Research Paper Assignment: The Middle East
Recently a group of my students was studying Gilgamesh, a 5000 year old poem that was written in ancient Mesopotamia. As we started to discuss the poem, it became clear that most of us did not have as much knowledge as we would like of the Middle East. As we have been at war in this region for over a decade, it seems to me that we would all benefit from learning more about this region. So your first assignment will be an introduction to writing research papers, but with the added bonus that you will also learn something about the Middle East.
You will be assigned a Middle Eastern country at random. You will need to do some preliminary research to give you general knowledge of that country. At some point, you will then need to think of a research topic that is small enough, and manageable enough, to cover in a 4-6 page essay.
For example, let’s say you are assigned to Egypt. Your research paper will not be on Egypt, but will be on one aspect of that country. Examples: King Tut, hieroglyphics, the great pyramids, Bedouins, animals of the Nile, plants of the Nile, Islam in Egypt, The Great Library of Alexandria, position of women in modern Egypt, Egypt and Israel, Egypt and terrorism, Egypt in WWI or WWII, English occupation of Egypt, Napoleon in Egypt, etc. etc.
Be sure to thoroughly research the topic before you write your paper. The paper itself should refer to at least five sources: be sure to use at least three different kinds of sources (newspaper, magazine, Internet, books, etc.). Save all of your research—you will put this all in a “research portfolio” to turn in with your paper. You will also be handing in other parts of the paper along the way—check schedule for due dates.
Length: 4-6 pages, typed.