AP English

AP English
Mrs. Mercer
Research Paper
Overview and Goals
The research paper serves two purposes in AP English: giving students experience
in evaluating and applying critical analysis and providing two or more works to the
growing catalog of literature in preparation for the AP exam and your college careers.
You will be required to read criticism of an author of your choosing (approved by me),
thereby determining this author’s style, which includes literary techniques, themes,
subject matter, purpose, etc. This must be read first. Once you feel you have gathered
enough criticism and have come to understand what your author’s style is, you will
develop your thesis (the “what”—what the author’s style is, and the “how”—how he/she
achieves that style). Then you will read two works by that author (primary sources) and
find the evidence to support the thesis you have developed based on the criticism.
Along with broadening your literary database, this process will develop your
analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information skills, skills which will serve you
well in virtually any field of academic endeavor. This will also help you better
understand literary style and serve you well as you consider new pieces and as you
prepare for the AP exam (if you choose to take it).
Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers (pp.486-590; sample on pp. 627-655)
1. Ten to twelve typewritten pages (12 point, New Times Roman standard font, one inch
margins). This does NOT include outlines, cover pages, or works cited list.
2. All in-text citations, quotes and works cited entries in MLA form.
3. Five secondary sources required in addition to your two primary sources. NO general
encyclopedias may be used as a work cited (though feel free to consult one if you feel
you need general information about the author, time period, etc.). Strive for a variety
of sources, i.e. you may only use the Internet as one of your five sources. Do not use
reference books for all of the print sources. Cliffs Notes or Spark Notes may not be
one of your sources. Make copies of all the sources you use (including title page) and
turn these in with your final draft. Highlight areas that you used.
4. You must have 50 note cards (7-10 per each secondary source). One source may not
be used for more than 1/3 of the entire paper. After your initial 50 note cards, you
may take notes any way you want. I only want to see the first 50. (Note: 50 cards
will not be enough information for your entire paper).
Due Dates (subject to change if necessary):
Exit library
October 30, 2008
Topic, thesis statement (what and how),
November 6, 2007
bibliography cards, tentative topic outline
Note cards
November 13, 2008
Finished outline
November 17, 2008
Rough draft (including outline and works cited page
November 24, 2008
Final Draft
December 5, 2008
Please note that one due date does not preclude you from continuing on with the next step
prior to its due date.
5. All materials MUST be turned in on the final due date, i.e. your bib (source) cards,
note cards, rough draft, research paper and copied pages and evaluation sheet.. Place
all material in a manila envelope to turn in.
--Your final copy will include a topic outline (corrected from the rough draft if need
be), the body of your paper with citations, a works cited page, and the evaluation
6. Grades will be assigned for:
Preliminary work—accuracy and punctuality
Content (depth of insight, fluidity, support, maturity of style and vocab)
of final paper
Mechanics of final paper
Research techniques (information acquisition, application, and
7. Late work penalties—one letter grade per day (weekends equate to two days)
8. Completion of the research paper is required to pass this class
Points for preliminary work:
Thesis and preliminary outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 points
Bibliography cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 points
Note cards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 points
Rough Draft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 points