English 102
Research Paper and Presentation Assignments

For this assignment, you need to choose a person, place, issue, or event that deals with American Literature or history.  If you choose a person, (such as a writer, artist, or historically significant person), you need to include some biographical information and a discussion of his/her work or contribution.  For example, if you choose an artist or writer, you can focus on one primary work, two or three specific ones, or about their work in general.  It’s up to you.  For most of the writers and artist, you will be able to find how other people have critiqued their work, which will help your discussion.
If you choose to write about an event or issue, you will need to define the scope of your research. By this I mean if you are going to talk about the exploitation of natural resources, which resources will you focus on?  There’s water, natural gas, soil, uranium, trees, and wildlife to name just a few.  If you want to discuss the Chinese presence in the west, you will need to narrow it down to perhaps their involvement with the construction of the railroad or the racial discrimination they experienced.  Avoid topics that will be impossible to cover adequately in 6 – 8 pages. You also want to remember that this is not simply a report on your topic.  You need to have a thesis driven position that reflects your beliefs and conclusions.
You need to use the MLA format in your papers. Be sure to cite all resources and include a work cited page.  Remember that the TMCC library web page and your handbook both have information on how to do this. Take a good look at the sample MLA essays both these resources have and use them as a model for your own paper.  The final product should be typed, titled, and with your name on it.  You will need to use 5 – 6 resources.

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