English 123: College Research Paper

Spring Semester 2013

Instructor:  Ann Rasmussen
Office: Ross 1187
Phone: 351-2198
E-Mail:  ann.rasmussen@unco.edu
Web Site Address:http://www.unco.edu/english/aerasmu

Textbooks: Available at the Book Stop

Palmquist, Michael: The Bedford Researcher
Optional Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers: A Writer's Reference

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-12:00
Wednesday and Friday 11:00-1:00

And by appointment
To schedule an appointment, sign up on my conference schedule before or after class.

Required supplies:

Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Access Center (970) 351-2289 as soon as possible to better insure that accommodations for their disabilities are implemented in a timely fashion.

Plagiarism and Cheating:

The Department of English at UNC has adopted the following policy regarding
plagiarism. Pretending that another’s work is one’s own is a serious
scholarly offense known as plagiarism. For a thorough discussion of
plagiarism, see the Dean of Students web site. Students who are caught plagiarizing will receive a final grade of “F” in the course. In addition, they will be reported to the Chair of the Department of English and the Dean of Students office for possible further disciplinary action. Some but not all UNC instructors regard double or repeat submissions of one's own work as a form of plagiarism. If you intend to use in this course written material that you produced for another course, you must consult with your instructor before doing so for each individual assignment. Otherwise, you may be guilty of cheating. In this course, you will be expected to generate completely new and original work.

Classroom Etiquette:

  • Cell phones and cell phone use disrupt the class. Their use during class causes students to lose concentration, keeping them from fully participating in academic activities, even if that activity is simply to think about course material; therefore, students must turn off cell phones and Refrain from texting during class. If students receive a phone call during class and they decide to take the call, they must leave the classroom and not return. They will then be counted as absent and will receive a 0 for that day’s class work. If texting persists, students will be warned. After multiple warning, students’ final grades may be lowered by a full letter grade.
  • Do not bring/use lap tops during class.
  • Drinks in class are okay, but, please, no food.
  • Attendance is required. Students will be allowed 3 absences without consequences. Students should call or email the instructor if they are absent. Should circumstances keep out of class for several days, they should notify both the Dean of Students and their instructor.

Course Theme: A Sign of the Times

After class discussion on current cultural and social condition and what sort of topics will be acceptable for research, students will decide on a topic. As a part of the research process, they will explore a current social condition or problem and first write a 4-5 page essay exploring cultural icon or trend. Eventually students will discover a controversy or the problem inherent in their topic. Then they will write a 10- 12 page research essay which will be either a persuasive/argumentative or problem-solving essay. In choosing a topic students should consider these guidelines:

Course Objectives: 

Students will

1. learn the basic research skills and techniques
2. learn critical reading and thinking skills
3. learn MLA documentation and paper presentation
4. improve writing skills:

developing a main ideaóthesis statement
writing good topic sentences and good paragraph development
improving grammar/mechanics, punctuation
increase and improve understanding of English usage

5. learn computer skills:using Internet and World Wide Web as a useful research tool
6. learn how to use the library and its various resources
7. learn argument techniques, to include logical and critical thinking skills
8. learn cooperative work skills

Requirements for the Research Paper

Course Requirements:

1. All work turned in will be word processed and follow MLA format. All pages must be stapled together, no ears or paper clips
2. Attendance is required.

4. Late assignments will not be accepted; but because there truly is bad karma in the world, students are granted two favors during the semester, but the request for a favor must be submitted before the assignment is due.
6 . Do not summit assignments through email, unless they are email assignments.

Grading Scale:100-90 = A; 89-80 = B; 79-70 = C; 69-60 = D

Assignments for English 123: Click on assignment for the assignment link
Note: Please Check the 123 Home Page for the weekly schedule as due dates may change.

Newspaper Articles (3 @ 3 points each=9 points): Bring 3 articles during week 2 to share while attendance is taking. Articles should inspire a research project and represent a pop culture icon.

Responsive Essay: Read "Sex, Lies, and Residence Life: Delaware’s Thought Reform" by Adam Kissel. Write 3-4 page response. Access this article in Michener Library Electronic Reserve. Search using my name. The essay will be 3-4 pages long, written using MLA form. 50 points. See lecture notes on Black Board.

