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ENG 165 - Scandals, Natural Disasters, etc. (Ramsey)

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 presentation?

Your presentation will be 3-5 minutes in length.

Q. How many sources?

Three or more sources are required and will be cited.

Q. What kind of sources?

Search the Library's print books, ebooks, and databases, as well as credible internet sources.

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.

Q. What is due?

  • A detailed, written outline of your presentation. Your outline will also include a works cited page.
  • A 3-5 minute presentation. The presentation must include a visual that supports the presentation. This could be PowerPoint slides, handouts, pictures, or posters, etc.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this paper or 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.

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?

You can choose from the list of topics on your assignment, which should focus on events from the 20th (1900's) or 21st century.  These could include: interesting people of a time period; murders, mysteries, scandals; natural disasters; fearless leaders; elements of a time period; American art/music/literature vs. European art/music/literature; crippling diseases; man-made tragedies. Please see your assignment for more in-depth information about these topics.

Q. Do you have an interest?

Since 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.