Paper 4

Essay 4: Final Research Paper

Length: 8 full-12 pages (note: this paper uses pg. # instead of word count)

Format: Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, MLA.

Conference 1: Friday, April 8th (Pick a topic by then).

Conference 2 : Friday, April 22nd (Have a draft nearly complete).

Peer Review Day: Monday, April 23th, Bring a draft to class.

Final Draft Due Date: Wednesday, April 25th by 11:59pm via Canvas.


Assignment Description

So far this semester, you have written an evaluation, a comparison/contrast, and a synthesis paper.  The skills and techniques you learned in writing these papers have been in preparation for the last paper—the research paper. This paper is the culmination of what you have learned this semester, not only about your chosen topic, but also about academic writing. How will you best exude authority in this final essay? In this paper, I expect you to use multiple sources in order to illustrate a problem/issue, its causes, and potential solutions. You will then have to move beyond this and select the solution you think is best, and then you must make it clear why this is the best solution for the problem. If you are writing about polar ice caps melting, then you need to describe what’s going on, what’s causing it, and tell us what we can do to solve the problem. You must provide clear reasons for the solution you think is best. All arguments must be backed up with sources, reasons, and evidence—hence this is a research paper.

Tips and Ideas for Completing the Research Paper

  • Major Tip: Start early!  Get help as soon as you need it.  You should budget your time efficiently between research, writing, and revising—all things that we have practiced this semester.  This assignment is worth about a third of your overall grade.
  • Write about a topic that makes a difference to you. This topic should affect the lives of many people and impact the world we live in—as such, it is an issue that must be shared with others. Feel free to build upon or take a different approach to the issue you wrote about in assignment three. Some of the sources you have already used might still be valuable to you, so consider making further use of them.  However, you will need to provide new sources to help you build your case in this research paper.
  • Remember to select sources that will provide you with sufficient material to develop and support your paper for at least 8 pages if not more.

Essay Requirements

  1. You need to have at least 8 sources, 3 popular (at most) and 5 scholarly.  However, you may include more scholarly sources. I expect you to engage with rigorously researched scholarly sources.
  2. Your introduction should briefly discuss the general issue or problem of your essay.  Use this point in your paper to set up the rest of your argument and answer the following question: What would a reader need to know in order to make sense of your topic and argument?  Your introduction should logically connect to your thesis.
  3. You must present a clear argument about what solution you think is best for the issue. The purpose of your paper is to argue that one solution to your issue/problem is the best and why.  So, your thesis needs to make an argumentative statement that says clearly and concisely what your problem is and what is the best solution according to your researched conclusions.
  4. Your body paragraphs will be topic driven. That is, you will not address each of your sources individually. You must intermingle the information that you have taken from your research in order to express your points, thoughts, and revelations. Your body paragraphs should discuss the problems associated with your issue and then discuss solutions. So, if you were writing about the extinction of polar bears, you would have paragraphs that address the causes of their extinction and then follow up with paragraphs that discuss possible solutions to that problem. Keep in mind that at some point in your essay, you will need to indicate which solution you think is best and why; you will need to support that “why” argument with research.
  5. Your conclusion needs to restate your main point and address further implications and ideas related to your topic. Extend the issue further. Where does future research need to go? Think of this as a point to bring it together and then take your thoughts and research into a new, but logical, direction.


Start Early. If you put this off, you will be in trouble. Essay 4 is nearly one third of your total grade so please take this assignment seriously. Use my office hours and class time wisely.

Essay 4 Checklist

  • Have I done all that I could do to get the grade that I’m trying to get on this Essay?
  • Have I communicated with the instructor when I had questions?  Asked questions in class? Visited office hours? Emailed her? Used the Writing Center?
  • Do my quotes support my point or overwhelm my commentary?
  • Did I write the paper entirely in 3rd person? (Do not write in 1st or 2nd person for this essay)
  • Did I use in-text citations properly throughout the paper? In format and content?
  • Do I have a correct MLA-style Works Cited page?
  • Did I have someone else look over my essay before turning it in for evaluation besides my peer reviewer?