Explanation Essay: 4-5 page essay that will explain or define your research topic. 50 points

Annotated Bibliography: Students will generate a list of 20 possible sources to include 8 books, 8 peer reviewed journal articles, and 4 .org or .gov web sites (not .edu or .com sites) 200 points

Field Research: Research that the research student generates. The student will have a choice of 3 methods for collecting this primary research: 100 points

Observation: 3 one hour sessions
Survey: Must survey at least 100 using Facebook, email, handouts, or a combination of all 3
Interview: Interview with an expert in the field conducted either in person, by telephone, or email.

Research Question with 10 questions. 25 points

Working Thesis: 10 points

MLA Pre-Test: a non-graded take home test to assess students' knowledge of MLA style documentation and citation of research material

Proposal: 3 page essay explaining and describing the research project. 50 points

Working Outline: Outline of the research paper's content. 50 points

10 Page Research Essay: An argumentative or problem solving essay that presents a shaped argument of a research topic. 400 point

Rough Draft with Peer Review: Students will submit a completed draft of their essay to Safe Assignment of Black Board; in addition, they will work with partners to complete the revision process. points: TBA

Final Draft: 10-12 pages 400 points

Oral Presentation: 15 minute power point presentation of students research project 100 points

Required Conferences: Students must have at least two conferences@ 25 points each with the instructor. One to be held by Feb. 14 to discuss topic Selection and thesis. The second to be held by April 9 the discuss rough draft. Bring a copy of the draft so that we can discuss the development argument and organization of the essay.Students can meet with me anythime during the semester in addition to the two required conferences.

Option Writing Center consulatation @ 10 points per visit with proof of completed appointment.

Note: Due Dates will be announced in class and posted on the 123 home page; in addition, the assignment sheets and handouts for each assignment will placed on the 123 home page.
Please note that the instructor reserves the right to modify and change any part of this weekly schedule as needed. Make sure to check the English 123 home page for weekly changes.

Weekly Schedule

Due dates and Chapter References

Jan. 15-17


  • Introduction to class, syllabus; discuss/define Modern American Pop Culture, discuss research topics. Each student will bring in 1 article from a newspaper, magazine, or web site; choosing a topic; introduction to what college research is; share articles on Thursday.
  • Writing the literary review. Read "Sex, Lies, and Residence Life:
    Delaware’s Thought Reform" by Adam Kissel.Write 3 page response. Access this article in Michener Library Electronic Reserve. Search using my name.
  • Use MLA for document format

Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

Summary Response due Thursday, Jan. 24


Jan. 22-24

Tuesday: Share news articles. Discuss how to read scholarly articles and how to write a literary essay.

Understanding MLA and research; share articles Discuss historical background as a part of research. Assignment: Write a 4 page essay exploring the history of your topic.



Explanation Paper due Jan. 31
Interview/Survey/Observation due March 5


Chapter 10

Jan. 29-31

MLA Pre-Test: Understanding Documentation and Citing Sources

Writing the Research Question

Evaluating Sources


Chapters 20, 21
Pre Test will be a take home test due Jan. 29
Research question due Jan. 26 With 10 questions about your research project
Chapter 5

Feb. 5-7

Creating the Annotated Bibliography Using your Research Question as your guide, search The Source to locate books: Collect at least10 books and fill out a bibliography citation sheet for each book. Students should have at least one reference book that is subject specific.

Repeat your search for your research question in online databases to Search for peer reviewed journal articles: Collect at least10 periodicals and fill out a bibliography citation sheet for each peer reviewed periodical.

Repeat your search for approvedd website sources
In Summon avoid Pro Quest sources; instead use Academic Search Premier

  • Tuesday: Meet in Ross 1240 Computer Lab
  • Thursday: Meet in Ross 1240 Computer Lab
@ 5 each=100

Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9

*Book Citations due Feb. 5

* Peer Reviewed Journal Citations due Feb. 7

Chapter 10

Feb. 12-14

Tuesday: Assembling the Annotated Bibliography

Meet in Ross Lab 1240

* Book Citations due Feb. 7

Use your citation worksheets to locate the books that you will check-out. Use this time in the library to check out your books and to review them for the notation that will be included on the annotated bibliography. Write a draft of the notation on the citation worksheet. Worksheets will be turned in with the annotated bibliography on Feb 21. Do the same for * peer reviewed journal articles.

