American Literature Research Paper
Welcome to the world of the research paper. This process is a major part of the second semester. Please note all due dates, homework
and in-class assignments. We will use The Practical Writer as our guide and reference tool in the writing process. We will also use
the library staff and the path-finding method as the guide through the research process. The possible topics for the paper will focus on
the decade of the Twenties. A research paper truly depends on accurate sources that can be reviewed and scrutinized. Anything that
is turned in late will earn no more than 50% of the total possible points. Information and dates are also located on my class website.
In-class Work Major Due Dates
Monday Unit Review Day
Tuesday Unit #4 Test
Wednesday Introduction to Research Film
Thursday Book Work
Friday Book Work
Monday Library Introduction
Tuesday Computer Lab #276: step by step process worksheet
Wednesday Research Quiz
Thursday Library Topic Statement
Friday Book Work Internet Worksheet (step by step)
Monday Library Source Card (5)
Tuesday Start: The Great Gatsby
Wednesday Computer Lab- Abstract 35 note-cards
Friday Book Work and Gatsby Abstract
Monday No School
Tuesday Gatsby and Quiz Library Packet
Thursday Outline 50 note-cards
Friday Gatsby Outline
March 30 – April 3
Monday Peer critique Student Draft
Tuesday Gatsby Quiz Title and Works Consulted Pages
Thursday Movie Teacher Draft
Monday Movie Complete Research Folder Due
Tuesday The Great Gatsby Test
Wednesday Return Papers: reflection & writing
Thursday No School
Friday No School
Friday April 6th -Final Paper Due- Research Folder
The grading for the research process and paper is outline below. All dues are listed on the schedule and subject
to change. Any late assignment will receive at least a penalty of 50% off. The grading is divided into two
sections prewriting and the final paper.
Subject Points Points Awarded
Internet search 15 _________
Source card 5 10 _________
Abstract 25 _________
Library packet 25 _________
Outline 20 _________
Note cards 50 (35 & 15) 50 _________
Student draft 25 _________
Note-Cards 15 _________
Peer review 10 _________
Teacher Draft 25 _________
Subject Points Points Awarded
Title page 10 __________
Thesis statement 10 __________
An effective introduction 10 __________
Supports ideas with facts 20 __________
Organizes ideas clearly 10 __________
Well developed paragraphs 10 __________
Transition sentences 10 __________
Revisions, grammar 10 __________
Documentation 20 __________
An effective conclusion 10 __________
Works cited page 20 __________
Overall content of the paper 50 __________
Personal growth during research 10 __________
The length of the paper is to be between 5-7 pages, typed, double-spaced.
The final paper is worth 200 points.
I. Topic Statement- a brief statement which express your thesis and focus of the paper.
II. Source cards – 5 cards
-each source card will be worth 10 points.
-you must have a minimum of two periodical sources (internet source does not count)
-a minimum of 5 sources are required for your final paper.
-place all source cards on top of your note cards.
-use 3x5 index cards; you may use color cards, if you like.
-put your name on one blank card on top of the source cards.
III. Note Cards - 50 note-cards
-each card is worth 1 point
-all cards must be 3x5 and must be bound with a rubber band
-on the back of each card, indicate with a P, S, or DQ if the note is a paraphrase, summary or direct
quote. Place this mark consistently on one of the four corners.
III. Abstract- a brief summary statement in a stage I or II paragraph which preview the paper.
IV. Outline – the outline must incorporate the thesis and all supporting information.
-the outline will be worth 20 points.
V. Student Draft – the rough draft must be typed (minimum of 3 pages must be turned in).
-the draft is worth 25 points.
VI. Teacher Draft- the draft must be typed with revision from the student draft and peer review
-the draft is worth 25 points (choose one page for me to review in detail)
VII. Final Draft – 5-7 pages.
-Title page: Create an original title
Date and class period
-Introduction: Create an interesting introduction. Include Thesis Statement.
-Body: Background information on your issue (history, causes, people
-Conclusion: Tie all events together.
-Works Consulted: Separate page listing all of your sources in alphabetical order.
VIII.. Parenthetical Notation:See The Practical Writer
-Double-space and use a font no larger than 12 point.
-Margin should be 1” at top and bottom and 1” on each side
-Be sure to number pages – except page one.
