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Research Paper Guidelines Description of Assignment The purpose for the research paper is to increase your library research skills and refine how to use the information that you have found. It also provides you with a solid foundation to apply what you have learned about argument and its structure. The subjects for the paper are open for you. However, there are some limitations. You may not write about any of the following topics: capital punishment/death penalty abortion gun control gay marriage or gay adoption violence in the media (including music, television, movies, and video games) bilingual education euthanasia (including the right to die and physician-assisted suicide) legalization of marijuana the Iraqi war or any other war stem cells (cloning) animal experimentation school uniforms 9/11 Aliens God (or other topic based on religion, about religion, etc.) Da Vinci code transgender surgery immigration drinking ages texting cell phone use the impact of the media (on self-esteem or in any other way) beauty pageants the wall at the border obesity standardized testing technology (reliance on, taking over, etc) Russian investigation 2016 Election Any conspiracy theories Travel bans GMOs Vegan diet DREAMERS Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) What does this leave? Believe it or not—lots of really cool topics, but you’ll need to find a topic that is argumentative and researchable. Before you complete your first assignment (Topic, Outline, and Annotated Bibliography), you must get your topic pre-approved by sending an email with the subject and specific topic oyu want to research. For example, the email should be something like this: “I am interested in the subject of drugs. More specifically, I think I would like to argue that if the country values keeping the population healthy, then we need to create pharmacies more like those in Mexico where certain drugs (like antibiotics).” This email should provide a general direction you would like to take your research paper topic. This direction can and will likely change as you move through looking for sources, but the important aspect of this email is to gauge whether the topic is argumentative from the beginning. For example, if we take the same email and change it like this, problems might surface: “I am interested in the subject of drugs. More specifically, I think I would like to argue that drugs are bad.” The issue with the email above is that from the very beginning the topic is unfocused in terms of an argumentative stance. All drugs are bad, including over-thecounter drugs. In my personal interest, if I take aspirin or Aleve, I break out into an allergic reaction which can cause my face to swell up and my throat to close up (leading to breathing problems). The sooner that you determine a solid argumentative position, you will have more time to get going on the rest of the assignments. More importantly, the need to have your topic approved is intended to help you avoid working on a topic that isn’t on the right track. Therefore, you must have your topic approved prior to completing the Topic, Outline, and Annotated Bibliography. Research Paper Format and Specifics—Final Draft The research paper is to be a minimum of ten (10) pages long. Normally, argumentative papers are around 12-15 pages long, not including your works cited page (or references page) and appendix or graphs. The paper should be written in the following format: typed, double spaced, 12-point font, in either Times, New York, Courier or Palatino. The research paper should be written in 3rd person, standard language, not 1st person, informal language. Your final paper should include the paper itself and a page with your sources listed accordingly to MLA or APA documentation. The paper is to be written with full MLA or APA documentation (You can’t earn a passing grade if you do not fulfill this requirement). As far as sources, you need to have at least ten sources. Of those 10 sources, at least 1 should be a book, at least 2 should be periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers), 1 court case, and the rest can be from any place you want (so as the sources are reputable.). The best location for sources is the database articles within the STC Library page. Should you have difficulty in finding a book or a court case, contact me and I’ll see what I can find. The remaining six (6) sources should fit the qualifications discussed in the chapter regarding support. You may use interviews, email correspondence, Internet pages from legitimate sources, online news stories, government documents, and anything else that is helpful. Any Internet websites need to get prior approval from me in order to use them. Sources you may not use: Wikipedia General Dictionaries Encyclopedias Personal Websites If you need any help or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Often, students will decide to change topics in the last week before everything is due. You do not have that flexibility. In the event that you are having difficulties, you must contact me immediately. If you make any changes on your subject from the time you send in your proposal to the time you submit your rough draft, you must resubmit the same requirements for the topic, outline and working bibliography. If you do not, I will not grade your paper. Also, if your final paper does not match your rough draft, I will not grade it. Under no circumstances can you wait to begin this major assignment. Don’t fall behind and you won’t have a problem. In the past I made a face-to-face conference for online students required. However, I have learned that this conference is a bit difficult for students. Therefore, conference times will be made available and can be conducted online, in person or via chat. Process of Research Paper Completion You will have a series of assignments due throughout the unit. Here’s a list of those assignments: Topic, Outline, Working Bibliography You must get your topic approved before you proceed any further. You may do so by sending an email through Blackboard. For the paper, you are expected to take a position on your topic since the paper has an argumentative focus. You will be required to expound your own opinion (position or claim), and explain the reasons why you believe in your position (support). The research paper should be your own discussion and ideas and not a string of quotes with very little analysis or opinion from you. Keep this information in mind while you are coming up with a topic. If the topic is informative, then the topic will not get approved. Once you get your topic approved, then you can begin on the Topic, Outline, Working Bibliography assignment. Requirements for Topic, Outline, Working Bibliography: 1. As a document, identify your topic and claims (major and minor) in a couple of paragraphs. Provide an explanation as to why you would like to research the topic. What do you know or not know about the topic? Also, what issues, problems, and/or concerns do you have about the research paper, both specifically and generally? 2. Turn in a preliminary outline following the Classical Model, Toulmin or Rogerian Model of organization. Make sure that you fill in information that would lead one to understand where you are going with your topic. You can adapt and adjust a model to fit your topic or focus. 3. For your working bibliography, you need to turn in a least 5 entries with a brief discussion of the main ideas covered and how you think the source will be helpful within your paper. This is called an annotated bibliography. You’ll find links for creating an outline and annotated bibliography within the unit. An example will be provided at the assignments link where you will be turning in this assignment and is also listed within the research paper unit. Reading, MLA and APA Quizzes and Discussion Posting To ensure that you understand the unit and that you know how to document, paraphrase, summarize, and quote properly, you will have a number of quizzes assisting you in learning how to do so. The logic behind these assignments is to provide you with an opportunity to
understand how to avoid plagiarism and how to properly complete the research paper before having to complete a rough draft. Rough Draft A rough draft will be turned in for general feedback for me. An electronic sign-up sheet will be created with times including evenings and weekends for conferences. Regardless whether the conference is online, over the phone, or face-to-face, you’ll be able to have 1 hour dedicated to you for some help. The rough draft must include a “References” or “Works Cited page,” depending if you are using APA or MLA documentation. In addition, the rough draft needs to be at least 5 pages and include in-text citations. The more of a draft that you have, the better it is since you will be able to make changes after the conference and complete the paper easily. Make sure to schedule the conference in a logical place in the writing process. For example, if you are unsure about your progress, don’t wait for a conference towards the end of the conference times and then find out that what you’ve written is all wrong. Finally, make sure that you remember…if I don’t see a rough draft, I will NOT grade your final draft, thus causing you to fail the class. If you run into ANY problems, see me before this assignment is due. I would hate for you to mess the entire semester up because of not turning in the rough draft. Research Paper—Final Draft Your final draft will be due by the deadline posted within the assignments link. You will be turning in your resources electronically, so that if I have a question about something you read, I’ll have access to the readings. Most of your sources are likely to be (and ideally, should be) from the databases you can access from STC or other types of electronic documents like legitimate websites that have reports and other important documents. Therefore, you’ll simply upload PDF documents, provide website addresses, and other info. For those resources that are not electronic, you can upload a photograph or scan of the page that you used. In effect, if you used a certain page from a book, you’ll take a picture/scan of the title page and a picture of the page you used. That way, everything can still be turned in.