Your Right to Choose for Abortion


Eng112 – Abortion: Your Right to Choose

  1. You must pick a topic you are interested in; this is a key factor in determining what kind of experience you will have and what kind of paper you will write.
  2. You paper must be 6-10 pages long in Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced. Papers shorter than 10 pages will receive a failing grade.
  3. You cannot miss deadlines for proposals, outlines, or drafts. If you miss a deadline, and you have not contacted the instructor ahead of time with a legitimate reason for not being on time, points will be deducted from your final paper grade. Submit all work via Google Drive and make sure to share your peers and your professor on your work. Failing to share the document is the same as not turning it in on time!
  4. You must cite at least 3 scholarly articles or books in your paper. If you are interviewing people, you must conduct at least two interviews and include material from each (this may count as 1 of the 6 scholarly sources).
  5. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be detected. The plagiarism detecting website is used as one method of evaluating papers in question (and also has useful advice on how to cite properly, for those interested). We will go over how to quote and cite information correctly. As long as you follow the rules laid out in class, and always identify other people’s ideas in your paper, you have nothing to worry about.

Getting Prepared to Write Your Research Paper

The research paper is a major component of your English 112 learning, and the grade you get on it will account for 25% of your final grade. A 10-15 page paper may sound like a truly enormous task, and this may be the first time you have ever conducted serious research. Be assured that it’s not an insurmountable task. With good planning and guidance you can succeed and enjoy yourself in the process. In order to keep from becoming overwhelmed, we must break down the tasks that need to be accomplished and do them one at a time. Here are the basic steps:

Before You Start Writing

  1. Conduct a PRELIMINARY RESOURCES search to help you figure out if there will be enough material available on the topic you are considering. Use the library and the library on-line databases to help you decide what topic will be suitable. How to use them will be covered in class.
  1. Carefully select a TOPIC. Choose something with a fairly limited scope, and be sure it is something you are interested in. Once your proposal is approved, you cannot switch topics.
  1. Write your PROPOSAL. The instructor may ask you to re-write your proposal several times until you have a viable paper topic to work with.
  1. Once your proposal is approved, set aside several sessions of time to spend in the LIBRARY and ONLINE RESEARCHING. Do not expect yourself to do four hours of research in one sitting. Very few people can stay focused and productive for that length of time. Work steadily throughout the week, doing a half and hour to an hour of research each day.
  1. If you will be INTERVIEWING specific people or conducting any research or experiment of your own, set up times to do this and get your questions ready. Take notes.
  1. Spend time READING and going over the materials you’ve collected. Separate the scholarly from the un-scholarly resources.
  1. BRAINSTORM to come up with a thesis that you think you can back up using the information you have collected.
  1. After you’ve got a thesis or argument, SELECT QUOTES which you will use in your paper to back up your specific position.

After Collecting Research Materials You are Ready to Write!

  1. Use systems described in your textbook to help you divide your information into manageable segments. Then write your OUTLINE.
  1.  Once you receive comments and feedback on your outline, you are ready to write a FIRST DRAFT. This is a very rough draft. Be sure you have a clear thesis or argument. Then try to get your support for that thesis into an order that makes sense. This can always be changed later.
  1. After receiving peer feedback on your first draft, you will need to decide which points should be eliminated. You may need to conduct further research to find another point or two to add. You may want to rearrange the order of your points. Once you have done this, you are ready to write your SECOND DRAFT.
  1. After receiving peer feedback on your second draft, you will need to address any significant changes that should be made and then work on your FINAL DRAFT. The final draft should be proofread many times. You should read it aloud. You should read it to friends and family members to see if they can understand it. Polish, polish, polish. 


There are three basic types of research one can conduct:

  1. Hands-on investigation (interview, collect facts, go out in the field)
  2. Library research (reading books, journals, looking at slides and films)
  3. Internet and Online research (using online texts and databases)

You will need to do library and Internet research to complete this paper; you may also conduct hands-on investigation if you choose.


The research paper will be a minimum of 6 pages long, so you need a topic that is both big enough to research, but focused enough that you can contain it within 15 pages. For example: “What caused the Holocaust?” is too broad a question to deal with in 15 pages. On the other hand “Why does my little brother, Mike, like Tonka Trucks?” is a question that is too specific and won’t sustain a 10-15 page paper.

Below is a list of suggested topics all of which focus on a question that has the right scope for a 10-15 page paper. You may choose from among the topics provided or devise your own topic for proposal.

You may not select a topic that relies on religious or moral convictions as a means of support. Such topics include: abortion, the death penalty, gay rights, evolution vs. creationism or intelligent design, and several others. Other off-limits topics include anything to do with extra-terrestrial aliens, research on the construction of explosives, and any topic that requires you to break the law in order to collect information. (Believe it or not, these things have come up in the past!)

Remember, you are not writing a report, you are writing a critical research paper, which means you must do more than present facts, you must have a specific argument that you are trying to make that is supported by evidence found in your scholarly research.

Your job is to persuade your reader that your position is viable based on the evidence available. You can include ideas that go against your position (such as a counter-argument), but in these cases you must explain why the counter-argument is less persuasive than your own.

