12AP - Research Paper

Around the mid-point of the year, you will begin writing a research paper. This is a common college assignment, but contrary to your future college experience, all of your research and reading will not be packed into a very short and sleepless time period. Instead, you will be spacing your readings and research across about two-thirds of the school year. You will choose from among seven general topics. Your first two texts within your chosen topic will be assigned. Subsequent texts will be recommended, but ultimately selected by you, the researcher.

Step One - Choose your topic

Your first step is to select your topic. The seven general topics are (in order of my recommendation):
  • Sociology
  • Agriculture
  • Nutrition
  • Military
  • History
  • Sports
  • Gender Studies
Your choice should be well-considered. It will be difficult to change direction once you begin, as you will have already invested time a previous topic. You may say, "None of these topics sound interesting to me!" I would reply that it doesn't really matter. This is an academic exercise, not your future profession, or the color of your car, or even your outfit tomorrow morning. Which topic you choose is inconsequential and does not "represent you." What IS important is that you approach your research with academic rigor, an inquisitive mind, and critical thinking. It is an exercise...a test.

Step Two - Obtain your first text

Listed below is a chart showing the first required texts of each general topic. THERE ARE NO DUDS HERE. I have read all of them and I highly recommend all of them. After you have chosen your topic look-up your text on the website of an online book seller, like Amazon.com, for example. Read its description. Read official reviews. Read user reviews. If that is the text for you, pull the trigger. Order the text. There are always used copies available - try to get one of those, if you would like.

  • Sociology
    • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Agriculture
    • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Nutrition
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Military
    • On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
  • History
    • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • Sports
    • Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
  • Gender Studies
    • Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
Comments