In essence, this research paper will be like writing five separate five-paragraph essays joined by transitions. Your paper
will be divided into five distinct sections: background information about the 1920’s, background information about the
notable American and or event- theme, influence of the topic on the 1920’s, influence on today, conclusion.
I. Introduction – attention-getter, thesis statement with your opinion, clincher/closer. (1-3 paragraphs)
II. Background Information About the Times (and the place) – be sure to use transitions from one section to the
next to tell the reader where you are going next
…Because of the wild times of the 1920’s, it becomes obvious why so many people decided to take the
law into their own hands.
You really don’t even mention too much about your person until you get to the next section. (5 paragraphs)
III. The Notable American – Al Capone was one of those people who decided to take action. Using some sort of
transition (like the one I just used), now begin discussing your person’s life. REMEMBER – unless something
exciting or disturbing happened to your person when he/she was young, it is not necessary to discuss how “he had
a mole on his shoulder” or various other unimportant facts about his/her life.
IV. Influence on the 1920’s – Public reaction to the topic, effect on people involved and overall effect on society.
V. Influence on today – (optional) What do people think of the topic today? Was it successful or unsuccessful?
Did his/her actions change anything? Did the person end up in jail/prison? Did your person’s actions make a
difference in the world (or at least in the area that he/she intended to change)? Was this person viewed in a
positive or negative light among the public? (1-2 paragraphs)
VI. Conclusion – This is your wrap up. You must restate your thesis and your opinion. Interesting quotations can
make your conclusion interesting. This is your last chance to strongly state your view and the importance of the
topic. (1-2 paragraphs)
MATERIALS: Organization is very important for the success of this project. You will need to bring all materials to
class every day no matter where we meet (classroom, library, computer lab). Being prepared will help you begin class on
the right foot so that you can work effectively and efficiently. Below are the materials you should bring to class every
The Practical Writer
3x5 note cards (50+) with rubber bands
paper, pencil, pens, etc.
an organizational system (folders, binder, etc.)
all notes and handouts
NOTECARDS (AT LEAST 50)
In order they appear in the paper. Those that are not used in the paper
should be placed in the back of all the note-cards that are used.
SOURCE CARDS (AT LEAST 5)
All sources must be accounted for. The sources on the Works Consulted
page should be the same as the ones on the source cards.
The outline you showed me, or any new outline you made up should be in
The rough draft you turned in to me should be in the packet.
Grading Sheet for Research Paper
CRITERIA EARNED POINTS
Title Page ________ 10
Thesis Statement _________ 10
Effective Introduction _________ 10
Organization _________ 30
Clear topic and reworded topic sentences
Unified and coherent ideas
Paragraph development – either stage I or II format _________ 10
Strong Word choice ________ 10
active verbs, specific nouns, present tense, 3rd person
Evidence of Revision
correct grammar, usage, mechanics _________ 10
Transitional words or phrase _________ 10
Content _________ 50
Specific, substantial and accurate information
Strong analysis and synthesis of information
Effective support for analysis
Variety of direct quotes, summaries, paraphrases
Effective Conclusion ________ 10
Proper Parenthetical Documentation ________ 20
Works Cited Page ________ 20
Total Points ________ 200
Research Reflection Name: ____________________________________
Directions: Now that the research paper is finished, please take some time and think about your learning
and efforts over the past five weeks. Please answer each question fully (FILL THE ENTIRE SPACE
FOR EACH QUESTION.)
1) What will you remember most about this research project? Why? Explain in three or
2) What was the most difficult aspect of the research process? Why? Explain in three or
3) What was the easiest aspect of the research process? Explain in three or more sentences.
4) Think about your effort, dedication and commitment, and time management involved in
this process. Evaluate yourself on these categories. Assign yourself a letter grade for
each of the following areas and EXPLAIN WHY you are ranking yourself this way.
_________ Dedication and Commitment
_________ Time Management
5) Think about the quality of work of your final product. How well does your paper reflect
your knowledge of integrating research, level of thought analyzing the theme, accurate
use of MLA format? Evaluate yourself on these categories. Assign yourself a letter
grade for each of the following areas and EXPLAIN WHY you are ranking yourself in
_________ Knowledge of integrating research
_________ Level of thought analyzing the theme
_________ Accurate use of MLA format