Research Topic Ideas For English 102 Assignments

Welcome to English 102, taught by Davis Oldham. This page contains links to all the documents I will be passing out in class this quarter.

Documents are organized according to the assignments with which they are associated. Right up front are course policies and links for help with writing.

Please let me know if you find any problems with this site.

  1. Course Policies and Information
  2. Help with Writing
  3. Course Theme
  4. Preliminary Research Report
  5. 10 Sources
  6. Literature Review
  7. Sentence Outline
  8. Research Paper
  9. Extra Credit Assignment

Course Policies and Information

  • Syllabus (PDF)
  • Grade Guideline, showing what grades mean to me.
  • Expectations of students and professor
  • Tutorial on deciphering your assignment, a good introduction to reading and understanding instructions, which is vital for success in college.
  • Paper Format for all essays
  • Sex/Gender Discrimination Shoreline Community College is committed to providing all students with a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and free from discrimination. Any form of sexual discrimination�sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, or gender-based stalking�is a violation of Title IX (part of federal education law), and it must be reported. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender is a Civil Rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. As your instructor, I have a mandatory reporting responsibility, and I am required by law to share with the College any information regarding sexual misconduct. For more information about Title IX, you can go to the SCC Title IX website. You can also contact Yvonne Terrell-Powell, Title IX Deputy Coordinator, at (206) 546-4559, or the Dean of Students, Kim Thompson, at (206) 546-4641.� If you would like to talk with someone in a confidential setting, please contact Counseling Services (206-546-4559).
  • Inclement Weather Policy


Help with Writing

  • Quotation Mechanics Describes some of the basic rules for including a quotation in a sentence.
  • Why Peer Review
    Every paper you write will be reviewed by at least one of your classmates. My reasons for doing this are explained in this document.
  • Avoiding Plagiarism One simple rule to avoid worlds of pain.
  • Western Oregon University's template on "voice markers," a PDF file that lists many common signal phrases for introducing or identifying another author's words or ideas included in your own writing.
  • Academic Phrase Bank at Manchester (UK) University. A comprehensive guide to the �nuts and bolts� of academic phraseology, covering such areas as how to introduce someone else�s work, referring to sources, describing methods, reporting results, and discussing findings; also general functions such as being critical, being cautious (i.e. how to introduce a source you have doubts about), comparing and contrasting, and many more.
  • These Writing Links comprise an entire page of links to helpful advice on key writing issues. Specifically, you can jump to any of these topics:
    1. Sentence Boundaries
    2. Paragraph Structure
    3. Thesis Statements
    4. Transitions, including Introductions and Conclusions
    5. Concision
    6. Sentence Variety
    7. Quotations
    8. Research
  • The Writing and Learning Studio (TWLS)
    TWLS provides instructional handouts and texts, a comfortable study environment, and drop–in tutoring for students in any discipline who want to work on college reading strategies, study skills, research papers, essays, or other kinds of writing assignments. Additionally, TWLS offers variable credit courses and workshops on topics such as note–taking, memory improvement, research writing, test–taking, and grammar.


Course Theme

Currently the theme for the class is Social Movements. You can read more about the theme here.


Preliminary Research Report

  • Preliminary Research Report Instructions (PDF file) These are the official instructions for the assignment. Your grade will be based on how well your work follows these instructions. All of the following samples are in PDF format.
    • Paper outline This shows the organization your Preliminary Research Report should follow.
    • Sample paper with callouts showing the various required elements of the assignment.
    • Sample outlines developed in class, showing in detail what each section of the paper should cover (class notes from April 14, 2011).
    • Questions about the assignment, with my answers (class notes from April 15, 2011).
  • First Search: Instructions for Friday of week 1.
  • Principles of Citation (PDF)
  • Who are you and what are you doing here? by Mark Edmundson. This 2011 article from Oxford American poses a fundamental challenge to college students about the reasons they are attending college. Your job is to read it, think about the questions it poses, and write a page on how your research topic relates to those questions. Here is a more detailed explanation of the assignment.
  • The Shoreline Community College Library, which will be your first stop for doing research: finding sources, citing sources, and getting help.
  • Research Lib Guide by Shoreline librarian Claire Murata. A tour through the basics of doing research.
  • UW’s Research 101 Topics tutorial (PDF).
  • Prewriting Strategies (required) from the University of Kansas Writing Center (optional).
  • Developing a Research Question
  • What is a Thesis


10 Sources

This is the first formal bibliography, or works cited list, you will submit. It can still change, but you must submit a list of at least 10 sources relevant to your topic at this time. See below for detailed instructions.

