Steps to Completing the Research Paper 1. Choose a text/author from the readings in the syllabus 2. Choose TWO secondary sources for that text/author from the approved list. If you want to use a secondary source that is NOT on the approved list, it must be approved by the instructor. 3. Read and annotate each of the two secondary sources, and write a 200-250 word summary of each author’s argument. This will become part of your research paper. 4. Re-read the text that you are discussing in your paper. Jot down your response to the following questions. These are your notes to prepare your outline: · What have you learned about the text from the secondary sources that you did not know before? · How has this information changed or expanded your interpretation of the text? · Explain what you now see as the importance and significance of the text, in your own words. This is the beginning of your thesis. Be sure to not just reiterate the argument of your secondary sources. This is YOUR argument, that you developed from your research. 5. Now that you have a working thesis, compose the INTRODUCTION to your paper with background on the text you are analyzing, the author (if known) and the culture it comes from. This information should come from the textbook or the secondary sources. Cite where appropriate. What is the importance of the topic you choose to discuss? Include a statement of thesis at the end of this first paragraph. 6. Think of at least 3 main ideas that you will use to support your thesis. These main ideas could come from the secondary sources, or it can come from your own interpretation of the text. 7. Re-read the text that you are discussing in your paper, and look for good quotes to use as evidence to support at least TWO of your main ideas. Each research paper must have TWO quotes from the primary source that are introduced in the essay with ample context and explained in detail. Explain what the quote means, and how that supports the main idea of that paragraph. 8. Construct an outline of the essay, which should follow the following format: — Introduction with background and thesis statement — Summary of Secondary Source #1 — Summary of Secondary Source #2 — Main Idea #1 Are the brothers grimm traditional fairytale stories ? — Main Idea #2 Should they be taken as life lessons ? — Main Idea #3 Are the stories to gruesome to be widely accepted? 9. Begin Writing. Remember that each paragraph of the essay must follow this format: Topic sentence Supporting details Context of the quote – if applicable Quote (properly formatted in MLA style) – if applicable Explanation of the quote – if applicable Supporting details Conclusion sentence and transition to next main idea. If this is a paragraph about your secondary source, then remember to put the page numbers in parentheses at the end of the paragraph. DO NOT QUOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE SECONDARY SOURCE. This should only be a summary. 10. Go back and revise your thesis statement. Make sure it accurately reflects the argument you make in your essay, and that it is specific enough to serve as a good guide to your reader. 11. Write the conclusion. Make sure to include a brief summary of the main points you made and what the secondary sources have given to your argument. Leave some perspective as to how your topic relates to the study of world literature. 12. Proofread and revise!! Look for the following: · Grammar errors. Are there any subject/verb agreement errors? Changes in voice or verb tense? Spelling errors? Comma errors? Sentence fragments? Run-on sentences or comma splices? · Formatting errors. Are the quotes punctuated correctly? Is everything from an outside source cited correctly in MLA format? · Clear topic sentences. The main idea of each paragraph should be obvious in the first two to three sentences. · Quotes. Are quotes introduced with enough context? Do you explain the meaning of the quote, AND how that supports your main idea? · Works Cited. Is there an entry for each primary and secondary source? Is it formatted correctly with all of the relevant information?
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