Requirements for Research Papers in Childrens Literature 2013
Dr. Tina L. Hanlon
Associate Professor of English
Children's Literature Course Home Page
Note: Sections in boldface below indicate requirements that must be fulfilled to earn a satisfactory grade (C or above) on the research paper. Use this page, especially the boldface portions, as a checklist while you complete and edit your paper. The rubric in ANGEL also has two versions of checklists for research papers. A B paper is above average and an A paper is excellent in its fulfillment of these requirements, with a precise, insightful, well-focused thesis; effective, well-organized examples and discussion to support the thesis; sentences that are smoothly worded and clear; and few or no errors in proofreading or documentation.
Paper Deadline: Tuesday, Dec. 10
The major paper (containing at least ten pages of discussion) can explore any aspect of childrens literature. The topic may overlap with your oral report topic or pursue a different subject. The papers focus may be a traditional type of literary analysis, or a pedagogical or scholarly or social issue involving childrens literature, with literary examples you select to support your thesis. The paper must include some analysis of at least one primary work of literature (more than simply mentioning specific titles). Although your topic may connect literature with other subjects, be sure that you are writing a literature paper, and do not stray too far with general discussion of other issues involving teaching or social problems. If you include a lesson plan or piece of creative writing you developed as part of your topic, the discussion section of your paper may be a little shorter than 10 pp.
You should have your definite topic approved by Dec. 6 (if it is different from your oral report topic, which was to be submitted by Nov. 21). I recommend that you also submit an outline of your paper (with a thesis statement) and preliminary list of sources by Dec. 6 or 7 (or preferably earlier).
Everything in the paper should support a central thesis. I strongly recommend that you have your thesis approved before the paper deadline. Starting a final draft without a clearly stated thesis in the introduction can lead to multiple problems with unity, coherence, clarity and organization in both long and short papers. (If you are writing lesson plans, the introductory comments should contain a precise statement of the purpose of the lessons.) It is often helpful to refine the thesis and revise the introduction after a draft of the whole paper is completed. Since writing is a process of discovering new ideas about your topic, ask yourself after completing the paper whether it is unified in support of the thesis as you originally formulated it, and whether the introduction could do a better job of leading into the precise focus and main idea of the paper once you have all the ideas worked out in a draft.
The paper must make reference to at least three secondary sources (reference books, reviews, critical books or articles, etc.), in addition to the primary work(s) of literature discussed. Personal letters, discussion with adults or children, and Internet resources may be used, as long as they are reliable sources, they are documented accurately, and you have at least two or three written sources from edited books or periodicals (whether obtained online or elsewhere). See also "Reminders about research for project and research paper" on the page of guidelines for projects.
Sources must be documented accurately using MLA or APA format. The Little, Brown Handbook, Hacker's Rules for Writers, and other handbooks give instructions for standard format in academic papers and preparation of research papers, including use of quotations and documentation (see also Little, Brown Handbook online guide to documentation). The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th ed. has more detail on MLA documentation. Writing about childrens books, especially picture books and folktales, may require that you indicate in citations the illustrator, translator, or editor of a work, or whether a book lacks pagination. (N. pag. is the MLA abbreviation used for unpaged books.) If you have done background reading you want to acknowledge, in addition to the sources cited within the essay, you can label your reference list at the end Works Consulted instead of Works Cited.
Supporting materials (copies of letters or illustrations, samples of student
work, etc.) may be attached in one or more appendices. Make sure each
appendix is clearly labeled and the reader of the paper can tell how it
relates to specific parts of the paper.
All papers must be typed and double-spaced, with pages numbered. You can
make last-minute corrections neatly in ink on the final typed copy if necessary. A final draft of your paper must be submitted in a Turnitin Drop Box and a paper copy submitted to the professor.
Be sure to leave time to edit and proofread the paper carefully
(including checking it after the final copy is printed). Check carefully
throughout the paper for inconsistent verb tenses (a common and distracting
error in literature papers) and other mechanical errors. I or others
in the Writing Center
will advise on drafts of papers at your request. If a paper is submitted
with frequent mechanical errors, imprecise and unclear wording, or multiple
errors in the format of documentation, I reserve the right to stop marking
specific errors and assign a grade of D or F. For a review of common
proofreading and editing problems, see Marking Symbols and Terms
for English Papers.
As stated on the course syllabus, plagiarism or any other form of cheating
will result in severe penalties, which may include failure of the course.
You are responsible for reading and understanding the Ferrum College
Honor Policy, and for avoiding the undocumented use of the words
or ideas of others in your writing. If your paper involves literature
not in the assigned texts for the course, be sure the professor has access
to that literature. It is a good idea to keep copies of pages in secondary
sources from which you take specific ideas, information, or quotations that
you cite directly in papers. I will not grade a paper if I have any
questions about its use of sources, until those questions are answered and
corrections are made if necessary. If there is no time left at the
end of the semester for corrections, papers with inadequate or inaccurate
documentation will receive an automatic F. There will not be time for revisions about all the papers are graded.
College-wide requirements for Writing Intensive courses (in effect beginning with 2005-2006 college catalog):
Students earning grades of C or higher in these courses demonstrate competence in the following areas:
December 2, 2013
Children's Literature Course Home Page