A research paper might just be what you need to fully appreciate the dramatic arts. It may be demanding and even quite intimidating to start but the end is worth it, particularly if you write a brilliant paper that gets you a distinction!
Detailed research is a key factor in writing a brilliant paper, and of course, go for topics that mean something to you. After all, if you are not convinced about a topic, you won’t be able to convince others.
Are you ready to write that brilliant paper? Get your thinking caps on, toll your sleeves and using this article as a film & theatre studies research paper guide, start writing immediately. All the best!
What is a Research Paper on Dramatic Arts?
A research paper is an academic writing that presents a critical analysis of a writer’s argument or perspective on a topic. It is an expanded essay that backs up arguments with research, information and verifiable proof. A research paper goes beyond writing based on personal opinion and beliefs, it is analytical, critical and based on strong detailed research. The aim of the research paper is to assess a student’s knowledge of the topic, improve the perception of the topic and make new discoveries through research. Another useful aim of the research paper is to help the student make opinions, take sides and stand his ground.
Dramatic arts as a discipline of film and theatre and studies has a wide menu of topics to research on. From history to drama techniques, drama movements to past dramatists, the list is wide. It shouldn’t be hard choosing a topic to research on. As long as the topic means something to you and you are willing to invest the time and effort needed, you are on your way to writing a brilliant paper.
Choosing the Right Topic
Selecting the right topic is the first big step in writing a research paper, and it can make all the difference in writing a brilliant essay or a shabby one. The first criterion in choosing a topic is to select a topic that means something to you. Here are a few questions to guide you in the brainstorming process:
- What were your favorite topics during the course?
- What do you love about these topics?
- Do you think there are angles or perspectives to the topics you can expound on?
- Do you have enough resource material to write on these topics?
- Can you do detailed research in the set time frame?
- Are these topics too broad/ too complex?
- Are these topics dependable or controversial?
- Can you finish writing the paper on time?
- Are you able to meet the target word length if you were to write on such a topic?
Note down your answers and arrange the topics in an ascending order, putting the topic with the highest number of positive answers at the top and the topic with the least number of positive answers at the bottom. Choose the topic that is most favorable to you.
Topic Ideas for Research Papers on Dramatic Arts
A sample of research topics include:
- History of African American Performance;
- Black Women Playwrights and the Stage;
- Contemporary American Drama;
- American Drama and Politics;
- Comedy in Contemporary Drama;
- Folklore, Legends and Mythology;
- Adolescent Education through Drama;
- Playwrights and Historical Reforms;
Before writing your paper, you should first define the type of research paper you want to write. Are you writing an analytical research paper or an argumentative one? An analytical paper presents your point of views and opinions after conducting thorough research on a topic. In this type of paper, you present original ideas and deductions made after conducting detailed research. The aim of this paper is to inform and educate. In an argumentative paper, you pick a side on the issues raised from a topic and defend your decision with facts and verifiable information. The aim of this paper is to convince and probably woo your reader to your side. It is important you define your paper from the start. Doing so gives your research direction, saves you time and makes your writing clear and unambiguous.
Define Your Thesis Statement
Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. This is because your thesis statement acts as a base on which you will build your essay. Are you analyzing a point or defending it? Make it clear in your thesis statement. A shaky thesis makes a shabby research paper.
Research makes up the bulk of the work of writing your essay, it also takes the chunk of your time. It is safer to start researching early and arranging your research findings systematically. Also, it is easier to make a note of your references and keep a tab on them. This will make your bibliography and citation easier in the long run.
Here are a few tips on how to research systematically:
- Start by discussing with your course teacher or research supervisor. His experience, knowledge, suggestions and advise can give you a start in the right direction.
- Next, discuss your topic with your colleagues or study mates. Their ideas and suggestions may inspire you to think outside of formal writing and write more creatively than you planned.
- Browse through journals, articles, essays, textbooks and other materials that discuss your topic. Newspaper clippings, social events, and field trips are added ways of getting fresh, informal material.
- Finally surf extensively on the Internet. The internet has an inexhaustible archive on just about any information. Don’t just surf through journals and other forms of formal writing. Websites, blog posts, and social media are those unsought places to gather fresh material.
Sketch an outline of your essay and build on it. Start by expounding on your ideas and opinions and use the information from your research to give it bulk. Don’t bother about errors and disjointed sentences, keep writing and following your train of thought. You will definitely get somewhere.
Title Page of Your Research Paper
A title or cover page consists of:
- Your Name;
- Class Name (teacher name optional);
- Your contact information (phone, email, address).
