Research Project Page English 11 Research Paper

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English 11 Research Paper

Writing a research paper is probably one of the most important skills you will learn in the English classroom because the research process is one you will implement over and over in high school, in college, and possibly in your chosen profession. The process and product of this research paper reflects weeks of self-discipline and years of acquired skills. For this research paper, each step in the process is vital and must be completed before you go on to the next step.
Topic: American conspiracy theory, mystery, myth or urban legend.

One of the most interesting topics in American history is the history that never happened. These are the stories we learned in school, often read in history books or heard so many times that we came to know as fact but in reality, they may have never happened.

It will be your job to create a logical argument, using the rhetorical techniques you have learned so far in class, to support or refute your chosen American conspiracy theory, mystery, myth or urban legend.

Only one student per class period can research the same person. All topic selections must be finalized by October 22nd.
Note: If you have an excused absence for any day when a portion of the paper is due, it must be turned in on the next day you are in class in order for you to receive credit for the work. The responsibility lies with you to communicate with the teacher. If you have an unexcused absence on any due date, you forfeit points for the work.
The total project is worth A LOT of points. On November 26th, 2012, you will submit the final project as listed in the research paper contract (the last page of this handout) to by midnight November 25th, 2012. Your research paper will be turned in the next day at the BEGINNING of class.

Research Paper Guidelines

The Junior English research paper is a synthesis of ideas obtained through in-depth reading/study on an approved myth or legend. The information gleaned from the research will be fused into a well-organized, carefully crafted paper, using internal documentation to verify the source of each piece of information. The MLA Handbook is the authority on form.

You will be given specific instructions that must be followed for typing the paper. Handwritten papers will not be accepted. Keep all annotated research documentation and drafts.


You will need the following:

computer access

library card

large mailing envelope

blue or black pen, red pen, highlighters (different colors)

USB drive (optional, but encouraged) OR google documents for free online storage


This research Unit is broken into several distinct parts.

  • Annotated Research Copies

  • Outline

  • Works Cited

  • Argument Essay

  • Speech Presentation


The final paper is 3-5 pages.

Each part of this assignment will be introduced and discussed by your instructor. The final two components, along with the compiled documents from the entire project, will be due on November 26th, 2012.


You will need 6 sources for this unit. WIKIPEDIA is NOT PERMITTED but is a great place to start.
Illustrations, etc.

Illustrations, charts, graphs, cartoons, etc., may be used but will not count as a page of text and they must be cited using proper MLA format and they must appear on your works cited page.

Selecting a Topic

1. Consider subjects that interest you. Make sure you are interested in your myth or fable.

2. Consider the availability of sources for your topic. Some topics might be more difficult than others to research merely based on the availability of sources.

3. Focus your topic. Many of the topics listed are too broad for the project assigned. Therefore, you have to consider narrowing your focus of the topic. Think about what aspect of your topic could be researched. Sometimes the research process will accomplish this task for you.

Research Questions

Remember that you must select a topic that is a myth or fable in American history. You cannot merely provide the background or history of your topic. A research paper must prove something- this is a persuasive paper. You must prove that your topic somehow happened or did not happen or exist.

The following are some suggested topics for this assignment. It is your responsibility to carefully consider each topic and anticipate any difficulties in locating sources for this project. Please make an educated choice in an area that you have interest in studying.

Walt Disney Cryogenically Frozen Lost Dutchman Mine

Bigfoot Hudson River Monster

What really happened in Salem? Was James Dean’s car cursed?

George Washington and the Cherry Tree Marilyn Monroe killed by the Kennedys

Area 51 The Curse of the Hope Diamond

Pecos Bill The Curse of the Winchester’s- Winchester Mystery House

Area 51/ Antigravity La Llorona

Roswell Crash ESP

Death of Marilyn Monroe Bigfoot

Assasinations of: Aurora Texas UFO crash- 1847

JFK Lights Over Phoenix

Bear Lake Monster- Utah Crop Circles

Organ Theft Skinwalker

Is Elvis Dead? The Bilderbergs

Men in Black Hauntings- Are they valid? You must choose a

Freemason Society (Knights Templar) specific haunted place to research for this one.

The Holy Grail

Jersey Devil For more ideas:

Moon Landing

The Chupacabra

Secret Weaponry

Reverse engineering of alien technology

Montauk/ Philadelphia Experiment

CIA Psychic Research and Remote Viewing

Skull and Bones Society

Prison Planet- Electronic Monitoring Chips

Black Helicopters

Government Monitoring (Internet, phone, Library Books, etc..)

Doomsday/ End of the world

Dark Matter

Amelia Earhart


Hidden Symbols on the dollar bill

Bermuda Triangle

Student Name: ________________________________________Period: ___________

Your son/daughter is required to complete an American Studies research paper. There are a number of steps we will complete both in and out of class towards this paper and the FINAL paper will be due to me on Monday, November 26, 2012. Below you will find the deadlines for each section of this project. If you have any questions, please email me at
My Topic Is: ____________________________________________________
1. Parent Signature Due: 10/22 _________HW

2. Topic Choice Due: 10/22 _________HW

3. Annotated Sources Due: 10/29 _________MP

4. Working Thesis Statement/ Outline Due: 10/29 _________MP

5. Works Cited Draft 1 Due: 11/5 _________HW

6. Argumentation Final Essay ( Due: 11/26 _________MP

7. Speech Presentation/ Outline Due: 12/3 _________MP
I will help your son/daughter with each step and will be available via email to answer questions along the way.

I understand that my son/daughter is required to complete a Junior English Research Paper. I have approved their choice of topic .Due to the importance of this project and the high number of points, I will attempt to encourage my child to complete this project in a timely manner. I also understand that if the final essay and works cited are not completed and handed in by November 26th that my son/daughter will receive no credit for the these portions of the assignment. I understand that plagiarism results in a referral and a zero on the assignment. Last, I am aware that if my son/daughter does not submit the final draft to that he or she will not receive any credit on the final draft. I also understand the penalties accrue daily (not per day we have class—excluding weekends). If I have any questions I understand I can email Mrs. Varela at

________________________________ ______________________ ____________

Parent/Guardian Name Signature Date

________________________________ ______________________ ___________

Student Printed Name Signature Date

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