General Requirements for Research Paper:
You will be writing a research paper with the following characteristics:
- 10-15 pages, not including title page and Works Cited page
- separate title page
thesis statement; well-organized body that defines important terms,
acknowledges competing points of view, and substantiates
thesis; conclusion that connects firmly to the intro, rephrases
important issues, and clinches the main argument
- both qualitative and quantitative components (e.g., tables, graphs, summary statistics)
- written in MLA format, with few or no serious errors in diction, grammar, punctuation, format, spelling, etc.
- substantiation of all information and arguments through MLA citation techniques
- MLA Works Cited page including at least five scholarly works (books or articles) and, in addition, no more than three
nonscholarly works (e.g., magazines articles, web sites). "No more
than" may also mean "zero." "At least five" means "five or more."
- The paper must connect with the theme of this course in one
way or another and should be related to one of the topical areas we
have been or will be studying. See Forming the Research Question and From Idea to Thesis (a pdf file) for more information.
will be producing this paper over the course of two terms. This term
we will focus on the preliminary steps.
Click here to see an schematic that displays the research process graphically.
You will engage in a peer-editing process for each phase; therefore,
what you turn in to Dr. Bianco should be virtually flawless :-)
Click on a link to be taken to
a corresponding web site. If a link is not hot or doesn't work, that
resource is not yet available.
- identifying an area of interest and formulating a research question
- writing a thesis (pdf file)
- choosing a methodology
- concept paper (a draft proposal)
- annotated bibliography (essentially an annotated list of the works you will read, not necessarily a list of works you have read)
draft proposal (this will include your thesis, statement of research
question, definition of terms, explanation of methodology, annotated
bibliography; this final product will be no more than 5 pages long and
will be the launching pad for your actual research and writing next
The following resources may be useful to you:
Hodges' Harbrace Handbook, 15th edition (in the following order)
Dr. Bianco's Writing Checklist
- Ch. 35: Reading and Thinking Critically
- Ch. 37: Finding Sources
- Ch. 38: Evaluating Sources
- Ch. 32: Planning and Drafting Essays
- Ch. 33: Writing Arguments
- Ch. 39: Using Sources Responsibly
- Ch. 40: Citing Sources and Submitting Final Papers
Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference
- Research Exercises
- Researching (general)
- MLA (all)