Graduation Project
1b. The Paper: Essay Guidelines
  1. The research-based essay can be constructed from any genre, as specified by the English teacher, including but not limited to:
    • Expository
    • Compare and Contrast
    • Cause and Effect
    • Argumentative (Persuasive)
    • Critical Review
    • Analytical
    • Literary 

  2. Each essay must cite a minimum of five different sources. Encyclopedias and other general resources are not acceptable, including current, technological reference bundles. Students should strive for variety and balance in their selections. 
  3. Essays should be approximately six to eight pages of text.
  4. The thesis statement should be in bold-faced type.
  5. Sources should include at least one primary source, such as original documents, authoritative interviews, or analytical data based on interviews. Primary sources add immediacy and relevance to the research. Students whose primary sources are individuals should note in the text or annotate in the works cited entry the person’s area of expertise. NOTE: Students should identify primary sources with bold-faced type in the list of works cited.
  6. Students should learn to interpret research in terms of possible bias and to examine research in terms of validity. This examination is especially important when students are using on-line sources.
  7. Research should take a variety of forms, both primary and secondary, traditional and non-traditional. Students may design, administer, and analyze surveys, conduct interviews of experts, access on-line databases, or consult portable database products. Students should tailor the type of research to their topic of research to ensure a reasonable balance of sources.
  8. Students should be cautioned not to rely solely on on-line sources.
  9. Students must carefully document all research information they cite in their papers. This should include parenthetical documentation within the paper and a list of works cited at the end of the paper.
  10. Students should access the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for guidelines for appropriate documentation.
Students should be thoroughly informed of research ethics and the serious consequences of plagiarism.

* Papers are completed during English III, typically during a student's junior year of high school.
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