  • 10 Sources These are the official instructions for the assignment. Your grade will be based on how well your work follows these instructions.
  • Preparing to Search
  • Sources and Databases Class notes from January 28, 2013, listing types of sources and common databases used in searching (PDF).
  • Search Strategy Worksheet (PDF file)
  • UW's Research 101 Tutorial on searching (PDF)
  • Search Techniques
  • Types of Sources (PDF file)
  • The IRIS tutorials at Clark College are an excellent introduction to research process and resources. These two are especially relevant here:
  • Scholarly Source checklist (PDF file)
  • Searching WITH Sources
  • Refining Your Search
  • Skimming Sources
  • Content Notes
  • Research Guidelines: Notetaking, from Hunter College Reading and Writing Center, City University of New York
  • Taking Notes from Research Reading, from University of Toronto Writing web pages
  • Taking Purposeful Research Notes from the Landmark School in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts (PDF). A good system for keeping your notes organized. I think they make some unsupportable claims for their method, when they say that they've eliminated the problem of having to (re-)organize after taking notes. You often don't know what the subtopics are until you've taken your notes and played around with various possible ways of organizing information and ideas. Also, this seems geared toward a shorter and simpler sort of paper than students write in 102--more a report than a persuasive argument based on research. That said, however, I think the method is a good one.


Literature Review


Sentence Outline


Research Paper

  • Research Paper Instructions (PDF file) These are the official instructions for the assignment. Your grade will be based on how well your work follows these instructions.
  • Drafting the Research Paper
    • Developing a Topic—notes on how to expand a too-short research paper.
    • Paragraph structure Description and illustration of basic elements of paragraph structure, with a sample paragraph color-coded to show how the parts relate to each other (PDF file).
  • Principles of Citation (PDF)
  • WOU's template on "voice markers," a PDF file that lists many common signal phrases for introducing or identifying another author's words or ideas included in your own writing.
  • Incorporating References (required), from the University of Kansas Writing Center (optional).
  • MLA Citation guides. These will give you the basics on how to format your in-text citations and works cited page:
    • The MLA guide from Shoreline Community College–a helpful, color-coded, step-by-step guide to formatting citations correctly.
    • The MLA page at the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
  • Quotation Mechanics Describes some of the basic rules for including a quotation in a sentence.
  • Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It (required), one of the Writing Guides (optional) at Indiana University.
  • Plagiarism Pages (all 5 pages are required--see the menu at the left) at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (optional)
  • Plagiarism, eh? How to recognize it and get it out of your life (optional). A Power-Point-style video: text plus a voice reading the text. You can find the original Powerpoint file here (requires Powerpoint or another program that can read .ppt files).
  • Research Paper Peer Review I Instructions
  • Research Paper Peer Review II Instructions
  • A sample research paper. This is a final draft of a strong paper—not perfect, but very well done. (PDF)
    • A sample paragraph, revised to show how it can be re-organized and enhanced with transitional devices to give it greater coherence (PDF).


Extra Credit Assignment

You have the option of earning extra credit worth up to 5% of the final grade by writing an extra credit assignment. You can also earn a little extra credit, worth the equivalent of two homework assignments (approximately 1%), by doing some work to prepare for this assignment.

Here are detailed instructions for each assignment:


Writing a research paper even though may seem challenging is a substantial part of everyday student life. You are required to write at least one research paper in a semester for the majority of the subjects. Do not underestimate research projects, as they demand a huge effort and a lot of time from you. Nevertheless, do not let your research paper assignment give you anxiety and influence your overall studies. To minimize worries and inconsistencies while working on the research paper you must be sure in your research paper topic. There are times when you are assigned to the topic but more frequently, you will have to create a topic by yourself. The whole research should be built around or from the topic. In order to choose an interesting topic, which will demonstrate your best talents, you should keep reading.

How to select the best research paper topic?

When choosing your research paper topic, you need to make sure it is neither boring nor worn out. An interesting innovative topic will intrigue the readers and motivate them to read your whole research. But if you don’t know how to create a topic on your own, use help of writers in topic creation.There are some things to consider when selecting an appropriate topic:


There is no secret that you will not be able to write a good insightful research paper if you are not interested in the subject overall and in the topic in particular. If on the other hand the topic is linked to the field of your interest, you may consider yourself lucky. It would be easier to explore the theme and write about it. You may even find some additional resources on your computer or I cloud service for the topic, which excites you. If you enjoy science, you are sure to talk non-stop about it. The same goes for writing.


You need to be sure to understand everything clearly when you choose an essay topic. Do not hesitate to ask questions if there are some unclear points. The more you understand the simpler it is for you to write a successful research paper. If the indistinct issues are still at large, it is advisable to leave this topic be and simply select another one. You need to show the readers that you master of the topic and not a confused newbie who does not know what he or she is talking about.


You need to understand completely that you are not writing a descriptive essay. A research paper is an accurate and thorough work, which is based on facts details. You cannot add watery text about anything into the paper. Your statement should be supported with examples or reference other profound research and academical works.


This advice may seem dull if you are working on historical paper. How innovative can you get discussing French revolution or Perl Harbor? However, an innovative approach can give you the edge among other students. A topic should address the matter from a different and surprising perspective. With a deep investigation, you may even find the unknown until now facts that can blow your readers’ minds. This approach will intrigue your readers and will make research paper stand out.




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