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ENG 209 Essay 2: Research Essay (Jordan)

This step-by-step guide will help you complete Ms. Jordan's Eng 209 research essay.

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research paper, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

Q. How long is the paper? 

This paper should be 900-1100 words in length.

Q. How many sources?

You will use 2 primary sources that depend on the topic you choose in addition to 2-3 secondary sources.

Q. What kind of sources?

You will use the text as your primary source. You can also use the commentary about the work and time period commentary in your book. In addition, use two to three academic (i.e. published) secondary sources from the library databases, ebooks, print books, and other academic sources.

Use articles from the library databases, books, e-books and other academic sources. You may use one internet source that is reliable and valid with a reputable author/publisher. Please do not use Wikipedia or other general encyclopedias/reference sources. Specialized references sources can be used.

Q. How do you cite sources?

Your citations must be in MLA format. You may want to remind yourself what information you need to create the MLA Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Q. What is due?

Is this just a paper? Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, etc.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

This assignment is a research paper that pertains to one of five options provided by your teacher. Check your course calendar for due dates and consider the following: Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Are there requirements to include a certain number of quotes or paraphrases? Do you need to have a certain number of paragraphs?  Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research paper is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

Your teacher has provided 5 topics to choose from. Option #5 allows you to create your own topic by choosing two works that your class has read.  This option requires permission from your teacher.

Q. Do you have an interest?

If you have a choice on what topic you can write about, consider which one you find the most interesting.  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to write about? Which topic would you have the most to say about?

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.