This semester, you have read and analyzed several texts. You have explored the way writers have come to articulate their positions on topics such as free speech on college campuses and popular culture’s role in stereotyping. Over the next several weeks, you will be working on a research paper that explores an issue of current public interest. Think about issues that currently affect your life (your major, your job, etc.). You may consider exploring the themes presented in Everything’s an Argument or go beyond our course text. Whichever issue you select, it must also be one of personal interest to you—an issue that you truly care about. Your paper must argue a claim, demonstrating knowledge of developing a research question, performing academic research, responding to scholarship, incorporating source material (at least seven) through analysis and synthesis, as well as documenting sources. I want you to use this opportunity to investigate an issue that interests you, as long as it provides sufficient sources to support your research paper.
The goals of this assignment are to help you:
become more knowledgeable about finding and using at least seven (7) varied research sources.
further develop your critical thinking skills and back up your points with evidence.
become more adept at synthesizing information and developing informed views.
discipline yourself to follow a scholarly research format to document in-text sources and a Bibliography.
compose a well-organized, clear, and concise research paper to expand your knowledge.
Use of Sources
In this category, I’m interested in the integration of your sources into your paper. You should use the sources to your advantage. They are not there simply to fulfill a requirement. They serve the purpose of validating and lending credibility to your claims. It also means using the sources effectively. Stringing sources together, one right after another, is rarely effective. You need to make claims, give your own thoughts, and then back those up with the sources you have gathered. I will also be looking carefully at proper in-text citations per MLA (th Edition formatting and style guidelines.
This paper must have credible sources derived from: 1) books, 2) reference books (such as an encyclopedia), 3) periodicals and/or 4) peer-reviewed journals. At least two of your seven sources must be scholarly sources, which typically appear in a peer-reviewed text.
If you’re wondering about where to start your research, head to the Cypress College Library website to search their databases. I recommend starting with EBSCOHost,linked here (Links to an external site.).
Brainstorm by thinking about a specific issue of public interest that also directly affects you. Once you have chosen an issue to focus on, research the ways in which other writers have examined this issue.
Determine your argument—make a claim!
One of the most important parts of your paper is your close reading of your sources. Explain and analyze the sources you uncovered in your research. Use your sources to set the scene and to advance your argument, but don’t rely solely on their arguments. Rather than simply agreeing with what they have to say, be sure you add to the conversation with your own insights.
Organize your paper around your thesis, making points that deal thoroughly with your sources. Remember that connections are of the utmost importance for this paper, so pay close attention to your transitions.
Don’t introduce all your outside sources in your introduction. Introduce them in your body paragraphs as supporting points. When you introduce an outside source, use a “main idea” sentence that includes the author, title, and author’s thesis.
Research Paper Guidelines
Your paper must contain a comprehensive thesis statement that argues your position on your chosen issue of public interest. Your thesis should not state the obvious because that is not an argument.
Use proper MLA 9th Edition* formatting and style for:
parenthetical in-text citations
a Bibliography at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you actually cite in your final draft.
*See the MLA 9th Edition Handbook or the Purdue OWL’s website for the MLA Formatting and Style Guide: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ (Links to an external site.)
Use transitions between sentences and between paragraphs to show your organizational plan or the logical progression of ideas (i.e., guide your reader from one point to the next).
Use formal, academic tone and diction.
Your paper must be at least 2,000 words. This does NOT include your heading, title, and the Bibliography. If you do not meet the minimum word count, your essay will automatically receive a failing grade.
Proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.