Author: plthomasedd

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a former column editor/co-editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Brill/Sense Publishers), in which he authored/edited several volumes. He has served on major committees with NCTE, and has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Critical Media Literacy and Fake News in Post-Truth America (Brill, 2018) and Trumplandia: Unmasking Post-Truth America (Garn, 2017). He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Haruki Murakami. His scholarly work includes dozens of works in major journals—English Journal, English Education, Souls, Notes on American Literature, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Teaching Writing, and others. His commentaries have been included in Room for Debate (The New York Times), The Answer Sheet (Washington Post), The Guardian (UK), Truthout, Education Week, The State (Columbia, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and The Greenville News (Greenville, SC). His work can be followed at radical eyes for equity ( and @plthomasEdD on Twitter.

The Problem with, “Show Me the Research” Thinking

The Problem with, “Show Me the Research” Thinking


Notes on Research Project Essays

Please refer to this check list carefully when revising:

[ ] APA style for formatting a cover page: (1) check “Different first page,” (2) Running head: HEADER (note caps), (3) page number on title page (inserting page numbers does not work; type “1”). Use a page break to start page 2

[ ] Include your title from the title page at top of page 2 before starting essay. Do not put a subhead under the title.

[ ] The opening should be a vivid and credible narrative or personal narrative, 3-4 paragraphs long. Before moving to the next section, clarify the purpose of this project essay (analysis of media coverage of a topic compared to the research base on the topic).

[ ] Avoid confusing being general in the opening for being vague; in fact, about both general and vague. For example, “Teaching grammar has become a serious debate in the U.S.” This says nothing.

[ ] Use subheads (flush left, bold, caps; Level 2) after the opening to guide your reader through the major sections that must include: an analysis of media coverage of your topic, an overview of research (a mini-lit review) on your topic, and a final analysis of how those compare.

[ ] Your ending should create cohesion for your discussion, possibly by returning to your opening narrative. A call to action or framing for your reader how to move forward in terms of your topic are effective.

[ ] Avoid huge, rambling paragraphs. Work on flow, cohesion.

[ ] Use a page break to begin your reference. References must include all scholarly and media sources. Take care with hanging indents (no return>tab; use the ruler or menu and have 1/2″ hanging indents) and all APA formatting (italics, periods and commas, caps and lower case, etc.). Never submit a cited essay, even a draft, without the references list as part of the essay.

[ ] In-text citations must be accurate, neither omitted or over-cited. Look carefully at the sample provided. But some issues include:

  • APA focuses on Author (year) so keep them together and cite immediately: Thomas (2016) argues … . Or: … (Thomas, 2016). The name is used only once in any sentence to cite; pronouns count as using the name.
  • Use page numbers with all quotes from hard copy references, although you should quote rarely or not at all when synthesizing scholarly sources. For example, “…” (Thomas, 2016, p. 12). Note the space and period placement.
  • Do not plod through your scholarly sources one at a time; synthesize your research and then discuss the patterns and themes, citing multiple sources per pattern/theme. Do not refer to authors, titles, or that you are doing research (or that your source authors did research).
  • Parenthetical formatting: (Thomas, 2016). (Thomas, 2016, p. 12). (Black & White, 2013). (Black, Brown, & White, 2012). (Black, 2014; Brown, 2016; White, 2017).