Helpful hints for Writing a Research Paper: See page discussing MLA Format (i.e. using proper header, etc. ) See page listing more general hints for a Critical Response
Paper See Topics for English 102 and 112 and Humanities 201/211 and
Again, remember that this is a Critical response paper,
NOT a Personal response paper.
It is also an ARGUMENT Paper, not a REPORT Paper. Do not
provide a history of the Harlem Renaissance or a biography of
Langston Hughes. You may, however, analyze specific works
by Hughes and explain the ways in which they demonstrate
characteristics associated with literature of the Harlem
Renaissance (unless of course, you are in Humanities 201, which
focuses on earlier texts).
Please!! Avoid making comparisons to
Present Day Society !!! Such comparisons almost never have a
basis in actual textual analysis !!
Avoid plot summary! Use quotes from only those
sections of the text immediately relevant to your discussion!
Use past tense to discuss historical or biographical
events, but present tense when discussing literature.
Be very careful when making references to the Humanities
textbook. For example, Homer is the author of The
Iliad. Martin Puchnar is the main editor of the
work in which The Iliad appears. Also be careful
when citing information from the introductions to the authors
Foster, Benjamin, translator. The Epic of
Gilgamesh. Norton Anthology of World Literature
Shorter. 3rd Ed.,
edited by Martin Puchnar, et al. Vol. 1. NY: W.W.
Norton, 2013, pp. 38-88.
(Note: only the first line is flush with the margin;
subsequent lines are tabbed over. It's called reverse
indent, if you want to look it up.)
Do Not Number the Entries in a Works Cited.
When citing verse, use slashes to show line breaks and
cite by line (or act.scene.line for plays).
Avoid plagiarism !! See Policy
On a related note, please be very selective about the
sources you utilize from the internet. The ideal sources are
those found on jstor.org or the Literature Resource Center or
MLA Bibliography--essays that have been previously published
in journals or books and are now available online.
AVOID the Following Sites!! These are NOT ACCEPTABLE
sources (and this is not a complete list, but you should get
the idea) !!!
USE SPELL-CHECK !
Other Mechanical Issues:
DO NOT USE A COVER PAGE !!!!
Use only ONE edition of your primary source. If you
wish to refer to an editor's introduction to another edition,
cite by the editor's name.
Be sure to use quotation marks for titles of shorter
works, such as poems and short stories, and italics for
titles of longer works, such as plays, epic poems and
Do not rely too heavily on secondary sources. The
number of citations to your primary source should be roughly
equivalent to the total number of references to ALL your
secondary sources combined.
Do NOT use secondary source material to summarize plot or
quote from the primary source.
Make sure it is clear WHOSE ideas you are presenting. If
Critic A is quoting Critic B, and you use the quote, your
citation should say (Qtd. in Critic A #). The #, of course,
refers to the page number in Critic A's text.
Avoid unnecessary changes to quotes. Instead of
saying, "Jacobs describes, '[She] felt hopeless' (24)," say,
"Jacobs describes that she 'felt hopeless' (24)."
Avoid using direct quotes in either your introduction or
conclusion. Discussion in these two paragraphs should be
Avoid long paragraphs. A long paragraph is maybe 2/3 of a
page. If you find yourself with paragraphs that are over a
page long, figure out how to break them up.
Do not use quotes as the subjects of sentences: The
quote "---------" (29) shows that. . . or
"-----------" (87) means that . . .
Don't use "in which" when you mean "that."
Don't use "that" when you mean "who" (i.e. when referring
Try to use specific nouns with "this": Avoid "This
causes things to happen . . ."
Use Punctuation to show Possession: "Morrison's
book" not "Morrison book"
Introduce the work(s) to be discussed by Author and Title
as early as possible.