UNST 121-123: Forbidden Knowledge

The Research Paper

Get a printable version here.

© 2006-2008 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D.

General Requirements for Research Paper:

You will be writing a research paper with the following characteristics:
  1. 10-15 pages, not including title page and Works Cited page
  2. separate title page
  3. includes 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
  4. both qualitative and quantitative components (e.g., tables, graphs, summary statistics)
  5. written in MLA format, with few or no serious errors in diction, grammar, punctuation, format, spelling, etc.
  6. substantiation of all information and arguments through MLA citation techniques
  7. 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."
  8. 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.

You 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.
  1. identifying an area of interest and formulating a research question
  2. writing a thesis (pdf file)
  3. choosing a methodology
  4. concept paper (a draft proposal)
  5. annotated bibliography (essentially an annotated list of the works you will read, not necessarily a list of works you have read)
  6. final 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 term)

The following resources may be useful to you:

Hodges' Harbrace Handbook, 15th edition (in the following order)
  • 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
Dr. Bianco's Writing Checklist

Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference
  • Research Exercises
    •     Researching (general)
    •     MLA (all)

Questions?  Contact Dr. Bianco, anytime!