Thursday, March 6, 2008

Research Paper Information

  1. Don’t panic.

  2. Recognize that this process can be overwhelming -- perhaps especially at the beginning when you don’t know WHAT to look for or what this paper is all about. Tomorrow, I’ll bring in some final (10-13 page) literary research essays so you have an idea of what’s in store. Realize that you won’t know your thesis immediately. By the end of next week, you’re going to establish a preliminary thesis; you’re going to narrow your search so that you can really explore specific criticism. To get there, you need to reflect, reread, and refocus. Like you did with your reading of “Popular Mechanics,” think about WHAT you want to focus your research on. YOU need to know YOUR reading and then find criticism that speaks to your reading.

  3. Skim your three books tonight. If something intrigues you, keep the book and check out the book. Start thinking about HOW you want to focus your research. Jot down ideas. You can explore multiple options before settling. If you start to feel overwhelmed, go back to step #1.

  4. Look over the types of literary criticism under ‘important sites.’ This may help you narrow your focus.

  5. Bring change with you to class so that you can make copies. For every source you find, I’m going to want you to make a copy. At this point, do NOT start making note cards. Just gather. Read. Annotate. Question. The one thing you CAN –and should—start to make are bib cards (see packet) for potential sources. I will go over this in class tomorrow.

  6. For Monday’s pass-into-class, you’re going to turn in one bib card, correctly cited, for one source. You’re also going to fix – if necessary—your reading notes. I hope to return these to you tomorrow.

  7. Look to the right for upcoming due dates. When you are done, repeat step #1.

  8. Know that I plan to discuss and introduce each new step when the prior step is completed. Tomorrow, I will go over bib cards; on Monday, I’ll talk about your preliminary thesis. If you’re a big picture person, feel free to read the whole packet and example papers.

  9. Note that we will NOT be in the media center every day. We will be doing in-class activities, too. (Tuesday, for instance, we’re doing a writing assessment. Whoo-hoo.) You will need to put in your time outside of class. This process moves quickly. Late work will receive NO CREDIT but still MUST BE COMPLETED. You don’t want to be that guy/gal to unnecessarily lose points, right?

  10. Ask me questions. You can email, visit me before school, after school, during school –find out what you need to know as soon as you can. No question is stupid. (At least at this point. That may change. ) Please POST your questions on the blog, too. You may not be alone in your wondering.

  11. Show me that you read this. Take the poll and check off the selection that best fits you.
For now, if you have any immediate questions, post them on the blog (as comments) or send me an email. Hopefully this clarifies the process for you somewhat. Remember, you KNOW what you're doing here. You're ready for this. Promise.

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