ENGLISH 11—MAJOR RESEARCH PAPER
As a major portion of your 11th grade English credit for the spring semester, you must complete a research
paper. This year’s paper will be a synthesis essay. Synthesis is the bringing together of information from
primary and secondary sources with your own opinion to create something more complex.
Topic: You will argue how a specific social issue is reflected in a piece of literature we have studied, and
synthesize that idea with how that social issue manifested itself during the time period in which that piece was
written. You must have an original argument, connecting an author’s work to history and explaining why/how
the historical events of that time shaped the literature that you’ve chosen to highlight. Therefore, you will
research the author and his/her writings, and you will research the time period; however, you must have a
argument that is central to the task at hand, which synthesizes the documents and sources you have found.
Disclaimer: Because this is an essay based on conclusions that YOU will draw from several resources that you
find, please DO NOT come to me saying that you cannot find a source that explains how history/that
social issue affected your writer’s work. Most of you will not find that. You will find sources about the
literature and sources about the social issue/period in history, and construct your argument from there.
Be mindful: I am not looking merely for your opinion; I am looking for an argument that is supported by
research. NOTE: Regardless of the fact that you are incorporating your own personal argument, there will be
NO FIRST PERSON USED IN THIS PAPER.
Format of the paper
Times New Roman 12 point font. No bold or italics. No title page. See page 320 in the 6th edition of the
MLA Handbook or page 292 of the 5th edition to see a sample first page of a research paper.
Margins: 1.0 inch. In Microsoft Word, Go to Page Layout.
Header: LAST name and page number in upper right hand corner (exactly as mine is on this packet).
MLA Heading is double spaced EVENLY, as is the rest of your paper.
Title: In the same double spacing, with no extra spacing, the title should be centered. Make your title
interesting and creative. Do not type your title in bold, italics, in quotation marks, or underlined.
Length: Minimum—3 full pages plus Works Cited. Maximum—5 full pages plus Works Cited. Do not
adhere to the five paragraph format. You should be beyond that, and your paper should have more than three
Source requirements: 5-8 sources must be used and must include all of the following:
1 print non-reference book (your author’s work)
1 reference book
1 periodical (can be online)
1 article from the internet from a scholarly source
1 primary document (letter, photograph, timeline, video, etc.)
Highlighted source copies: this is REQUIRED in place of note cards. For each source you use, you must turn
in (for a pre-check and with your final paper) copies from ALL sources that you use in your paper, stapled
together in order, and every piece of information you use in your paper MUST be highlighted. You will lose
MANY points if I cannot easily find your information. Include the copyright pages of books that contain
publication information. Online sources must be printed and turned in as well. Source copies MUST be
organized according to my instruction for you to receive points.
The introduction should start with some type of attention grabber…something interesting. Then, you should
transition to your historical time period and literature. Find a way to move fluidly from one to the other. In
the next few sentences, you should summarize your main points. Finally, your thesis statement must clearly
and briefly show the relationship between the author’s work and the social issue represented from the time
period of that work. This is a two-part sentence; by that I mean you must connect both parts of this paper.
The Body of Your Paper
It is essential that the entire paper, every sentence, be used to prove the thesis statement. Anything that does
not help prove the thesis must be removed or changed.
The topic sentence is like a smaller, more focused version of the thesis statement. It must support the thesis and
indicate what the following paragraph will be about, or the entire paragraph is invalid. Make sure you are not
repeating the same information that you have already said in another topic sentence.
