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ENG 202: Victorian Writers (Compton)

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

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

Q. How long is the paper? 

Confirm with your assignment sheet, but your paper should be 4-6 pages long. 

Q. How many sources?

You will use the work(s) of your chosen author that best reflect the themes at the end of the Victorian Era and the beginnings of the Progressive Era as your primary sources.

You will also need a minimum of 3 academic sources for your essay. One of your sources may be a credible and valid internet source, such as a .edu or .org website. 

Q. What kind of sources?

Your sources should be academic in nature and from outside of the biographical section of the Norton Anthology textbook. You are looking to see what other scholars or literary critics have to say about your author. 

You also want to make sure you include primary sources--the work(s) that you will be analyzing by your authors. 

Q. How do you cite sources?

You will use MLA format for your citations. 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?

In addition to your essay, you will also need to include three annotated bibliography entries for your secondary sources. Each annotation should have its own page and should be comprised of a 200-300 work paragraph. 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?

How long do you have to work on this project? 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? Do you need visuals/images? current statistics? 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 project is to select a topic that you're going to write about. For your essay, you may choose one of the following writers:

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Kate Chopin
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Emma Lazarus
  • W.E.B. DuBois
  • Stephen Crane
  • Walt Whitman
  • Sui Sin Far
  • Sarah Winnemucca
  • Any other author from Norton Anthology, Volume C that has been read/discussed in class.

Other things to keep in mind when deciding on a topic:

Q. Do you have an interest?

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