Posted: April 22nd, 2016

Do you agree or disagree with the other scholars?

Everyone may have an opinion, but not all opinions are equal, and some opinions may be of little or no value. Your English professor’s opinion regarding optimum strategic oil reserves may not be worth the time you take listening. On the other hand, your English professor’s comments on writing and literature deserve a great deal of attention. You need to consider the source of information and the quality of that source.

Not all interpretations of a text are created equally. Some sources offer highly reasoned arguments and strong evidence for their claims, while others offer broad opinions with little supporting evidence. Part of your task in conducting research is to evaluate potential sources so that your research essay uses only the strongest sources.

The research paper is your opportunity to enter more fully into the conversation that surrounds your topic. So far, you have gathered sources and organized them. As part of your annotated bibliography, you listed the sources and wrote paragraphs that established some relationships among the sources. Now, use at least five of your sources in a draft of a paper that focuses on ONE of the threads of conversation that you identified. A research paper is not a broad summary of research or overview of various elements in the literature being researched. For that reason, it is crucial that you narrow your topic and focus your research on one aspect of the work. As you consider your sources in light of your narrowed topic, you may rely on the following questions as prompts:

Do you agree or disagree with the other scholars?
What do you agree with or disagree with in their research?
What claim* (See URL) might you make?
What are your reasons for the claim?
What evidence from the text would you provide?
What counter-arguments might you anticipate?
How will you address these counter-arguments?

A humanities-based research paper often follows this format:

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