ENGLISH 111/009


Dr. Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI

This Project will give you an opportunity to:

Identify a topic that interests you
Develop a bibliography on that topic
Research the topic in depth
Share your research with other students
Read the research work of other students
Organize and write several papers about your findings

Working on this project will help you to learn how to find, organize, and write about information on the topic of your choice. You will also learn how other students work and share your work with them. You will use the Internet for much of your research. Internet and research/writing skills are useful both in school and in the workplace. This page offers an overview of the entire project, starting in Unit 2 and continuing through the end of Unit 4. 

Select a Topic 

First you will be asked to select a topic. Since much of your course work will be based on your research project topic, it is important to find something to work on that is substantial, narrowly focused, and really interests you. You will write three different papers about this topic:


an essay exploring a single problem and possible solutions in your topic;
a documented research report essay about your topic;
an essay arguing for or against an issue connected to your topic.

The purpose of focusing so much writing on a single topic is to allow you to gain knowledge about something that interests you. It is much easier to write when you know a lot about your topic. This will be satisfying if your topic is well-chosen. However, if you select a topic you really don't care about, it could become very tedious to keep working on it, and if the topic is not substantial, you will have trouble finding enough reliable material about it, and you will become bored working with such limited material.


After selecting a topic, you will do a bibliography search. Researchers always begin their research by doing a search of the literature to find out what is currently known and being studied about the topic of their interest. This is why you will begin with a bibliography search of a topic you think you'd like to work on. Your first topic choice may prove unworkable after you do a bibliography search, in which case, you will be able to modify it or change to a different topic. 

You will search on the Internet, which means that some of the material you find will be wonderful, but other material you find may be unreliable, so you will need to evaluate the quality of each article or web site you locate.


After you have settled on a topic and completed a successful bibliography of at least ten current, relevant sources, you will write analytic summaries of two articles on your topic. Doing this will help you to read critically and get detailed information about your topic.


Next you will plan and write an essay exploring some problem you have identified in your area of research. You may need to do more research to get information to support this essay. You are not expected to solve the problem, but you will need to examine possible solutions. You will be expected to use parenthetic documentation to indicate the sources of your information for this essay.


By now, you will be ready to write up your findings on your topic in your substantial Research Report. You will plan it carefully, using an outline to organize your material. You may need more information on your topic as you work, so be ever ready to return to the Internet or a library to get just the right articles to answer your most interesting questions.


You will learn how to identify, develop and support an argument on your selected research topic. You will take a position about some aspect of your topic and use supporting material from your research project. Then you will prepare an outline for your Argument Essay. This will become the plan for Exam 3.


Finally, you will write Exam 3--an essay arguing either pro or con some issue you uncovered while doing your Research Project. Again, if you need more information, go get it! This last essay should be fairly easy to write, since you will have spent so much time getting to know your topic.

Return to Unit 2

(c) Diane Thompson:11/7/1998; updated: 03/21/2007