Step-By-Step Development of a Research Paper
"Langston Hughes and the Invention of the Blues Poem"

Step 6: Write a First Draft

Luke sat down to write his first draft. In his introduction, he decided to set the scene for his readers by asserting that Langston Hughes had a special relationship to the Harlem Renaissance. The introductory paragraph of his paper leads up to Luke's thesis statement, which appears as the last sentence in the paragraph.

As he wrote his draft, Luke was particularly attentive to the following issues:

  • Bibliographical references: insert source card numbers for ideas or quotations needing acknowledgment
  • Verb tense: use present tense for literary analysis, past tense for historical events
  • Topic sentences: one for each paragraph
  • Direct quotations: follow the conventions for identifying the source of the quote.

There didn't seem to be any need for a table, chart, or graph in Luke's paper. However, he considered using a Harlem Renaissance painting of a blues club, to illustrate the artistic atmosphere of that era. He also considered including a 1920s photograph of Langston Hughes. Luke accessed these images from the Web and was careful to credit the source and note the URL; if he added these images to his research paper later, he would need to include this information in his Works Cited list.

Luke's final task for this stage was to write an effective conclusion. He decided to summarize his main points and also to include a concluding comment about the continuing influence of Langston Hughes's achievement in blues poetry.