English III research Paper: 1984 Due: June 4, 2011

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English III Research Paper: 1984

Due: June 4, 2011
Our final activity with 1984 and your final project of the year will be a research paper. You will have multiple topics to choose from, you will research your topic using 1984 as your primary source along with many other secondary sources, and you will construct a well-organized research paper with an arguable thesis.
This research paper is different from a typical literary analysis paper (like the ones you wrote for Beowulf and Macbeth) because you are not only analyzing 1984, but you are also analyzing a topic/issue that you see outside of the novel. That’s where the research comes in – your secondary sources will not only be about 1984 they will also be about your topic/issue.
A research paper explores a topic in depth and incorporates information from a variety of sources. It should:

  • clearly state the purpose of the paper in a thesis statement

  • use evidence from a variety of sources to support that thesis

  • develop the topic logically throughout the paper and include good transitions

  • contain accurate and relevant information

  • document sources correctly


  • You must complete a typed research paper.

  • You must follow the schedule and all assignment deadlines given for this project.

  • ALL pre-writing materials must be completed in order for your final draft to be accepted and graded.

  • Your paper must provide an analysis of 1984 based on a thesis and support from the text and secondary sources. It is NOT a book report.

  • You must turn in at least 5 note sheets, and you must use the specific note sheets that I provide (no notebook paper).

  • You must use at least 4 sources besides 1984. 2 sources must be books (not counting 1984). The other 2 sources must be reliable and appropriate internet/database sources.(So, your Works Cited page will have 5 entries total.)

  • Your paper must follow the format/set-up that is given in class, along with MLA format.

  • Your research paper MUST come with a Works Cited page or it will be an automatic zero. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any way.

  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use 12 point size font Times New Roman.

  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation.

  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch (press tab once) from the left margin.

  • Use italics throughout your essay for the title of 1984.

In addition to using 1984 as a source, you are required to find and use 4 additional sources about your topic. All of your secondary sources must be legitimate, trustworthy and nonbiased (i.e. literary criticism, newspaper articles, scholarly essays, encyclopedias, etc.). Unacceptable sources include, but are not limited to dictionaries, biased or commercial websites (typically those ending in .com, .net, .tv) and Wikipedia. Note, Wikipedia may be a good starting off point, or a source of information to jump start your research, but you may not use it as a source in your paper.
Two pieces of support are required for each body paragraph. Pieces of support include direct quotes, paraphrases and summaries. Six direct quotes must come from 1984 and six additional pieces of support must come from your secondary sources.
Topic Choices:

    1. Research the totalitarian governments and their leaders that inspired Orwell to write 1984:

      • Stalin’s Soviet Communist party

      • Hitler’s German Nazi party

      • Mussolini’s Italian National Fascist party

*** You can choose to focus on just one or all three.

    1. Research contemporary totalitarian governments and their leaders:

      • The People’s Republic of China and Hu Jintao

      • North Korea and Kim Jong il

      • Libya and Muammar Gaddafi

*** You can choose to focus on just one or all three.

    1. Examine the policies of America’s Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.

    2. Compare America’s culture of fear regarding terrorism after 9/11 to Oceania’s culture of fear.

    3. Compare America’s media manipulation to Oceania’s Ministry of Truth’s manipulation.

    4. Privacy issues that Americans face today.

    5. Examine when technology goes bad or is misused.

    6. Compare issues of contemporary surveillance, police brutality, intimidation, and corruption to the Party’s policies.

***Note – If you have another topic in mind, you must discuss it and clear it with me before you begin your research.

Great Places to Find Secondary Sources:
1. Thomson Gale Student Resources – accessmyschool.com/cps

  • Enter 1710 for Kenwood’s 4-digit code

  • Click on the first tab Student Resources in Context

  • Perform an advanced search of “Orwell 1984” and your topic

Click on the following content types: Academic Journals, Magazines, Primary Sources, Websites, Critical Essays, News and Reference

Keep your search broad at first, then narrow it down

  • Scroll through the list and skim articles to find those most relevant to your topic

  • Print out those sources that can best serve as evidence to back up your thesis statement

2. The Chicago Public Library Online www.chipublib.org

  • Click on the “Books, Movies and More” tab

  • Click on the “Search in The Library” or the “Online Research” tab

  • Perform a keyword search

  • You will have to enter your library card number and zip code

3. Some Internet News Resources

The Associated Press – www.ap.org

The New York Times – www.nytimes.com

BBC News – www.bbc.co.uk/news

CNN – www.cnn.com

Frontline – www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline

4. The Kenwood Academy Library – You can access books, journals, encyclopedias and other reference books. Ms. Brown and Ms. Knox will assist you when you come to them with specific ideas.

5. The Chicago Public Libraries – You can access books, journals, newspapers, magazines and other reference books. Ask the reference librarians for help. Be sure you have a library card.


  • When you find an interesting and relevant source on the Internet that you think you may want to incorporate into your paper, print it out so that you may read it closely, annotate it and highlight the most relevant information.

  • Be sure that when you print information from the Internet you also keep track of all of the detailed citation information (name of author, name of publication, title of article, date of publication, etc.)

  • You will be required to cite all of your resources in MLA format.

  • If you make photocopies of articles or books from the library, be sure to copy down all of the citation information.

Where do I begin?

Once you have decided on an interesting topic, the best place to start is probably the internet. Here you can usually find basic biographical data on authors, brief summaries of works, possibly some rudimentary analyses, and even bibliographies of sources related to your topic.

In addition to the Internet, you will have to use sources found in the library, sources like journal articles and scholarly books, to get information that you can use to build your own scholarship-your literary paper.
Different ways to incorporate your research

Direct quotes with citations

Paraphrases with citations

Summaries with citations

MLA format

All research papers on literature use the MLA format, as it is the universal citation method for the humanities. Whenever you use a primary or secondary source, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing, you will make parenthetical citations in the MLA format [i.e. (Smith 67).]
Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect you from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.
Point Breakdown:




Planning Sheet

This will be some brainstorming and the basic set-up of your research paper.



A 1-page description of your intent. This synopsis should include your topic/issue, how it connects to 1984 why you selected this topic and what you hope to learn.


Thesis Statement

The thesis must be a provable argument that connects your topic/issue to the novel and to the world at large.


Source Notes

A minimum of 1-page for each of your 5 sources. These notes will be headed with MLA citation information for each source followed by subject headings, quotes and paraphrased information.



An outline of your paper.


Rough Draft/Peer Edit

The first version of your entire paper. EXTENSIVE edits and revisions must be made to the first draft.


Final Draft

Typed in MLA format including a works cited page.


Total Points


***All juniors must complete the research paper assignment to earn credit for the second semester of English III.

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