Research Paper Assignment
The goals of this assignment are to help you:
[Note that you will need to go to the library to do this assignment. Do not expect to get all of your sources off the Internet. Scholarly sources (which should comprise the bulk of yours) which were originally printed in a scholarly journal are not considered Internet sources. I will not accept papers with only Web material as resources.]
Your research paper must be your own work. Review the rules for plagiarism and academic integrity in the syllabus, and Copyright and the Internet (http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/coy\pyright-internet.htm) guidelines.
To begin, do a fact-finding search on some current issue that interests you. (Remember that this project covers days. Pick a topic you will not tire of easily!) Narrow your topic down to a manageable issue. Investigate possible ways to look at the issue, and decide which you will use. Your final paper will be graded on how well you succeed in producing a well-thought-out, clear paper which shows you have interpreted and intelligently discussed the issue and backed up your ideas with evidence.
Knowledge and the world advance and change rapidly; therefore, using older sources can be misleading and lead to wrong conclusions. Look for possible topics and background information in specialized encyclopedias. Although encyclopedias should not be your main sources, they can give you good background information and clarify concepts to help you get started.
Remember that your paper is only as reliable as the sources you have consulted and used. Find VARIED (NOT all Internet sites, for example) sources – including professional journal articles and professional publications, as well as Internet sources. You do not need to solve a problem, or even necessarily to reach a conclusion. What you do need to do, however, is gather a body of knowledge on a particular subject, narrow it down to a particular focus and show that you can synthesize the information and make some intelligent, insightful observations about the subject. Please DO NOT simply repeat or string together information. A significant portion of the paper should be your interpretation of the information and how your knowledge about the subject has been enriched.
The final paper should be at 5-7 pages (double-spaced in 12-point font) long, with an additional Works Cited page. At least seven sources need to be cited. Information on the various scheduled dates for the research paper can be found on your timeline.
Dates to Remember:
April 3--The introduction to your research paper is due in class
April 10--A working copy of your paper is due for in-class peer review
May 1--A paper (with comments, corrections that is ready for final typing) is due for in-class work