The Basics:
Over the next several weeks, you will research and write a 7-10 page paper. You should try to pick a topic that
is somehow related to government, economics, and culture. You should approve these topics with Mr. Dunn
prior to beginning your research. You will use at least 7-10 sources, of which at least one must come from a
book and one must come from a magazine/newspaper. (NOTE: As we have already discussed, Wikipedia is
not an acceptable source. Ever.) We will spend considerable time in class discussing the best places to look
for solid information. You will learn the proper way to format your paper and document your sources in MLA
format. You will also briefly present your research projects to the class at the conclusion of this project.
Questions that you may have:
1. When is this due?
The final paper is due on the designated date listed below (depending on your group), but that is only
a part of your grade. Remember this is a process, which means you will not only be expected to hand
in the finished paper, but you will also be graded on all important parts along the way. This is a large
task, but I have set aside a considerable amount of time in class for you to work on your paper.
 You will have a total of AT LEAST 25 full class periods in either the media center or the
computer lab.
 USE THIS TIME WISELY! It is possible to complete most of this assignment in class if you
choose to spend your time wisely.
2. What is a topic, thesis question, thesis statement, preliminary works cited page, outline, rough draft?
1. Topic – You know what a topic is. The topic of your paper must deal with some aspect of
government, economy, and/or society. You must approve your topic with Mr. Dunn if you are
uncertain as to whether it will work or not.
2. Thesis Statement/Thesis Question - After you have selected a topic, you must then produce a
question to research. Through the research process you turn this question into a statement, better
known as a thesis statement – or a larger version of a topic sentence. Your thesis statement may
change slightly through your research and the construction of your paper. It will be located in
your introduction and serve as the foundation of your paper.
3. Works Cited/Preliminary Works Cited Page – One of the keys to doing good research is
keeping track of all the sources you use to find information. There is a specified, proper way of
doing this as established by the Modern Language Association, the people who decide these sorts
of things. We will spend time learning the right way to keep track of and present this information.
You have already learned about this with Mr. Buerkle, so this should be a good review for you.
4. Outline – This is simply a rough draft outline with your thesis statement and procedure for what
you plan to accomplish in your essay.
5. Rough Draft – Your rough draft must include in-text citations, documented information, and both
an introduction (with clear thesis).
3. So the whole paper is just research?
Most of your paper will be. However, in the last two pages, you may make connections between the
three—government, culture, and economy—and show how these issues are interrelated. How do they
connect to one another? Are they important as they relate to one another? How? And why? You will
answer and explain some of these questions in the last portion of your essay.
4. How much is it worth?
This research paper, along with all necessary additional materials, will count for a large part of your
second quarter grade. If done right, you will be able to use this paper for Mr. Dunn’s economics class
requirement this semester as well.
Your final paper must include the following elements in the listed order:
1. Body of paper 7-10 pages in length – NOT counting the Works Cited page – Must be
correctly formatted with page numbers
2. Works Cited page completed to MLA specifications
3. Outline - typed
4. Rough Draft with Mrs. Brown’s review markings
Format Guidelines (see my web-site for details):
1. Your entire paper must be double spaced, in 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
2. Margins must be 1.” No more, no less.
3. Type only on one side of the paper. Do not use colored paper. Do not place your paper in
any sort of binder, folder, or holder. A single staple in the upper left-hand corner will
PLAGIARISM AND DISHONESTY: This paper needs to be your own
work. You must use MLA documentation to give credit to all of your
sources of information. If you plagiarize, i.e. take credit for someone
else’s work, ideas, or information, you will receive a ZERO on this
paper and FAIL the entire second quarter of English 12! We have
already discussed plagiarism and how to avoid it, and we will continue
to discuss this throughout the writing process.
Don’t be overwhelmed; this is a long process. My advice to you is to
stay on task, ask questions and do not let yourself fall behind.