Research Paper

Read How to Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Research Paper 

The purpose of this composition assignment is to:

·         Foster analytical and critical thinking skills  

·         Increase students competency in reading and writing 

·         Create connections between personal perspectives with the ideas of others particularly through the use of books

·         Display a strong argument remembering an event, explaining concepts, and synthesize critical analysis about both book 

·         Demonstrate the ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate personal assertions through a logical line of reasoning. 

Students are expected to do more than merely interpret the stories. In an eight-page paper discuss and elaborate one literary (character, plot, theme, setting, tone, point of view) element from How to Kill A Mocking Bird. This assignment requires citations from four to six outside sources (with five years); works cited page; and proper MLA documentation.


Order of the Research Paper Packet:

·         Research Paper (on top)

·         Works Cited 

·         Annotated Bibliography (fifteen entries of academic sources within five years)

·         Outline of Research Paper






How to Find Sources for your Research Paper

1. Make sure you have completed the steps in the “How to Prepare” page.

2.  You should have read your story (at least once), taken notes and highlighted, and decided upon an element of style. 

3.  Now to begin research!


o    Expert Tip: You will not find sources that fit all of the elements you have chosen in number two above. These choices are unique to you and it is highly unlikely you will find another person who chose those exact topics. That’s okay! Professor Diaz-Cooper does not expect that!

o    Instead: You are tasked with finding information about your story, your author, and your chosen element of style independent from one another. Your job as a writer and reader is to connect these pieces together.

§  Example: Story- Cinderella, Element of Style- Character, Focus- Step-sibling relationships can be difficult. 

§  So I would conduct research on Cinderella. Next, I would conduct research on Charles Perrault, the original author of Cinderella. Finally, I would conduct research on step-siblings (not in relation to or with any connection to the story, Cinderella).

4. How do I do this? 


o    First, you are going to conduct a search in our databases with the title of the story you have chosen. Gather articles and eBooks that analyze the story.

o    Second, you are going to conduct a search in our databases with the name of your author. Authors, like any artist, do not create their works in a vacuum. Their writing is effected by the events in their life. Gather articles and eBooks about your author’s life.

o    Finally, you are going to conduct a search in our databases on your element of style. To continue with the example above, this is when I would search for “step-siblings”, or “blended families”.

o    Remember, when you turn in your Research Paper, you will also be including an Annotated Bibliography. This means you need to find fifteen sources when you are conducting your research.

o    Each source you find must be within a five-year date limit. This means that you cannot use research published before 2015.




Grading format



This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome SUPPORT

Uses evidence appropriately and effectively, providing sufficient evidence and explanation to convince.

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome ORGANIZATION & COHERENCE

Well organized, developed; displays unity, coherence, and progression; uses appropriate details, explanations; logical structure appropriate to paper’s subject, purpose, audience, thesis; Sophisticated in use of transitional sentences, interconnected ideas from sentence to sentence, from one paragraph to paragraph; easy to identity logical relationships of ideas.


This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome STYLE

Displays consistent facility in the use of language, demonstrates syntactic variety; Chooses words for their precise meaning and uses an appropriate level of specificity. Sentence style fits paper’s audience and purpose. Sentences are varied, yet clearly structured and carefully focused, not long and rambling.

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome MECHANICS

Almost entirely free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome IDEAS

Addresses topic and excels in responding to assignment, interesting; demonstrates thoughtful sophistication. Central ideas/thesis is clearly communicated, worth developing; limited enough to be manageable. Paper recognizes some complexity of its thesis: may acknowledge its contradictions, logical implications; (if a research paper) it understands and critically evaluates sources, appropriately limits and defines terms


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