Dr. Morillo

Honors English Research Paper Proposal

Due in class, Wed. April 7


3 pages total as follows:

2 pages double-spaced text. 1 page preliminary Works Cited Bibliography of at least 6 items. (see below for MLA format guide)

Choose any particular question you have found interesting, and that you wish to know more about, concerning utopian or dystopian writings from Plato to the present.You may choose any of our writers represented on the syllabus, or you may choose a new work by one of those writers that letís you pursue your idea in newer territory, or you may choose a new work from the list on the syllabus or of your own choice..

The proposal itself, as a short text has to do two main things: it has to tell us clearly what you wish to explore and why. It has to indicate what resources will be helpful to answer the question(s) with some scholarly authority beyond your own wits.  Much of the latter is done via a bibliography (called a Works Cited in MLA format), but also part is done by talking about any key sources in the text of the proposal. Take up to 2 pages for the statement of question & interest, a page for the bibliography/projected works cited.

 As long as the question is intellectually illuminating and interesting, and it is focused on something germane to understanding utopian/dystopian writings or other media (film, games, art etc.), it is fair game.


You must be selective and not try to do too much. If the life of one of our writers or thinkers intrigues you, consider what would most useful to know about that life to better appreciate not just the author as a person, but what that author wrote. If you want to compare texts you might now consider which key ideas appear in them. If evaluating quality of a utopian or dystopian work consider: which is the most useful one? To whom? The smartest one? For whom? The best developed and explained one?

 You can build on what you learned from the first paper but donít simply replicate it. The idea now is to synthesize more information and choose the topic independently.


Although the final paper that grows out of the proposal may seem long so some of you, consider that in a ten-page paper you can typically only make and defend one good claim well. This does not mean it is a simple idea, but that the idea is unified and coherent.

Works Cited Page:

Alphabetize all the entries.

Follow MLA rules for citation. If you need to cite a work in the text of the proposal use the simple (author page) in MLA.

M(odern) L(anguage) A(ssociation) form Guide:

How to cite an academic article or book chapter in MLA form for a Works Cited bibliography  :

Always indent 2nd and subsequent lines within an entry. Single space within entries, double between entries.

Formula for single-author book

Last name, First Name. Full title of book. Place of Publication. Publishing press, date of publication. Medium.

Hallman, J. C. In Utopia: Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better Paradise. New York: St. Martins, 2010. Print.

Formula for an article in scholarly journal:

 Last name, First Name. “ Title of Article.”  Name of Journal Italicized  Volume number. Issue number if given (year): inclusive pages. Medium.

 Thus, with the punctuation highlighted in blue:


Nickel, Terri. "Pamela as Fetish: Masculine Anxiety in Henry Fielding's Shamela and James Parry's The True Anti-Pamela." Studies in Eighteenth- 

    Century Culture 22 (1992): 37-49. Print.


Note hanging indent of 2nd and subsequent lines. First line is flush left.

Note that any novel title is in italics within the quotation marks for the article title.

There is no punctuation between the journal title and the volume number.

Any works cited entry ends in a final period.


If the article is in an online periodical: replicate the complete print entry formula, but then 1) if the online version has page numbers, after the inclusive page numbers and period put the name of the hosting site, in italics (e.g. Project Muse, or JSTOR), then the word web for medium, then the date you accessed it, MLA no longer requires the full url (universal resource locator) within angle brackets <  >.




Tolson, Nancy. “Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians, and Booksellers in the Promotion of African American Children’s

    Literature.” African American Review 32 (1998): 9-16. JSTOR. Web. 3 April 2008.


A book chapter, formula:


Author last name, First name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book in Italics.  Place of publication: Press, year. Inclusive pages of chapter. Medium.



Spencer, Jane. “Wit’s Mild Empire: the Rise of Women’s Writing.” The Rise of the Woman Novelist: From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen. Oxford, UK:

    Blackwell, 1986. 3-40. Print.


If it’s one essay in a collection of edited essays, after the essay title’s period put title of collection; then after title of collection put Ed. then Editor’s full name. The place of publication, press, date, inclusive pages. Medium.


Grundy, Isobel. "Against Beauty: Eighteenth-Century Fiction Writers Confront the Problem of Woman-as-Sign." ReImagining Women: Representations

    of Women in Culture. Ed. Shirley Neuman and Glennis Stephenson. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1993. 74-86. Print.