English 1302 Literary Research Unit | Mahoney-Ross

Course goals and objectives: This assignment satisfies the following strategic learning outcomes and objectives.

1. All students at the course level will complete an argument essay focusing on critical thinking.

2. All students at the course level will complete an argument essay focusing on written communication

3. All students at the course level will present an argument essay focusing the visual and oral communication foundational components.

Your assignment:

Research an issue of social importance inspired by a text we’ve read in class (or another short story, approved in advance). For example, you could explore postpartum depression or feminism as inspired by “The Yellow Wallpaper,” PTSD or the treatment of veterans from “How To Tell a True War Story,” custody issues from “Popular Mechanics,” etc. You must make an ARGUMENT about the issue – for example, what is an effective treatment for postpartum depression? How can custody battles affect young children? Topics that are off-limits: politics/political parties, gun control/2nd amendment, marijuana legalization, immigration, religion, abortion, death penalty, animal rights, gay marriage. You will have two major grades for this assignment: The annotated works cited page (evaluated using the research documentation rubric; worth 15% of your course grade); and the final research paper (evaluated using the research rubric; worth 15% of your course grade). Sources: You must use at least EIGHT sources in your works cited page, and SIX of those sources need to appear in your final essay. These sources must be from peer-reviewed journals (to be found in library databases) and non-fiction, academic books, with the exception of the short story, which you may choose to use if you wish. Sources found via google or Internet searches are not applicable to academic research. You may certainly consult the internet for ideas on narrowing your topic, or to help you grasp some of the basics of your particular concept. However, you cannot use these in your essay, and they should be consulted for base-level knowledge only.

Format: This is a formal essay of at least 1,000 words, not including the works cited page. You should use parenthetical citations throughout, for example, (Mahoney 1).


Bradbury, Ray. “The Veldt.” The Saturday Evening Post, 1950. Pp. 1-13 Carver, Raymond. “Popular Mechanics.” Discovering Arguments: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, Language, and Style. Ed. William Palmer, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2012, pp. 382-83. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The New England Magazine, February 1892, pp. 1-10.. Kafka, Franz. “A Hunger Artist.” Die neue Rundschau, 1922, pp. 1-5. O’Brien, Tim. “How to Tell a True War Story.” The Things They Carried. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1992, pp. 1-10.

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