Ms. Gokturk

Writing for the 21st Century


I Need to Know My Topic Inside and Out:

The Research Paper Assignment


You have your general topic already established. Remember? You just handed in a proposal. Your proposal may be specific or it may be general. Wherever you stand, you will need to know more.  Your next major project will be to write a 1500-2000 word research paper using proper citations.



·          Construct a paper of 1500-2000 words with clearly defined subtopics/subheadings (minimum of 5).

·          Utilize at least 4 four sources. Your sources should represent a variety: Internet, journal/magazine articles (from online databases is OK), books, newspapers (online and hardcopy), documentary film/video, pamphlets, etc.

·          Use parenthetical documentation.

·          Use index cards during the research process. These will be collected for a grade. You may cut and paste documents, create “electronic” cards, or do it the old-fashioned way.



Begin by deciding what areas within your topic need addressing. You have been given a stack of index cards. Your task is to find at least five general subtopics within your cause. These will act as the backbone to your research essay. In other words, these five areas will be sections of your research paper that elaborate on your cause.


STEP TWO: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, AND RESEARCH! Read, listen, view, and fill out at least 20 cards of information. You should create one index card for each subtopic; however, you should have separate cards for each source! Soooooo, you will end up with multiple cards for each subtopic. That is good.  Your cards will be collected on _________ and be worth 50 points.



Search Internet sites, databases, and books that address your cause. [If using the Internet, please remember how to evaluate for good source – see library handout.] Once you have found appropriate information, you must cite them on one index card using the following MLA style. Use the sheet you were given in the library for proper citing. Yes, there are many ways to cite, but for our purposes, we will use the MLA format, NOT APA. Remember, it is unacceptable simply to write down a URL as a citation.

Make one card your sources card. Attribute a symbol or abbreviation for each source. This way you can easily note where your research came from on your cards.

Your other cards should look like this:


Source Symbol or #                                                SUBTOPIC NAME



PARAPHRASE and/or QUOTATIONS…….Include your observations, facts, and quotes from work. Make a new card for each source. Make cards with similar headings so that you will be able to organize this mess later.