Body Paragraph Support
You must give evidence in the form of at least one quote per paragraph and a paraphrase or summary
from your sources. You must connect research about the social issue to the author’s writing, and show how
that issue impacts/shapes the literature. If ANY sentence in a body paragraph does not support the thesis,
REMOVE IT. Do NOT use choppy, underdeveloped sentences. Be specific. Don’t use ―a lot‖ or ―things‖ or
any nonspecific word. NOTE: You should have transitions between paragraphs and between ALL major and
minor sub-points in each body paragraph. Do not jump around; it’s elementary writing, and you are capable of
The conclusion follows the same format as the introduction – just in reverse. Remember to transition into the
conclusion as you would any other paragraph. Your thesis statement is next and is written in a somewhat
different manner than it is in the intro. After the thesis statement summarize your main points (again, in a
different manner than you did in the intro). You should mention the author and title(s) somewhere in the
Citations and Works Cited Page
If you don’t cite what’s not yours, you will receive a zero for the assignment for plagiarism and likely an F for
the nine weeks. PLAGIARISM IS ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT, AND IT IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE.
EVERYTHING MUST BE CITED, WHETHER IT IS PARAPHRASED, SUMMARIZED, OR
QUOTED. IF IT CAME FROM AN OUTSIDE SOURCE, CITE IT OR YOU WILL EARN A ZERO
FOR THE PAPER. This is a RESEARCH paper—the majority of your body paragraphs should come from
research and be cited. Check MLA’s plagiarism info on pages 66-75 of the 6th edition of the handbook or pages
30-34 of the 5th edition.
A Few Common In-Text Citation Forms
SOURCE WITH AUTHOR AND PAGE NUMBER:
Even at a very early age the author saw his love of nature develop. He reflects, ―When I was four years old, our
family moved from the Bronx to Yonkers, just three miles north of the New York City border. To me, it was
like moving to the wilderness‖ (Mander 11).
SOURCE WITH NO PAGE NUMBER:
Even at a very early age, the author saw his love of nature develop. He reflects, ―When I was four years old,
our family moved from the Bronx to Yonkers, just three miles north of the New York City border. To me, it
was like moving to the wilderness‖ (Mander).
SOURCE WITH NO AUTHOR NAME:
Use the title of the book or article in short form after introducing it in its entirety at least once with the
In In The Absence of the Sacred, the author saw his love of nature develop at a very early age. He reflects,
―When I was four years old, our family moved from the Bronx to Yonkers, just three miles north of the New
York City border. To me, it was like moving to the wilderness‖ (Absence 11).
SOURCE WITH NO AUTHOR NAME OR PAGE NUMBER:
In an interview on a left wing website, the author commented on his love of nature, ―When I was four years old,
our family moved from the Bronx to Yonkers, just three miles north of the New York City border. To me, it
was like moving to the wilderness‖ (Ratville).
There should be very few instances when you are unable to find page numbers.
Works Cited Page
If you cite it in your paper, it must appear on your Works Cited page. If it appears on your Works Cited page, it
must be cited in your paper. Put sources in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Use the title if and only if
there is no author and no editor. List them according to the MLA Handbook in sections 4.3-4.99. Additionally,
see page 321 of the 6th edition or page 293 of the 5th edition of the MLA Handbook for a sample Works Cited
Page. See following pages for sample Works Cited entries, but do not rely on the handout alone. Crack your
Tip: Don’t forget that while the first line of a citation on your Works Cited page should start at the one inch
margin, any lines that run over the first line must have a hanging indent.
Grading: You will receive grades throughout the research process. The final draft is worth an essay grade.
the five people you meet in heaven and Emotional/Physical Abuse (in terms of Eddie’s relationship with
the five people you meet in heaven and the Effects of War (e.g., Post Traumatic Stress)
the five people you meet in heaven and Social Isolation (in terms of the Blue Man’s experiences)
―The Life You Save May Be Your Own‖ and Physical Disability
―Soldier’s Home‖ and the Effects of War (e.g., Post Traumatic Stress)
―The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‖ and Divorce
"A Rose for Emily‖ and Mental Illness
―Richard Cory‖ and Suicide
―Hills Like White Elephants‖ and Abortion
―Chicago‖ and Crime/Corruption of Major American Cities
The Great Gatsby and Bootlegging/Prohibition
The Great Gatsby and Adultery
The Great Gatsby and Old Money/New Money
Of Mice and Men and Poverty/Migrant Workers
Of Mice and Men and Mental Disability
Of Mice and Men and Bullying/Napoleonic Complex/Anger Management (Curley’s behavior)
Of Mice and Men and Women's Rights
Night and Genocide/Ethnic Cleansing
Night and Anti-Semitism
*If you are interested in working with a piece of literature and/or social issue you don’t see here, please see me
prior to our first day in the library about it, and we can discuss it.
