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JRP Kennedy-Farrell 23: Home

Databases in This LibGuide

Links to databases:

1. SIRS Researcher

2. eLibrary

3. Opposing Viewpoints

4. Noodletools Guide


Junior Research Paper Assignment Description

NOT a Report

INSTEAD, a Research Paper

• a collection of information to address a topic 

• largely, if not all, concrete detail, with very little commentary from the writer 

 • an opinion or argument of the writer, supported by research 

• carefully chosen concrete details that are interpreted and supported with well-written commentary that explains their relevance 

To write a research paper, you must use the research that you do to prove a point, win an argument, or analyze a topic, NOT simply recopy all of your notes into essay format. 

Source: (“Rockwood School District Research Paper Guide”)

PRODUCT: Write an engaging research paper about a controversial issue or social concern that interests you, related in some way to the U.S.A., especially to the way that misinformation and disinformation are being used to shape views in our country now.

PROMPT: You will create your own prompt to answer for this paper, using a question-asking process that we will complete in class and for homework.


  1. Complete the project according to the calendar of due dates attached.
  2. Read and take notes on 7 distinct sources (or more), including at least 4 print or database sources and at least 2 primary sources. More than half of your sources must have an author!  Lean towards more primary sources!
  3. Write an annotated bibliography with your top seven sources. Use Noodle Tools to organize your research. We will review Noodle Tools the week of Jan. 31-Feb. 4.
  4. Cite 7+ sources in your research paper, with at least one direct quote from each.
  5. Make sure that your research paper has an engaging, argumentative thesis.
  6. Include 10 paragraphs with at LEAST two counterclaims and rebuttals. A SAMPLE OUTLINE to GET TO TEN: Introduction, 5 body paragraphs, 3 counterclaim and rebuttal paragraphs, conclusion. 
  7. Include a Works Cited at the end of your research paper that lists all the sources that you used. Noodle Tools will help with this as well.
  8. Extra Credit points if you submit your rough draft early (2 points for each day early, up to 5 days early or 10 extra credit points). Email me to get the points!
  9. After you get feedback on your rough draft, edit for conventions, grammar, and smooth quote integration in your polished research paper.

3 ENGLISH ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: These are the guiding questions for this course. They are NOT the prompts for the research paper, but your research paper thesis should be connected to one or more of these questions.

  1. What are the myths and realities of the “American” experience?
  2. What does it mean to be “American”?
  3. Can we balance the contradictions that exist in the “American” experience?
  4. What does “America” stand for?
  5. Has “America” fulfilled its early promises (“City on a Hill”)?

Plagiarism: I hope that none of you would engage in intentional plagiarism, but for this project I will be very strict with intentional and accidental plagiarism, as well as unprofessional citation of your sources.  See The Pilot for details on the consequences for plagiarism. I use Google Classroom’s program  to check authenticity and plagiarism.

Rigor: This will be a challenging project, and I will expect you to engage in your own critical thinking process to write this paper. I’m going to expect that your own ideas shine forth, and it’s not a paper that you can just leave for the last minute.  

Work Time: We will have PLENTY of work time during class to brainstorm, research, write, and edit this paper. We will also still have some reading and class discussion of your reading, since during this quarter we will complete The Great Gatsby and The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Don’t just follow your history, follow your heart: Try to find a topic that is new and engaging for you. It will make the writing much more interesting than writing about the same essay topic you’ve always written about. Don’t be afraid to research a local topic about some aspect of the history of Evanston; that’s a great way to get personal stories and anecdotes, which serve as good primary sources.

Rubric: All juniors in 3 English will write a big research paper, and they will all be graded using this rubric.

HOW LONG DOES IT HAVE TO BE? Ten paragraphs. Write as much in your ten paragraphs as it takes to argue your claim and defend your argument.