stay on track.          

Topic choices:

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

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

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

·         Compare/contrast Othello and Oedipus as tragic heroes

·         Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie as it relates to ONE character

·         The theme of fantasy/escape in The Glass Menagerie

·         Conflict in The Glass Menagerie

·         How August Wilson uses the motif of baseball in Fences

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

Information Competence

Additionally, components of your research paper may be assessed as part of the Information Competency plan at GHC. Assignments are assessed as to how well they adhere to several student learning outcomes. The IC@GHC Student Learning Outcomes are:


  • The student will determine the nature and extent of information needed.
  • The student will access the needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • The student will evaluate information and its sources critically.
  • The student will demonstrate his/her information competency through writing or other modes of communication.

The research paper will be assessed on two objectives. These are:

Objective 1: Students will use appropriate and valid sources effectively in the paper to support the thesis. (IC objective #3)


Objective 2: Students will  provide written documentation of sources on a Works Cited page in MLA format. (IC objective #4)

I will post the grading rubric on Vista, so you can see how the paper will be scored. Note: the scores for IC are separate from the points given to the paper as a whole. However, the fact that it is being assessed twice should show you the importance of the assignment and of completing it correctly.


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