RESEARCH PROJECT AND ESSAY
“When you write an argument, you attempt to convince a reader to agree with you on a
topic open to debate. You support your position, proposal, interpretations with evidence,
reasons, and examples – factual, logical data, not opinions” (Troyka 147).
“Research writing involves three steps: conducting research, understanding and
evaluating the results of your research, and writing the research paper with accurate
documentation. First you choose a topic on which intelligent people have different
opinions. Next you analyze your sources to decide which position appears most
reasonable. Your paper would then take the form of an argument that shows readers you
have considered the various positions and chosen a reasonable one.” (Troyka 484-5).
Plan to write a 7-8 page thesis style argumentative research paper, an in-depth analysis of
a topic picked from the novel Rooftops of Tehran. Or you may compare common
elements in this novel and another work (discuss this with me). Try to choose a topic that
you feel passionate about, and narrow down your focus as much as you can. Next, argue
your position (develop your thesis), analyze the issue, and support your points through
detailed research. You must use a minimum of four outside sources (details are given
below). Keep in mind that all source materials must be cited properly both in the essay
(parenthetical citation) and in your “Works Cited” page. Place all direct quotations in
quotation marks, provide parenthetical citations for quoted and paraphrased material, and
record all your sources in the “Works Cited” page! Refer to the MLA Documentation
handout and The Everyday Writer for additional information about writing research
Keep in mind:
Your research paper is still based on your own observations and interpretations of a
literary text. You come up with the point you want to support with research and then you
find the material that will help you demonstrate its plausibility. Of course, sometimes you
will find that certain ideas are unworkable. You may find that there is a flaw in your
initial observation based on something you did not know about the context of the piece or
its author. In the beginning your research will show you both where you might have
misinterpreted and how others have treated your idea. You may be wrong, or you may
have come up with your own original argument that a critic has picked up on as well.
Compare your ideas against other ideas and use some of the seemingly similar arguments
to refine your thoughts.
In a word: Concede the presence of other ideas as you sharpen your own.
1. Use a minimum of four sources
• One hardcopy, i.e. from a book
• One from a periodical (magazine, newspaper, journal – may be online)
• One or more from a data base service (Newspaper Source Plus, Gale database,
Ebso databases, Academic Search Complete, CQ Researcher, or Opposing View
Points – you may search it by author or title).
2. Save all the sources you intend to use.
3. Label and annotate your sources.
A. Labeling: For each source, type up the bibliographic information in the MLA
Format. (This makes each source readily identifiable and gets you ready for your
Works Cited page)
B. Annotating: Make notes in the margins of each source.
4. In your paper, use and document in MLA format at least one direct quote, one
paraphrase and one summary from each source.
5. Include 1 – 2 block or long quotations (direct quotes of more than four lines). Use
correct format for block quotes.
6. Write a typed paper that is 7 – 8 pages in length, not including the Works Cited page
It should be double spaced with font size 12.
7. You must also use evidence from the text and give the page numbers of your quotes
or paraphrases. Don’t forget to comment on or interpret the material you quote. You
should write your paper based on a central thesis or significant idea. Remember to
analyze your topic and examine the purpose of your research.
8. Avoid clichés, wordiness, “you,” and “I” usage, comma splices, run-on sentences,
fragments, the passive voice, and other grammar mistakes. Proof read and revise
carefully before you submit the final paper.
9. Have a Works Cited page in correct MLA format and use proper manuscript form for
the entire essay.
Important dates to
RESEARCH PROJECT AND ESSAY