Skip to Main Content


Resources to Consider

English Composition 102 - Spring 2023

Research Assignments - OOC#3 & OOC#4

In the second half of the semester, we will be shifting away from pre-set writing prompts and lists of specific non-fiction texts to work with: Instead, we will be beginning our research portion of the semester!

Research, in this context, can take many forms - oftentimes, research involves identifying reputable and relevant secondary sources to supplement YOUR OWN ARGUMENT. In other words, you are doing research to find other perspectives and analyses that SUPPORT or DISPUTE the argument that you are trying to make.

For these assignments, you’ll be expected to submit a proposal, an annotated bibliography, and a final draft. Due dates and expectations are discussed below.

The primary focus of the first Research Assignment is Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film, Parasite. You must engage with the film and the script/screenplay. Furthermore, this assignment requires you to conduct independent research and incorporate what you find into your analytical argument about the primary source.

You’ll be expected to incorporate at least four research sources (in addition to the film); these should not be film criticism (i.e., film reviews) and a majority of your chosen sources should come from outside of listed sources on the syllabus.

For this research paper, keep in mind that your goal is to present an argument about the primary source.

Once you choose your topic, you need to formulate a debatable argument which, through the course of your essay, you will attempt to prove. Rather than summarize the source or merely respond subjectively to it (discussing what you like or don’t like, what’s interesting or not, etc.), your goal is to present a thorough, well-defended interpretation of the source.

Also, remember that there is a lot to work with in this film, and you’re not expected to directly engage every aspect of it (this is impossible!). Your goal instead is to offer an interpretation of the film as a whole, through the lens of your specific topic (see the options below).

Your research sources should help you to support this interpretation as carefully and effectively as possible. Through writing this essay, you’ll continue to develop the various skills we’ve been working on all semester: using evidence effectively, considering possible counter-arguments, organizing your ideas purposefully, etc.

Some Possible Research Topics

• Social Inequality - class politics, income inequality, and more

• The dangers of a single stereotype - how do the cultural products we consume reflect stereotypes

• Motif Analysis - High & Low, Rain, Smells, etc.

• Use of Literary Devices in Film - How Parasite uses flashback, foreshadowing, etc.

• How the “Family” becomes a symbol in the film

• The role of the houses in Parasite - analysis of setting and characters

• Global vs. Local - how single stories can (wrongly) be applied to larger themes

• Another topic of your choosing!

*** As you start to think about your topic, remember to consider scope. I’ve left these topics rather broad on purpose, so that you can explore your own specific argument. Don’t feel you need to tackle everything related to your topic. Think of these as starting points, from which you’ll develop your more specific argument.

Your essay should be well-argued and well-organized. Be sure to state a thesis and consistently support your ideas with specific evidence from the texts. You must conduct research and provide outside (secondary) sources to supplement your analysis.

The outside source(s) you use should meet the standards for academic writing. Keep in mind some basic questions as you search: what is the basic publication info (author, date, venue, etc.)? Does the author verify, or give readers the means to verify, the info provided? What was the publication process (Did it need to be approved by an editor? Was it peer-reviewed? Was it fact-checked?)?

Also keep in mind that the goal of the outside source(s) is to support the overall argument you are making about the texts. Focus first on determining what you plan to say about your chosen theoretical text and story, and build at least a tentative sense of your overall argument before you begin exploring outside sources. Your outside source(s) does not need to be utilized in every body paragraph of your essay—it/they may work to support just one of your specific claims, for instance. The expectation is that the outside source contributes meaningfully to your overall argument as a whole, whether that be through a single paragraph or multiple.

PROPOSAL – Due March 30th in Class

• 1-2 typed pages that present your general plan for your final paper.

• At a minimum, it should address the following questions:

- What general topic will your paper address?

- Possible topics are listed above; you may also come up with your own.

- What is your tentative thesis (overall argument) regarding this topic?

- Keep in mind that this might change – that’s ok! Also, remember that your argument needs to be a debatable idea that you will prove (as opposed to a summary of what happens in the text). Don’t just rehash the facts of the text; establish a specific position.

*** This is the most important part of the proposal—spend plenty of time talking about your intended argument!

What sorts of research will you need to do, to support this thesis? (What information will you need to find? What will you need to learn more about?)

*** If you choose to write your own question for the final paper, you should check it with me, in person or via email, before submitting your proposal.


• A bibliography is a works cited list. An annotated bibliography is one that contains a short paragraph of notes on each text. You may use 1-2 (only) sources from the syllabus that we utilized during the semester.

• Your annotated bibliography should include all 4+ research sources that you’ll be using in your paper, with a short paragraph for each. You do not have to include the memoir on this list.

• Each short paragraph should include 2-3 sentences summarizing the source and 2-3 sentences explaining how it will be used in your research paper.

• Follow the Class Style Guide Exactly

ROUGH DRAFTING - (not graded, required for peer editing in class)

• Leading up to the due date of the Final Draft, you may be expected to bring a Rough Draft to class for peer review and general feedback - it is essential that you are drafting and writing throughout the process.

• Rough Drafts may be submitted to me at any time before the due date to receive feedback.

• Although this is not a mandatory graded element of this research paper, it is an essential part of the process that SHOULD NOT be skipped.

FINAL DRAFT – Due April 13th in Class

• 6-7 typed pages (not including the works cited sheet).

• Your final paper grade will be lowered if you do not submit a works cited page.

• Follow the Class Style Guide Exactly


© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.