Research Proposal Memo – This will be uploaded to Blackboard by 11:59 pm on October 9, 2019. In memo format, you will propose the research paper that you will be constructing during this semester. The memo will have seven essential parts:
a) Your major and why writing about your chosen topic will be beneficial to you.
Your incentive to write a literary research paper will likely be weak if you are not vested in the topic and especially if you are not an English major. The literary study you pursue in this paper should be beneficial to your professional goals in your major and/or your personal growth and development.
b) Your thesis:
In a sentence or two, state your thesis statement. It is NOT a question but typically the answer to a question or inquiry. Remember, an effective thesis statement consists of a thesis with subtheses (which will become the body of your paper).
c) Your approach to the subject of your paper:
Just as in scientific investigation, literary research is logical and rational. Envision how you will present your material. What will be the order in which you present your material to present your thesis in a strong light? Do you need to define or clarify any jargon or special vocabulary terms in order to present your research to your readers? If so, which ones? If you are connecting literature to social or historical issues, will you need anecdotal evidence to help your reader understand your paper? Are opposing views, or even a pros and cons or compare/compare approach, important to your analysis? Will you need to organize your paper into separate categories to present your developing thesis effectively? Ultimately, reflect on HOW you think you will need to write this paper.
d) The intended audience of the paper:
In the professional world, writers want more than merely collegiate specialists in their industry or field reading their work. In general, assume that your readers have your level of education but are not necessarily in your major of study with similar professional experience and knowledge. You may need to define special terms and explain concepts. Beyond that, explain and discuss the group of people who might benefit from reading your paper. Sure, you’re analyzing literature, but who should read YOUR analysis and why will YOUR analysis benefit their lives?
e) Your concerns regarding MLA documentation:
Take the opportunity here to share any questions or concerns regarding MLA documentation and/or how I can support you in making sure your paper meets the professional standards of formal literary research.
f) The kinds of sources you will use and why they will benefit your paper:
In any debate, your opinion is only strengthened when you have an army of likeminded individuals who support you and you are able to effectively address any opposing arguments. When interpreting literature, having supporting documentation and addressing viewpoints differing from yours further strengthens your thesis. In your opinion, do you believe you have a balanced variety of sources? What strengths will your sources lend to your paper? How will they clarify the points you want to make? For right now, look at your sources briefly and in general terms. You will be looking at them more deeply when you do your annotated bibliography.
g) Your tentative list of 15 references:
Provide a list of references at the end of your proposal in proper MLA format, on a separate page called References. Make sure your sources are valid and varied critical sources. Consult OWL Purdue for a complete list of valid sources beyond our class discussion. Of the 15 sources, at least four MUST be physical books, six MUST be other print sources (i.e. more books, academic magazines, journals, newspapers, or online resources with print equivalents, like the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Harvard Review, or an online digital file that is meant for print existence, like a PDF, and the last five MUST be non-print sources, such as documentary films, educational or journalistic television, purely online sources without print equivalent like CNN.com, FoxNews.com, MSNBC.com, certain online blogs, educational and university websites, online newspapers, magazines and journals, etc. Remember, that the sources must be valid, critical sources that lend to supporting the thesis of your paper. Your final required Works Cited page in your research paper will be 7 to 10 sources, each of which must be directly referenced in your paper. Your final Works Cited page may be shorter or even longer than the 15 sources you provide here or that whole sections of sources may change as you become more deeply involved in your research and your thesis may take another direction. While this is the end of your proposal, make sure you are in communication with me should such changes arise.
Annotated Bibliography – This will be uploaded to Blackboard by 11:59 pm on October 23, 2019.
Annotations are notes, and a bibliography is a list of critical resources. An annotated bibliography therefore is a list of critical sources accompanied by annotations (notes) summarizing each source, explaining how the source will directly support your thesis, and then provide a handful of direct quotes and paraphrases with page numbers with brief notes to their meaning in terms of your thesis. The top of your annotated bibliography should also have the thesis statement you provided in your proposal.
Research Paper First Draft – This will be uploaded to Blackboard by 11:59 pm on November 6, 2019.
Your first draft should be a complete first draft, including your entire introduction, body, and conclusion, with your Works Cited page, in MLA format. Your paper should be at least 5 to 7 pages, typed and double spaced, with at least 7 to 10 works cited. Your works cited page does NOT count toward the 5 to 7 pages.
Blind Peer Review – You will be expected to blindly read (yes, that is possible!) a classmate’s first draft to their paper. Your assigned classmate will have your first draft to read. For the purposes of this exercise, it is important that you don’t know who you are peer reviewing until the Writing Workshop the following week. You will review and annotate your assigned first draft with critical feedback that will help them in finalizing their research paper.
The benefits for you in this process is two-fold.
1) Although you are helping someone else with their paper, they are also helping you with yours, and
2) You will be demonstrating to me that you have learned the concepts we have been discussing all semester by putting them into practice.
I will provide each of you with copies of the papers by November 11.
Your expectations are to provide: at least 3 positive strengths you see demonstrated in the paper, at least 3 positive criticisms that will help your peer improve their writing and/or thesis, and a two to three sentence note at the end of the paper noting something you learned from the paper, what worked overall, and any concerns you notice of incompleteness in argument—maybe a notation on where they can strengthen their argument in addressing an opposing view, for instance. You may have to read the paper through at least twice in order to do this effectively.
Notice that you are not negatively harping on erroneous errors in grammar or sharing your personal opinion of the topic or whether or not you personally agree with their thesis or whether or not you think the writer or their topic is stupid. Your job is not to make their paper your paper; your job is to deepen your writing skills by helping a peer strengthen their writing. You will come in to class on November 18 with your annotated, peer reviewed paper.
If you know in advance that you will be absent on November 18, please make arrangements with me before the November 18 class so that your partner can get your notes on his/her paper. By the end of the November 18 class, you will have my notes on your first draft copy and notes from a peer. Note: Part of Writing Reflection 7 due November 20 will include a reflection of the Blind Peer Review process.
Research Paper Final Draft – A stapled, hard copy of your final draft to your research paper will be due on the last day of classes, December 11, 2019.