Name: class period: due date: To Kill a Mockingbird Mini Research Paper

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To Kill a Mockingbird Mini Research Paper

Your assignment is to investigate the historical, cultural, social, or geographical context of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. You will write a 1-2 page formal research paper in MLA format and attach a Works Cited page to demonstrate your understanding of the research process and show the knowledge gained through your research. You will only be given two class periods to work on this, and all other work will be outside class. If you are absent you will have to make up the research during lunch or before/after school. Below are guidelines and requirements for this paper. I highly recommend you follow the steps below in order to write a successful research paper.

Requirements in Summary:

  • 1-2 page essay with a minimum of 2-3 academic sources

  • Introduction with thesis statement

  • Body paragraphs with all sources cited in MLA format

  • Conclusion

  • Works Cited Page in MLA format

  1. First, formulate a guiding question and additional focus questions for research on your topic

Example of guiding research question: Jim Crow Laws – Why were Jim Crow Laws created and what was their effect?

Example focus questions for research:

  • What was the basis of the Jim Crow Laws?

  • In what three major ways did Jim Crow laws affect schools?

  • When and where did they start?

  • How were the laws enforced?

  • Which states had laws restricting interracial marriage?

  • How could the United States have ever allowed Jim Crow laws to exist?

  • Are racist laws till a major factor in the United States today?

  • What was the effect of these laws on the lives of African Americans?

  • What was the effect of these laws on the lives of white Americans?

  • How are these laws relevant or tied to the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird?

  1. Now that you have outlined your guiding questions, you will now formulate a working thesis statement.

  2. You will begin conducting research on the research databases or book sources. You must have a minimum of three sources and once must be a book source. (Make sure you keep up with your MLA citations as you go and organize your notes)

  3. Once you have completed and organized all of your research, you will put together a Works Cited page according to MLA format.

  4. Now you are ready to write your essay. Your essay should contain an introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion followed by a separate Works Cited Page.

*** Do not forget to cite your sources in your essay. Remember you must cite sources even if you are paraphrasing or summarizing a source. We should see your research conducted through your own ideas and writing. Your essay should not read like an encyclopedia.

Additional Sources

Recommended but not required topics for research (please see me to approve a topic):

Harper Lee

Woman’s Role in Society (career, family, do’s and don’ts)

President Hoover

President Roosevelt

The New Deal

Jim Crow Laws

Scottsboro Boys Trial

Brown v. Board of Education

Emancipation Proclamation

The Dust Bowl

The Great Depression

Ku Klux Klan

Violence in the south: bombing of the church in Birmingham, riots, lynching, etc.


Federal Writer’s Project

Civilian Conservation Corps

Works Project Administration

Music of the 1930s

Mental health

Clothing styles


Education System

Sample Thesis Statement & Topic Sentences:

Sample Thesis: Jim Crow Laws were enacted specifically to ensure that certain services, pleasures, and basic human rights would be denied to African Americans.

Topic Sentence #1: Jim Crow laws denied access to the most basic services.

Topic Sentence #2: Not only was access to basic services denied, but people were also denied the pleasures of daily life.

Topic Sentence #3: Most important, states created laws against basic human rights.

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