Research Essay Prompt

Research Essay Assignment Sheet

You will write a research paper analyzing the land ethic philosophy or its modern day impact.

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Research Essay Prompt
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Submit a research proposal before writing your essay.

Use the basic outline provided as the skeleton for your essay.


To address the task, choose only ONE prompt below – don’t mix and match.

Write a paper analyzing what the land ethic means. Use at least three literary elements found within the novel A Sand County Almanac to support your argument/interpretation of the land ethic philosophy.


Write a paper that examines how the land ethic philosophy influences modern conservation efforts. What actions are people taking today that might reflect the land ethic’s main ideas and points? Be sure to define what the land ethic means first.


Research: find and integrate, using the library databases, secondary sources of literary criticism to support your own arguments/analysis of the land ethic.

Paragraphs should not be controlled by the research material.

Body paragraphs need to be about theme, your argument, or literary elements.

Body paragraphs should not be paragraph 1=source 1, paragraph 2=source 2

Notes on Research: As you’re researching, you may find articles that simply summarize the novel. These are not appropriate for use in an extended essay like this one. You need to find articles that analyze the novel.

You may obtain additional sources from the databases, books/ebooks, journals, or reliable websites (do not use general references like Wikipedia, encyclopedias, etc.). The Explicator is a journal that summarizes, not analyzes, so don’t use that as a source.

Four secondary sources are required. All sources must be scholarly and credible; at least two sources MUST be from the library databases.


Meeting several course objectives (from the syllabus)

Thinking critically

Forming a coherent analysis

Crafting a valid argument

Supporting stance/claims with credible evidence from primary and secondary sources

Conducting scholarly research

Utilizing resources, practicing search techniques

Drafting, revising, editing/proofreading, and refining one’s writing

Managing time while executing tasks

Learning how literature and writing offer a larger message beyond the classroom

Checklist: Does your essay have…

an introduction with the thesis as the last sentence?

body paragraphs that equally cite quotes from the play and quotes from your research?

body paragraphs with clear topic and concluding sentences that directly relate back to the thesis?

four secondary sources cited within the essay – at least two of which are from the library’s databases?

at least 70% of the writing that is your words and thoughts, not source material.

a clear message for your reader. Don’t “ride the fence.” Take a clear stance.

a polished “appearance?”

Avoid first and second person pronouns.

Avoid contractions.

Avoid unanswered rhetorical questions.

a creative title

in-text citations: each quote is appropriately introduced and cited afterward.

a conclusion that recaps your evidence, restates your thesis (not verbatim), etc.

an MLA header (your name, my name, the course title, and the paper’s due date), top right: your last name, insert page numbers


12-point Times New Roman font

One-inch margins (Don’t bother adjusting these, your computer should automatically be set here.)

a Works Cited page in MLA format

a minimum of 1000 words.

Remember, there is no upper limit, but make sure your paper is focused and concise.

Note: any plagiarized material will cause you to fail the course. If you are unsure of a source, how to cite a source, how to use a source, or how to set up a Works Cited page, ask me! There is no penalty for asking questions.

Reference the rubric to double check that you’re meeting the essay requirements!

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