ENG 201, sections G4 and H3: Advanced Writing I

Spring 2004

Tamara Rabe

Baldy 667, MWF 1-1:50 and by appointment

645-3381 X 265

Home: 837-4705 (leave message before 9 PM)

Email: rabe @acsu.buffalo.edu


Required Equipment:

Eaters of the Dead, Michael Crichton

The Best American Mystery Stories 2003, Michael Connelly

Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, Muriel Harris

A sturdy two-pocket folder


What is the definition of a mystery? How do we identify a mystery, and, most importantly, how do we solve one? As a group, we will read classic and contemporary examples of the mystery genre to help us respond to these questions.

English 201 is a research writing course. We will explore the relationship between mystery and research. What is the nature of research and what does it reveal? How do we know what we know, and how can we verify that knowledge? Examining Crichton’s novel will pose questions about the connections between history and fiction, between reality and art.

This is a class in reading as well as writing. We will work on developing and refining critical, organizational, and rhetorical skills. Communicating effectively in writing is the ultimate goal of this course.



Three short papers (5-7 pages, 3 outside sources minimum) will be assigned. The course will culminate in one longer paper (10-12 pages, 7 sources minimum). All of the papers will include use of outside sources, MLA-style in-text citations, and MLA-style Works Cited lists. The short papers may grow out of mini-research projects, but each short paper must relate directly to the literature assigned. The longer paper may be on a subject of each writer’s choosing but should relate to a topic discussed in class.


Throughout the course, mini-research projects will be assigned to each writer. These projects will require an annotated bibliography (MLA style) of sources, both the useful and the useless. Each writer will be expected to examine a minimum of four sources for each project. Each writer will give a brief presentation of what he or she has found, explaining the relevance of the research.


The formal essays will result in typed final drafts and will be submitted on designated due dates. All final drafts must be accompanied by all notes and previous drafts. DO NOT throw away any writing. FAILURE TO SUBMIT NOTES AND DRAFTS WILL RESULT IN A ZERO GRADE FOR THE FINAL DRAFT. You may not email papers unless such an arrangement is agreed upon beforehand.


Any plagiarized material will be grounds for failure in this course and possible disciplinary action from the University.



Five absences will be tolerated. After five absences, your final grade will drop by a plus or minus for each session missed. If you must be late or absent, you are still responsible for the work in class that day and any assignments for the following session.



Seventy percent of your final grade will be based on the final drafts of the writing assignments. Short exercises, including the mini-research projects, will count for 10%; engagement and participation will count for 10%; and the presentation of the final portfolio will count for 10%.


The Incomplete grade may only be given to students who have (1) fulfilled the attendance requirement for the course and (2) completed all but one of the written assignments.


Notes about papers and presentations in 201:


There will be no specific questions assigned for papers. Part of honing your analytical sills is learning to formulate questions for yourself that you believe will interest and inform your readers. You will be required to write analyses, not simple reviews, of the works you choose.


For the presentations, you will initially be assigned mini-research topics. As the semester progresses, you may choose to do more than one presentation for extra credit, and feel free to suggest topics.


There are no secrets about what I am looking for in your papers:

  1. Competency in finding, analyzing, and synthesizing material from various sources into your writing.
  2. Ability to use research strategies for specialized assignments, employing appropriate citation formats.
  3. Ability to read writing-in-progress, identifying rhetorical patterns that work for specific writing tasks and expanding your stylistic repertoire.
  4. Ability to write well-organized, unified, coherent research-based papers and persuasive essays that include a clear thesis and supporting material. Longer essays that demonstrate more complex revision, greater control of structure, and more fluency with standard English than expected in ENG 101 are requirements.


All of this means careful drafting and revising. Use the scheduled due dates for drafts to guide you; use me, The Writing Place, and your peer to help you see how others are seeing and responding to your work.


The following is a proposed schedule and is subject to change:


Week 1: Introduction; One page definition and response to each of the following words: mystery and research; Read Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.”


Week 2: Read Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “Premature Burial”; Bring in handbooks.


Weeks 3 and 4: Crichton; Mini-research presentations; Drafts of Paper #1 due Monday 1/26.


Week 5: Mini-research presentations; McTiernan’s The 13th Warrior (film); Final drafts of Paper #1 due; First drafts of Paper #2 due.


Week 6: Finish with Crichton and McTiernan; Conferences begin.


Week 7: Conferences finish; Final drafts of Paper #2 due; Read Mosley and Oates.


Week 8: Mini-research presentations; Read McKee, Pelicanos, and DeNoux; Drafts for Paper #3 due; Proposals for Research Paper DUE.


Week 9: Read Phillips, Tinti, and Wood.


Week 10: Final drafts of Paper #3; Read Leonard, Dexter, Cooke.


Week 11: Read Lovecraft; Draft for Research Paper DUE.


Week 12: Mini-research presentations; O’Bannon’s The Resurrected (film).


Weeks 13 and 14: Final conferences and revision workshops.