ENG 122 11.2: Academic Research Papers

Today’s Plan:

  • Tuesday, November 7th: Meeting in Library
  • Quick Editing Quiz
  • Introduce Final Paper Assignment
  • Research Question Free Write
  • Research “Quiz”
  • Homework


Your library instruction has been scheduled for 11/7 from 3:30-4:45pm in Michener Library room 335.

Final Paper Assignment

Our final month this semester will be dedicated to developing one of your medium.com essays into a longer academic research paper. These papers need to be argumentative–either evaluating something, proposing a solution to a problem, critiquing a proposed solution to a problem, or attempting to define something complex, debated, or ambiguous. We will work in class to help develop research questions that reflect a genuine argument (no strawmen, please). In fact, as I will stress today, I want your papers to start with an authentic research question–one you do not know the answer to.

The final paper is expected to be 1500-2000 words in length, not counting the title page and the works cited or reference page. These papers will be in MLA or APA formatting; the format should be determined by your major (while there’s a range of citation styles, we are only going to focus on two. Use MLA if you are majoring in a humanity and APA if you are majoring in a science). Papers should use at least two academic, peer-reviewed sources. Papers striving for an “A” should use 3. Papers are expected to use a total of 8 sources, although this number is negotiable depending on the nature of your project and how much summation, explication, analysis, and/or critique you dedicate to a source. I will have you write a proposal in which you identify which sources you will use to illustrate your problem, and which sources help you develop a solution.

We will have a session in the library to help familiarize you with resources to find academic sources. Academic sources can be difficult to read, so we will work on how to navigate peer-reviewed scholarship in class. But our work this semester on attributing sources and working with other people’s ideas should help you integrate academic research into your argument. Academic formats have precise rules for citing sources, formatting quotes, and composing works cited/reference lists, but the basic semantic principles for bringing evidence into an argument transcend the specific requirements of any reference system.

Some of you might find it difficult to imagine how academic, peer-reviewed scholarship might contribute to your work. I can help! If you are working on a project that doesn’t seem “academic,” then talk to me and we can figure out how to proceed. Furthermore, some projects might benefit from conducting primary research, be it in the form of a survey, questionnaire, observation, interview, etc.
If you think your project would benefit from primary research, then we can discuss how many of the 8 required sources your research will replace.

We will work in the computer lab to develop a proposal for a final paper. Then we will meet in the library and you will try and find academic sources to integrate into your paper. You will sign up for a one-on-one conference with me as you are working on your rough draft. We will peer review rough drafts in progress before Thanksgiving. Polished rough drafts will be due the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; I will provide feedback over the break. Both before and after the break we will work on MLA and APA conventions in class, as well as examine the typical arrangement of longer academic papers.

Final papers submitted on or before December 3rd will be graded and returned by Tuesday December 5th. Students who 1) submit a draft of the paper before Thanksgiving and submit the revised final by December 3rd will have the option of revising the paper and re-submitting it for a final grade. The super-final due date for papers is Friday December 8th. Note that papers received after December 3rd will be graded without comments.


  • November 14th, Proposal due [I will give formal instructions for the proposal on Tuesday]
  • November 21st, Drafts of papers due for Peer Review
  • November 22nd, Drafts of papers due for Santos comments
  • December 3rd, Final papers due to be eligible for resubmission [note: resubmission is only possible if a draft was turned in on Nov 22nd]
  • December 8th, Absolute final day to turn in a paper


I have emailed out a .pdf from Booth’s Craft of Research. Please read the text and come prepared to discuss it in Tuesday’s class. By “prepared,” I mean that you should have two points in the text that you think are significant and you are prepared to tell us why they are significant (obviously, significant can mean any number of things here). Furthermore, you should prepare one question to ask about the reading.

Also, there is a discussion in Canvas called “Final Paper Research.” Please read one thing that can contribute to your final paper and write a summary and response to it there.

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