Skip to main content

English 1102 Online Class - 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 and will be assessed as part of IC@GHC. The assignment requires you to read one of the following plays: Othello, The Importance of Being Earnest, 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. Instruction in using Galileo and other scholarly online sources will come at the research workshops (dates posted on Vista). 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 chapter 40 of Harbrace. The project consists of several components due by the dates listed below.

All of the below components are due via e-mail attachments, with the exception of the final draft which is due in person in a folder. More details about that are below.

Tentative Topic Due                                                          October 5 (2 points)

Topic, Thesis Statement, Outline Due                          October 8(4 points)

Tentative Works Cited (MLA format) Due                    October 13 (4 points)

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

Final Draft of Paper Due***                                              December 1 or 4 (80 points)

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

***Final Drafts are due on the day of the final you choose to attend.

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. 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/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

·         The Importance of Being Earnest as a satire

·         The epigrams in The Importance of Being Earnest

·         How August Wilson uses the motif of baseball in Fences

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

Additionally, components of your research paper will 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.

 Other Research Paper Tips

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.

Floyd Library - 706.295.6318 | Heritage Hall - 706.295.6321 | Cartersville Library - 678.872.8400 | Marietta - 678.915.5010 | Paulding Library - 678.946.1007 | Douglasville Library - 678.872.4237
©2015 Georgia Highlands College |