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ENGL 1102 - Minor (Floyd) - Spring 2021: Assignment

Research Paper Topics & Guidelines

A “classic” is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a work of enduring excellence.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines “classic” as “judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.


His manual of biology has become a classic among scientists.

Hamlet is a classic play.

It’s a Wonderful Life  is a classic movie.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller is a classic album.


For this assignment, you need to select a work of art that you consider to be a classic. This could be a short story, a novel, a play, a poem, a movie, a comic strip, a comic book series, a song, an album, a painting, a sculpture, or a television series. You then need to make a case for why this particular work is a classic. You should have at least three main arguments or reasons for its classic status. Your thesis will list these arguments.


Your argument should be supported by at least five credible secondary sources. (The work that you are focusing on is your primary source.) These should be either major periodicals (such as The New Yorker or The New York Times) or scholarly sources (e.g., an academic journal or a book).


Your Works Cited page should have a minimum of six sources—the primary source and at least five secondary sources. In addition to correctly listing the sources, you should use information from the source to strengthen your argument. Your paper should have references to all of your secondary sources.


 For this paper you should do the following:

1. Supply background information on the topic. Most of this should come from outside sources.
2. State a clear thesis. This should be as specific as possibleYour topic should be fully covered in your paper.
3. Offer an in-depth discussion of your thesis, based on your research into your topic. You should summarize previous research and present a new idea. Try to find a balance between previous writing on the topic (the research) and your own analysis. Remember that plot summary is not the same as analysis. Papers must be written using MLA-style.

You will turn in the following: a thesis sentence, a one-page summary or outline, a bibliography, and a final paper, with Works Cited page.

Your paper must demonstrate the following: 1.) thorough knowledge of the topic, 2.) original thinking, 3.) proper grammar, 4.) good organization and development, 5.) proper documentation (see the section on MLA documentation on the OWL website (linked to the GHC Library website), and 6.) thoughtful selection and use of research materials. Here are your guidelines:
• See the OWL website for information on using MLA citation format.
• Number all pages (including the first one) with an Arabic numeral in the upper-right corner, one-half inch from the top. Put your last name before the page number.
• On the left side of the first page, one inch from the top, type a heading that includes your name, the name of your professor, the course number, and the date of submission.
• Double-space between the heading and the title of your paper, which should be centered on the page. If your title consists of two or more lines, double-space them and center each.
• Double-space between your title and the first line of the text.
• Indent the first paragraph, and every subsequent paragraph, one-half inch.
• Text of paper should be typed, double-spaced, numbered. Your paper must be at least five full-length pages (approximately 1400 words minimum).
• Works Cited (and optional Works Consulted) page on a separate typed page—five or more valid secondary sources are required. You may use books, magazine articles, newspaper articles. A paper with fewer than five secondary sources will not be accepted. Citation and bibliography form must follow MLA guidelines.
• Citations--These should be included within the text when appropriate.
•The "classic" work that you are writing about is the primary source. Everything else that you use (articles, books, essays) is considered a secondary material. You must have at least five different secondary sources in your paper, and these should come from a variety of formats. (At least two of these should be found through Galileo.) The secondary sources can be quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, but they must be cited using MLA format. *Sparknotes, Cliff Notes, Wikipedia, and similar sites do not count as sources!
• See the library's website for information on citing sources from Galileo. This is fairly simple. Some of the online databases tell how to cite their materials. Other resources: Harbrace, the Purdue Online Writing Lab website, the MLA website, the Tutorial Center, the GHC Library staff, your instructor.
• I will be glad to read rough drafts (including incomplete ones), but give them to me early.

• Evidence of plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment—no revision or excuses allowed.
• The final draft must be submitted to It will be graded on Turnitin.
• Remember to SAVE all of your work in at least two locations (Z-drive, personal computer, CD, DVD, zip drive).


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