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AP Senior Research Project:
Literary Analysis of a Major Work

Topic: You are to write about a specific work of AP level literature, focusing and narrowing your topic to one that can be handled in a 5 - 7 page double-spaced typed paper. This should probably be a novel or full-length play, but I will consider significant poetic works. I would not advise attempting such a paper on a single poem (though it could be done). Note: You must have your specific text approved in advance.

General Guidelines: The quality of your reference sources is much more important than the quantity. Because you are collecting information that other people have already published, you have to give credit to these people for the information you use that is theirs. In other words, no plagiarism. To protect you from temptation, I expect photocopies or printouts of your resources. You may make notes on these papers and/or use highlighters to help you plan your writing -- but I will keep everything at the end.

Required Resources: All online resources must be evaluated using the Content Evaluation Guide and the Web Design Evaluation Guide provided in class. Keep in mind that you must write an annotation for every resource. You should include at least five critical resources in your bibliography.

Citing Sources: We will follow MLA style. Follow directions as given on my Bibliography page. Excellent resources that break the complicated process down into greater detail include Citation Machine and Easy Bib.

Research Links: You will get specific instructions for how to use library databases and be shown how to access some specialized resources.

Cover: Select a meaningful quote from the works of your approved author and illustrate that quote so that it will fit on the front of your file folder. You may use original artwork, computer graphics, calligraphy, graphic fonts, cut-and-paste illustrations from magazines -- whatever will help you make the most of the words themselves. Although you have the freedom to use varied art materials and papers, remember that the final quote design must be no larger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches if it is to fit.I have provided several examples on my Quote Design page.

Projects for Reports: From the handout provided in class, select a project to complete on your selected book. You will also find the projects form online.

Critical Essay: Develop and support a thesis sentence. For example:

The central conflict in Willa Cather's “The Sculptor’s Funeral” is one of values -- the materialistic, crass values of the townspeople in opposition to the aesthetic values of the sculptor.

“Leda and the Swan” by William Butler Yeats concerns itself primarily with the sudden descent of the bird/god, Leda’s terror, the consummation, and speculations about what Leda's thoughts might have been.

You will cite your sources parenthetically within the content of the essay. Focus your essay on what you can prove from your reading and research. Narrowing your topic will help. Your essay should be approximately 5-7 pages, double-spaced. Use the guidelines given in Quoting from Literature.

Annotated Bibliography: Cite all your sources in an alphabetized list that follows MLA format. Include brief annotations for every reference.

Manila Envelope: Put the photocopies and printouts of all your resources in here. Also include all notes, clusters, outlines, and drafts. Put a correct heading on the front of the envelope.

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Updated 12 June 2016.

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Updated 15 January 2015.
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