ASU English 1102 Research Project Guidelines and Templates
The purpose of a research paper is for students to demonstrate their ability to create a coherent
argument on a chosen topic. A research project is often broken down to three parts: topic
proposal, bibliography (annotated or not), and the paper itself. You will complete all three for
your research project.
A word of caution in advance: I have to fail topic proposals, bibliographies, and papers for
plagiarism every semester, unfortunately. I cannot describe the disappointment I feel when I find
a plagiarized work! Always do your own work and give credit to ALL borrowed information!
1. You have two topics to choose from:
a. Recently, a European animal-rights group reported to authorities over 100 zoos
for abusing animals. Should zoos—or any other places where animals are held
b. Age, physiology, and mental maturity have often been cited as benchmarks for
adulthood. At what point in their lives do people become adults?
2. As the first step of the research project, you will create a topic proposal. (See below).
3. As the second step, you will gather research sources about your chosen topic and
assemble them in a bibliography. (See below).
4. As the third/last step, you will write the actual paper on the topic you developed in the
topic proposal and using the sources you listed on the bibliography. As you research and
write the paper, you can add to and/or delete from your original bibliography list. Your
research paper must contain your sources on its last page. This page should be title Works
Cited (not Bibliography).
5. Your research paper must be between 1000 and 1250 words. Writing more than required
is as bad as not meeting the minimum. If your paper falls below the required minimum, it
cannot receive higher than 70. If it exceeds 1250, I will deduct a grade for every
additional 50 words.
6. To determine whether the paper meets the required length, I will count the words
(Microsoft Word will) between the first word of the introduction and the last word of the
conclusion. Therefore, the header, the title, and the works-cited-page entries will not be
included in the count.
The Topic Proposal
1. Your topic proposal should be approximately 3/4 to 1 page long, based on MLA
formatting rules. (See the “Formatting Documents in MLA” handout.)
2. It should contain the following in paragraph format (not bullets):
a. Your chosen topic.
b. Your working (still moldable) thesis. (Make sure it is clear form your TP which
sentence is your thesis, so I can comment on it.)
c. A justification for choosing this topic, such as its importance to you and/or to
d. At least three preliminary points you think you might discuss in the paper. Add
enough details so your reader (I) can form a clear-enough picture of your
e. Where you will look for research sources (i.e. libraries, online databases, etc.).
3. Your topic proposal can be written in the first person (I plan to discuss….) but not your
4. All in all, your topic proposal must sell me your topic. You must convince me—your
audience—that your topic is vital to be researched and written about and that you are
enthusiastic about your topic and are prepared to thoroughly research it.
5. NOTE: a TP is NOT simply the first couple of paragraphs of your paper!
6. Look below for the TP and bibliography template.
1. Your bibliography must contain at least the following (minimum of five) sources:
a. At least two scholarly books (print or e-books),
b. At least two scholarly articles from academic journals,
c. At least one respectable/credible, nationally recognized website.
d. You are required to include the above in your paper. If you wish, you can add any
other sources, as long as they are credible. (See below.)
e. Not including these required sources will severely affect the quality and grade of
your bibliography and/or your research paper.
2. Here are some credible sources in order of importance (the closer to the bottom of the list, the less
suitable for serious academic research):
a. Books on your topic, written by experts on the subject. Can be print or e-books. (Your
textbook cannot be one of the books.)
b. Scholarly articles written by experts. You can find such articles in academic journals at
libraries or online at ASU’s libraries. Ask a librarian for help.
c. Articles found online (as the result of a Google/Google Scholar search) but written by
d. Articles published on .org, .edu, and .gov websites.
e. Articles published in credible national magazines and newspapers.
f. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. (references in which headers are organized
alphabetically) are credible sources but CANNOT be one of your five required sources.
3. Non-credible sources are (these you cannot use):
a. Sources that do not reveal their authors.
b. Wikipedia.org (it does not list authors)
c. .com websites are NOT allowed, unless they are affiliated by credible newspapers
(newyorktimes.com), magazines (forbes.com), and television stations (cnn.com). (The
sites in parentheses are examples; you can use others as long as they are credible.)
d. There are some college-paper selling websites, such as shmoop.com, essays123.com,
sparksnotes.com, and others. I hope you do not even consider visiting these sites, let
alone citing them as your sources!
