American Lit, 1915-Present (2005)

21 Apr 2005
Ex 2-2: Literary Research

This assignment is designed to help you get started on your final paper, which is a longer, more detailed version of the literary research paper you have already completed.

Choose one or more literary works we have discussed this term, and use peer-reviewed resources (in addition to other sources, if applicable) to support a non-obvious argument that arises from your close reading of the literary work.

Avoid non-arguments like this: "Women have been oppressed in the past. Literary work X features the oppression of a woman. Therefore, women should continue fighting for their rights."

You, on the other hand, say, "Literary work X uses the theme of oppression to examine several different mother-daughter relationships, suggesting that, even in a male-dominated society, sometimes women can be each other's worst enemy."

(See the handout I wrote, Short Research Papers.)

  1. Secondary Sources (3). The first page of the article, and the first page of the article's list of sources. If your source doesn't include a list of sources, or if it ends with a "recommended reading" list, then you haven't found a credible academic source. (If your source includes footnotes or end notes instead of a works cited list, then use common sense and bring me whatever you think I need in order to confirm the value of your source. You can show me the book in class, for instance.)
  2. Title (including your precise opinion, and the literary work(s) you've chosen.
  3. Preliminary Thesis. (A thesis includes the limited subject, the precise opinion, and a blueprint -- but at this point, the blueprint can be sketchy.)
  4. Primary Source Quotations. Brief passages, with page numbers, from the literary works you want to examine.
  5. Secondary Source Quotations. Again, brief passages. Remember to introduce those quotations efficiently -- see my handout on integrating quotations.
  6. A statement that indicates you understand that plot summary and most character analysis are unnecessary (and pretty much worthless) in a college paper.
  7. A Start. Just one page that shows how you plan to use all this material. (I won't have time to read and comment on more than that, though you're welcome to bring a longer selection to share during my office hours.)
  8. Works Cited List. Include your primary and your secondary sources, in proper MLA style.

I'd love to get a head start on this assignment (well.. maybe not "love" but definitely would rather be ahead of the game than falling behind). Is there anyway you could post more info on this assignment? I'd really appreciate it.

Posted by: moira at March 28, 2005 2:24 PM

The assignment will ask you to present the first page of three peer-reviewed academic articles, along with the first page of the works cited list for each of those articles. You'll also be asked to include an MLA Works Cited list, that includes your three chosen articles as well as whatever primary works you plan to use for your final paper.

There will be a few more components to the assignment, but all of them will be designed in order to give you guidance towards completing your term paper.

I'm not quite ready to post more details than that, but I hope that's enough to get you started.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 28, 2005 6:01 PM

I'm right behind Moira on that... I'm doing research today despite the bony post.

Posted by: Karissa at April 2, 2005 9:59 AM

Dr. Jerz I wasnt in last class because of tennis, for this ex 2-2, I dont really understand what you mean by "the first page of three peer reviewed academic articles." How many pages does it have to be? And what do we write the paper on? What type of peer reviewed articles? Can i find these articles on the ESCO host?

Posted by: Melissa Berg at April 17, 2005 7:51 PM

Melissa, I've got an office hour tomorrow at 2. You can also check with the classmate with whom you arranged to take notes.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 17, 2005 9:08 PM

For this statement (#6)do I literally just need to type that I understand that character ananlysis and plot summary are useless in a college paper?

Posted by: Holly at April 20, 2005 5:28 PM

Holly: Yep, that'll pretty much do.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 20, 2005 6:35 PM