How to write
an ASL research paper that gets an "A" grade:
"Is my paper ready to submit?"
Is my topic an ASL
or Deaf Culture
(Please do NOT submit a paper on "Fixing Deaf People Via Cochlear Implants" or
a paper on
famous people who are physically "deaf" but never had anything to do with
American Sign Language or the Deaf community.)
Did I do a research paper
rather than a “book report?” (Research papers utilize multiple,
credible references, not just one book.)
Did I document where I got
my information? Did I cite at
least 3 enduring, traceable sources of information in my references?
(Blogs don't count. Find REAL books or journal articles either online
or hard copy with authors and publication dates, etc. that can be traced.)
Even if I have changed
"every word" in the sentence-- if I've borrowed someone else's
idea--did I provide a reference?
Did I use parenthetical
expressions (citations) at the end of ideas that I've gotten from other
people? Do these citations
correspond to full references
at the end of the paper? Citations in the body of my paper use an opening parenthesis, author's last
name, comma, year of publication and a closing parenthesis. For
example (Vicars, 2001).
Is my paper 500 words or
At the end of my research
paper have I provided a list of references that include the author's last name and
first initial, the publication date, the name of the article, book,
or journal, the publisher and the place of
If I have quoted directly out of a book or article did I make sure to cite the exact page number in my reference entry at the
end of my research paper?
Any time I used another
author’s ideas word for word--did I put those words in quote marks?
Did I limit the
direct quotes from other sources in my paper?
Have I used online
references only if I've been able to ascertain the actual author's name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the
publisher? Have I provided at least three references
that are relatively enduring? (That can be easily located later by
readers of my paper.)
Have I spell checked and
grammar checked my paper?
Have I asked a friend or
colleague to read my paper and give me feedback?
Do I know when this
paper is due? Am I
submitting it on time?
Did I submit my paper in electronic format to the right email address prior
to the due date? Did I cc myself and a local proctor so as to have a witness
that I turned it in on time (in case of technical difficulties or dropped
know that this paper might be posted / published by Lifeprint and I give them
Tips: If writing about Deaf and hard of hearing people it is
okay and your are even encouraged to use the full phrase "Deaf and hard of
hearing people" at least once during your paper or article near the
beginning -- but afterward for efficiency sake just use the term "deaf."
After you've used the full phrase you can reduce redundancy by realizing you
do not need to add the "hard of hearing" phrase each time. You can instead
just use the word "deaf." If referring to culturally Deaf people it
is recommended that you capitalize the word Deaf, (even though
capitalization of "Deaf" is not yet standard in the mainstream media).
Reduce and to the maximum extent eliminate the use of the phrase
"hearing impaired." (Most culturally Deaf people shun that phrase. If
directly quoting a source then yes you need to use the words that the source
used. But if writing your own words then you should use the terminology
preferred by the Deaf community.)
Student Research Paper Rubric:
500 words or more
Fewer than 500 words.
500 words that for the most part make
sense and sort of flow well.
500 or more words that make sense and flow
3 or more citations in the body of the article.
No mention in your article of where
you got your ideas from.
Less than 3 citations
included or incorrect format.
3 or more citations, in correct format.
3 or more references at the bottom that go with
No reference list at the bottom of your
article telling people how to find the material from which you got
Less than 3 references
included, incorrect format, or can't backtrack to the actual
3 or more complete and traceable references to credible sources.
Instructions for how to write a paper that gets you an "F" for the
1. Browse the internet and cut and
paste until you have 500 words worth of plagiarized information.
2. Change a word here and there. Rearrange the information a bit
so it looks like you are writing it.
3. Format it really nice.
4. Put your name on it and send it in.
Note: the way to avoid plagiarization
is to document your sources and give
credit (via citing) where it is due.
Instructions on how to write a "D-" paper that could drag your grade
1. Pick an ASL topic that looks easy.
2. Get a few lame references from some blog off the net that are hard to trace.
3. Write 500 words the night before it is due.
Acceptable references at ASL
In the body of your document just use the last name of the
author and the year, for example, (Vicars, 2001). Then at the end of your
document you put the word "references" followed by a list of the books
and articles which influenced your writing.
