Essay #3: Long-range Research Paper (MLA or APA format)
The long-range research paper is designed to incorporate writing and research skills
developed throughout the semester. Consequently, the topic is far more open ended than
the other papers assigned to this point. For Essay #3, you must select an issue or
controversy within a particular academic field of study. This academic field is of your
choosing, but you may find it most useful to select your major or a field closely related to
your career goals. See this as an opportunity to explore and research within a discipline that
is important to you. This paper should be robust enough to require the use of secondary
sources, but not so complex that it cannot be adequately discussed in a 5–7-page essay.
This paper is to be thesis-based, well-developed, and use a minimum of five secondary
sources. These sources should be well-chosen, quality sources. Since this is an academic
examination, academic sources are the best option.
Of the five sources, only one can be an internet-only source. The rest must be from books,
journals, magazines, newspapers, and online journals. A research essay with only web sites
will result in a failing grade. Ideally, your paper should use a variety of sources. Sources
must be integrated, which means you should not use a single source for a major portion of
the essay–you must blend the material you have researched with your own thoughts and
ideas. Use both paraphrases and some direct quotations.
Ideally, this paper will build upon your topic and research from Essay #2: Charting a Trend,
though it doesn’t have to. The key difference now is a focus on an argumentative thesis
as opposed to a purely informational essay. Since a thesis is an opinion, the paper cannot
merely be a “here’s some information I found about Subject X” report. Instead, you are
delving into a topic that concerns people who are already in that field, so background
information should be included only for clarity. The research essay should remain
argumentative rather than informative, and it should be organized around the ideas
supporting your position.
After completing the two preliminary research assignments (Research Proposal and
Annotated Bibliography), you will be ready to proceed with the main research paper:
You will be evaluated on the following:
❖ Use of a thesis statement that clearly articulates purpose and point of view.
❖ Use of at least five sources that are appropriate and reliable in a 5–7-page essay.
❖ Ability to incorporate secondary sources both grammatically and stylistically.
❖ Ability to use APA-7 or MLA-8 Style to cite sources within your essay and to create
a References or Works Cited page.
❖ Ability to use and accurately cite direct quotes, paraphrases, and summaries of both
primary and secondary sources.
❖ Use of an objective third person point-of-view; avoid references to 2nd person “you.”
❖ Body paragraphs that support the thesis (unity) and use transitions to move from
point to point and between paragraphs (coherence).
❖ A meaningful introduction that clearly adds background to your paper’s purpose–
leading to a thesis statement–and a conclusion that ends the paper rather than
❖ A minimal number of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
*If you have any doubt about the definition of academic dishonesty or plagiarism, contact
me immediately. Essays will be checked by SafeAssign, and students guilty of plagiarism
will be subject to a failing grade and a Student Code of Conduct Violation.
Online Resources for Essay #3:
HCC Library Research Databases
The MLA Style Center
Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
The Art of Paraphrasing-Avoiding Plagiarism (video)
Everything You Need to Know About Using & Punctuating Direct Quotes
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources-A Quick Guide
Editing and Proofreading
20 Most Common Grammar Errors
Students may either use APA-7 or MLA-8 style for Essay #3
Thesis/Support/Organization The thesis should reflect a supportable, narrow opinion and
be developed in the body of the essay. The support should
be clear and reliable, and the paper organized emphatically
(order of importance).
Number of and Quality of
Five sources should be cited. These sources should be
quality sources—reliable and relevant to the material, and
most should be academic.
(APA-7 or MLA-8)
This includes, but is not limited to, the format of page
numbers, title page, running heads, level headings,
spacing, the in-text citations, the references page format,
and references entries. In addition, consistency is key!
Technical Plagiarism “Broken” citations where the reference is not APA or MLA
Style, or it’s unclear; in-text citations that have no
reference to a single entry on the References or Works
Cited page, or References/Works Cited entries that have no
reference in the text (padding) can all result in significant
Editing and Mechanics Standard grammar, spelling, punctuation, and diction
errors can also result in significant grade reductions.