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HUM 4900 History of Rock & Roll

Examine the historical, social, & cultural context & dimensions of rock ’n’ roll.

Term Paper

Research & Writing

Your final assignment for this class will be a research paper into some aspect of rock ’n’ roll history. This page contains resources and tips to help you with your paper.

Your Final Assignment

The undergraduate term paper is typically a small-scale literature review.

You will pick a topic related to the course, conduct self-directed research, and critically present what you’ve learned. At a minimum, your paper should have the following sections:

  1. Title. A paper in MLA Style does not usually require a title page. Include your name, professor’s name, course title, and due date in the upper left corner above your title.

  2. Introduction. This section introduces the topic and should contain your thesis statement.

  3. Body. The body of your paper may be further subdivided depending on the paper’s complexity. Dedicate at least one paragraph to each point you make.

  4. Conclusion. The conclusion should restate the thesis statement, summarize the supporting material, and make a definite point.

  5. References. The final page or pages of the paper should be entitled Works Cited and contain your reference.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Format your paper. Your term paper should be double-spaced and left-justified with indented paragraphs, one-inch margins, and a 12-point serif font such as Times New Roman. See your professor’s instructions or a style guide for more details.

  • Use headings. Dividing your paper into sections marked by headings will improve clarity. See your style guide to learn how to format headings.

  • Proofread. Typos, misspellings, and bad grammar obscure your point and reduce your grade. Read over your work carefully. Contact the Academic Success Center if you need extra help.

  • Use a grammar and spelling checker. But remember, automatic checkers will miss many mistakes and highlight “false positives.” If you’re not well versed in the rules of grammar, uncritically accepting the suggestions of a grammar checker will do more harm than good.

  • Put lengthy quotations in block quotes. Quotation marks are for short quotations. A quote that extends to around four lines should be in a block quote. See your style guide for the formatting.

  • Use running headers and page numbers. Every page should identify the page number and usually either your name or the title. See your style guide or your professor for exact rules.

How to Find Sources

For your assignment, you will need peer-reviewed sources.

Peer-reviewed articles are published in academic journals and usually present original research.

Most of our research databases are hosted by the company EBSCO and have the same layout:

  • To find peer-reviewed sources in an EBSCO database, first conduct a search and then select Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals from the left sidebar after your search results appear.

    Limiters in the left sidebar of an EBSCO database.
    Search limiters as they appear in the left sidebar of an EBSCO database.

    This will limit results to articles from academic journals, but keep in mind that it will exclude academic books.

  • In addition to original research, you may also find literature reviews, academic publications that summarize existing knowledge instead of presenting new research. These may or may not be appropriate for your assignment (ask your professor).

    Most of the databases cannot limit to literature reviews automatically. However, you can find them by selecting Advanced Search and following these directions:

    1. Type your search into the first search box as you normally would.

    2. In the second search box, type "literature reviews", including the quotation marks.

    3. From the dropdown menu beside the second search box, select SU Subject Terms.

    4. Run the search. The results should include only articles with Literature reviews as a designated subject term.

    Advanced search in an EBSCO database, showing dropdown menu beside the search bar.
    Using advanced search in an EBSCO database.

Writing Websites

These websites can teach you to write better.

Research Librarian