If reference is a book:
Author's last name, first initial. (year). Title of book--underline it.
Place of publication: Name of publisher.
Vicars, W. (1998). Sign Me Up! Salt Lake City, Utah: Lifeprint
If reference is a Journal:
Author's last name, first name. (year). Title of journal article only capitalize the
first letter. Name of journal underline it. Volume number, starting page number-ending page
Below is a "made up" example, but make sure to use REAL journals in your
Smith, John. (1999). Teaching ASL online. Journal of ASL. 7, 139-156.
If you find an online source that specifies the actual author's
name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the publisher--(good
luck)--I'll accept the reference. Note, this must be from an original
source document on the web, do not quote someone else's research paper.
If reference is a web page:
Author's last name, first name. (Year, Mo. day). Title of the article or web page
goes here, underline it and only capitalize the first letter and words that
are always capitalized. Title of the journal, general website, or book goes here. Name of the publisher or the sponsoring organization goes here. Retrieved day, Mo. Year:
<full web address>.
Vicars, William. (2001, Jan. 4). Nonlinguistic communication.
Lifeprint Library. ASL University. Retrieved 12, Feb. 2001:
Hawk, Lori. (2007, Aug. 22). Hearts and Hands: ASL Poetry.
Lifeprint Library. ASL University. Retrieved 06, Sept. 2007: http://lifeprint.com/asl101/topics/poetry.htm.
Below is a list
of topics you might want to consider using, or come up with one of your own:
ASL as a World Language (The worldwide spread of ASL)
National Center for Law and the Deaf
American Society for Deaf Children
Countries, States, and Cities
Drug usage and Deaf people
Telecommunication Relay Services
Video Phones and the Deaf
Facial Expression and Non-Manual Cues
Formal vs. Informal Signing
Gender and ASL
Historical Change and ASL
Iconicity of Signs
Incorporation of Intensity
Incorporation of Time
Indexing on the Non-Dominant Hand
Inflections: Regularity and Duration
Interpreters in the Educational Setting
Kinds of Sentences
Law and the Deaf
Mental Illness and the Deaf
Miss Deaf America Pageant
National Captioning Institute
National Fraternal Society of the Deaf
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
National Theater for the Deaf
Non-Manual Cues in Expressing Time
Passive Voice in ASL
Speechreading: "Why it isn't enough"
Numbering in ASL
Telecommunications for the Deaf
Technology and the Deaf
Most typical ASL topics have been "well researched" and thus you should
be able to find some decent references that include the author, date,
and publisher. Strive to use authoritative sources, otherwise you will
likely be using inaccurate secondhand information.
Here are some locations I've
found for you that might be of use in finding good
Find Articles: http://www.findarticles.com
Journal Search: http://www.jstor.org/
Electronic Journal Search:
Magazine Article Search Tool:
Plus, here is a "style guide" to help you format your paper:
APA-Style Guide: http://webster.commnet.edu/apa/index.htm
Note: I'm not "overly" concerned about the formatting of your paper as
long as it is consistent, your information sources (references) are
cited (documented), and your references are verifiable (you give me
enough information to find and read the original article myself).
Your paper can be about any aspect of American Sign Language or Deaf
send me yet another cochlear implant paper (I'm not interested in you
researching how to "fix" Deaf people -- I'm interested in you
researching who Deaf people ARE and what they are like), you might want to focus on
something that really has personal meaning for you in terms of cultural impact such as the fact
that many "Hearing" people are teaching their "Hearing" babies to use
sign language but there are still organizations such as the Alexander G.
Bell foundation that discourage the use of signing with "deaf"
infants. How can that be justified? Or is it "unjustifiable?" Is it a
form of child abuse to withhold signing from a Deaf child? Is this
a form of "audism?" (Yes that is a word and it is spelled
In any case, please do strive to find three sites that can be
You can make the paper as lengthy as you would like. Write me a
book if you want -- as long as you use verifiable references throughout.