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ENG 122: Academic Writing: Russo: Research Paper

General education course. Gianna Russo

Research Paper

ENG 122

SPRING 2016                                                Research Paper                                                                     Russo

                        15% OF TOTAL GRADE, 150 POINTS


  •  Typed research proposal                                             (5%)          DUE Fri. Mar. 25 ON TURNITIN
  • Library reference training Mon. Mar. 28

On this date we will meet in the library basement classroom to begin research.

  • Research notes, Annotated Works Cited                (10%)                          DUE during individual
  •                                                                                                                         Conference, Thurs. Apr. 7- Fri. Apr. 8
  • Professor conference                                                 (5%)                            Thurs. Apr. 7--Fri. Apr. 8
  • Peer Review of rough draft (in class)(10%) DUE Mon. Apr. 11

  • FINAL DRAFT,                                                          (120%)               DUE NO LATER THAN Fri. Apr. 15

NOTE:  Your class presentations will be based on this work and graded separately.

            Student Creative Presentations                                100%                          DUE: W-M, Apr. 13-18

Summary of Assignment

Word Count: 900-1200 words

Topic:  This research assignment is uniquely created to allow you to discover information about key issues that will be debated and decided in the presidential campaign.  As we move through the project, and as the national campaign progresses, we may make minor revisions to take advantage of new developments.  The general parameters for the project are:


You will choose to research a current issue in which you are deeply interested and one that is relevant to the presidential campaign.  Choose something that resonates with your personally.  We will be reviewing the key national issues in class but the pro/con website listed below is a good resource for getting started.

Research Proposal:  The research proposal is one well-developed paragraph saying what issue you will pursue and laying out your research plans. 

Professor Conference:  This is your time to share with me your progress and concerns.

Research notes and/or outline: Includes all prewriting and research notes.

Annotated Works Cited:  This is the final complete list of your sources in MLA format, along with a 2-3 line summary of each article or source written right below each citation (see p. 81 in our textbook).  You will be unable to put this together until you have ALL your sources selected.  Do not include the annotated Works Cited with your final draft—include a regular Works Cited. Bring your Annotated Works Cited to your private conference with me.

Rough Draft:  A complete, revised rough draft is due in class for a peer review.

Final Draft: Your final draft should be presented in MLA format and use the attached page formatting.  The final draft is DUE at class time on Turnitin.


The Research and the Essay

This will be an expository and argumentative essay that will involve research to explore both sides of a current issue in which you are very interested and one that is relevant to the presidential campaign.  You will research your issue to try to understand what it generally entails.  You will understand the pros and cons of the issue and discover what scholar-experts have to say about it. You will also find out where the Democratic and Republican parties, along with key candidates, stand on this issue. Finally, you will decide where you stand on the issue and make a clear compelling claim. You will use 3-5 sources to relate your ideas to what others have to say on this topic and to support your claim. You will strive to show your readers that you are aware of much of the necessary information about this issue. In building your argument, you should provide plenty of evidence in the form of examples from your sources: think ethos (showing you are an authority) and logos (having plentiful evidence for support). Use pathos to connect with your readers. 


            Start by exploring the Pro/Con list (see website below) to locate a key issue that compels you.  Then you should search The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for at least one article. Next, you will research what experts in the field say about this issue and focus on at least one scholarly article. You should also research where both parties stand on the issue in order to inform, enlarge, and expand and your own claim.

            For example, you might explore the controversy of surrounding immigration.  Should immigrants be allowed a path to citizenship?  Should we build a wall along our borders?  Should undocumented children or parents be deported back to their countries, leaving families behind?  Next, you might find an article about immigrants coming in from , let’s say, Honduras (primary source from NY Times).  Finally, you would include an article on immigration from an online scholarly journal which you have located in the library database (primary source)...


The most important guiding force for the essay is that the issue is something you care deeply about and can write persuasively and knowledgably about. 


Your audience is an academic one, but do not assume your audience is familiar with this issue or with your sources.  Give background and summarize the issue at the beginning of your discussion. Use the sources as a way to give context and support for your ideas.  Discuss both sides of the issue, letting your readers know that you are aware of opposing points of view.  This essay will be both a summary of what others have to say and your own claim about the issue.


You must use at least 3 and no more than 5 sources

The research paper must include:

  1. At least one article from The New York Times                


    Wall Street Journal                              

  2. At least one scholarly article from a peer-review journal from the database (blogs and individual websites are not permissible). 

  3. At least one additional newspaper or scholarly article

And/or candidates’ speeches

And/or works of literature


START EARLY!  It will take some effort on your part to find acceptable sources.  All sources must be cited using correct MLA format.  For the one required newspaper article go directly to the newspaperswebsites to search. Other suggested library databases: EBSCO, Proquest, Literature Resource Center (also Academic Search Premier and/or the MLA International Bibliography.



Pro/Con list


Democratic National Committee        


Republican National Committee        


The debates, (transcribed)...


This is a great free resource for transcripts in 2012.‚Äč

And don’t forget the candidates’ own websites.

FOR POEMS: Any major literature anthologies; www.  OR  www. poetry  

FOR STORIES AND ESSAYS:  Any major literature anthologies

The New Yorker, The Atlantic and other magazine that publish literature and essays


Use your resources: Please ask or help if you have questions.  Come by the office during office hours.  For our conference, bring questions AND YOUR DRAFTS.  Use the LRC.  Ask a librarian.  We ALL want you to be successful.  Good Luck!