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Formal Paper Assignment

A Research Adventure in Four Parts


Learning to incorporate research into your writing is one of the most important skills you’ll learn in this class.  It’s a skill that will serve you in college courses and careers, and beyond, into your lives as critical thinkers. Click here to use these helpful resources from the Writing Center as you research, compose, and revise your paper. 


Part One: Source Scavenger Hunt and Presentation Pageant (10 Points)


The Hunt

Your mission is to find one good source for the class to use for our formal research papers. You will be assigned to groups and sent to the library. Your source must be


  • Scholarly/Authoritative

  • Relevant

  • Available (you must be able to print the full text)

  • Unique*

*Unique is the tricky one. Communicate with the other groups to make sure you don’t have any overlap.


The Presentation

Groups must read and become experts on their individual sources. Each group will present their source to the class and answer the following questions:


  • Who wrote this?

  • Why should we listen to this person?

  • How is it relevant?

  • What kind of document is it?

  • What is the thesis?

  • What are the main points?

  • What information could one use for, say, a research paper?


The Whammy

If I do not accept your source, your group will have to go back and start over.



Part Two:  Annotated Bibliography (10 Points)


The annotated bibliography is a two-three page (double-spaced) alphabetical list of research materials (sources) followed by a summary and/or evaluation of each source.  Each of your bibliographic entries will have four parts:  1.) Full bibliographic citation in MLA style; 2.) A brief but thorough summary of the source;  3.) Assessment of the source; 4.) An explanation of how you plan to use this source in your paper.


Part Three:  Research Paper: First Draft (10 Points)


First, you’ll turn in a first draft (with copies) of your research paper for peer workshop. After a careful peer review, you’ll turn in a four-six page (double-spaced, 12-point type) first draft for grading to me.  I will evaluate your first draft and you will receive a grade along with my feedback. (Please see below for more on the final draft.)


Part Four:  Research Paper: Final Draft (20 Points)


You’ll turn in a four-six page (double-spaced, 12-point type) revised final draft of your research essay. I will evaluate your final draft both independently and in light of the changes you’ve made to earlier drafts.  


You’ll use MLA style in-text citations and you’ll turn in a works cited page along with both drafts of your essay.  You can find all you need to know about MLA citations on the SEU Library website, your text book has a section on using sources, and Hannah and I will be helping you incorporate your sources.





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