English 1A – What’s In a Major?
Many of you already have declared a major, but do you know what it takes to graduate or
transfer? Now, imagine that you work at the Welcome Center on campus and you had to
complete research about your major and future career. There is a line of incoming freshman at
the door and they want to know why your major is the best possible choice AND what the most
important aspects about your major are. What would you tell them? For our second essay this
summer you are going to write a Research Paper. Your essay must be at least 6-8 pages in MLA
format and include a thesis statement, at least five outside sources (with notecards), and a Works
Cited page. Please note that your Works Cited page and notecards do not count towards your
page length requirement.
To make your process easier – and quicker – complete your essay in these parts:
Part 1 – What are the most important aspects about your major that an incoming freshman should
know? Why? The answer to these two questions will work as your thesis statement. Your
thesis needs to be specific, manageable, provable, and contestable—in other words, the thesis
should offer a clear position, stand, or opinion that will be proven with research. You should
analyze and prove your thesis using examples and quotes from a variety of sources.
Part 2 – Now, what do you know already about your major? What do you still need to know?
Draft a series of questions you still have about your major, what you already know about it, and
any personal experiences or observations. This will help frame your research task.
Part 3 – Do some research in the library. You may use online sources as long as they are
credible* sources. *Wikipedia.com is not an acceptable source; however, you may use it as a
jumping off point. You need at least five sources; however, you MUST use at least 3 different
types of sources.
At least one source must be from an ECC library database.
At least one source must be a book, anthology or textbook.
At least one source must be from a credible website, appropriate for academic
The paper should not over-rely on one main source for most of the information.
Rather, it should use multiple sources and synthesize the information found in
Make sure you make at least five notecards (include them at the end of your essay and works
Part 4 – Draft your essay. Begin with a hook in your introduction that lures the reader in and use
this paragraph to establish a lead-in to your topic by providing a general context for the reader.
Place your thesis at the end of this introduction.
Part 5 – Use the body of your essay to inform your reader about the specifics of your topic while
integrating quotations and paraphrases using signal phrases and analysis or commentary.
Gillis 1A – Sp15
Remember, provide interesting details that your reader likely doesn’t already know, or present
common knowledge in a new light with commentary. Remember to site your sources correctly.
See the handout in Module four for reference.
Part 6 – Conclude your essay by summarizing the knowledge you’ve shared. Don’t bring up any
new information or raise too many questions. This paragraph is meant to bring closure to the
essay while maintaining your reader’s interest in the topic.
Part 7 – Complete a Works Cited page. It is the last part of your essay and gets its own page.
Again, make sure that you have accurate in-text citations as well so that they match with your
Works Cited page.
In addition to the requirements above, I will be looking for these things:
Did you sustain (maintain) your argument?
Did you use transitions effectively?
Did you use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
Is your paper logical, organized, and focused?