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Science Fiction Research Paper

Essay Five: Science Fiction Research Paper

Format and Requirements: 6-8 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, no cover pageIf you do not conform to these requirements, points will be deducted. Consult MLA Purdue Owl for formatting.

We have discussed a few science fiction short stories over the course of this semester, but that is by no means an exhaustive list for such. For this assignment, you will investigate and analyze a piece of science fiction, whether it be literary or media based, and analyze it in any manner that you see fit. It could be “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Le Guin, “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss, “No Woman Born” by C.L. Moore, or “The Women Men Don’t See” by Alice Sheldon (James Tipree Jr.). If you would like to engage in a different literary text, or perhaps two media sources, it must be confirmed by me prior.


Essay Five Objectives:

For this essay you will analyze a science fiction piece of writing or media while also researching additional outside sources to help you develop and support your analysis.
Use the readings to help,along with 3-5 additional primary and secondary sourcesto help you build your analysis. Your primary sources in this assignment will be scholarly sources that you find of your own accord.Your secondary sources should include critical and/or scholarly sources that help you analyze your primary texts. They may provide informational as well as analytical help. The prompt is intentionally left vague, so that you may develop your own thesis and argument for the paper.


Your proposal will provide a 1-2 page summary of your idea.  Although you can change your idea for your paper at any time, the proposal is intended to help you build toward the final paper.  In your proposal you should:

  1. Identify how you plan to approach this assignment. Numerous ideas should be brought to the forefront, but only one should be focused on throughout.
  2. Create 3-4 research questions for your topic, and describe how your research questions will help you respond to your topic.  Think about what the driving questions are that you have about this issue, what the main arguments are around it, and what you need to find out about it in order to take an informed position.
  3. Specifically describe what kinds of primary sources you will look for – what kinds of primary materials do you want to see? What kinds of materials could you have access to?
  4. Specifically address what kind of secondary sources you will look for – what kinds of sources do you need to help support your analysis?  What kinds of critical or informational sources will you look for?


Revised Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

This will be a more focused, revised proposal for your paper accompanied by an annotatedbibliography of your sources. Your proposal should identify your topic and the position you are taking, state the primary claims/points of discussion you will offer in your essay, and state at least one counterargument you are considering. Your complete Annotated Bibliography and Revised Proposal count for 5% of your final grade in this course.  In order to receive full credit your assignment must include all of the components stated below and be correctly formatted according to these stated guidelines.

  • Proposal: Your proposal should consist of 2 paragraphs – it is not a draft of your paper.  In your first paragraph: Fully describe your main argument in this essay: what your topic is and what position you are taking.  In your second paragraph: Summarize the points and reasons you will use to explain and support your position, as well as any counterarguments you will need to address in your essay.
  • Annotated Bibliography: Your annotated bibliography should include a total of five outside sources, plus an annotation for primary Science Fiction text (annotation for both if using both essays).You must have a mix of primary and secondary sources (at least one primary source and at least two secondary sources).
    • Citations: Organize your citations alphabetically, just as you would on a Works Cited page.
    • Annotations: Annotations are basically further information you are providing about your sources, and so should be organized in paragraphs under each citation.  Provide 2 paragraphs for each source: in the first paragraph summarize the source.  In the second paragraph explain why you believe the source is credible, why you believe it is helpful for your paper, and what specific parts of it interest you (note: the summary is about the source as a whole and may not address specific points that are important to you).


Criteria for Essay Five Evaluation:

  • Argument: Argument directly and fully answers the prompt; is clearly stated early in the paper; is original, compelling and logical, avoiding absolute claims
  • Evidence: Appropriate amount of relevant, accurate, and justifiably interpreted quotation. Quotations are thoroughly introduced, explained, analyzed, and connected to argument/other texts. Possible counter-arguments are considered. Includes required number and types of sources.
  • Organization: Paragraphs maintain argumentative focus, exclude extraneous information, appear in a logical order, and transition smoothly. Introduction sets forth argument and goals of essay. Conclusion opens up avenues for future research.
  • Audience: Consistent, academic tone. Appropriate amount of contextual information, anticipating audience questions. Addresses significant issues and makes them important to audience.
  • Grammar and Format: Errors in grammar, spelling, and usage limited or non-existent. Correct MLA format, including proper quotation citation.


Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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