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ENG 330: Aiken, Spring 2016: Presentation and Research Paper Guidelines

Research Paper Guidelines

Research Paper Assignment Guidelines

Option 1:

Select at least one and up to three works from our reading list, develop an argumentative thesis based upon those works, and support that thesis with carefully developed supporting points. 

Option 2:

Select a term that describes a cultural phenomenon from the 19th or 20th century, and create an argument that articulates the relationship between that juggernaut and literature of the time. Examples: manifest destiny, westward expansion, the Gilded Age. 

  • Scope: 10-12 full pages of text (not counting optional cover page or Works Cited page)
  • Everything-- format and citations-- must be in MLA format
  • Sources: Option 1: No less than one primary source from our reading list, up to three (up to two of those may be from elsewhere than our reading list). No less than five scholarly, critical secondary sources-- and of those, no more than two purely web-based sources. Option 2: No less than one rediscovered text with at least five scholarly, critical secondary sources--and of those, no more than two purely web-based sources-- as support.
  • Annotated Bibliography of all sources due on Monday, November 17th (hard copy in class; also submit to
  • Final research paper due (hard copy and at our final exam period: Wednesday, December 10th
  • No paper should have an originality score higher than 25%. I've opened a draft folder on so you can submit your work to gauge your originality. See me if there are issues. 

Finally, remember that your topic must be argumentative. You are contributing to the academic dialogue concerning at least one work and, while this can be done in a number of ways, it must be professional and scholarly-- hence argumentative. 


English 330: Foundations of American Literature II

Research Presentation Guidelines

As you all know, this course is one of three that you’ll be able to select for your Junior Oral Exams, which will take place this spring. In order to help you organize your studying, we’ll be doing a series of research presentations this semester; in addition to your chosen presentation topic, you’ll provide your classmates with a detailed handout on the same information. Each presentation should include the following:

  • ·         Overview of chosen topic and its relationship to appropriate work(s) on the syllabus;
  •           Close reading of this work on syllabus, complemented with at least one critical interpretation that helps contextualize that work;
  • ·         Discussion of how this author fits in with his or her time period, as well as what is unique about this author;
  • ·         Question/ answer period for classmates to discuss problematic areas within this author’s writing.

You are to create a handout that includes salient points from your presentation as well as a bibliography with brief annotations. This bibliography should include 5-7 academically credible sources. Be sure to make enough copies of your handout to distribute to everyone in the class. I recommend that you buy a separate folder or notebook to store these handouts; as a collection, they’ll provide a handy starting point for research papers as well as your JOE studies.

You will be graded on the inclusion and depth that you bring to each of the above four requirements. I recommend that you approach the fourth requirement as if you’re leading discussion and prepare a series of discussion questions in case your classmates don’t initiate discussion. Each presentation, including discussion, should last at least 30 minutes, approximately 10 of which should be discussion.