Research Essay

Research Essay

Research Essay


Choose one topic from either the list of personal essay topics (A) or the list of expository essay topics (B).

Write an essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words (about four double-spaced typed pages) on your chosen topic. Expect that if your essay goes over the length requirement, your essay could be returned to you for revision.

Begin your research. You might start with a general Google search and then a Google Scholar search, but you will also need to visit the library databases to find sound academic articles. Note: When you’re first learning about a topic, Wikipedia might be an appropriate place to start, but always move on from Wikipedia. As an open source, it is not sufficiently trustworthy for academic purposes. Therefore, do not use quotes or paraphrases from Wikipedia. This is not a source your tutor will want to see on your citation list. Be equally careful of other questionable websites since they are in abundance.

Find two to four reputable secondary sources and review them carefully. At least one source should be from a peer-reviewed journal article accessed through the AU library databases.

Based on the research you found as well as your own brainstorming, develop a straightforward thesis that is sufficiently limited in scope (meaning something you can do justice to in a short essay).

Create an outline.

Begin the first draft of your essay.

Make use of at least two (and no more than four) secondary sources within your essay by adding quotations and paraphrases. Then, every time you paraphrase or quote, follow these four steps:

Introduce each source

Present the research

Credit the source parenthetically


In other words, include quotation (and paraphrase) sandwiches in your essay. Don’t just drop in quotations or paraphrases from sources into your essay. (Some experts call these hit and run quotations).

Create a Works Cited or References page, and make sure to take this seriously. Do not guess, and do not use a software program. Doing this correctly is not difficult, but it does require you to pay very close attention to detail. We expect you to do so. 

Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy. 

Study the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly.

When you’re ready, upload your assignment through the assignment drop box. 

Use MLA citation and format style unless you have a significant reason to do otherwise. 
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