***Remember you are writing for a semi-technical audience.

Sample Topics:

  • In the 1960’s President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that we should land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade. The U.S. succeeded in fulfilling that goal. Part of the motivation to do so came from our Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Some lives were lost, but much valuable scientific discovery was made. Now that the Cold War is over we are working with the Russians to create an international space station, but progress on it is much slower than the pace that got us to the moon. Based on scholarly research in sociology, anthropology and political science, which is more fruitful in the long run: competition or cooperation? How do we measure the rewards and costs of each? You may choose to focus on something other than the Space Race to address this question.
  • A lot of people, especially ones who’ve only seen exits 18-13 on the NJ Turnpike, think of New Jersey as a cesspool, yet this is “The Garden State.” Based on current scientific research, how polluted is New Jersey really? Does it live up to its reputation? Does scholarly research suggest that NJ is improving faster or slower than other parts of the nation? What does the research suggest are the chief accelerants or impediments in this situation?
  • According to the scholarly data available, what characteristics do community college students who go on to be really successful have in common? Why do some students drop out and go back to low paying jobs, while others go on to graduate and ultimately make a good living? How can we tell if someone is likely to succeed at community college, and, based on the research available, what can be done to increase the odds that more students will do so?
  • Examine all the research and scholarly literature available regarding human-to-human interaction in the health care professions, also known as “bed-side manner.” As doctors spend less and less time with patients, does research suggest that it is becoming less and less necessary for doctors to have good “bed-side manner”? Does research suggest that it is more and more important for nurses and support personal to have excellent “bed-side manner”? evaluate the available research on the topic of “bed-side manner” and formulate a position about its importance and efficacy, taking into consideration whether and how the skill can be taught.
  • Most Americans know that fat and sugar are bad for them, but eat them anyway and don’t exercise enough. Many people emphasize personal responsibility and say people must make better choices for themselves, but how do poverty and governmental policies actually shape American eating habits? We have passed legislation that has reduced how many people smoke in this county, could legislation also improve the way we eat? Why? Why not? Examine the political science and sociological research and form a position based on your findings.
  • School shootings have occurred on a number of school campuses. According to scholarly research, what may be the primary causes for these types of shootings, and what does research suggest can be done to make campuses safer? Alternatively, you may choose to focus on the role of media in the coverage of these tragedies, but your position must still be supported by research evidence.
  • More and more people are raising chickens in rural and suburban areas. What does it take to raise a show quality chicken? Can you eat your mistakes? What makes a chicken a show winner? Is it safe to keep chickens in suburban and urban areas? What factors must be taken into consideration when considering keeping chickens? (Noise? Waste? Sanitation?) Examine all the scholarly research materials on this topic or any issue of local agriculture or animal husbandry and write a paper based on these findings (Rutgers University’s Cook College is a useful resource).
  • A lot of MCCC students are interested in jobs working as emergency medical technicians, firemen and women, and police officers, and there will always be fires and other emergencies to keep these workers busy, but does the scholarly research available suggest that there will be enough paying jobs to support all the graduates? If a student is interested in making a good living in the emergency services industry what does scholarly research suggest he or she can do to maximize the chance of finding a paid position? If they were to move to another part of the country would it increase their chances of finding a paid job with benefits? Make sure all claims are supported by research.
  • Imagine you were going to make a proposal to Mercer’s president for a new degree program at the college. You would need to make sure it would be a program where students would have an excellent chance of getting hired and making a good living upon graduation. After doing the research –examining census information and growth outlooks from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as local and state agencies– what degree program would you propose? What kinds of job industries are likely to see rapid growth in the near future in central New Jersey according to the research? Of these jobs, which would provide the highest pay and benefits for students with an Associate’s degree? Write a paper in which you recommend a specific program (one we don’t already offer) based on all the factors mentioned above and your evaluation of scholarly research data.
  • According to available data from veterans affairs coalitions, compared against information from the US Departments of State and Defense, are Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans receiving adequate health care and transitioning effectively into civilian life as they return home from serving abroad? According to scholarly research, what issues most affect the current population of veterans and how do these issues differ from those of previous eras? In your paper, take a position on why the current situation is as good or bad as it is, using scholarly research to back up your stance.
  • The number of prisons in the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate. We incarcerate more of our citizens per capita than another other country in the world. Many people end up going back to prison over and over again. According to research in the fields of political science, sociology, psychology and/or anthropology what is driving our prison boom? Does the research offer any explanation for why so many people recidivate? Given the statistics and evidence, what would it take to reduce crime and reduce prison sizes in the U.S.?
  • What ever happened to the mafia? New Jersey is know for its mob history, but nowadays the mafia seems to be merely the stuff of movies and television shows. Based on actual scholarly research in the field of Criminal Justice, does it seem to be the case that the police have put an end to organized crime? What tools of Criminal Justice have been effective in reducing organized crime here in NJ? You may choose to examine New Jersey in specific or a different portion of the country. Alternatively, you may look at the US in comparison to other countries with significant organized crime problems (China, Ireland, Italy, Russia etc.) and use scholarly research to determine which strategies for reducing such crimes appear to be most effective and under what circumstances.
  • Only a portion of students who set out to graduate from community colleges will do so, and graduation rates among minority students are even lower. What causes this to be so, and, according to scholarly research, what can be done about it? Which research in this field is most convincing and why?
  •  There is a long history of game obsessions that go all the way back to ancient Egypt. In more recent history Scrabble, Monopoly, Canasta and poker have had periods of enormous popularity. Now the video gaming market is the fastest growing segment of the gaming economy. Using historical data and current research on human behavior to form your position, write a paper that answers the following questions: do the games we get obsessed with tend to reflect the times in which we live? How so? Can we use historical gaming records to predict what game or type of game might be most popular in the future? What do current gaming trends tell us about our current social and political structures?
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