Juniors: Choosing Research Topics

Last week, students prepared to begin the research process by reading three short stories (“The Lottery,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find”) and by practicing interpreting and responding to literary criticism. This week, students will use this work to begin our next major unit: the research project.

For the research project, students will write a literary analysis essay (4-6 pages) that uses literary criticism for support. This literary analysis might be a theme paper (arguing for the meaning of a story) or it might be a critique (noticing something particular about the style or content of the story). The literary criticism will be provided (15-20 articles available for each story), and students will narrow the criticism down to select a minimum of three articles that are relevant to their topic.

This week students will choose research topics. This will require three steps:

  1. Choose which of the three stories is of most interest.
  2. Skim the available research to begin brainstorming about the argument the student wants to make.
  3. Make a plan for what, specifically, the student would like to argue about the topic.

When we return from Thanksgiving break, we will solidify research plans and begin note-taking and outlining. A schedule for the next three weeks can be found on the daily agenda.

Parents how can you help?

  • Help your child focus on a story and a topic. Because we have just 14 class days until winter break, students will need to commit to a plan quickly so that they can stay on pace with the class.
  • Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your family! I’m thankful for all you do to support your child’s learning at home!