The research paper will be submitted via Canvas where it will go through plagiarism software (Turnitin). See the link Assignments then click on Research Paper. If you have any trouble submitting your research paper be sure to contact me before the due date. You must also submit a hard copy of the paper to me at the beginning of class the day the paper is due.
The research paper provides an opportunity for you to pursue, in depth, a topic of interest to you that is relevant to the course. The topic of the paper is flexible, but must be based on research. It is designed to help you think critically and analytically about a topic. You are to think about and analyze your subject offering evidence from your sources.
All papers must be word-processed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12-point type, MLA format with documentation of sources. Papers should be between 900 and 1200 words. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in failure for the course.
See the course calendar for the due dates for the research paper.
Your cover page should include the following information:
Course: U.S. Government I
Thesis: (This is one sentence that expresses your topic and what you hope to prove).
Reasons in support of thesis: (These constitute the body of your paper).
Reasons in support of counterargument (at least one from a strong source that argues for your counterargument.
In your research papers be sure to address the counterargument. Although you are to argue your position, you need to demonstrate that you have researched and understand the other side of the issue as well. You must demonstrate that you are able to explain both sides of a position in a way that is agreeable to the proponents of each side.
The Thesis Statement
The Thesis statement should be a very clear sentence that expresses your main idea or what you are claiming to prove. If you are not able to support this claim with empirical factual evidence, then you are merely speculating about some point.
As in natural science, your first thesis may in fact be a hypothesis; something you believe you can prove. However, if you are not able to factually support the thesis, then you must discard it and begin again with a new thesis.
Many students are confused about what a thesis statement should say. Think about stating clearly what is or is not happening. Stating something that is well known or trivial should be avoided. Stating something that is already established is also not a good basis for argument.
Example: Members of Congress represent the people in their districts and states.
This is an established fact—nothing to argue.
A good thesis states how one fact relates to another.
Example: Recent polling evidence suggests the American electorate is increasingly made up of low information voters.
In English classes, often you introduce your thesis statement with an attention getter or a quote. This is not necessary in argument. Do not gently introduce you thesis; get directly to the point of your response with a clear first sentence.
Most important, a thesis statement is not just what the response is about. It is a very definite statement expressing exactly what you intend to argue and it sets out that clear line of argument of the reader.
A good thesis statement should be:
A direct statement as opposed to an indirect or vague sentence.
A provable statement supported by factual evidence.
An important and meaningful subject rather than a trivial point.
A clear and impactful statement as opposed to vague prose.
Students requiring assistance with a writing assignment should contact the Writing Center office located in LR 250. Telephone 703-450-2511. For further information see http://www.nvcc.edu/loudoun/english/writingcenter/ (Links to an external site.) Appointments are required.
Recommended Texts for Research Papers
Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. Pearson, Longman.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Modern Language Association.
On-Line Resources – MLA citation style, view:
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/instruct/guides/citations.html (Links to an external site.).
Criteria for Grading Research Papers
Papers will be evaluated on a 100-point system. Criteria include:
Organization and Format/ Documentation and Citation of Data Sources in Text and Works Cited with a minimum of 6 sources – 20 points
Clarity/Quality of Content/Addressing the Counterargument – 25 points
Typed Paper with Cover Page – 10 points
Review and Discussion of Literature/Thinking/Analysis Evident – 25 points
Thoroughness/Conciseness – 20 points
You should proofread for spelling, grammar, and typographical errors before submitting your paper. Each infraction will incur a 1 point penalty.
For every 100 words over or under the word count limit a 10 point penalty will be deducted.
You must cite at least 6 sources properly using MLA and within the text. If 6 different sources are not cited properly 10 points will be deducted for each missing source (that means if you do not have any in text citations 60 points will be deducted).
You must use at least six outside sources, ALL of which must appear in a properly-formatted Works Cited page. Any work that appears in a list of works cited must be cited within the text itself. (That means there should be at least six different in-text citations.) Only TWO of the sources may be Internet-based. This restriction does not apply to database articles, even though, technically speaking, they are accessed using the Internet.
Four of your six sources must be articles from Peer Reviewed Journals. Peer Reviewed articles are checked and evaluated for accuracy and validity by scholars before publication and therefore, tend to be stronger sources than non-peer reviewed works. All of your sources must be cited properly in the text using MLA guidelines. This means that you must have page numbers with the citation in the text. If it does not have a page number it will not be counted as cited properly.
Please be sure to have a work cited page and complete MLA formatting
Attached is the cover page I made for this paper, feel free to edit any and all of the content if it will help to make a better paper 🙂