English 202: The Researched Analysis

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English 202: The Researched Analysis
So far in this class, you have written literary essays using only your own analysis as your means of support. For this essay, you will use your own analysis in conjunction with your research to develop your thesis.
Choose a writer from our text (preferably one we’ve studied) and research that writer’s life and work. Allow your research to narrow your topic. Here are some sample topics:

  1. Ernest Hemingway and minimalism

  2. William Faulkner and the southern grotesque

  3. Sherman Alexie drawing on his Native American culture

  4. Robert Frost and blank verse; Frost and modernism; Frost’s use of natural imagery; Frost’s use of farm life

  5. Sylvia Plath and confessional poetry

  6. Gerard Manley Hopkins and natural imagery, praise poems, religion

  7. Emily Dickinson and science, faith; Dickinson and her treatment of death

  8. Elizabeth Bishop and imagery

  9. Lucille Clifton and feminism, religion, political poetry

  10. Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

  11. Wilfred Owen’s treatment of war

  12. Gary Soto and his evocation of the Mexican-American experience

  13. Tennessee Williams and the biographic details of The Glass Menagerie

  14. Kate Chopin and censorship

  15. Walt Whitman as America's bard

  16. Lorna Dee Cervantes and Chicana literature

  17. Theodore Roethke and natural imagery and/or Northwest poetry

  18. Gwendolyn Brooks and social justice

  19. Wallace Stevens and modernism

  20. William Bulter Yeats and his cosmology

  21. John Keats and his use of the ode form

  22. Sharon Olds and her use of biographic details in her poetry

  23. Raymond Carver and minimalism; Carver and dirty realism


  1. To support your thesis...

● Use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries from primary sources (the work by your writer)

● Use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries from secondary sources (the literary criticism about your writer’s work, her time period, and/or literary movement)

● Use your own thinking.

  1. You’ll need to have at least four sources: 2 primary texts (this includes your text) and 2 critical works (these can be biographical, autobiographical, or strictly critical). You should have at least 3 direct quotations and at least 8 citations.

  1. Make proper use of MLA format in your 4-6 page research essay.

  1. Research a writer you have encountered in this class. If you write about Ernest Hemingway, then you should read more of his stories. This reading is in addition to the biographical or autobiographical reading you do.

  1. Turn in your essay to me, with outline, drafts and peer review, and turn it in to Turnitin.


  1. Keep meticulous notes and photocopies and printouts as you research.

  2. Allow time for your thesis to evolve.

  3. Don’t plagiarize.

  4. See the web page for a student model.

  5. Review pages 1166 – 1191 for information on writing a research paper. See also pgs. 1144-1148 for another model of a research essay.

  6. Do not cite encyclopedias in a college research essay (inclding Wikipedia).

  7. Use Credible Sources. Steer clear of wide-open Googling. Use the library databases and stacks as much as possible. This site gives you more about evaluating sources: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/1/

For example, if I Google “Raymond Carver,” I find this credible source: http://dept.kent.edu/english/RCR/index.html

and this non-credible source: http://users.rcn.com/pcarson//carver/

These sources might be helpful:

  1. WVC Library Literary Criticism Page: http://commons.wvc.edu/library/Finding%20Literary%20Criticism/Home.aspx

This page is in addition to the many books we have on poetry and on poets, not to mention the videos.

  1. Poetry Magazine and Poetry Magazine’s Learning Lab:


  1. The Academy of American Poets: http://www.poets.org/

  2. Modern American Poetry: http://www.english.illinois.edu/MAPS/

MLA Format: 2009 Version
Online-Basic Book Format: last name, first name. Book Title. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication. Database or website. Medium. Access date.
Stevenson, Jay. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Philosophy. Indianapolis:

Alpha Books, 2002. Ebrary. Web. 21 Apr. 2009.

Film or Video Recording: Title. Director. Distributor, year of release. Medium.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. RKO, 1946. Film.
Library Databases. The basic format is this: Title of database. Medium. Date Accessed.
Examples (double spaced like the real thing)

Bishop, Kyle. “Raising the Dead.” Journal of Popular Film & Television 35.4

(2008): 196-205. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2009.

CQ Researcher

Clemmit, Marcia. “Prostitution Debate.” CQ Researcher. 18.19 (2008): 433-456.

CQ Researcher Online. Web. 19 Nov. 2009.

Opposing Viewpoints

Peduzzi-Nelson, Jean. “Adult Stem Cells Are More Promising than Embryonic

Stem Cells”. Opposing Viewpoints: Stem Cells. Ed. Jacqueline Langwith.

Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.

Web. 18 Nov. 2009.

Academic OneFile

Walker, Angela L. “Preventing Unintentional Plagiarism: A Method for

Strengthening Paraphrasing Skills.” Journal of Instructional Psychology

35.4 (2008): 387-396. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Nov. 2009.

*See also the MLA handbook on the reference desk in the library. And this handy site:


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