Research Paper

1. The issue based research paper is more meaningful than a "term paper." It is likely to cross disciplines and will require interviews, as well as written material.

2. The first step involves researching. Research may take a variety of forms, both primary and secondary, traditional and non-traditional. Primary sources of information may include interviews and surveys, an expert's actual notes, an autobiography, letter, or online databases.

You may use more than one primary source, but one must be an interview. You must audiotape this interview. The standard size cassette tape must be submitted with your research paper.

Secondary sources are textbooks, reference books, periodical articles, literary criticism, and/or written material discussing any primary information.

3. Each research paper must cite a minimum of five different sources. The specific number of sources will be determined by the English course in which you are enrolled. Students should seek a variety and balance in their selections. Sources should include at least one primary source because primary sources add immediacy and relevance to the research.

4. Students must carefully document all research information cited in their papers. This should include parenthetical documentation within the paper and a list of works cited at the end of the paper. Likewise, the student should be thoroughly informed of research ethics and the serious consequences of plagiarism. Texts which detail the most recent forms of standard documentation include the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and James Lester's Handbook to Writing Research Papers.

More information about research paper requirements:

MLA links:

General Research Links:

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