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ENG 102 - Literary Analysis and Storytelling (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? 

Your paper should be 4-6 pages long.

Q. How many sources?

You should have 4 sources. 

Q. What kind of sources?

One source may be a popular source (such as a website which criticizes media culture). The rest of your sources should be academic sources, such as book chapters or academic journal articles.

Q. How do you cite sources?

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?

What do you have to turn in? Is it just a paper? Is there also an Annotated Bibliography due? Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, summary, reading response, a tutorial, 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?

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. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

You may pick any visual media, as long as it is based on an existing literary works, or, is about a literary figure. Some example topics include:

The Handmaid's Tale

Dickinson (Apple TV)

Forrest Gump

Malcolm X

Wild Nights with Emily

Harry Potter series

The Hunger Games series

Smoke Signals

Game of Thrones

Queen Sugar

Big Little Lies

Orange is the New Black


Little Fires Everywhere

The Color Purple

The Shawshank Redemption

Little Women (any film version)

The Great Gatsby (any film version)

Lord of the Rings series

Waiting to Exhale


The 100


The Queen's Gambit

Hamilton (Disney+)

Blade Runner

The Maze Runner

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

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.