Remember to check our class remind account for updates on the research paper - you will use your school email for turnitin submissions. Make sure that you open the email about turnitin and set up your account. The account information for your email is posted below. username: last name.first name21 password: ID number Refer to these handouts on due dates, notes, and examples as you work through each step of your research paper:
Step 1: Select a Text If you are struggling to think of American authors for your literary criticism paper, you can use the two links below. You are not confined to the topics on the lists below - you may select an author that is not listed. The only requirements for your topics are that 1) it is an argument about an American author, 2) you are genuinely interested in the topic, and 3) your peers do NOT have the same topic as you. American Author Short Story Timeline American Novelists List Most people use google to help them with research, especially at the preliminary stages. This site will provide you with some tips on how to simplify and improve your search results when using google: Get More Out of Google.
Step 2: Research a Topic from the Text Before diving into your text, I recommend looking through the literary criticism resources in our library and through our databases. Make sure that you make copies of the articles and any information necessary for citations. Scan the articles for possible literary devices, themes, or writing styles to take notes on during reading. These topics may become a general focus of your paper, a focus that you will refine throughout your reading and analysis of the text. This preliminary research will also ensure that there are sources on your text that you can use in your paper.
Step 3: Narrow the Focus of Your Paper After reading the text, taking notes on possible topics, and re-examining your literary criticism, you need to determine a focus for your paper. You may not have a clear argument yet, but you will see patterns start to emerge. Maybe the dogs in the book respond a certain way to characters and your paper focuses on the function of dogs in Victorian literature. Maybe the character in the text shows signs of being involved in an abusive relationship and your paper focuses on how the author romanticizes an emotionally abusive relationship. Maybe the protagonist lacks agency and your paper focuses on how the author represents a distorted view of feminism. If you are struggling to find patterns in the text, take a literary criticism that interests you and appropriately fits with the text and answer the questions that correspond to that literary analysis. For a refresher on literary theory check out: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism (Owl Purdue)
Step 4: Find Textual Passages Relating to the Focus of Your Paper This step is self explanatory. You have your topic. Now pick quotations from the text that relate to that specific topic. Remember to include page numbers as your type out the quotes. Again, you may not have an argument until after you have closely analyzed those passages. For instance, maybe you are examining the treatment of native characters in the text so you find all of those examples in the text. After looking at the examples, you may determine that the text exposes society's environmental racism. Your argument about environmental racism will become more specific as you continue to analyze the textual examples.
Step 5: Outline Your Argument Now that you researched your topic - found passages in the text and literary criticism from databases - and narrowed your argument focus, you will organize your ideas. Refer to the following documents to help you structure your paper:
Step 6: Write the Body of Your Paper Despite spending a lot of time on steps 1-5 and thoroughly completing each assignment, writing your paper is still going to take time and focus. It will not be easy. Refer to the following documents to make it less painful:
Step 7: Modify Your Thesis (If Necessary) Check that each body paragraph clearly relates to your thesis. After writing your body paragraphs, you may have gained more insight into the topic you selected. Modify your thesis accordingly so that all of your paragraphs and claims directly relate to your thesis.
Step 8: Write the Intro and Conclusion Your introduction should provide necessary historical background information or plot context, while your conclusion should answer the "so what?" question.
Step 10: Peer Edit a Paper For this step, you will share your paper with a peer through google docs, so that it is easier for you to resolve the comments. You will use the following checklists to guide the edit: