English 101 Research Essay Assignment
Your last written assignment for this class is a five-page (or longer) Research Essay. The final draft of your essay is due on December 7, 2012. A research essay is usually a Persuasive, Analytical, or Expository essay — with the difference being the use of documented source material to support your idea.
A research essay is also an essay that presents and develops a thesis supporting multiple sources of opinion. You stake out a subject narrow enough to be researched and you steep yourself in it. Then you formulate a thesis — your own attitude or opinion on the subject — and present it in a persuasive or expository form, along with facts, opinions, and information that prove it true.
THE PARTS OF A RESEARCH ESSAY
There are two parts to a Research Essay:
1. The Text (five or more pages)
2. The Works Cited Page (1 or more pages)
RESEARCH ESSAY FORMAT
Much of the writing in your research essay comes from the work of other writers, and you must give proper credit by citing (mentioning) these sources in your paper. The art of citing is called documentation, which is required for any information falling into the following three categories:
1. Any judgment, opinion, speculation or theory that is not original (unless it is universally known and accepted).
2. Any fact or statistic open to dispute.
3. Any information provided by a specific observer, even by an expert in his or her field (for example, opinions of psychologists on child abuse).
You will use quotations to include information from your sources in your essay. For example, if you were quoting a Newsweek magazine article on the Virgin Mary by Kenneth L. Woodward, you could write:
Kenneth L. Woodward, in his article on the Virgin Mary, writes that “the 20th century has belonged to Mary” (49).
According to Kenneth L. Woodward, the 20th century has “belonged to Mary” (49).
Kenneth L. Woodward writes: “The 20th century has belonged to Mary” (49).
You will use the MLA (Modern Languages Association) style for parenthetical documentation to list your sources on your Works Cited page, which is the last page of your essay. You must use at least four sources (at least one book; one periodical (magazine, journal or newspaper) article; one Web site; and one “multimedia” source: a film, video, DVD, or screenplay), and list them on your Works Cited page. They should be listed in alphabetical order, by the author’s last name. Your source listings for books should look like this: Author’s last name, author’s first name, title of book, city where publisher is located, name of publisher, year of publication.
For example, if we were listing Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, The Bean Trees:
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees. New York: HarperCollins, 1988. Print.
(The publisher, publisher’s city, and year of publication can usually be found at the beginning of a book, before the title page.)
Your source listings for articles should look like this: Author’s last name, author’s first name, title of article, name of magazine or newspaper, date of article, article’s page numbers.
For example, if we were listing Kenneth L. Woodward’s Newsweek article, “Hail, Mary”:
Woodward, Kenneth L. “Hail, Mary.” Newsweek. August 25, 1997: 49-55. Print.
Writing Research Essays is not as complicated as it sounds. Keep this sheet handy, think carefully about the subject you write about, and see me if you have any questions. Here is a list of possible Research Essay topics for you to choose from. You may also write about a topic you already wrote about in this class.
Terrorism: How do we fight it?
The Attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon: Could it have been prevented? How?
Privacy: How much are citizens entitled to?
Violence on Television
Capital Punishment / The Death Penalty
New Technology: Beneficial or dangerous?
Racism: How do we fight it?
Animal Rights / Animal Liberation
Politics: Republicans versus Democrats / Is Machiavelli Valid Today?
Religion and/or Morality
Separation of Church and State
Guns and Other Weapons in Schools
Civil Rights: How far have we come in America?
Women’s Liberation / Overcoming the “Glass Ceiling?”
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Conspiracy or Lone Gunman?
English 101 Oral Presentation
You can earn 5% extra credit on your Research Essay assignment by delivering an oral presentation to the class on your chosen essay topic.
If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to follow these three steps:
1. Return this form to me with your name and the date you want to deliver your presentation (or give me the information on a separate sheet of paper).
2. Deliver a five-minute or longer oral presentation to the class on your chosen topic. I suggest you allow an additional five minutes or more for the class to ask questions. You may use outlines and props. If you want to share a Power Point presentation, I will provide a computer and projector.
3. Attach an outline of your presentation to the final draft of your Research Essay.
Student’s Name: ____________________________________________________________________________
Please Choose the Date of Your Presentation:
November 30 _____
December 1 _____
Here is a list of possible Oral Presentation topics:
A. Terrorism: How do we fight it?
B. The Attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon: Could it have been prevented? How?
C. Privacy: How much are citizens entitled to?
E. Violence on Television
F. Capital Punishment / The Death Penalty
G. New Technology: Beneficial or dangerous?
H. Racism: How do we fight it?
I. Affirmative Action
J. Animal Rights / Animal Liberation
K. Politics: Republicans versus Democrats / Is Machiavelli Valid Today?
L. Religion and/or Morality
M. Separation of Church and State
N. Guns and Other Weapons in Schools
O. Civil Rights: How far have we come in America?
P. Women’s Liberation / Overcoming the “Glass Ceiling”
Q. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Conspiracy or Lone Gunman?
Grading Criteria Rubric
Please ensure that your essay meets the following criteria, and check off the appropriate boxes below. Failure to meet any of these criteria will generally result in a lowered grade for this assignment (-5% for each unmet criterion).
q THESIS. Do you have a workable thesis that is not too long or short? Is the thesis located at the end of the first or second paragraph?
q GRAMMAR (SENTENCES). Are your sentences clear and devoid of run-ons and fragments? Do your sentences include subjects and verbs that agree both in number and in tense?
q GRAMMAR (PARAGRAPHS). Does each paragraph include a MAIN POINT that is supported by the text in that paragraph? Does each MAIN POINT support your essay’s thesis?
q GRAMMAR (PUNCTUATION). Is your essay free from spelling and punctuation errors?
q DRAFTS. Have you taken advantage of the rewriting process by completing at least one previous draft of this essay? Are these drafts attached to the back of this final draft?
q INTRODUCTION AND CONCLUSION. Does your introduction include the essay’s THESIS as well as at least one effective HOOK to grab the reader’s interest? Does your conclusion include a restatement of your thesis and a satisfying wrap-up to your essay?
q FORMATTING. Is your essay printed on white paper with black ink? Are you using the twelve-point TIMES NEW ROMAN, COURIER or COURIER NEW font with left justification? Are there 1” margins along each of the four edges on every page? Is this essay double-spaced?
q TOPIC. Is your TOPIC appropriate to the assignment? Does your subject allow for a workable thesis? Do you avoid switching subjects so as not to confuse your reader?
q WORD CHOICE. Do you use the words most appropriate to the type of essay you are writing? Have you consulted your THESAURUS to ensure that you are using the most effective words possible?
q LENGTH. Is the LENGTH of your essay appropriate to the assignment, in terms of page count and number of words?