Eiland's Online English Materials

grpahic of talking sun

How To Compose
A Research Paper

A research paper is an integral part of your grade not only in this class, but many classes. The purpose of such a paper is to have the students demonstrate the ability to apply what has been learned in a course. This often entails research and the collation of various materials; THAT requires organization. The research paper in any class can seem daunting, and that is why the paper often gets put off until the last minute. However, by following this general guideline, a student can use time more efficiently while putting together a better paper. To see good examples of research papers see ARCHIVE OF TESTS AND PAPERS

  1. Read the assigned or chosen primary source (i.e. story, play or poetry). Check the calendar or message board if you are unsure as to the assigned work.

  2. Write down notes, either as you READ or IMMEDIATELY afterwards, focusing on basic story structure, such as plot, character, basic conflict, etc. For poetry, identify a theme if there is no discernable plot.

  3. Read paper assignment posted on message board (or assigned in class).

  4. Then review ASSIGNMENT specifics.

  5. 101 students will decide a general strategy (e.g. theme, conflict, irony etc.) as indicated by the assignment. 103 and above students will focus on critical approach (e.g. FEM, CULT, BIO/HIST, PSYCH).

  6. Write some informal paragraphs, each supporting the main point (for example, a series of paragraphs on various conflicts or symbols).

  7. Look through primary text for support for your point. Insert them into your paragraphs, focusing on using the text to support your points. There should be a minimum one primary text quote per point made.

  8. Get to library or log onto Internet.

  9. Look through SECONDARY sources for specific literary points you've made in your first draft. Insert the criticism from these secondary sources into your paragraphs, focusing on supporting your contentions or adding new ideas. You will need a DIRECT quotation from a secondary source in each body paragraph of the final 101 research paper and ALL 103 or literature papers.

  10. Go through story again. Find more quotes from primary source to support secondary sources.

  11. Read your paper...linking paragraphs in a logical order.

  12. Make sure there is an intro, conclusion and a unifying thesis.

  13. Share some or all of it with a class mate...and read theirs...DISCUSS IT.

  14. Rewrite your paper.

  15. Hand it in. Make sure you get it back from me.

© T. T. Eiland, January 1998
Last modified: July 17, 2012