Topic: Overcoming Adversity

Mrs. Caltagirone
February 10, 2014
ELA 8 Research Paper Assignment
Final Due Date:
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Research Paper Writing: Throughout high school you will have to write several papers – most
of which must include your own ideas and some form of research using credible sources. In
college, you will likely have to write multiple papers for every single class you take. This paper is
designed to introduce you to the steps of conducting research, forming a thesis, and writing a
formal research paper in preparation for high school and college. This process should give you
the foundation you need to write papers of 10 pages in length and beyond. We will follow this
procedure in MLA Style. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to
write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.
Assignment: You will research and write a formal research paper according to MLA format.
The paper topic (thesis) must emphasize a person who overcame adversity, express your
position or viewpoint, and present supporting evidence in a logical sequence. You must also
follow these guidelines:
1. 2 (full)-3 pages in length, double spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, using MS
Word default one-inch margins.
2. 3 sources – 2 online and 1 book. ALL 3 sources must be cited within the paper.
3. Include a Works Cited page – this is not counted in the length of the paper.
Other items to consider:
The final paper is worth 2 Test Grades, and other aspects of the paper are worth
classwork and quiz grades. If you do not do this assignment you WILL FAIL the 3rd
marking period, and potentially the year.
Keep all papers that are handed out concerning the research paper. They are all
important and necessary to complete your paper successfully.
Computer problems, school activities, trips, absences, alien abduction, plague, etc…will
not be excuses for lateness. If you know that you have a problem with a due date, you
need to see me ahead of time to work things out; otherwise you will receive a zero.
If you do not have a computer at home, you will need to be responsible and budget time
to visit the library either during lunch, prime time, or after school
I am always available for extra help either in person or through email
([email protected])
Plagiarism: It should be obvious but must be noted that any plagiarism, whether intentional
or accidental, will result in a zero for the entire paper.
ELA 8 Research Paper Topic
Topic: Overcoming Adversity
One of the most central purposes of writing is being able to communicate a stance on an issue
effectively. That requires that you “do your homework” by researching information before you
take an informed stance and prove your point. For this paper, research one of the people
below, form a thesis statement on how they overcame adversity, and back it up with your
research in a logically presented paper.
The person you are researching for your research paper must be someone who has made a
positive contribution to society in spite of an overwhelming hardship or disability. You MUST
choose of the people below.
Amelia Earhart
Steve Jobs
Charles Lindberg
Madam CJ Walker
Hank Aaron
Lance Armstrong
Arthur Ashe
Roberto Clemente
Michael Jordan
Joe Louis
Willie Mays
Jesse Owens
Jackie Robinson
Babe Ruth
Satchel Paige
Shaun White
James Baldwin
Charles Dickens
Anne Frank
Langston Hughes
Stephen King
Toni Morrison
Walter Dean Myers
David Pelzer
Phillis Wheatley
Louis Armstrong
Halle Berry
Ray Charles
Ellen Degeneres
Will Ferrell
Ella Fitzgerald
Michael Jackson
Angelina Jolie
Lady Gaga
George Lopez
Marilyn Monroe
Elvis Presley
Christopher Reeve
Stevie Wonder
Emma Lazarus
Nelson Mandela
Thurgood Marshall
Rosa Parks
Colin Powell
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sonia Sotomayor
Sojourner Truth
Harriet Tubman
Nat Turner
Desmond Tutu
Elie Wiesel
Malcolm X
George Washington Carver
Thomas Edison
Jane Goodall
Stephen Hawking
Booker T. Washington
Susan B. Anthony
Frederick Douglas
Jesse Jackson
Coretta Scott King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dalai Lama
Important Due Dates
Feb. 10
Introduction to Research Paper:
Creating Notecards, Topic Selection, Review of all Procedures
Feb. 11
Library - Topic/Thesis/Preliminary Outline Due (Quiz Grade)
1 BOOK Source Card Due
(CW Grade)
Note Card Check #1 – 10 Cards on Book Source (CW Grade)
Feb. 12
A110 Computer Lab:
2 Online Source Cards Due
(CW Grade)
Note Card Check #2 – 10 cards (20 total) from each Online Source
(CW Grade)
Feb. 24
Typed Outline Due (Quiz Grade)
March 4
Library – Time to finish research and type paper
March 5
Library – Time to finish research and type paper
Rough Draft Due
(Quiz Grade)
March 6
Library – Final Typed Paper Due
(2 Test Grades)
Unless I make any adjustments (namely for snow days), these are all of the dates that we will be
using for research paper purposes. Make sure you budget for any other time that you need to
research, write, and revise outside of class. If you are absent on a Library or A110 Computer
Lab day, you will need to make up the missed work and submit it to me for full credit, just like
you would with any missed work.
If you do not have a computer at home, you will need to be responsible and budget time to visit
the library either during lunch, prime time, or after school.
The final paper is worth 2 test grades and is due on March 6. For every day the paper is late, 20
points will be deducted from both final test grades.
If you choose not to do the paper you will definitely fail the third marking period, and
possibly the entire year.
