English 1A Research Paper DUE: DECEMBER 11th BY 11:59 PM The goal of this assignment is to help you: become more knowledgeable about finding and using research sources in your paper. 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 works cited page (bibliography). compose a well-organized, clear, concise, research paper to expand your knowledge on a subject. Your research paper project begins with a fact-finding search on some current issue in order to advance your knowledge. After you brainstorm about possible subjects and then select one, narrow your topic down to a manageable issue. Investigate possible approaches to your chosen topic and map out your strategy. Your final product will be judged on how well you succeed in producing a well thought out, clear paper, which shows you can interpret and intelligently discuss the issue, and how well you can back-up your findings with evidence. The theme of this paper should involve some sort of social issue like those we’ve discussed in class. Topics that range from conversations about race, gender, social injustice, etc. are the umbrellas under which your topic should land. Again, your topic needs to be SPECIFIC towards a particular subject; it cannot simply be about “race” or “gender” in society. Furthermore, if you have a topic on which you would like to write a research paper that doesn’t fit the mold of a social issue, please make sure to be clear on what it is and why you would feel you would benefit from writing about said topic. Your paper does not have a chance to be substantive unless you have substantive sources. Find at least 8 VARIED sources – you are limited to ONLY 4 online sources – including professional journal articles and professional publications, Internet sources, and possibly (but not required) an interview. It is a balancing act to find sources that you can understand and, at the same time, challenge you intellectually. In this paper I do not want you to try and solve a problem. What I am looking for is evidence that you can gather a body of knowledge on a particular subject, narrow it down to a particular focus and show that you can synthesize the information and make some intelligent, insightful observations and analysis about the subject. What I don’t want is just a regurgitation of information strung together. A significant part of the paper should be your interpretation and critical analysis of the information and how your knowledge about the subject has been enriched. Introduction: Your introductory material should set up your topic for your audience. Briefly summarize your findings on the subject – If the sources disagree about the value of or perspective on the subject, point out the areas of disagreement. Your introduction should not meander around the point of your paper. Your thesis should come at the end of your introductory material. State your thesis in the form of a sentence or two. It can be in the form of a question or a statement. Your thesis should be a brief statement, in your own words, that points out the major issues about this topic that you discovered in your research. If you can’t articulate in a sentence or two what your main point is then you probably don’t have a good idea of what you will be writing about. Body of Paper: The body of your paper should provide evidence to support your thesis, in a logical, fully developed manner. For each new topic, which supports your overall thesis, provide a topic sentence or two, which is, in effect, the thesis for that sub-topic. Your supporting sub-topics should address these issues: How will this knowledge advance science or technology or society – not in broad, abstract ways, but in concrete ways? What is the major impact of these findings? How will they affect people? What are the benefits to people? Are there any disadvantages? Etc. A writer of a research paper should synthesize the information gained from sources and weave them into a well-ordered discourse, using the sources as evidence to support key points. A paper that is just a string of quotes shows that the author made no attempt to come to grips with the subject and is relying on the sources to speak for her or him. Conclusion: Your conclusion should make some “wrap up” statements about what you learned about your chosen topic and the possible impact of your findings on people and perhaps society in general. Also, address any issues that may still not be resolved for you. Don’t be reluctant to address any issues that aren’t easily resolved or have negative or ambiguous outcomes. I am looking for a conscientious, thoughtful look at the topic of your choosing; share the major significance of this issue, and any unanswered questions with which you are still pondering. Format: MLA (Works Cited, in-text citations, margins, spacing, etc.) Length: 2000-2500 words (8 to 10 double spaced pages of text). Ten “rambling” pages are not better than 8 clear, fully developed pages. Use a minimum of 8 CURRENT sources – for example, essays, journals, Internet resources, and professional interviews. Encyclopedias and Books (often outdated by the time they get published) are generally poor sources for scientific subjects except for background info. Check the source of all information for reliability. Is the Internet site sanctioned by a reputable institution or organization? Does the person interviewed have credentials and experience with your subject? Does he/she have a built-in bias you need to address in your paper? What biases of your own may you have to be aware of to produce a scholarly research of this subject? All sources in your research paper must also be listed in the proper format on the References page. Use quotes judiciously. Use them only when paraphrasing will make the statement unclear or a kernel of an idea is so perfectly stated that trying to paraphrase in your own words will ruin the impact of the statement. I also don’t want to see an overabundance of block quotes. Works Cited Page: You MUST have a works cited page (not included in the word count or 8-10 page requirement). Put EVERY source you use in this paper, whether quoted from or paraphrased from, or not. I will be checking these sources for validity so make sure they’re real. Lastly, the final thing to remember is: relax… this isn’t as hard as it seems.