RESEARCH PAPER (1500-2000 words)
You will construct a research question regarding
- the interplay of two or more literary elements in any narrative work or poetry
- the use of the same literary element in two different works
- OR, if you choose to look at poetry, you may look at several works from one poet
- FOR WHICH THERE EXISTS ADEQUATE CRITICISM
Your essay will review the relevant research as well as put forward your own answer to your question.
You will have a Works Cited page containing a citation for the primary work you are discussing and for at least FIVE secondary sources found through the MLA Bibliography database via the Blinn Library website. The primary source(s) should also be included in the Works Cited.
- Keep in mind that for some works, there are so many articles available that you will need to narrow your approach from the beginning. For other works, you may have only 5-10 secondary sources to choose from.
- Critical articles included in the textbook or the As You Like It critical edition may count toward these five sources.
- If you wish to use a dictionary or editorial commentary from the textbook, you may (and must cite it!), but it will not count as one of the five sources.
- You may also use books. A single-author book counts as one source. Each work from a critical anthology counts as one source and must be cited separately.
- You may NOT use: book reviews, sources found via a standard internet search engine, or “notes” sources such as SparkNotes, CliffsNotes, DLB or other condensations
Your thesis should go beyond commentary to analysis—instead of just saying what happens in the text, explain HOW and/or WHY.
- Beware of dwelling on plot summary. You may use a brief summary as an introductory strategy, but you should provide only the briefest overview before moving on to your specific argument. Throughout your paper, you will refer to specific elements when they are pertinent to your discussion.
Instead of using your sources to provide plot summary, use them for:
- Opinions or debatable claims that they express regarding the interpretation of the work.
- Information or facts about the author’s life, the historical period, the text itself, etc.
- Concepts such as literary terms or theoretical frameworks that can be applied to the author or text.
For examples of similar assignments, see “Sample Research Paper” in the back of your textbook.
All formal writing assignments must include:
- Correct MLA formatting as described in section MLA-5a of Writer’s Reference and shown on the Sample MLA Paper (MLA-5c).
- Appropriate formal tone and correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- 12 point Times New Roman font