Fall 2015/English 347: Final Research Paper Instructions

Fall 2015/English 347: Final Research Paper Instructions

Professor Justine M. Pas

As soon as possible, browse all novels in the course and select a novel for closer study.  This assignment is a research paper, but it is not a research report.  That means that you must have a clear, specific thesis—an argument you want to make.  Your purpose is not to summarize and report on what others have said about the topic.  Instead, use your research to provide support or to provide a context (perhaps even contrast) for what you have to say about the topic.  Literary criticism is a network of ongoing conversations about literature; this paper should be your contribution to one of these conversations.  Be sure that the required secondary sources deal with the novel of your choice.  While additional sources can be on related topics, the six required sources have to engage directly with the selected novel.


Be sure to incorporate lecture and discussion materials into your paper.  Unless I cited a source, you do not need to cite your use of lectures and discussions.  If a source was cited, you must cite that source and not my lecture or discussion.  For example, in discussing Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, I describe her as a regionalist who transcended subcultural concerns via Gilbert’s “Introduction” to our edition.  Therefore, your paper would need to cite Gilbert.  Keep in mind, however, that lecture sources do not count toward the paper’s required number of six secondary sources.


Your paper must be at least 10 typed, double-spaced pages.  It needs to be in 12- point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins, and stapled.  The title page must include your name, the course name (ENG 347), the title of your paper, and the date the assignment is handed in.  All subsequent pages must include your last name and the page number (e.g., Smith 2).  The paper must have a Works Cited page (in addition to the 10 pages) with a minimum of 6 critical articles and books (be sure at least two of your secondary sources arebooks!).  Articles must come from peer-reviewed academic journals!  This means no summaries or explanatory articles!  Do not count journals such as The Explicator, for example, because such sources summarize and explain literature.  They do not provide original arguments.  You are free to use these sources, but they do not count toward the six required peer-reviewed research articles and books.


The minimum length of 10 pages excludes the title, works cited page, and direct block quotations.  Papers will be penalized if they are short of the minimum length requirement.  Do not attempt to justify a short paper by claiming that you don’t want to “pad” your paper; instead, adjust the scope of the paper to achieve the length requirement.  If you have any concerns about your paper at any time in the process, meet with me to discuss them.  Any paper that fails to meet the basic requirements of the assignment (including correct use and acknowledgment of cited material, due date/time, length, topic, and style) will be penalized and may receive a zero.


Follow MLA style, and do not guess at it; find a current style guide and refer to it (The Purdue Owl is a fairly reliable source for such information).  Cite page numbers or line numbers as appropriate and include a works cited page.  Again, follow MLA; I may not accept the paper if there are obvious deviations from MLA.  In the best case scenario, your paper will lose a lot of points if the correct MLA citation style is not followed.


Papers are due in hard copy in class on the day of our final exam (Monday, Dec. 7th at 2pm) AND on turnitin.com (via blackboard) by the time you arrive in class with the hard copy.  Late papers are NOTaccepted.


Research and Annotated Bibliography:

The following sources, for example, are not allowed since they are not peer-reviewed research articles: Masterplots, Notes & Queries, American Notes & Queries (ANQ), Explicator, certain brief articles in English Language Notes (ELN), introductory materials in editions of literature, introductory materials in book-length collections of articles, and book reviews.  Be sure to ask a librarian if you feel lost or overwhelmed.  Remember that our library does not have vast resources on hand, but that you can order virtually any book via MOBIUS and/or order an article via Interlibrary Loan and they will arrive within a few days.


Finally, be sure to begin research as early as possible so that you are ready to turn in an annotated bibliography in class in hard copy on 11/11.  If you need a reminder about how to prepare such a bibliography, consult Purdue University’s Writing Center website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/(definition)


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