English 1020: Freshman Composition
Research Paper: Researching a Trend or an Issue in your Major or Minor
- Due Date: Last official day of class Saturday, Nov. 30 @ 11:59pm due in dropbox by 11:59pm. I will not accept late assignments (see below). Plan accordingly.
- Research Requirements: Five (5) sources, three (3) of which must be scholarly and peer-reviewed. See below.
- Length: at least 1000 words and no more than 1200 words. Yes, shorter and longer papers will be penalized! Please adhere to the word count.
- Questions: Please email me or post to the Discussion Café area.
- Follow MLA. No works cited page=loss of at least a letter grade
- This assignment worth 200 points. See syllabus.
Research and evaluate a current trend or issue in your projected profession. (If you are undecided, use “college student” as your profession.)
What does this trend or issues tell you about the state of your profession? What contributions need to be made to the field to improve it? Who is affected by this? How does this determine your job outlook? Do you know anyone in the profession already? What made you pick this major? What have you learned about your major thus far?
Example of a trend: A few years ago, in the field of English it was a trend to specialize in Rhetoric/Comp. Many people declared it as a specialty, which caused the job market to change. As a result, there were too many Ph.D.s graduating with this specialty and not enough jobs; therefore, many recent Ph.D. graduates were finding themselves teaching part time, which offered little pay, no benefits, and having to work at several colleges/universities just to make ends meet.
Example of an issue: The field of social work has a high burn-out rate. Why is that? What makes/causes people burn out? Are there any solutions (both short-term and long-term)? What have professionals who are working in the field tried to do to avoid burnout? How do college courses address this issue when preparing future social workers?
Make sure that you can clearly distinguish between a trend and an issue. Your introduction to your paper should establish this point, so your reader knows exactly what you are going to address in the body of your paper. While you could use a dictionary to define the words trend and/or issue, it will not count as one of your sources; however, you must include it on your works cited page.
You must use at least five outside sources. These five sources must consist of:
- Two sources. These can be web sites, on-line databases, CD-ROMs, etc., but can also be interviews with a professional colleague, pamphlets, press releases, etc. They may also be books, journal articles, newspaper articles, magazine articles, or any other print source.
- At least three peer-reviewed sources. “Peer-reviewed” means written and vetted by scholars and professionals, usually in the field to which the journal is dedicated. These will probably coincide with your print sources. Many databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed sources. Each source must be cited at least one time in your paper. I will be looking for that. I will also look closely at your Works Cited page to make sure you followed MLA and properly cited your sources.
- Since I will be looking at your sources (both in–text documentation and your Works Cited page), I expect to see your in-text documentation match what’s on your Works Cited page. If they don’t match, then you risk receiving a low grade for this assignment, which can cause you to fail the assignment. If you list a source on your Works Cited page, then you should have it cited somewhere in your paper. If you cite a source in your paper, then you should have an entry for it on your Works Cited page. To emphasize: I will be checking for this.
Papers that do not fulfill the research requirements will be penalized severely and may result in a failing grade for the assignment and/or the class.
Things to Remember as You Write:
- Do your own work! Plagiarized papers will receive a ZERO. Papers that merely cut and paste work from your sources, but are correctly documented (including citations, quotation marks, and a works cited page), will receive an “F.” Papers that paraphrase badly will receive an “F” if correctly documented (including citations, quotation marks, and works cited) and will receive a ZERO if not correctly documented.
- If you did a similar assignment for another class, you cannot reuse it. You should consider using your minor for this paper if you already wrote one on your major. Doing so is self-plagiarism and you will fail this assignment, which can (and probably will) result in failing this course. See me if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like to use the research you cited for a previous assignment, see me and we will discuss it.
- Focus! Have a thesis and build around it. The purpose of the paper is to make an argument about a trend or issue, not merely to report on it.
- Use your research to support your thesis. Papers that simply summarize sources will receive an “F.” Use the research to back up your own arguments and conclusions, not to fill space. Padding your paper will earn a low grade. You must cite from your sources. You have to use each source at least one time.
- Organize your thoughts. The paper should not be a random collection of news about your profession. Make sense of the information. Connect it to your thesis, and organize your research and argument accordingly. For example: In the field of social work, there is an issue of a high burnout out rate which can be attributed to extended work weeks with few days off, hospitals being under staffed, and the number of cases an individual is assigned increases their daily workload. After that sentence (the last sentence in your introduction), then your body paragraphs will support your points.
- The assignment asks you to evaluate an issue in your profession. Why you want to pursue the profession is irrelevant. However, you may want to include a brief (and I mean brief) narrative in your introduction that offers the reader some insight as to why you’ve chosen this profession.
- Give evidence to support your arguments. Use the research. Do more research if necessary and narrow it down to just 5 sources! And always, always, tell your readers what the evidence means!
- Document your sources properly. One of the goals of this assignment is to teach you to do proper academic citation. Papers which don’t cite properly will be penalized heavily and / or receive an “F.” You can use a citation engine such as Easybib.com but you still must know how to use it correctly. It will help you cite your sources, but you must know what type of source you have. See me for questions.
- Revise your work! It won’t come out right the first time. I guarantee it, so plan accordingly.
- Use proper grammar and spelling. You’re graded on that, too. See the reminders for papers handout under content.
- Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Proofreading mistakes can make your writing difficult to understand and give the impression that the writer is unprofessional.
- I suggest making an appointment with the Writing Center (see syllabus for information) and/or submitting your paper to Tutor Me via eLearn for suggestions.
- Although you are using sources for this paper, make sure you don’t over use the sources. I do not want to see papers with 90% source material and 10% original material. Your paper should be 90% of your own words/thoughts and 10% from sources. Having too much source material will significantly effect your final grade for this paper.
- Remember that even if you paraphrase or summarize your source material, you still must cite it.
Submitting Your Paper
- Electronic copies must be submitted in Word format (.doc or .docx) or in Rich Text Format (.rtf).
- See the syllabus for policies about submitting your work and penalties for late papers.
- Since this assignment is due on the last official day of class, no late papers will be accepted. No exceptions. I am strict about this deadline because I have to get this assignment graded in a timely manner. Please plan accordingly and use your time wisely.
- Don’t wait until the day before it is due to reach out to me with questions because there may not be time for me to get you an answer. Plan accordingly.
- If you have any questions, email me.