Cyber Security

Research Paper Assignment Guide
English 101/Mr. Butler

Directions: Write a well-developed thesis-based essay that relates in some way to an interesting or critical aspect of your major or career goals. You may also select a topic that you feel passionate about, enough to warrant research and inquiry on a deeper level. This essay should be robust enough to require the use of secondary sources, but not be so complex that it cannot be adequately discussed in eight to ten pages.

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You are required to use research to complete this assignment. You must use a minimum of ten secondary, academic sources, and only two of them may be from the web. Please notice that the “web” is a specific entity and does not include online journals and databases found via the college’s library. I highly recommend that you use HCC’s Library databases exclusively. You must pass this project to pass the course.


Content (65%) Grammar/Mechanics/MLA Style (35%)

Minimum Requirements:


2,500 – 3,000 words (minimum range 8-10 pages, double spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, 1” margins)
Project is clearly organized around a specific topic
Uses formal diction and tone
Introduction develops an appropriate technique to interest the reader
In-text parenthetical documentation from at least 10 credible academic sources (preference is given to academic journal articles, but some books or websites can be used)
Shows evidence of careful revision for clarity, grammar, and punctuation
Works Cited page listing at least 10 sources cited in the paper

You will be evaluated on the following:

Use of a thesis statement that clearly articulates purpose and point of view
Your ability to incorporate secondary sources both grammatically and stylistically
This includes your ability to use MLA format to cite sources within your text and use a Works Cited page
The ability to use and cite quotations, paraphrases, and summaries of both primary text and secondary sources
Use of an objective third person perspective (no more use of “I” or “you”)
A meaningful introduction that clearly adds background to your paper’s purpose, leading to a thesis statement and a conclusion that adequately ends the paper
A minimal number of spelling and grammatical errors

All graded assignments included in this paper are:

200 points – Research Paper
75 points Annotated Bibliography of minimum twelve sources
25 points Formal Outline

What is an Annotated Bibliography?


An annotated bibliography is a list of sources found while conducting research on a topic. During the research process, you will have to evaluate the effectiveness of your sources. For your assignment, you must find a minimum of twelve sources that you document in correct MLA format and then write about two to three sentences explaining the usefulness of the source. All of the sources you use for your annotated bibliography do not need to be cited in your final research paper.

What should a Formal Outline look like?

You may choose any outlining style that works for you, but I highly recommend the style and format that appears below.

Formal Outline

I. Introduction: background information on the topic/why is it important?

A: sub-topic

B: sub-topic

C: sub-topic

D: thesis

II. Body Paragraph development – key points from the research (the “meat” of your paper)

A: Five paragraphs exploring subtopic A (then number 1-5 for each paragraph)

B: Four paragraphs exploring subtopic B (then number 1-4 for each paragraph)

C: Three paragraphs exploring subtopic C (then number 1-3 for each paragraph)

III. Conclusion: be sure to summarize the key/main points and then explain what was learned from the research

A: Restate thesis

B: Summary of subtopic A

C: Summary of subtopic B

D: Summary of subtopic C


E: Summative statements about topic as a whole/purpose

F: Final thoughts/explain importance of research and topic (can be multiple items)

Remember that this research paper is NOT simply a five paragraph essay!

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