Research Assignment Description

Below is the assignment description for the 10th grade research project. Emphasis is on research as a process, not a paper as an end result. The project is situated in a vertical progression from the 5th to the 12th grade year that builds research and writing skills. Hyperlinks indicate links to additional artifacts.

Research Paper – American Literary Award Winners
English II
Mrs. Coltz
Authors’ works influence different readers in different ways, though perhaps their greatest influence is on their fellow writers. Your task is to examine an award-winning American author/work and document their influence on subsequent American writing in a 6-8 page research paper.

You will accomplish this by developing three movements to your paper: the creation of the work, an overview of the award-winning work and the award and finally, the impact of the award-winning work on American literature (i.e. who has the author gone on to influence).

***You are REQUIRED to keep a research binder. At any given moment, I should be able to check your progress by looking at this binder. Please let me know if you will be using an iPad or similar device for this purpose.***

Movement 1: Creation
Who is the author? What influenced them? What kind of a writer are they? Are they categorized into a certain genre? Do you believe they belong in that genre?
Where does this work fall in the author’s catalogue? (i.e. first? Last? Only?)

Movement 2: Overview
What award did it win? What were the criteria? In what style is the book written?Were critics and/or the public surprised? Was the work popular? Obscure? Why?

Movement 3: Legacy
Are there any authors that cite the work or the author as an influence? Who? Why? How do you know? Is there a specific technique that the author used in the work that caught on?  Who still reads the work? How else has it influenced United States/American culture?

Choose and defend credible sources.
Create and follow a plan (outline) for writing.
Craft and revise a defensible thesis that accurately directs the paper.
Predict the future influence of a writer’s work.
Describe the criteria for a given literary award and determine why a work was chosen.
Describe the influence of a writer’s work.

General requirements:
6-8 Pages
10 Sources, all integrated into the work
Follows MLA Style for question, thesis, tone, source integration and works cited


Step 1: Topic Exploration and Question Development
READ your chosen book over the winter break.
Research Question Due: 1/12/11

Step 2: Selecting and Assessing Sources
You should have ten (10) credible sources.  At least 4 of these should be print. You may use web-based print sources like the Literature Resource dB or eBooks.
Annotated Bibliography Due: 1/14/11
FINAL Updated Annotated Bibliography Due:  1/30/11

Step 3: Grouping, Sequencing and Documenting Information
Source Notes Due:  1/20/11
Source Notes Due:  1/27/11

Step 4: Answering your research question/Developing a tentative Thesis
Thesis and Introduction Due: 1/24/11

Step 5: Outlining
Outline Due: 1/31/11

Step 6: Writing
Draft Due:  2/8/11

Step 7: Global Revisions
Second Draft (students who earn less than 85% of points on the first draft): 2/28/11

Step 8: Sentence-level Revision
Final Draft Due: 3/4/11

Topic Suggestions: (you may choose another award/winner, but must speak with me about your selection in advance)

National Book Award
The Sea Around Us – Rachel Carson (nonfiction)
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
Waiting – Ha Jin (also won the Pen/Faulkner Award)

Newbery Award (young adult fiction)
Dicey’s Song – Cynthia Voigt
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Spear

Nobel Prize for Literature (based on lifetime achievement, choose any title)
John Steinbeck
Ernest Hemingway
Sinclair Lewis

Pen/Faulkner Award (published works of fiction)
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry  (also won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
The Human Stain – Philip Roth

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction:
A Fable – William Faulkner
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Beloved – Toni Morrison

Wilder Award
This award recognizes an author’s lifetime contribution. You may choose any winner.

Other previous choices:
The Good Earth – Pearl Buck
The Heidi Chronicles – Wendy Wasserstein
Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
One of Ours – Willa Cather
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer – Steven Millhauser
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Our Town – Thornton Wilder