AP Language & Composition English Research Paper – Fall 2013




Mrs.Gladden’s English classes are required to use research procedures suggested by the Modern Language Association(hereafter referred to as MLA).  Additional information can be found at the MLA website, http://www.mla.org/style or in the MLA guidebook.  The seventh edition just came out and has new online sources that I haven’t had time to access. I will add material if it will be beneficial to my students.


Sections on research strategies in your textbooks are included in the blue Grammar and Composition Handbook  from pages 468-500. All of the resources appeared to be excellent choices ON THE DAY I ACCESSED THEM; however, websites quickly change, come and go, so use your text as the main source of your information. Additional online sources are added to fill in information your text may not have covered in minute detail.

Try out Diana Hacker’s site as well - an ENG 101 handbook  site http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/humanities.html. Also you may want to look to this page for an excellent researchglossary. http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/p05_c13_s1.html.

The mosthelpful websites that cover a variety of research topics may be found at the following addresses:













Use these websites wisely. Some websites discuss footnotes and endnotes; however, your paper does not include either. In addition, some websites may contain information following research styles which contradict MLA style, but I have found appropriate information on these sites for bib cards, note cards, outlines, typing and documentation within my assignment. Remember, our paper is based on MLA documentation only. Please share other helpful sites that you may run across!


Please note the following deadlines:


AVL ACCESS - You were asked to sign up for an AVL card for access of the Alabama Virtual Library in the Course Instructions. This is important, as all online sources should come from AVL ONLY. If you haven’t already signed up, do so immediately if not sooner – See GSCC website for the main library link or click on the following URL to find AVL links.  http://www.gadsdenstate.edu/academics/library/index.php




Topic Proposal – Friday, November 15th. Send to me in an email with “Topic Proposal” and your topic title in the subject line  - In complete sentences, students must report their topic along with the specific aspects of the topic they will be researching. Include a skeleton outline, along with the first draft of your thesis statement. Send all in the message box of your email to luann_gladden@ecboe.org .


Use the following questions to discuss whether or not this will be a good topic for your project: 

·        What sources do you intend to use for your topic relating to a current issue? (This may change after doing your research!)

·        What is the main idea you intend to prove? (This may change after doing your research!)

·        List the supporting ideas that prove your main idea is true. (This may change after doing your research!)

·        What kind of conclusion might be drawn from your idea? (This may change after doing your research!)


Your topic should be based on a current event. The following is a listing of current topics that have proven to be debatable. You may find that there is another topic that might fall into the argumentation pattern. Shoot me an email, and we’ll decide if it’s a viable subject.  


Topic choices – you are to develop a statement or point referring to one of the following: economic issues here inthe US (be specific about which area you intend to research), economic problems in Greece and with the Euro; the current issues of the Democratic party, the Republican party, any other political party; proposed health care reforms for aspecific area such as changes for those without care, changes for those who already have insurance, current care of the elderly, etc.; a specific area of Obama’s presidency, George Bush’s presidency, or any other former president’s time in office if you can relate it to the present; the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, any other war fought by the United States if you can relate it to the present; the lack of a playoff system in college football, professional athletes in our society; increasing college tuition; ecological concerns; illiteracy; legalized gambling or lottery systems; illegal immigration; America’s relationship with Israel, America’s relationship with Muslim countries; gun control; the explosion of internet social tools; hate crimes, terrorism, military misconduct involving prisoners, civil rights; obesity, AIDS, autism, child abuse, SIDS, attention deficit disorder, any other disorder or disease with which you may have some concerns; or  any other topic that you might feel strongly enough about to write a research paper.




Plagiarism Promise – The following is due no later than Friday, November 15th - Read the following plagiarism tutorials, copy and paste the Promise to an email and send it with “plagiarism promise” in the subject line.  http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/plagiarismtutorial/pages/bcs-main.asp?s=01000&n=00010&i=01010.01&v=chapter&o=|00020|00030|00410|00010|&ns=0&uid=0&rau=0






Plagiarism Promise

I promise that I understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. I also promise to use my own work and honor the work of others by citing my sources in all research. If I have any problems understanding how to cite any source, I will contact Mrs. Gladden with a copy of the questionable sentences.



Original draft of Works Cited page – Tuesday, November 19th - Save it in a Word document and attach it to an email with “WorksCited” in the subject line - Students must turn in 6 to 8 bibliographic sources in which they THINK they can find appropriate information. If the original sources don’t pan out, be sure to replace them with others so you have at least 4 sources for your final draft (at least one should be a physical source, something you can hold in your hand, others may be on the internet via AVL) - one each from non-reference books, reference books, periodicals, and multimedia sources - 6-8 sources total.


Remember there are examples of the entire research paper in the blue handbook!


Great step by step resource for the whole paper!!! http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/Research_Tip_Sheets.asp

Resources on putting together a Works Cited page  http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocMLA.html

Basic rules for a Works Cited page http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/

For help with the format of basic resources, use the following site:  http://citationmachine.net/


* Use the Alabama Virtual Library for your online sources. AVL actually includes the citation for you in a link on the front page of the article.  Be sure to look for the MLA documentation! Those sources not found on AVL will require special permission. 


Research Procedures – Collect 25 total quotes, summaries or paraphrases from your selected sources (25 x 2 =50 pts) Using www.evernote.com to collect the information.


See the following link for reasons why the selection of online sources is so very important.  In fact, you may want to use a website evaluation form to help you in your selection of resources to use.  http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/eval.html

And a great website for why citation is necessary (Added by an astute group of learners from Lexington, Massachusetts!) http://www.marcaria.com/internet-resources-on-citing-the-trademark-of-a-good-writer.asp



Recording research information – Since our assignment is totally online, there is no need to do traditional note cards as the cut & paste technique seems to have replaced the reason for note cards. The purpose of note cards has always been to make it easy to classify and divide pertinent information as you gather information you think you might want to use to support your thesis and later make connections and rearrange the gathered material into manageable paragraphs – your rough draft. 


