For your final two major writing assignments for the course, you are completing an annotated bibliography and will then write a research essay (due April 8, 2022, 11:59pm [EST]). These two assignments are connected: the resources you explore in your annotated bibliography will generally become the sources you use to support your thesis and claims in the research essay. Building on the sources you have addressed independently in your annotated bibliography, you should now bring your sources into conversation with one another, to present your reader with a researched essay that enables them to see the connections between your research and the film itself. Note that suggested research themes are offered in the annotated bibliography assignment guide, and these carry over to the research essay.
Like an argument essay, a research project provides a thesis and supports that thesis through research, observation, analysis and claims. A research essay in this context will bring together multiple sources that address a common theme (or set of themes) relevant to the film and the thesis you want to support, based in the research you have done for your annotated bibliography and the knowledge you have built throughout the term. The thesis will draw on this research, demonstrating how it has shaped your understanding of themes and issues related to your chosen film. What do you want readers to understand about this film, the history or ideas it portrays/represents, related themes and issues, and what scholars have had to say about these? What kind of thesis – about this specific film, about scholarship about film more generally, and/or about the issues raised in the film – can you build, based on the scholarship you have reviewed for your annotated bibliography?
You do have some freedom in terms of how you approach this assignment. You can certainly make the film District 9 the centerpiece of your essay, to which you apply insights collected from your scholarly research in the annotated bibliography. If you would prefer to focus on developing the issues you discovered in the annotated bibliography more deeply, the film can act more as one example or point of reference among others. The film should remain an important inspiration for your work, but you may use it either as an object to which you apply analysis or as one example of a media object that represents issues found in your research. Further details on topics and approach are provided in the annotated bibliography assignment guide.
Length: 1700-2000 words, including a separate Works Cited page. Do not include a title page, as MLA formatting does not call for one (but do give your essay a unique title that reflects its content and engages the reader).
Sources: Your research essay should bring together no fewer than 8 scholarly sources, as well as the film itself, for a total of 9 minimum sources (there is no maximum number of sources, though it would be very rare for a project of this length to exceed 11-13 scholarly sources). Most, if not all, of the sources used in the research essay should carry over from your annotated bibliography. Note that there are fewer sources “required” for the essay than there were for the annotated bibliography, and there is reasoning behind this: As you get into the process of writing and refine your thesis and argumentation, you may find that a few resources are not as useful as you initially thought they would be. This is natural and simply part of the process of research and writing – sometimes, you get rid of a few sources; sometimes, you add a few sources. You need to see where the essay takes you and what you need to support your ideas rather than cramming in a less-relevant source simply because it was in the annotated bibliography. Just as every paragraph, sentence, and word in your essay should serve a particular purpose, so should every resource.
Format and Citation: Your essay must follow MLA 8 guidelines for both citation and page layout (formatting). Incorrect formatting and/or citation will result in a deduction of up to one full letter grade. A complete resource for MLA 8 essay formatting and citation is available here:
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.).
Specific discussion of citing a film can be found within that resource, here:
https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_other_common_sources.html (Links to an external site.)
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