Literary Research Paper Guide and Ideas

What does it take to come up with a literary research paper? Being a high school or college student, you may be assigned to write a paper on various topics. So, let’s focus on the basic things you need to know to accomplish the task successfully. A research paper is an academic writing assignment which requires you to read, analyze, conduct research and think critically. As a rule, you will be given several weeks to submit the finished work, so keep that in mind lest you end up in hot water with your tutor.

What is a Literary Research Paper?

Before embarking on your literary research, you need to ensure you followed the basic rules, observed the style format and complied with other important requirements. Keep in mind that you should organize your paper in a logical and understandable manner. To achieve that, you need to conduct some in-depth research, making sure to read, analyze, and take notes in the process. If you have several topic ideas, connect them and choose the one that best fits your overall paper concept. The next step requires you to come up with a plan — no, not an outline (that will be discussed a bit later) but a time management strategy. Be sure to allocate enough time for it so you can complete the paper before the deadline and have enough time to revise the essay.

If a student has never done a task like this before, the prospect of failing it doesn’t look particularly promising. That is precisely why this article aims to give you the most important info you need to cope with the assignment.

Let’s start by asking the question you might be interested in getting answered, namely: How do you define this type of writing? You could also ask yourself“How can the literary research paper definition help me?”. Actually, the more you know, the better! Literary research is your own interpretation of the texts you’ve read, as well as a selection of critiques concerning the literature work. Being the author of the essay, you need to express the writer’s viewpoint and include your own opinion in the analysis.

Writing a Literature Research Paper Step by Step

Writing a literature research paper requires you to make up an outline, which is a very general representation of the main parts your paper is comprised of. Typically, your essay will have a title page (for APA style), outline page, abstract, introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Let’s look at some of them in more details.

How to Write an Introduction to a Literary Research Paper

The introduction includes the author’s name and the title of the novel or literary work you are researching. The next several sentences describe the background information which is particularly important in this context and can arouse your readers’ interest in the essay. The thesis statement highlights the central concept of your work, so be sure to use the right kind of language when writing it. There are several techniques which you can use to grab your reader’s attention. For example, you can start your essay by asking a question, recounting a funny story or telling an anecdote. Another good idea is to use some interesting or little-known info about the author or the work in the opening sentences of your literary research paper introduction. You can rewrite the opening part even a bit later, focusing on your thesis and relevant information.

In case you’re still wondering how to write a thesis for a literary research paper, here are some helpful tips:

  1. State the purpose of your research in the thesis.
  2. Link your thesis with the main (opening sentences) in the body text.
  3. Restate your thesis in conclusion.

You need to sum up the whole paper in the thesis, so you should prove that the purpose of your work stated therein is achieved.

Main Body Key Points

Typically, each body paragraph consists of three paragraphs. However, it’s impossible to achieve that target if your paper has ten pages or more. But don’t get discouraged — you can keep this idea in mind and break your research into three logically connected parts. Each part can have several paragraphs which refer to the main point and subpoints, as well as contain supporting examples and citations. It’s also important that topic sentences are connected to the thesis in the introduction.

Literary Research Conclusion

The primary objective of your conclusion is to convince the reader that the thesis has been proven. Your audience should have no doubts about it, and it’s your job as the author to demonstrate it by restating the main thesis points from the body paragraphs.

Literary research paper topics for struggling minds

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what the research paper writing process involves, it’s time for you to know how to choose a topic for a literary research paper. If your professor didn’t provide you with a topic, you stand a very good chance to create a really interesting and unique paper. Just so you know, some students prefer to use the Internet to search for literary research paper topics and adjust them to their own topic. You can do too, but it’s important that your topic remains highly original, so don’t over-rely on them.

Literary research paper topics list

  • What works best for a historical novel – accuracy or strong characters?
  • How is the idea of modernity reflected in modern literature?
  • Choose two novels you’ve recently read and discuss the allegory and symbolism in them. How do the two contribute to the story?
  • What are the basic principles to analyze the imagery in a novel? Discuss approaches and methods you consider to be the most efficient.
  • The use of slang and jargon in literature. Is it always justified?
  • Compare and contrast the main principles of the horror story and thriller. How are they different?
  • Choose a historical event you are interested in and analyze how it is depicted in several stories/novels you read.
  • Trace the development of the women’s suffrage movement in American literature.
  • What aspect of modern literature you’d like to research?
  • Did the Internet impact the quality of the 21st century literature?

As you can see, a literary research paper can be written easily! All you need to do is follow our writing advice and approach your assignments thoughtfully.