PowerPoint Notes on Source and Note Cards
Source Cards
• _______ Source Cards are required (Label them A, B, and C)  1 Book and 2 Internet
• Include a Capital Letter in the ________________ ________________ _____________
_______________ of each card (Ex. 1st Source Card will be “A”, 2nd Source Card will be
“B”, 3rd Source Card will be “C”)
• Copy down the source information ________________ as it will appear on the works
cited page
• Write your _______________ on the bottom left of the note card
Sample Source Card
Note Cards
• Write only ________ idea per card
• Place the matching Source Card’s ________________ (Ex. “A”) plus the
_________________ in the Upper Right Hand Corner (Ex. “A1”, “A2”, “A3”, etc…)
• Write a ______________ for the note card in the top left
• Place the __________ ______________ (if it’s a print source) in the bottom right corner
• Place your __________________ at the bottom left of the note card
Sample Note Card
MLA In-Text Citations
Your paper must have at least three in-text citations – one from each source.
In MLA style, referring to the works and ideas of others in your paper is done by using what is
known as parenthetical citation. This method involves placing relevant source information in
parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase.
General Guidelines
The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1.) upon the source
medium (e.g. Print, Web, DVD) and (2.) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited
(bibliography) page.
Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source
information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase
you provide to your readers in the text, must be the first thing that appears on the lefthand margin of the corresponding entry in the Works Cited List.
In-text citations: Author-page style
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last
name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in
the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name
may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase,
but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your
sentence. For example, here are three separate ways to cite the same information by a man
named William Wordsworth:
Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful
feelings" (263).
Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
(Wordsworth 263).
Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
Works Cited
According to MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper.
The works cited page simply lists the 3 sources you used for research. All entries in the Works
Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text – remember that you must
cite each source at least once in your paper.
Basic rules
Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It
should have the same margins and header as the rest of your paper.
Label the page “Works Cited” and center the words at the top of the page
List your sources alphabetically by the author’s last name or by title if no author exists
Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches (or press “TAB”).
List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article
that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited
page as 225-50. Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
Capitalization and punctuation
Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc, but do not capitalize articles
(the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or
subtitle: Gone with the Wind, The Art of War, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles of larger works (books, magazines) and
quotation marks for titles of shorter works (poems, articles)
The actual listing of a source and its publishing company, city, year, etc. is VERY COMPLEX. I
would recommend you use a Works Cited website generator like or to help you create the CORRECT listing. Don’t forget to keep it in MLA style,
and to list the sources in alphabetical order as correctly outlined above.
Here is a SAMPLE Works Cited page.
Mike Smith
<------------------ Your Name
Mrs. Caltagirone
<------------------ Instructor’s Name
ELA 8 Period 1-2
<------------------ Identifying Class
March 4, 2014
<------------------ Date (of submission)
Title of Paper (Centered)
Begin your paper one line below your title. This is double-spaced, but there should NOT
be any empty lines between the heading, title, and body of the paper. There is NO cover page,
this is page #1.
For all pages after page 1, the heading should be at the top right of the page, and it
should be in this format: “Your Last Name, Page #” So, it should look like this:
Smith, 2
Every page after page 1 should look like this, INCLUDING the works cited page.
SAMPLE Research Paper Outline
Mike Smith
Mrs. Caltagirone
ELA 8 Periods 1-2
February 21, 2014
Barack Obama
Final Thesis:
Barack Obama had to overcome several personal obstacles in his
family life and his professional career to become the 44th President
of the United States.
Early life in Honolulu and Indonesia
A. Family
1. father
2. mother
B. Marriage
1. Michelle Obama
2. children
A. Political Career
1. civil rights lawyer
2. community organizer
3. US Senator
2008 Presidental Campaign Issues
A. The Economy
1. American Opportunity Tax Credit
2. simplifying the financial aid process
A. Early life
B. Career
C. Presidential Campaign Issues
D. Reworded thesis
E. Conclusion
Final Recap of 10 Research Paper Steps:
1. Choose a person.
2. Write a preliminary thesis and preliminary
outline (fill out the page in this packet).
3. Find a book source in the Library and fill
out a source card.
4. Fill out 10 note cards from your book
5. Find 2 online sources in A110 Computer
Lab and fill out 2 source cards.
6. Fill out 20 note cards (10 each) from your 2
online sources.
7. Type a neat, final outline using what you
know about your person and the notes you
8. Use your outline and note cards to create a
well-organized paper (don’t forget
9. Proofread, revise, and edit your paper, and
include a Works Cited page.
10. Submit your final paper
Research Paper Rubric
This is the criteria on which your paper is graded.
MLA Formatting & Mechanics
Skill Assessed
MLA Format Heading
Total Points
Double Spacing
Font and Size
In-Text Citations in Paper
Works Cited Page
Spelling and Punctuation
Grammar and Usage
Content Rubric
Length Requirement
Supporting ideas to thesis
Factual Content
Ideas supported w/ evidence
/ 20
/ 10
/ 10
/ 15
/ 15
/ 15
Mrs. Caltagirone
Research Paper Preliminary Info
Topic / Person:
Preliminary Thesis (Must mention specifically what adversity he/she
Preliminary Outline: