Spring 2006
Research Paper Assignment

You will write a peer, assistant and instructor-reviewed research paper for this class. The schedule for the parts of the research paper is below:
Part% of final gradeDue DateReturn Date
Topic and list of 6 sources (with summaries) turned in by email6% Jan 22 (for Monday section), Jan 24 (for Wednesday section) Jan 29 or 31
Give Formal Outline to peers (and emailed to me) 2% Feb 5 or 7
Discuss and turn in written reaction to 2-3 other outlines 2% Feb 12 or 14
Revised outline for me 7% Feb 19 or 21 Feb 26 or 28
Give rough draft to peers (and email to me)2% March 12 or 14
Discuss and turn in written reaction to 2-3 other drafts2% March 19 or 21
Turn in to me your almost final draft 7% March 26 or 28 April 9 or 11
Final Paper 12%April 16 or 18  

Topic and 6 sources

Choose a topic for your Research paper based on the reading topics listed on the syllabus, or a topic related to the computer ethics. You will need to write a 1500 word research paper that describes the issues, laws, controversies, ethics, and new developments related to this topic. Once you have chosen your topic, read the chapter in the text related to your topic. Besides the chapter in the text related to your topic, you should have at least 6 other sources that you will use as the basis for your research paper. The sources may be web based, but one source should be initially non-web based (that is, appear in print). The sources should be current enough to cover your topic as it exists today (e.g., a pre-Internet reference on wide area network security will have limited usefulness). A librarian can help you find material. Send your topic, a list of 6 sources and a summary of those 6 sources to me by email. The summaries should be 3-5 sentences long. Do not use attachments. Below are examples of how sources should be cited (you may send the email source list to me unformatted, but should use the appropriate format when writing your outline, draft, and final research paper.)

Citation method for web addresses:

URL; author or person or organization responsible for the web page; title (if one exists; otherwise use a header if one is given. The title is the text that will come up if you save the URL in your list of favorites, or in other places. It does not appear on the web page itself. You may view the title by viewing the source and finding the title tag); "Date Written and Last Updated"; date accessed (the date that you accessed the web site). Here is one link on how to cite Internet sources. You must have some idea of when your source was created or modified in order to use it. Do not use sources for which no date can be found (the date you accessed the material is required, but not sufficient). For example:

<www.Slate.msn.com/> Plotz, David. "The Plagiarist: Why Stephen Ambrose is a Vampire." Slate Written 1/11/02. Accessed 2/3/04.

Citation for books:

Lederer, Richard and Richard Dowis. Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay: Practical Advice for the Grammatically Challenged. St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 1991.

Citation for articles:

Johnson, Deborah G., "Do Engineers Have Social Responsibilities?" Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 9, no. 1 (1991), pp 20-26.


You will turn in your outline three times. You will turn in your outline to me as an attachment in email (I will only grade whether you turned this in, not its content) and bring 3 copies of that outline to class for peer review. Both versions of your outline may be in any typed format. Include your topic and list of sources and source summaries in the outline that you turn in to me. You do not need to give this source list to your peers. The source list may be modified from what you turned in initially. If you added sources, be sure to include a summary of those sources as well.

Your outline should be as detailed as possible. Your rough draft should fall out easily from your outline. Your outline should have the following format:

  1. Outline General Information

    The following material is taken from Dr. Jane Webb's outline guidelines which are based on Simon & Schuster, Handbook for Writers, Annotated Instructor’s Edition. Lynn Quitman Troyka, 1993, pp. 40-47.

    Informal outlines are like organized lists. A formal outline follows a pattern of content and format. Your outline is to be a formal outline.

    Begin your outline with a thesis statement: for example, People who live in Hampton Roads can reduce the destructive, life-threatening potential for themselves and their families by being well-prepared long before a hurricane is predicted to make landfall in their area. This preparation should include plans to deal with a failure of all means of electronic communication.

    Similarly, your outline will end with a concluding paragraph. A thumbnail guideline: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. Your outline may contain clauses or sentences, but should be as detailed as possible so that the reader (you, your peers and me) will know exactly how each bullet will be expanded. In particular, labels with no verbs are not informative enough (e.g., "During the storm" is not as helpful as "Things to do/not do during the storm")

  2. Pattern for your outline

    Thesis statement: this is not numbered. It is a paragraph that
    satisfies the requirements of clarity, focus, etc., laid out above.

    I. First main idea

         A. First subdivision of the main idea

              1. First reason or example

              2. Second reason or example

                    a. First supporting detail

                    b. Second supporting detail

         B. Second subdivision of the main idea

              1. First reason or example

              2. Second reason or example

                    a. First supporting detail

                    b. Second supporting detail

    II. Second main idea

    (and so on, following the sequences above)

    Your conclusion should be last. Like the thesis,
    it is not numbered and written in complete sentences.

  3. Conventions governing the outline

    1. Numbers, letters, indentations. Follow the example I have given you above. Besides the thesis and conclusion, which stand alone, each major subdivision is given a capital Roman numeral. These are followed by capital letters, A, B, and so on, which address the next topical subdivision. Use 1, 2 and 3 for the next level down, and if you need further subdivisions, use a, b. The point: within each subdivision, the next level down becomes more specific and less general.

      Indent each of these subdivisions by the same number of spaces.

    2. In your outline, there can be no I without II; no A without B; now 1 without 2, no a without b, and so on. (You can go down into i, ii, iii, iv, and so on.) It is important to pay attention to this point. Without the multiples of the topical divisions, your paper will not have a logically coherent structure.
    3. Further details. Similar subdivisions treat similar levels of generality. Be sure the ideas described by A, B and C, for example, are logically similar levels of approach.

      Headings must not overlap. Do not bring up any ideas in one subdivision that you have already covered in another.

      Use parallel structure in the levels. For example, in the hurricane situation, A. might be Listen to the weather radio for further updates as the storm approaches, while B. must follow the same structure: Shop as early as possible to lay in supplies before the stores are stripped clean. What you do not say is Listen to the radio and Shopping is the next step

      Use a period at the end of your thesis statement and in your concluding paragraph.

  4. Outline Grading

    I will grade the outline according to the following checklist. When you are reading other students' outlines, you should use the same criteria. It is important that you use these and no other criteria when thinking about how I will grade your outline and when grading others'.

    For each bullet, rate the outline based on the following:

    Here are criteria that I will use to grade the outline:

Reaction to Outlines and Rough Drafts

When you turn in your outline draft and rough draft, you will give them to two or three other students in your class to read (so bring three copies). You will also receive those students' papers. Read these, and react to them using the outline reaction sheet or rough paper criteria, as appropriate. You must react to each part on a 1-4 scale; this reaction will not affect the paper author's grade, but will give you a basis for discussion for the next class. You must also justify in writing why you gave that person that score based on the questions in each criteria that are supported (or not) in the outline. Your justification should be 2-3 sentences/phrases for each bullet. The class period after you receive the students' papers, we will spend part of the class discussing your reactions in small groups. The purpose of this discussion is to help you learn both how to evaluate outlines and papers (so that you can evaluate your own) and what other students do that you think is good (that you would like to emulate) or bad (that you would like to avoid). You will turn in your reactions to me and use them as a basis for discussing each paper, so make sure you have written your reaction on the reaction sheet before coming to class.

I will grade the reaction sheets based on how complete they are, how helpful they are, how well they answer the questions under each heading and how well the ratings are supported. When you turn in your outline and rough draft, make sure that you turn in the peer comments about your paper. You may keep them to help you improve the draft that you give to me, but in order for your peers to get credit for their ranking, you must turn them in to me (I will not use others' ratings of your work in any way when determining my own grade for your work. Turning in others' ratings allows your peers to get credit for their reactions of your paper).

Rough Draft

You will turn in your rough draft multiple times just as you do with your outline. Turn in your first rough draft to me (as an attachment in email; I will only grade whether you turned this in, not its content) and bring 3 copies to class for peer review. Finally, modify that draft based on peer review and turn it in to me for comments. Include the outline that I graded with the rough draft with the final rough draft that you turn in to me. You do not need to give a copy of that graded outline to your peers.

You should create your rough draft in Microsoft Word using Times-Roman 12 pt font. It should be 1450-1800 words, include at least 5 sources, and you must include at least 6 footnotes. Whenever you include somebody else's idea in your paper, you should footnote that. If you quote a source, you should include quotation marks around the quoted source. You should have very few if any direct quotations. Most footnotes should be citing an idea you read elsewhere that you have paraphrased in your paper. You may use any accepted style for footnotes, but be consistent. Use footnotes, not endnotes.

Your paper should be single spaced with spell and grammar checking turned on (that is the default in Microsoft Word). Your paper should have page numbers in the footer. You should send me a copy of your rough draft in email (as an attachment) and give me a printed copy with the number of words stapled to the front (there is a word count function in Word. Use that one. That is the one that I will use). Your rough draft should be in final form (it is rough because you will be given a chance to modify it to improve your grade for your final draft based on my comments on your rough draft).

Your paper must be your own work with no plagiarism with all ideas that are not yours cited with a footnote. Footnotes may be citations within the paper instead of literal footnotes; the point is that you must have 10 citations no matter how you choose to designate those. The final paper section contains the grading criteria for both the rough and final draft.

Final Paper

You must turn in a final paper to me in email and in hardcopy. It may be the same as the rough draft or modified significantly. Your final paper should incorporate any comments that I have made and any other improvements that you can make, and should be in the same format as the rough draft. You should also attach a word count of your final draft and send me email with your final draft as a Microsoft Word attachment. You should include your graded outline and your graded rough draft when you turn in a hardcopy of your final paper.

Paper Grading

Both your final and draft will be grade using the following criteria (when evaluating others' drafts, use the same 1-4 scale that you did for the outline): page modified 1/9/07 by Lynn Lambert This material may be used and modified in whole or in part as long the original author and URL are cited.