To begin the American Literature course I teach, I assign this research project on American authors. Students work in pairs to prepare a report about one of the American writers we study in the course. Each pair is given a writer, and researches information about that writer, then provides a brief presentation of that research when we begin studying that writerÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s work in class. The project can easily be adapted to fit the writers studied in any course, giving students the ownership in presenting background material about the writers instead of relying only on the textbook. It also provides a good opportunity to review research skills, and the elements of a Works Cited/Bibliography page.