WRITING THE MLA (8th ed.) RESEARCH PAPER
PLANNING AND RESEARCHING
Choosing a Topic
To begin writing your research paper, you will need
to understand what MLA research papers are. Click
here to see a sample paper that is labeled and explained.
Next you need to choose a
topic (unless one has been assigned) that you can write about in a paper that will have a body several pages
long. Ask your teacher for the exact required length.
Your topic should not be something that needs a
whole book to explain it.
On the other hand, your topic shouldn't be so narrow that
you can't find enough information.
Pick a topic that interests you from the list below or get your
own idea approved by your teacher. (Language Arts/English teachers often
will ask you to write a paper in response to a work of literature. Please
see the item in
green listed below.
- Affirmative Action – Is affirmative action
still necessary to allow people of minority races, genders, or religions a
fair chance to get a job, an education, or housing?
- Capital Punishment – Should people who commit
terrible crimes be sentenced to death? If so, what crimes should be
punished this way? What is the purpose of the death penalty?
- Censorship – Should there be limits to free
speech? Are television, movies, and song lyrics too violent? Do they
negatively affect children?
- Civil Disobedience – Is it okay to break a law
that is unfair?
- Cloning – Should scientists be allowed to
create duplicate humans out of human cells? What would be the advantages
- Eating Disorders – Are they caused by mass
media showing that very thin people are more attractive than others? What
can be done to solve the problem?
- Euthanasia – Should a person be allowed to ask
for help in ending his/her life?
- Fetal Tissue/Stem Cells – Should tissue from
aborted or stillborn babies be used to cure diseases?
- Family – Are families falling apart? Are they
important? What are good ways to raise children and teenagers?
- Genetic Engineering – Should scientists be
allowed to improve humans by changing their genes?
- Global Warming – Is it a real problem?
- Homelessness – Should homeless people be put in
jail? What should be done with them?
Literature -- What are three reasons why a
particular work of literature is worth reading? OR What theme does an author
communicate in his/her work and how does he/she communicate that theme?
(Discuss the genre, form, figures of speech, symbols, cultural context, and
the author's life experiences.)
- Paranormal Phenomena – Is there life after
death? Are there people who can tell the future or communicate only with
their minds? Are there aliens from other planets?
- PETA – Do animals have rights? Should
organizations like PETA act the way they do to protect animals?
- Stress – What causes it and how can we learn to
- Technology – Is it changing our lives for the
better or worse?
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