4. Sources and citations MUST be formatted according to MLA guidelines you learned in this class.
(MLA 8th edition).
5. Look below for the combined topic proposal and bibliography template.
Dr. Anita Underwood
14 April 2019
Research Topic Proposal
As your topic proposal, include the following information in paragraph format (approximately
three-quarters of a page to one page double-spaced):
Which topic do you wish to discuss? What is your thesis (argument/claim)? (Make sure I can
identify your thesis, so I can comment on it.) What makes your topic worthy of discussing in a
research paper? Include at least three preliminary ideas you plan to discuss. Where will you look
for research sources?
Your TP must be about 3/4-1 page.
Avoid bulleting your ideas; write in paragraph format.
Dr. Anita Underwood
26 April 2019
Avery, Tamlyn E. “The Crisis of Coming of Age in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and the Late
Harlem Bildungsroman.” Limina, vol. 20, no. 2, Dec. 2014, pp. 1-17. Galileo,
www.galileo.org/Coming of Age_Battle Royal_Ralph Ellison.
Claxton, Mae Miller. “Migrations and Transformations: Human and Nonhuman Nature in
Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.” Southern Literary Journal, vol. 47, no. 2, Spring 2015,
pp. 73-88. Galileo, www. galileo/human nature_ A Worn Path_Eudora Welty
Dilgen, Regina. “Addressing Ageism through Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.” Radical Teacher,
no. 98, Winter 2014, pp. 62-63. Galileo, www.galileo.org/ageism_ A Worn Path_ Eudora
Howells, William Dean. “Editha.” Norton Anthology of American Literature, 1865-1914. Vol. C,
th ed. General editor, Robert S. Levin, Norton, 2017, pp. 353-363.
Quawas, Rula. “A New Woman’s Journey into Insanity: Descent and Return in the Yellow
Wallpaper.” AUMLA: Journal of the Australasian University of Modern Language
Association, no. 105, May 2006, pp. 35-53. EBSCOhost, proxygsudar1.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=h
Rao, K. V. Rama. “The Yellow Wallpaper—a Dynamic Symbol: A Study of Charlotte Perkins
Gilman’s Story.” Poetcrit, vol. 19, no. 1, Jan. 2006, pp. 38-44. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-
Dr. Anita Underwood
5 May 2019
Engaging Title Comes Here
Your research paper should be an argument. Take on a controversial topic, find at least
three discussible points, and discuss/support your points with details from your chosen research
sources. A research paper is just like any other paper: it must have an introduction with a good
rhetorical hook, a bridge, and a thesis. The thesis must express the argument. It must have body
paragraphs that open with a topic sentence and include supporting details and a meaningful
transitioning sentence. The paper must close with a conclusion.
Because it is a research paper and you must write at least 1000 words, it will contain
more than three body paragraphs. Organize your ideas and supporting details effectively, so your
point is presented and discussed in a way that is clear to your reader. The conclusion should not
include new ideas/material but should summarize key points and close with a final thought.
The paper must be accompanied by a Works Cited page. Essentially, it will be your
bibliography (with the same or some changed sources), but it will be called Works Cited, not
Bibliography. Because you will be using sources, these sources must be cited inside the paper as
well. Not including in-text citations is a form of plagiarism and will result in a failing paper.
Please do not write fewer than a 1000 words because if you do, your paper will receive a
Format your paper and citations according to MLA rules. After the amount of time we
spent on learning about MLA through our textbook, my MLA handouts, and the quizzes, there is
no excuse for messing up citations.
Proofread the paper to avoid mistakes. A research paper is the highest academic
achievement. Sloppy writing cannot be excused.
Use the Writing Centers for help. If you do, you will not only gain an extra five points (if
you submit proof along with your paper), but you will also advance your writing skills.
If it is plagiarized, the paper will fail, plain and simple.
Add your Bibliography at the end of the paper, but title it Works Cited, NOT
Bibliography. You can add and delete sources from your original bibliography, but only as long
as you still have the minimum required number and type of sources.