Signal phrases indicate that something taken from a source, such as a quotation, summary, or paraphrase, is about to be
used in the body of the paper. A signal phrase usually includes the author's name.
Flora Davis reports that a chimp at the Yerkes Primate Research Center "has combined words into new sentences
that she was never taught" (67).
A signal phrase allows the writer to keep the citation within the parentheses brief.
If the writer's name introduces the quote (a signal phrase), only the page number needs to be placed in the
parenthetical reference. (18)
If there are several works by the same author and a signal phrase is used, the title or part of it should be included
with the reference. (Writer's Guide 18)
If the writer's name does not introduce the quote, it should be added to the parenthetical reference. (Miller 18)
Some Useful Verbs
The following verbs are very helpful in making your paper flow, but they are not a cure-all for transitioning. The best
transitions come from a lot of thinking and making of connections.
Acknowledge Believe Contend Express Observe Reveal
Add Charge Criticize Find Offer See
Admit Claim Declare Grant Oppose Show
Advise Comment Deny Illustrate Point out Speculate
Agree Compare Describe Imply Reason state
Allow Complain Disagree Insist Refute Suggest
Analyze Concede Discuss Interpret Reject Suppose
Answer Conclude Dispute List Remark Think
Argue Concur Emphasize Maintain Reply Write
Ask Confirm Endorse Note Report
Assert Consider Explain Object Respond
The purpose of transitions is to make your paper read as one smooth and well-coordinated piece of writing, not paragraphs
thrown together with no thought to their relationship. You should be able to find a way to connect one paragraph to the
next. A good way to practice transitioning is to read the first sentence of the next paragraph. Then continue to think about
that sentence while reading the previous paragraph. The whole time, try to think of a way to tie the two together. Do this
with every new paragraph. Write the whole paragraph, and then go back to the paragraph before it to find or create the
Within A Paragraph
Tie ideas together smoothly so paragraphs feel ―solid‖, and not pieces put together.
Editing and Revising
A good way to check for needed transitions is to have someone new read your work. Tell them to highlight or mark on
the paper whenever the writing seems to hit a stop sign instead of a yield or a curve.
Check transitions by reading the last two sentences of a paragraph with the first sentence of the next paragraph. If they
don’t flow or connect, you need to transition more smoothly.
SOME TRANSITIONAL WORDS/PHRASES
About Closer to In the same way Similarly
Above Consequently In the second place Simultaneously
Above Conversely In truth Since
Accordingly Counter to Inasmuch as Since then
Across Despite Indeed So far
Additionally Differing from Indeed, it is certain So that
After all Due to Instantly So then
Afterward During Instead Some time ago
Again Earlier Into Sometimes
Against Elsewhere It began with Soon
All in all Equally It is true that Specifically
Along Equally important It seems that Stated differently
Along with Even Just as Still
Alongside Even so Just as surely Straightway
Also Even though Last Such as
Although Eventually Lastly Suddenly
Although it may appear Far Lately That is
that Farther Later The following example
Amid Farther on Like Then
Among Finally Likewise There
And First Meanwhile Thereafter
And so First of all More importantly Therefore
And then For More specifically Thereupon
Another For example Moreover Third
Around For instance Most important Though
As For this purpose Much more interesting Through
As a result For this reason Naturally Throughout
As has been noted Forthwith Neither Thus
As if Fortunately Nevertheless To clarify
As long as From Next To emphasize
As mentioned above From this time on Nonetheless To illustrate
As much as From time to time Not long after To repeat
As opposed Further Not long afterwards To sum up
As soon as Furthermore Notwithstanding To summarize