Feb. 19-21

Avoiding Plagiarism: Incorporating borrowed source material


Chapter 20 21



Feb. 26-28

Chapter 11, 12, 13

Annotated Bibliography on Feb 28.
Peer Reviewed Worksheets @5 each

Mar. 5-7
Writing an argumentative thesis Creating an Outline and preparing the proposal
Mar. 12-13
50 each


Outline and Proposal due Mar. 20

Spring Break
Mar. 18-22
Spring Break
Mar. 26-28
Using MLA to document sources used in the research paper; adding graphics to your research document
Chapter 20, 21
Apr. 2-4
Assembling the Research paper and Citing sources and avoiding plagiarism./Using MLA
Chapter 14, 15, 16,
Apr. 9-11
Rough Draft conferences; what makes a good power point presentation? How to do an effective peer review. Editing and Revising
40 late
Rough Draft due April 16 75 points for successful on time submission, 40 points for late submission, 0 points for no submission; 60 points for incomplete drafts; 50 points if results for borrowed material is over 15%
Apr. 16-18
Peer Review Meet in Michener Library 2nd floor

Chapter 17

Attendance points 10 each day; in addition to points for Peer Review Report. Revise and upload Final Draft to Safe Assignment April 25.

Apr. 23-25
Presentations: 15 minute power point; 4 per day. Students will have an opportunity to sign up for their time on a sign-up sheet that will handed out in class.




Final Draft due April 25

Apr. 30-May 2
Additional course requirement: Students are required hold two conferences with me to discuss their writing and research project. They will bring with them their research journal with each conference for evaluation and grading. The first will be before spring break. 25 points each
Total Course points: 965 points. There maybe misc. homework and class exercises that may or may not have points assigned.
May 6-10

Presentations during finals week. Attendance Required

-10 points for students who fail to come to the final class, regardless of reason.

Please note, that the instructor reserves the right to alter and amend the syllabus. All changes will be announced in class and will be posted on the 123 home page home page.

All course materials and handouts will be on this web site 123 home page. Students will be responsible for printing necessary handouts and worksheets

Assignments will not be accepted through email, unless student makes special arrangements with instructor or if email is part of the assignment requirements.

A Note About Computers: We will work on various computer skills that will aid in preparing the research paper.  Computer problems cannot be an excuse for not turning in work or turning in late work.  While bad computer karma rules the world, students must learn how to get the most out of their computers and they must learn to avoid computer problems.  Follow these suggestions to hedge against computer karma ruining your life:

Keys to Success in English 123

Effective Time Management
Good Organization
Accurate and Organized Note Taking
It is my hope that we learn research techniques, that we explore a subject we truly enjoy, and that we make friends, and, certainly, that we have fun in the process.  Research can be enjoyable; exploring a subject in depth can be exciting and fun, but things in a research class can quickly turn sour, so here are some thoughts to help students through the stress, navigate the troubled waters, and keep on course:

At the first sign of trouble or frustration, see me, call me, email me.  I am here for you always.  Just see me.  I would rather deal with a small panic attack before it becomes a fatal heart attack.  Often we can problem solve in just a few minutes;  I am not a miracle worker, but in a few moments with me early on could save the semester for you.  I would much rather see you a dozen times over minor things than try to salvage the semester because you were afraid to talk to me.

Do not procrastinate.  Each assignment is designed to finish one step of the research process and move you on to the next step.  Do not fall behind.  In case of illness or other unforeseen problems, call me immediately so that we can come up with a plan for you.  Late assignments cannot be accepted.  We have a lot of work to do.  Turning  in late assignments only puts you further behind.  Use your time wisely.  Create a work schedule.  Remember to redeem your favors. 123 requires a lot of hard work with a full compliment of assignments; therefore, you should be looking ahead to the next assignment, making sure that you do not leave lengthy assignments until the last minute.

Use the Writing Center. Make appointments early; if you have to cancel be sure to call to cancel so that another student can use your time.

Do something each day toward your research project: read an article, surf the net, take some notes, talk to someone about your topic, visit me, go to the library, use time between classes effectively.
Keep a research notebook.  Organize your research project, keeping all gathered material in one place.  Keep good records, take accurate and complete notes.

Donít throw anything away.  While optional for the class, do keep a research notebook to help keep your work organized and in one location

The Research Notebook: Optional, but necessary for good organization
Use a three ring notebook with dividers for these categories

Remember:  An informed argument makes a sound argument.

Any questions?

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