You should submit your (1) Research Question, (2) Working Thesis, and a (3) Basic Outline. This paper does not necessarily have to be written in essay form, but each of these required elements should be provided and labelled in the order seen below.
(1) Research Question
The development of the research question will help you find an angle or focus. However, as a rule of thumb, just think what you want to know about the topic; why it is important? What ideas or areas do you want to explore? Put that in the form of a question.
Example Research Questions: You may think: What is Homer saying in The Iliad about the suffering and loss in war? What does The Iliad tell us about the role of women?
All papers must have a clearly-worded thesis that states exactly what your paper intends to prove. This thesis will eventually need to be supported by credible textual evidence from the work(s) you are writing about. Therefore, you should focus on statements that merit research (in other words, they can’t be definitively or easily answered by reading the text alone) but also seem able to be sufficiently provable via reasonable supporting evidence. Remember, as you conduct research in the coming weeks, your ideas and purpose may change; therefore, you may want or even need to modify your working thesis as you proceed. That’s ok, but a working thesis helps provide you with a valid starting point, and something for which I can provide feedback before you continue with the research project in later weeks.
Remember, a thesis statement is just that- a statement. You are telling readers what YOU intend to do– so, a thesis cannot be in the form of a question, nor should it be more than one sentence.
Example Thesis: Homer’s portrayal of women in The Iliad reveals gender roles as women are depicted as being inferior to men both physically and intellectually.
(3) Basic Outline/Proposal
Your outline doesn’t have to be overly formal; the idea here is that you’re thinking about specific elements of your paper beforehand. Begin with a proposal paragraph, which provides more context about your idea and why you chose it. Then, discuss some of the specific ideas you might include in the different sections of your eventual paper.
Proposal: Why are you interested in this idea? What do you think you can learn by researching this particular subject matter? What do you think might be the biggest specific challenge with this topic, or the assignment in general?
Introduction: What information do you think you’ll need to provide in your eventual introduction paragraph, before addressing your thesis more directly in your body paragraphs? What background or contextual information will readers need to appropriately understand your subject matter and purpose?
Body Paragraphs: Include some of the points you believe you will have to prove, or the evidence you may need to provide, in order to support the thesis of your paper in the eventual body paragraphs of your research paper.
Conclusion: What is a way to rephrase your thesis? What new piece of information might you provide here for readers to consider? How does your paper’s argument help improve or deepen the experience of reading your chosen literature?
Your paper must be formatted according to MLA format (this includes having a header, double spacing throughout the document, appropriate font, etc.)
Quotations/citations and works cited are not required for this assignment, but use correct MLA documentation as needed.
For more information about MLA style, view the MLA Formatting and Citations page.