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Archive for the ‘Literature Research Paper’ Category

How to Write a Literature Research Paper

Literature research paper writing is the one thing a college freshman can count on next to death and taxes. A college degree will require certain basic classes such as literature, history, science, and math even if your major is diesel mechanics. Literature research paper help can help you obtain highest level of education possible.


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Literature Research Paper Structure


Successful beginning of a literature research paper proposal is defining the proper structure. Once the literature research paper proposal structure is set up, it is very easy to fill it in with the rest of the writing. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to set up a literature research paper proposal because here is a basic outline structure to get you started.


1.      Title Page


Your professor may require different information, but generally accepted title page includes the title of the paper, student’s name, the class abbreviation (LIT 201), the professor’s name, and the date. Typically it is double spaced, centered on the page both horizontally and vertically.


2.      Body


The introductory paragraph in literature research paper writing should be engaging and include a “thesis statement” which is the focus of your paper.


Each paragraph after the introduction will support that thesis statement, starting with a supporting sentence and the rest of the paragraph supporting the first sentence.


For simple lit papers, an intro paragraph, three or four supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion that summarizes the thesis is sufficient. The conclusion should re-state the thesis and the main paragraph points to wrap it up.


3.      References/Bibliography


Depending on the writing method adopted by your school or professor (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), your final part of the paper will be referencing your sources. If you produce a statement that comes from a previous author’s work, you must put it in the reference section or it will be considered plagiarism and can get you expelled.


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Literature Research Paper Format

In crafting your research paper proposal don’t forget that your content must be placed into the proper framework. There are basic styles that you can follow to ensure consistency in formatting and proper citing of quoted or referenced material. Your professor has most likely specified the style that your paper should adhere to. Two common research paper formats are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). Let’s review the basic rules of each:

  • APA Research Paper Format

An APA research paper begins with a cover page containing your title, your name and the name of the educational institution. The second page is designated for an abstract – an overview of the research paper in one paragraph. The content of your essay begins on the following page.

Basic formatting rules for the APA research paper specify 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left and right sides of the page, use of a standard, readable font (such as Times New Roman) in 12-point type, double-spaced. A header at the top of each page should include the first two or three words of the title followed by five spaces and then the page number at the right.

As in any paper, citation giving proper credit to quoted or paraphrased material is paramount. APA calls for in-text citations to include the author’s name, year of publication and page number. The full reference then follows in an APA Bibliography included with your essay. Here is an example:

The quote with in-text citation:

“What is reported of men, whether it be true or false, may play as large a part in their lives, and above all in their destiny, as the things they do” (Hugo, 1982, p. 19).

And the corresponding reference in the bibliography:

Hugo, V. (1982). Les Miserables. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd.

  • MLA Research Paper Format

The MLA research paper has some similarities with APA – it also makes use of 1-inch margins around the page and 12-point, double-spaced type. However, there is no type of cover page or title page to be used, but instead the first page of the essay contains a title block.

The title block is at the top left of the first page and contains the following lines (double-spaced): your name, the professor’s name, title of the course and the date. Following these lines, the title of your essay is centered on the page directly preceding your introductory paragraph. At the top right of each page include your last name followed by the page number.

An MLA research paper contains in-text citations for quoted or paraphrased material, and the full reference follows in a listing titled MLA Works Cited. In the body of your essay, the reference is to include the author’s name and the page number. Here is our previous example as an MLA citation:

The in-text citation:

“What is reported of men, whether it be true or false, may play as large a part in their lives, and above all in their destiny, as the things they do” (Hugo 19).

And the corresponding reference in the works cited:

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1982. Print.

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 All students need a helping hand at times – even literature students who enjoy reading and writing need to become familiar with proper academic formats for research papers.

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Outline for Research Papers

Although an essay on literature differs from other types of more scientific or objective reports, it is still important to present your thoughts in an organized way. A research paper outline is a tool that will help you get your ideas in the proper order so your paper will make the greatest impact.

Begin with your thesis. Remember that you should have come up with an interesting concept or fresh approach to your topic. Brainstorm and write down all the points you want to make in your essay, decide on a few main headings, then review your complete list of ideas and arrange them under the main headings.

