Research Assignment Instructions &Topics
• Each research topic has a designated number of slots. Slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve
basis. Students MUST sign-up for their topic via Canvas. Any student who has not selected a topic
by the end of week 2 will be assigned one.
• This is a research assignment. The paper must be at least six full pages in length but should not
o A full-page means that one more character stroke would advance to the next page.
The page count does not include the works cited page. The works cited page(s), is paginated as the
last page of the essay and is not turned in as a separate document.
• Using the library databases, research to find three-four critical texts (secondary sources) over the
work(s) about which you are writing. (Do NOT use a source found through an internet search
engine, like Google.) Use the limiter “peer-reviewed” to help ensure that your sources are scholarly.
Books of literary criticism are also acceptable.
• The paper must have a solid introduction that introduces the work and the ideas presented, ending
with a strong, effective thesis statement. The introduction should be followed by carefully
developed body paragraphs that use examples from the primary source (the actual poem(s) or short
story in the textbook), and secondary sources (critical literary criticism) that support the main idea
(thesis) established in the introduction. The paper should end with a conclusion that restates the
thesis and summarizes the points made throughout the essay. Block or long quotations are not
• Students must cite from both the primary source and the secondary sources. Students must
work to ensure that the source material is used to support their ideas and assertions about the text.
Citations must be in the correct MLA format for the type of source you are citing. (Poetry has a very
specific format; execute it properly).
• There must be entries on the works cited for all cited material.
• Write using only the third person and avoid clichés. Grammar and spelling should be perfect!
• Do not summarize and re-tell the plot. Do not give a bibliography of the author. Your goal is to
provide an insightful analysis of the work.
• Give your essay a unique title. Using the title of the poem or short story is not unique – it has
already been used – nor is naming your essay after the assignment appropriate.
• These assignment due dates vary, check your syllabus and Canvas for the most accurate information.
Regarding due dates and times. Submit this assignment in Canvas.
Students should expect severe point deductions for the following violations:
o Papers that do not meet the length requirement or which use too few or too many sources
or which do not use the correct types of sources
o Essays not formatted in correct MLA format or that has sources not cited in correct MLA
o Not citing source material used, whether from primary or secondary sources, is
plagiarism and will result in a failing grade for the assignment.
Students may have to read their text or the research paper before it is studied or
addressed in class.
Pace yourself and please feel free to visit me during office hours to ensure that you
are on the right track as you research and compose your paper.
Research Paper Topics
Topics- Option 1 (due October 20, 2022)
A. Using either or both of the Native American creation stories, construct an argument that
discusses what Native American literature reveals about the Natives’ view of nature, religion,
B. Discuss how Anne Bradstreet or Mary Rowlandson’s work(s) showcase their station as women
in Colonial society and discuss their uses of imagery (religious or otherwise) and its effect on
C. Define the ideal American during the Colonial era. Use two pieces from this literary period to
support your definition. Discuss any characteristics that have withstood the test of time when
characterizing an American.
Topics- Option 2 (due November 11, 2022)
A. The Enlightenment society’s worldview differs from the worldview held by Puritan settlers.
Choose an author and his or her work that best exemplifies the change in society’s views of self,
community, and God/religion.
B. Examine the ways that Enlightenment ideals shaped Crevecoeur’s Letters from An American
Farmer. Think of the internal conflicts Farmer John experiences, how Natives, slavery, and other
experiences are viewed as compared to the colonial view of those same experiences.
Topics- Option 3 (Due November 17, 2022)
A. Analyze the transcendental elements in the poetry of William Cullen Bryant.
B. Choose a single author and work assigned under the Romantic Age and analyze the ways that the
selected text represents the principles of American Romanticism.
C. Choose a work that addresses the condition of the American slave and or the slave system,
written during the Romantic Era. Identify and analyze the romantic elements of the piece and
discuss the perplexity of a democratic nation engaging in and defending the enslavement of
Africans and their descendants.