I ask that you complete a research paper while observing the MLA standards. For this assignment, you should look critically at a topic related to the course content using secondary sources to develop your argument. You must make a one-page proposal for it to be approved. It must be typed as will all material for this course.  Your proposal must be turned in by the date specified on the syllabus, no exceptions!  All papers turned in late will be penalized by 5% of the total mark for each day after the submission date. Any plagiarized work will receive a 0 and an automatic failure of the course.


The research should focus on a specific topic presented in the course. However, you can choose another theme that is related to any theoretical, historical, conceptual, or visual interests that you wish to explore, as long as it is a topic related to a theme specifically studied during the semester. Your job is to explore this subject and to use secondary sources to develop your argument. 


You must also follow the MLA standards for textual, bibliographical and citation formats. Please read through the entirety of this website, paying close attention to Methods of Research and Writing and the Protocol for Submission of Written Work for format, citation, annotation and other literature on this subject.  Your papers must be formatted as specified herein to include a clear and concise title of your paper. Do not use subtitles or headers in your proposal or final paper. There is not need for subdivisions for such short texts. 


All students are strongly urged to make an appointment with XJTLU’s Continuing Support to have your proposal for your final paper and your final draft of your final research paper looked over by someone who can help you help you to proofread for grammar, syntax, clarity and coherence. For those students who have writing difficulties, this is not an option but a requirement. So be sure to schedule your appointment with Continuing Support well in advance of the date your proposal and paper are due.  In your email to Continuing Support you need to specify the dates and time you are available to meet. 


Regarding references, remember that what is published on the Internet is not necessarily true. Your bibliography must contain at least six references (ie. books, movies, art, books, articles, and other academic monographs) that are not popular magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other such electronic references like Wikipedia. Any use of sites such as Wikipedia can only be used in addition to these six works, but only if you are responsible for being critical of such websites which are opinion-based.  For example, should you choose to use any of these less reputable sources, you are required to verify the source of the materials for these sites and to address their veracity in a footnote. In other words, you must verify the sources yourself.  If you cannot verify the information you find online outside of scholarly material, unless it is the subject of your paper (ie. a research paper on blogging), then you must omit this as a reference, or include it while noting its questionable veracity.  Ensure that your bibliography is formatted correctly.


Since the research paper is a process, not a last minute work, you are responsible for seeing me in my office hours during the first three weeks of the semester to discuss your topic, to get started early on the proposal and then to start writing your research paper as soon as your proposal is approved. The research paper must be completed no later than the date specified on the syllabus or your work will be penalized.


Your papers will be evaluated based on:


-content (strength, persuasiveness, relevance and originality of your argument)

-methodology and analysis (suitability of method and development of analysis)

-structure (clarity of thesis, exposition and organization)

-use of evidence (quality of propriety of supporting evidence and examples)

-presentation, grammar and style


Plagiarism will result in an automatic failure of the course.


The work will be corrected and hard copies will be left with the department secretary for you to pick up. Should you like to meet up to discuss, you are welcome to come to my office hours to discuss. Work unclaimed after a period of two months following the end of a session will be destroyed. If you cannot get your final work after the end of a session, you can still provide a pre stamped envelope addressed with the submission of your final work.


Harvard University has an excellent collection of documentation on writing research papers from an array of disciplines. I highly recommend that you take a look at these Harvard’s writing guides, paying special attention to their guides in philosophy and social studies which will be useful for writing a research paper in communications and media.


For students who wish to engage the MLA format with footnotes or endnotes for annotation, you are certainly free to use this modality.

Here are some useful documents to help you in your writing:


How to Make an Outline


Sample Research Paper

Sample Bibliography

research papers

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