Now you can cut and paste your source information and your own summarizations easily within your rough draft. Note, however, that cut & paste only works when directly quoting a source. In that case, the correct use of quotation marks will appropriately indicate you are quoting a source exactly.   Here is a source to guide you in making notes about your topic. It will help you during your invention/prewriting process of researching and gathering material to use in your rough draft.


Other helpful links to help you get started

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/658/05/ Howdo I begin?

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/619/01/ Paraphrasing and Summarizing


A new source I am trying out this semester is Evernote, an online notecard system.  Evernote seems to be catching on in the business world as well and has an app for my Android phone. I’m currently learning to make grocery lists and “to do” lists on Evernote!  I think it will be a great source for organizing your research assignment.  www.evernote.com



* Be careful! When gathering your ideas, indicate whether you are saving an exact quote or you are summarizing or paraphrasing the material as you record it. It is easy to forget exactly what you did if you don’t record specific source information (How do I get back to it?) and the format of the material you have saved. Plagiarism is often committed at this stage; however, using forgetfulness as an excuse (I forgot that Icopied that word for word!) is NOT AN EXCUSE.




Outline, thesis statement & attention grabber (intro sentence) - Wednesday, November 20th – Save it in a Word document and attach to an email with “Outline/thesis/attention grabber” in the subject line” - See information on thesis statements in your text and handbook (page numbers cited in previous assignments). Here are additional websites that will benefit you. Remember that your thesis statement is the overall controlling idea of the entire paper.  This is the step where you take your gathered ideas and begin putting them in a sensible pattern that will introduce your overall idea through your thesis statement and introductory paragraph and thus support that idea with your research. THIS IS THE PATTERN FOR YOUR PAPER!

http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/mla/outlines.shtml   Outline definition and examples

http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/NewOutlineMaker/NewOutlineMakerInput.aspx  Outline Maker

http://www.eths.k12.il.us/manual_of_form_and_style/outlining.html Why outline? Examples

http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/13_Thesis_Statement.asp  Thesis statements

http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml How to develop a thesis statement



Rough draft – Wednesday, November 27th  - Save it in a Word document and attach it in an email with “rough draft”in the subject line.

Websites that may help you begin your rough draft.

http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/mla/format.shtml  Formatting an MLA paper      IMP!!!!!


http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/ Formatting


http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/658/05/ Howdo I begin?

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/619/01/ Paraphrasing and Summarizing


http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocMLACitation_Info.html Documenting/citing within your paper

http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/mlaparen.html  Parenthetical documentation


http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/introtags.html List of introductory tag words


Do NOT use MSWord INSERT for anything except last name/page numbers in top right handcorner.


Rubrics – Please copy and paste BOTH rubrics to the end of your Works Cited page and before your Outline. (Essay first, Works Cited,rubric, Outline) Leave BOTH rubrics on your paper for the final draft grading.Thanks!


Rough Draft (  /100)

Attach as a Word document to an email sent to luann_gladden@ecboe.org . Save with your last name

Typed/format(  /20)- margins, Times New Roman or Calibri 12 font, double-spaced throughout,  indented paragraphs – one tab, 1st page format (left hand header on first page only) and page numbers on each page (INSERTED last name and page number at top righthand). Remember!!!!  No title page, footnotes, end notes, or section headings should be used in my research papers.

Length(  /20) – Essay between 3 and 4 typed, Works Cited page is in addition to the research paper

WorksCited page (  /20) – number (4-6 sources, no more than one without an author), variety (books, multi-media, periodicals, resource – two must be physical sources that you show me along with printed copies or articles used from AVL for an additional 10 point grade –due date TBA) correct format according to MLA 2009 (alphabetized, hanging indent), corrections from 1st example (author, source, publication information and punctuation/capitalization corrected)

Documentation within essay(  /20) – correct formatting and number (at least one from each source), variety (at least 2 parenthetical;at least 2 in-text; at least four short quotes from your sources; examples of paraphrasing and summarization; only one long quote; each must correspond with Works Cited page

Structure(  /20) - attempts argumentative/exemplification pattern, outline after works cited



FinalDraft (  /100)

Corrections made from the rough draft (  /20)

Content (  /50) – introduction & conclusion which mirrors the introduction and reiterates the thesis, creative attention getter, thesis highlighted in introductory paragraph, appropriate paragraphing

Correct grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage (  /30)


MUST BE YOUR OWN WORK OR MUST ACCURATELY SUMMARIZE, PARAPHRASE, OR QUOTE, USING CORRECT MLA DOCUMENTATION OF YOUR USE OF ANOTHER’S IDEAS. ANY PLAGIARISM WILL RESULT IN 0/50 points!  The other 50 points will be based on a variety of factors with plagiarism weighing heavily in the decision.




Final draft – Due one week after it is returned to you via email.After returning all rough drafts, I will announce the exact date for your return of the final draft. Attach your Word document to an email with “final draft” in the subject line.


After searching your class notes, books, and websites and STILL not finding answers to the issues that WILL occur to each of you, please send me a message with pertinent info such as your topic and questions about your problem, and I will personally join in your search for the answer.  However, I must receive your request at least a week before the final due date or three days before the other due dates. I WILL NOT take issues on the day it’s due (enough said) and CANNOT help you the day before as I will be searching for your answer the night after I receive your request and  may not be able to get an answer to you until the next day.  START EARLY!



Good luck!