Research Paper Outline Sample

Use the standard alphanumeric outline system: the main points are listed by Roman numerals with each further divided into subheadings denoted by capital letters. If the subtopics are further divided, the next corresponding lists are denoted by Arabic numerals (1. 2. 3.), followed by lowercase letters. Even you are writing a creative essay, organization is still essential to make sure your words flow and you make your point effectively.

Your essay should begin with an introduction in which you present your thesis. Take the time to write it well – introduce your compelling concept, engage the reader’s interest and hint at what is to come in the main body of your paper. Is your paper a review, a study or comparison, a biographical look at an author? Your professor should be able to answer this question after reading the introduction.

Writing the main body of the paper should be a smooth process since you have arranged your thoughts into an outline. Now you can have some fun with your writing and enjoy the process. Follow the outline and expand on your ideas as you state your case and explore your topic. Strive for seamless transitions as one concept leads into the next.

Following the body of your paper, restate your thesis in a conclusion, and include a brief summary of your supporting arguments. After you have completed the first draft of your essay go over it again, correcting any errors and rewording it until it shines.

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Choosing Topics for a Literature Research Paper

Your assignment may be to write about a particular work of literature and the professor may have specified the focus of your essay, or it may be more open-ended. In either case, it is important for you to read and analyze the work, think creatively about it and present an original idea. As we have noted, a literature research paper is different in that there is less focus on research, and more on your own ability to understand, analyze and write creatively about the subject. Ultimately, your paper should make the reader eager to get acquainted with the original work or author or learn more about the genre of literature.

If you have the opportunity to select your own topic or focus, there are countless avenues to explore. You could write a novel essay, poetry essay or drama essay, a review, an analysis of literature of a certain country or time period … the ideas are endless. A list of literature research paper ideas could include the following:

  • Focus on one author or poet – Study how the writer’s work evolved over time or contributed to the era that produced it, or focus on enduring themes throughout varied works, or the author’s background and inspirations.
  • Highlight the literature of a period in time – How does society influence authors, and do authors have much of an influence on society? Perhaps compare and contrast what the popular reading material was during a time period, such as the Victorian era, with the works that were produced during that time that endure as classic literature today.
  • Study the literature of one country – Again, this is a good opportunity to look at the influence of culture on what authors produce. American authors, for example, followed a very different style than their European counterparts.
  • Take an in-depth look at a particular work – This could be a study of the themes of a novel, play or poem, the use of literary devices, or an analysis of the symbolism or characters. As we’ve mentioned, though, remember to present a creative idea through your analysis.

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How to Write a Literature Research Paper

Writing an essay on literature differs from other research paper topics. The subject of your paper – whether it be a novel, short story, poem or other work – is usually a fictional work of art created from an author’s imagination. It is not an objective or scientific topic that you can simply research and gather facts into an outline. You must take a more creative approach with your own writing.

A student of literature must be able to read, understand and analyze an author’s work – often a book or poem that was the product of another period in time. The student must be able to write creatively as well. As always, be sure you understand the assignment – is it to review the work, write a basic book report, or an analysis of themes, characters or symbolism? And, be sure to follow the research paper format your professor requires. Common styles are MLA and APA, which we will discuss later.

A literature course provides the opportunity for you to be inventive and original in your writing. Flex your writing muscles by choosing your words carefully and putting them together creatively to craft a winning paper.

Types of Literature Research Papers

There are several types of research papers, and each can be applied to an essay on literature. An argumentative paper is one in which the writer presents the pros and cons of an issue, usually arguing in favor of one side. Applying this type of paper to literature could deal with censorship issues. Another type of paper is analytical, which could easily be applied to literature – analyze themes, devices, characters, etc.

A definition paper generally contains accepted facts discovered through research and is devoid of personal interpretation or analysis. A biographical essay about an author or poet could fall into this category. Compare and contrast papers, on the other hand, invite a bit more speculation as the student offers a comparison of two or more authors, stories or genres.

An interpretive paper encompasses a more in-depth case study of a particular work, and is a common type of essay required in literature courses. And finally, a report paper, in the literature sense, could be a straightforward book report summarizing a work and its plot.

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