Research Essay Assignment
Your research paper is the “capstone” project for this course and, as such, counts as 25% of your course grade for ENG 101. This project will be based upon one of the
readings from Unit 3 and supplemented by useful, relevant information located through research. Continue to build on the skills and strengths you’ve been developing in
your first two essays and, as always, draw upon your work in our discussions of these texts.
Essay Format Requirements: ? The essay must be at least 1,000 words in length. (NOTE: The Works Cited page
does not count in this total.)
? The essay must follow MLA format for citing research sources, both in the essay paragraphs and on a Works Cited page.
? Number the pages. ? No need for a separate cover sheet. ? Make sure that you do not use first person (I, me, my, myself, etc.) or second
person (you, your, yourself, etc.) references in the essay.
? You must quote or paraphrase from at least three (3) research sources but researching more sources is preferable to having only three sources that you have
? Important: The readings selections in the course text (World Views) and video resources in the course Content cannot count as research sources for the essay. You can
certainly use these resources in the essay, but you will need to find at least three (3) research sources outside of these resources.
? The library’s online databases are very good resources for finding research articles. You are responsible for ensuring that your sources are authoritative enough to
be credible. Keep in mind that general web sites often are not nearly as credible as published articles that you can find in the college’s research databases. Web
sites like “Ask.com” or other such general information sites are not effective research sources for a formal essay. When in doubt, move on to another source or – if
you really need the information – ask me for guidance.
? Do not use or cite the following sources: Wikipedia, student work posted on websites, “homework”-type websites, or social media sites.
? Plagiarism has been a problem with this assignment. If you do not understand what plagiarism is, please ask, because intentional plagiarism will result in a failing
Possible Topics: Choose one of the following topics for your Research Essay subject.
“Footbinding”: ? RESEARCH IDEA: Think of contemporary examples of ways in which some people
permanently modify their bodies (surgically or otherwise) in order to appear more attractive to others. Investigate one or two such examples, then compare those
practices or surgeries to footbinding. How are they similar to it? Different from it? Are we as different from the old Chinese footbinding culture as we might like to
believe? Explain your answer.
“The Making, and Unmaking, of a Child Soldier”: ? RESEARCH IDEA: Research the practice of using child soldiers in underdeveloped
countries and international responses to this practice. You could analyze why and how child soldiers are used, the ramifications of this practice on individuals and
societies, and/or the effectiveness of international efforts to either end the practice or save children from this life.
? RESEARCH IDEA: Some have argued that developed countries like America have “child soldiers” due to youth gang life and violence. Research this idea and compare gang
life in America with Ishmael Beah’s or other child soldiers’ renderings of their experiences. You also could compare the methods of “unmaking” gang members and child
soldiers and explore the struggles and/or successes of these methods.
“Salvation on Sand Mountain”: ? RESEARCH IDEA: Research either snake handling or other potentially dangerous
religious practices that are considered extreme or “deviant” in their cultures. Analyze the benefits (whether spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological) that people
receive from such practices. You also might explore why adherents to these beliefs and/or practices have been shunned or persecuted by others in their cultures.
(IMPORTANT: The research essay on this topic should not try to argue whether or not these beliefs and/or practices are accurate interpretations of biblical scripture
or genuinely Christian practices. The intent of the essay is not really to debate the validity of the religious belief/practice; the intent is to analyze the benefits
of the practice for its adherents and/or the reasons the adherents have been persecuted for their beliefs).
“Small Change”: ? RESEARCH IDEA: Research critics’ views on the impact of social media on
creating and/or sustaining a genuine sense of social activism that compels people to risk their own safety in order to effect important social change. This research
can focus on social media in countries that have experienced significant and even violent political changes (such as in Iran, Egypt, or Syria, among other countries)
or on events in America (such as the events in Ferguson, MO). From your research, either support or refute Malcolm Gladwell’s point that social media does not create
the impetus to large-scale involvement in potentially dangerous social protests.
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