Research Paper

Some notes on Research Craft
Templates for Research Papers

Research Paper: The goal here is to hone your research and paper-writing skills. You will research and submit to e–Learning a clearly written, well–researched conference-ready paper of around 4,000 to 5,000 words on a topic related to literary journalism. You may choose a topic of particular interest to you, but it must be related to our focus in this course.

There is a list of research ideas at the bottom of this post, but certainly don't limit yourself to this list.
The paper should explore an important question that contributes to knowledge and should be original research and not duplicate what has been done in the past.
It should be written according the the style and standards of a recognized guide –– for example Chicago Manual of Style or APA.

For an objective-as-possible explanation of grading criteria see the Grading Guidelines link: General Grading Criteria for Research and Analysis  Papers  Briefly, however, a paper that offers simple description only would get a C at most. Description along with analysis reflecting deep thinking on your part would garner a B.  An A on your paper would require excellent writng, editing, and organization, and an explication that leads to a synthesis of your analysis in which you make a solid argument about the implications of your  research and how it adds to the body of knowledge.

As a template about how you should organize a research paper, I find students gain much from looking at papers done in the past. An excellent place to find such papers is the AEJMC Conference Paper archive at  Note: The search function requires parens  around a phrase.
Another good resource for how  to write such papers and for researching your topic is Google Scholar. For example, check out this search for "literary journalism" – but you certainly would not limit yourself to just these search terms.

In general, your research paper should be organized thusly:
  • An introduction that outlines the study, lists your research question or questions and then argues why this study is important.
  • As part of your introduction, you should offer a review of the relevant literature that has been done on your subject. Your literature review sets up the context of your study in relation to earlier research and is the ground from which your research question or questions come.
  • You then explain the methodology and procedures you used to gather your data. This should be explained well enough that another researcher could replicate the study.
  • This is followed by a results section that explains what you found.
  • The paper then ends with a discussion and argument about what your results show and what further research still needs to be done.
Deadlines for Five Stages of Writing Research Paper:

1. Research Paper Proposal with short annotated bibliography for research paper. File as post to your blog by Monday of Week 4. Slug this Paper Proposal. Graded on 100–point scale. Bring a copy to class.
2. Rough outline and updated annotated bibliography. File as post to your blog by 1 p.m. Monday of Week 8. Slug this Research Outline. Graded on 100–point scale. Bring copies for class. 
3. Rough draft of paper. File as Word document to e–Learning by 1 p.m. Monday of Week 11. Graded on 100-point scale. Slug this Research Draft. Bring double-sided, single-spaced copies to class. 
4. Final paper. File as Word document to e–Learning by 1 p.m Monday of Week 15. Slug this Final Paper. Graded on 100–point scale. Bring double-sided, single-spaced copies to class.
5. Conference Presentation of Paper: You will give a 10–minute  presentation to class of your paper much as you would  to a journalism or humanities conference. Use of visuals encouraged if appropriate. Graded by fellow students on a 100–point scale. For tips on presenting papers, see this link.

Some Literary Journalism Research Paper Ideas
  1. Plain Style vs. the Elegant Style in Literary Journalism (see, to start:,M1
  2. (Some Literary Journalist(s) and the Power of Plain Style
  3. Redemption as narrative theme. See Malcolm X, etc.??
  4. Some Exemplars of Literary Sports Journalism
  5. Orwell’s “Marrakech” as Precursor to the Imagistic and Transitionless Style (see page 19 of Art of Fact:,M1
  6. New Media Hypertext Storytelling and the Imagistic and Transitionless Style
  7. The Techniques of Screen Plays in Literary Journalism
  8. Comparing Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson and the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi (see link to story: and archive of his weekly column:
  9. Clay Felker and the New Journalism of New York Magazine (see:
  10. The work of Lester Bangs, the great gonzo journalist, gutter poet, and romantic visionary of rock writing.
  11. Blogs: The new literary journalism? (see this link as starting point:
  12. What does it mean to do literary journalism in the age of interactive multimedia: (
  13. Contemporary gonzo journalist Todd Brendan Fahey
  14. The Ethics of Going Undercover: Literary Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism
  15. Cold Blood, Capote and Credibility
  16. Robin Esrock and Modern Gonzo
  17. What is Literary Journalism: A Small Room or a Big Tent?
  18. Literary Journalism On The Web
  19. Maureen Dowd and Her Literary Journalism Style (see, to begin:
  20. When Fact Becomes Fiction? Credibility and Composite Characters (see, to start: And Maureen Dowd, "A Writer for The New Yorker Says He Created Composites in Reports," New York Times, June 19, 1984, p. 1. 44; and for some bibliographical info, see:,M1
  21. Photographer Jacob Riis and “How the Other Half Lives” as Literary Journalism (see, to start:
  22. Jacob Riis and Walker Evans: Photographers as Literary Journalists (see, to begin: and and
  23. Realism in Journalism as a Response to the Age
  24. Photography as the Ultimate Journalism of Realism
  25. The Elements of New Media Storytelling
  26. Masson v. New Yorker: Literary Journalism and the Law
  27. Publishing Venues for Works of Literary Journalism
  28. Literary Journalism Around the World (or in a specific country or region)
  29. The Ethics of Literary Journalism (narrowed to one element)
  30. Hunter S. Thompson as Media Critic
  31. Literary Journalism as Dispeller of Myths
  32. Truman Capote and His Theory of Horizontal and Vertical
  33. Towards a History of the Historical Roots of Literary Journalism 
  34. Literary Journalism as Manifestation of The Enlightenment
  35. Towards a History of Social Analysis Reporting 
  36. An Explication of Mitchell's Notion of "Wild Exactitude" in the Selected Works of XXXX
  37. The Art of the Sketch: See "Sketch Writers of the Ghetto" -