Skip to main content

EGL 102 - Marian Staats - Fall 2020: Start Here!

Class Assignment - Research Paper

Research Paper 


  1. Topic options -- focus and purpose:

Base your topic on one of the units we’ve discussed regarding politics and practices associated with sustainability.  As part of a community of scholars thinking about sustainability in our culture, you should aim to increase your colleagues’ understanding of one of the topics – e.g. food/diet, water use, water or soil pollution/toxicity, climate change, and values/ethics – discussed in these units, preferably as it pertains to their lives as college students.

Possible ideas that you could adapt to this assignment include the following: a proposal for an innovative educational program or forum dealing with issues related to sustainability (for this you could further develop ideas addressed in your second essay); an extended critique of one of the theorists of sets of practices you’ve encountered; an argument about developing policies in your workplace, your home community, or at Oakton to address some aspect of sustainable policies or practices; a proposal for raising students’ consciousness at Oakton Community College about sustainability; or, an argument about teaching an issue raised in one of these units using film, literature., or journalism designed to enlighten students, or enable them to enjoy thinking critically about sustainability in contemporary culture. These are simply suggestions – of course, you will have your own ideas!


2) Literature review and annotated bibliography:

Working with a text that we’ve discussed or viewed during class, locate at least seven other sources, so that you will have a total of eight sources to work with: other academic articles, book chapters, editorials, or credible Web sites that add to your knowledge on the topic. Your literature review and annotated bibliography should tell readers what other scholars are saying about your topic and sketch out the key issues and parameters for debate. (If you decide on a partner project, you’ll need to find 15 total sources, with each of you finding seven.)


A) Requirements for selection of source materials:

1) You must have contemporary sources, texts written within the last three years.

2) You must also orient your analysis of the issue to a local context, preferably at Oakton or in Oakton's district, but the greater Chicago area is also fine.

3) At least two (or four) of your sources must be from refereed journals or academic/university presses.

4) Though it is expected that you will find source materials through the online library databases, only two (or four) of your final sources may be a Web site or Web page.


B) Annotated bibliography, thesis and introduction (40 points):

Using your eight (or 15) sources, you must produce an annotated bibliography. If you want to do a qualitative study, you might also interview or survey some people and use your interviews/surveys as sources, or you can take a cultural studies approach and analyze media like film, television, music, or video games if you want to discuss practices related to food or food politics as represented in literary or pop cultural texts.

NOTE: For each source that you use outside of those covered in class, you must also submit copies of any pages from which you cite and highlight the cited (quoted or paraphrased) passages. I will not evaluate final essays without the annotated bibliography and highlighted copies of your source materials.


3) Outline (25 points):

In drafting, you should write a formal outline of the thesis and main points of your argument, and connect each point in the outline using appropriate transitional words and phrases to articulate the relationships between your ideas. The outline should also include your source materials, indicating how you will use them at each point in the argument to support your assertions. Also, remember the transitional phrases and signal words from TSIS and the Web handout on summary, as these can help you map out a logical progression for your argument.

4) Draft of Essay #3:

Finally, develop your 8-12 (or 15-20) page essay as an argument for your thesis, using at least 5 (or 10) of the sources you've collected. This essay should not merely summarize your source materials; rather, you should write your own argument, as you did for your first and second essays, and use sources to support your assertions. In drafting, you should be able to work from the formal outline of your main points. 

For the draft, you should write as many pages as you can, typed and double-spaced in MLA format with standard margins and a Works Cited page. With the draft please also include copies of all outside sources from which you quote, with the quoted or paraphrased sections highlighted. I will not evaluate final essays without your highlighted source materials.

The final version of Essay #3 must be 8-12 (or 15-20) pages, typed in MLA format with a Works Cited page and submitted with your annotated bibliography and outline, your workshop critiques, and your self-evaluation.

REMEMBER: I will not evaluate essays without the highlighted outside source materials, annotated bibliography, and outline, so if any of these components are missing you will receive a “0” for the paper.


Please feel free to bring  any of your questions about this assignment either to class or to office hours, as I welcome the opportunity to assist you!

Contact Your Professor

Marian Staats


Division of Liberal Arts

Office: DP 2514

Phone: 847-376-7103

Reference Librarian

Ruth Whitney's picture
Ruth Whitney
Ruth Whitney

Adjunct Faculty, Library Services

Get help from Oakton's Librarians!

Email us

Leave a voicemail and get a call back:

Text us:

Social Media
Link to OCC Library Facebook Link to OCC Library Instagram Link to OCC Library Twitter