As stated previously Granted that Now To this end
As thought Hence Occasionally Today
As well Henceforward Of course Together with
At Hereafter Of even greater appeal Tomorrow
At last However On the contrary Too
At length Immediately On the one hand Truly
At once In addition On the whole Under
At present In addition to On this side Under these conditions
At that time In any case On top of that Undoubtedly
At the outset In any event Once Unfortunately
At the same time In comparison Once more Unless
At this instant In comparison to Onto Until
At this place In contrast Opposite When
At this point In fact Otherwise Whenever
Away from In like manner Over and above Where
Because In other words Presently Whereas
Before In place of Prior to Wherefore
Before this In short Provided that Whereupon
Beside In spite of Put another way Wherever
Between In summary Quickly Whether
Beyond In the distance Quite as efficient While
But In the first place Regardless With this in mind
By In the meantime Second Without delay
By comparison In the past Secondly Yesterday
RESEARCH CALENDAR AND PRELIMINARY RUBRIC
Item Due Date Grade
1. Teacher approval of selected topic 8 Jan 2010 10% (HW)
2. Materials 11 Jan 2010 10% (HW)
*Copy Change (approximately $5.00)
*One flash drive or a completely new disk
*One 10 x 13 envelope for your final copy
*2 different colors of highlighters
*Ten or more 3x5 lined note cards
3. Bib cards - one bib card for each source 13-15 Jan 2010 10% (HW)
4. Highlighted, stapled source copies 13-15 Jan 2010 20% (Quiz)
*Note cards are optional.
5. Thesis and Outline 19 Jan 2010 20% (Quiz)
*Must be properly formatted and typed
6. Rough Draft #1 22 Jan 2010 30% (Test)
7. Peer Review [in class] 22 Jan 2010 20% (Quiz)
8. Rough Draft #2 26 Jan 2010 40% (Comp)
***FINAL PAPER IS DUE TUESDAY, JANUARY 26th***
● Please be present in class for the Peer Review. This is one grade that cannot be made up later.
You must have a completed Rough Draft #1 to participate in the Peer Review.
● Absence from school prior to due dates does not excuse a student from submitting the required work on
the due date. With the exception of the initial research, all assignments are due on the date listed, with no
exceptions, even if the student missed class prior to the due date.
● Papers submitted without the full research packet will not be accepted. A daily penalty of 10% per
calendar day will be deducted until the complete packet is submitted.
The purpose of this unit is to practice the research process, as well as to produce a researched essay.
The teacher reserves the right to adjust the above due dates in response to student progress.
Pay attention for revised due dates.
English-11 Research Paper Rubric
Attention Grabber ►Present, interesting, cited if necessary, flows with ¶ /5
Thesis Statement ►Present, specific, contains required elements /10
Format ►Intro. ¶, Body ¶s, Conclusion ¶ are all constructed properly
ts's, sd’s, comments are all constructed properly /35
Body ►Demonstrates critical analysis of data; sd’s are relevant and effective /15
Conclusion ►Includes a clearly stated summation of ideas. Writer's stance is well-stated
and based on information provided in the body of the paper.
Citation* ►Appropriate credit given through parenthetical citation according to MLA
guidelines. All sources in the paper appear on the Works Cited page.*
G.U.M. ►Grammar, usage, and mechanics rules are followed. /10
TOTAL SCORE /100
*REMEMBER: IMPROPER CITATION IS UNINTENTIONAL PLAGIARISM
Failure to cite details that are not original ideas or common knowledge is plagiarism.
Plagiarized papers will receive a zero. No resubmission is allowed.
●Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is academic misconduct and the penalty is the same.
It is critical that you follow all documentation rules for any source’s words and/or ideas.
●If you plagiarize, or you don’t turn in both drafts, you run a GREAT risk of not passing the nine weeks. If you need
help for any reason, PLEASE ASK.
●Any research paper not submitted in class on the due date in an orderly fashion will automatically lose ten points.