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ENGL212 -The Research Paper

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English 212

Winter Quarter 2022


Instructor:             Michael Scott

Office Hours:         by appointment

Required Texts:    Research Materials


Course Description:


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.




Your journey in this class will be to find ways to stay awake and alive.  You’re assignment is to examine your own obsessions and find in them the path you want to follow, the landscape you want to explore, through documents such as books, videos, websites, journals, music, art, interview, survey…  You want new eyes.  You want to see more thoroughly than you did before.  You want to evolve.  You want to capture with the iris of your mind the object of your desire: truth, beauty. 

Your writing this quarter will be an exploration of ideas that interest you.  You will journey into research by finding out what others have discovered in their search down a similar path, and you will incorporate their ideas and words into a document representing the amalgamation of their ideas and yours.  This synthetic process is nothing new.  Leslie Marmon Silko, of the Pueblo Laguna, talks of how the pueblos gathered ideas; “The Hegelian dialectic rang a bell for me,” she writes, “because I lived with people for whom it was within their nature to take in…”

The writing that you will do this quarter will reflect this journey.  This means you have a chance to be very creative.  The fundamental, technical requirements of English 102, incorporating sources accurately and consistently should only enhance your creative exploration.  We will of course continue to examine the concept of the thesis and the ways it energizes a piece of writing, ways to effectively express and organize ideas, and how to properly manage source material: these are essential skills you will need to take with you into other academic writing situations.  But we also have a door open for us, here…walk through it.  Try to write about something interesting to you, something that will be entertaining, interesting, and provocative for the reader, and enjoy the process of learning and expressing your vision while you still can.


Course Objectives and Desired Outcomes:

-to further explore the possibilities of the essay in an expanded form that incorporates other sources

-to practice using the MLA or other academic formats for writing research papers

-to sharpen our skills in critically evaluating sources

-to continue practicing critical skills in the editorial process and the continuing use of language

-to perfect skills in critical analysis, formal discussion, and oral presentation

-to critically explore the way themes, symbolism, and structure in art reveal deeper truths about the world


Life-long Learning: You will have a certain freedom in your writing, which means, hopefully, that you can all find some way to get “charged” about writing this quarter.  This also means that you will have some space to write about your own experiences, feelings and thoughts, subjects of self-reflection, which have an authentic relationship to the flow of your lives.  So, you have a responsibility to seek out ways to make this research experience meaningful to you.  Choosing a topic that you find interesting is a good place to start.  Think about the things you love or feel passionate about or the things that make you mad, things that will keep your interest during work on a longer research paper.  This is the only way to remain energized and interested, which will reflect significantly in your writing.  And while you are on this path, be prepared that some of your ideas, your perceptions, may change, so keep a critical and open mind.

Collaborative Learning: We come with different learning styles and different life experiences, and it is fundamental that we respect those differences during all of our collaborative work.

Peer Reviews: We will also practice editing and revising.  This editing will involve peer-group work.  The proposal, the outline, the annotated bibliography, and the rough draft of your paper will each go through a peer-group workshop in which you distribute copies of your work to a small group for editing.  You will then receive written feedback on your work and have the opportunity to revise it before turning it in for assessment. It is important that you include the peer responses you gave to your peer group members and the peer responses you received when you turn in each assignment for my evaluation.

Critical Thinking and Language Proficiency: The readings for this quarter will obviously range quite far in style and content.  But one thing in our approach will be consistent: we will read with a critical eye.  Now, this is not a negative attitude.   A critical eye is an eye of awareness.  Awareness of the overtly expressed ideas the writers present as well as the implied and suggested ideas that arise from a well-wrought symbol in literature.  Awareness of biases in an essay.  Awareness of methods for persuasion.   Awareness of themes that recur and new world-views that emerge.  It will be our mission to understand with “negative capability” (not to be confused with negativity) that allows us to suppress our automatic responses for a moment in order to more clearly see what is before us.  Then, with a syncretic mind, we will turn and consider the relationships between the ideas we encounter, what they have in common, and what they have to add to our understanding of the human experience.

Tutoring: College-Wide tutoring in all subjects is available all students in D 309.

Computer Center: Room D311.  Since all the writing assignments must be typed, if you do not have a typewriter or a word processor, you can use the computers on campus.

Another Thing: We come with different learning styles and different life experiences, and it is fundamental that we respect those differences. All of the collaborative work, therefore, will be done with the utmost respect.

Special Needs: Students with documented disabilities requesting class accommodations, requiring special arrangements in case of building evacuation, or have emergency medical information the instructor should know about are asked to contact the disability support services office.  Once the disability is verified with DSS you will be given a letter of accommodation to be handed to your instructor.



Topic Proposal: By the end of the second week everyone will choose a topic for research.  In a short paragraph, explain your topic, your reasons for selecting that topic, and some possible sources you might use to begin your writing. 

Outline with Thesis: The thesis and outline should be a fairly detailed, 1-3 page map of the paper you are writing.  The thesis should be clear and manageable, and the outline should specifically illustrate the structure and support for your paper.

Peer Editing:  Each student will be responsible for submitting 4 photocopies of a “rough” draft to peers for editing. I will arrange the groups and make an announcement, and it will be your responsibility to exchange papers online either through a peer group space you can create in Canvas or simply through email.  You will read each others’ work, evaluate it critically, and give written feedback with the intent to help the writer more fully realize the work.

Annotated Bibliography: The annotated bibliography must contain at least fifteen sources.  You will critically evaluate the sources you find, which will help you select those that you find most valuable to include in your writing.

Rough Draft:  The initial draft of the paper should be a minimum of 7 pages with an additional works cited page.  You will also have a minimum of 5 sources cited within the body of the paper.  This paper will go through peer review, and I will read and contribute feedback on it as well.

Final Paper:  The final draft must be 10-12 pages with at least 10 sources cited within the text and a complete Works Cited Page.


Late Assignments and Make-up work:  Assignments turned in late will have 10 points deducted from them for each day they are late.  Assignments will not be accepted a week after they are due.  There is no make-up work.

Plagiarism: Policies on plagiarism are outlined in the Student Handbook and Resource Guide.  Basically, any work turned in which is not your own constitutes plagiarism and will result in failure of the class and possibly expulsion from the school.

Grading: Grading will be based primarily on a points schedule related to the various steps of the research process, the teaching presentation, class participation, and of course the final research paper.


            Topic Proposal:                                                             50 points

            Outline with Thesis:                                                      50 points

            Peer Reviews:                                                              100 points

            Annotated Bibliography                                                200 points

            Rough Draft:                                                                 200 points

            Final Paper:                                                                  400 points


            Total:                                                                             1,000 points


General Writing Rubric








Written work has clear and appropriate beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also clear and appropriate

Written work has adequate beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also adequate

Written work has either adequate beginning, development, or conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also adequate

Written work has weak beginning, development and conclusion. Paragraphing and transitions are also deficient.

Organizational structure and paragraphing have serious and persistent errors.


The length of the written work provides in-depth coverage of the topic, and assertions are clearly supported by evidence.

The length of the written work provides good coverage of the topic, and assertions are appropriately supported by evidence.

The length of the written work is sufficient to cover the topics, and assertions are supported by evidence.

Written work does not do an adequate job of covering the assigned topic, and assertions are weakly supported by evidence

Written work does not cover the assigned topic, and assertions are not supported by evidence.


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