Your title can be a brief summary of your thesis statement, however way you want it, be sure to sure titles that clearly defined and portray your work. Avoid long overflowing sentences, the longer the sentences, the more your chances of making mistakes and probably boring your audience.
Another tip is to use the major keywords of your essay to form a title. For example, if your essay is on Shakespeare and the effect of his plays on social reforms, a sample title can be:
Effects of Drama on Society: Shakespeare and Social Reform.
Write Your Research Paper in a Structured Way
A good outline makes a framework for a brilliant paper. The more detailed the outline, the better. Remember that the outline is a flexible structure. Don’t hesitate to make changes when the need arises.
A good research paper has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction is the first impression of your research paper. To leave a memorable impression, take time to construct an engaging introductory paragraph. The introduction usually has:
- A hook: like the name goes, a hook or the hook, if you may, is the introductory paragraph that gets your readers attention. A hook is provoking and persuasive and encourages the reader to keep reading. There are some techniques used to write a good hook:
- Thesis statement: the introduction also contains your thesis statement, which is that idea you wish to build on. You may plan to defend your thesis statement or analyze it, whichever angle you come at it, make sure your thesis statement is concise and unambiguous.
The body of the essay makes the bulk of your research paper. The quantity of the paragraphs depends on the information available and the required length of the paper. The more information and research results you have, the bigger the body of the essay, which is very rewarding for those who spend time and effort to do thorough research. Here are a few tips on writing a brilliant body.
- Usually, the first paragraph of the body is a continuation of the introduction. This paragraph usually supports the introduction by expounding on facts and delving deeper into detail. In the first paragraph, put your best point forward, to keep your reader engaged.
- Let subsequent paragraphs flow logically and in a stepwise manner, building on the thesis statement.
- Don’t be tempted to write for the sake of writing, or for the sake of filling the pages. Let every paragraph earn its place on your paper.
- Don’t be tempted to write facts and statements you can’t verify or justify. Lies, exaggerations, rumors and hearsay blemish the credibility of a research paper.
The style and tone of your writing should be uniform throughout your paper. Uniformity makes your work professional and easy to read. If you are writing an argumentative essay, then stick to the techniques and tone of an argumentative essay. Likewise, if you are writing an arithmetic essay, stick to the techniques and tone of an analytical essay. Don’t hop from one style to the other.
The conclusion makes an apt summary of the essay by reinforcing the key points of the essay. You should aim to land properly in your essay. You can do so by following these steps:
- Summarise arguments/analysis – this section should be brief but concisely contain the major highlights of your essay. Are you arguing a point, reinforce your arguments? Are you analyzing an idea? Briefly summarise the findings of your analysis.
- Call to action – in this section, you write on the importance of your essay. Perhaps your research revealed a problem, suggest solutions to the problem. The aim of this section is to provoke your readers to discussion, action and further research.
- In this section, the teacher evaluates your knowledge, appreciation, and application of the topic to real issues. You also let the teacher know that your research is more than just theories, but also discussing pragmatic choices for better living.
- Editing/ Rewriting – every good writing goes through a lot of Rewriting. The more you rewrite the more you refine your ideas and thought to process. There are better ways of making a point and Rewriting make those alternate ways better. To write a brilliant paper, you probably have to rewrite your essay at least twice. Which is why it is advisable to start your writing early to beat time. There are some students who don’t make the effort to rewrite their papers. Be rest assured that the effort pays in the end. Rewriting can just be the difference between a distinction paper and a pass paper!
- Proofreading – give your work to a fresh pair of eyes for evaluation. Grammar errors, misspellings, and punctuation mistakes are easily noticed when you do so. Also proofread for improper citations and references. Be sure to keep track of all citations and references, give credit to the owners of works you used for research and be mindful of dabbling into plagiarism.
- Formatting – format your paper according to the specifications made by your teacher. Whatever the citation style, whether an APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) or Chicago referencing format, be sure to follow the teacher’s specifications.
A Few Ideas on How to Start a New Paragraph: Tips from Our Experts
You can open a paragraph with rhetoric. For example, starting a sentence with something like this is likely to get your readers attention ” are female dramatists less professional than their male counterparts?”
Another tip is to start your paragraph with a profound memorable fact. For example, ‘Charlie Chaplin made his first professional debut when he was eight.’
You can also create a brilliant hook by using statistics and figures to leave an impression. Another tip will be to start your paragraph with a memorable anecdote or quote.