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The Research Paper Writing Process
Transcript of The Research Paper Writing Process
There are two ways to begin the research writing process:
You can begin with a question that you wish to answer through your research:
Or you can begin with your own opinion, the stuff that you already believe\know about your topic.
Once you have your research question or opinion nailed down you need to focus your research. Do this by...
Google, Wikipedia, online encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Determining the scope of your research. For example:
Size of assignment (I.E. #of pages)
What is your point in writing this research
? The answer to this question varies as a result of your starting point. For a question you need to follow where the question leads. Your interests and ideas do not matter. For an opinion you need to always be looking first for proof and second for coherence between your opinion and the facts that you are finding through your research. This is why all research is written in the third person impersonal. The thing that matters is the research and the facts you use to support that research.
Who is the proposed audience for this research paper?
Understanding the two types of research.
Primary: first hand sources such as interviews, first hand accounts, the book that everyone is quoting.
Secondary: translations, other research texts, trade publications, investigations.
Setting a research schedule
Thesis Statement Aside
For Reflective writing you worked with a very soft version of the thesis statement. So soft I called it the purpose, or organizing principal rather than thesis statement. For research writing this is no longer the case, because in a Research Paper the TS stands at the opposite end of the scale from the those of a Reflective Essay. Where the purpose of a Reflective Essay was loosely organized, could use first person pronouns and could lack supporting arguments, the thesis statement for a Research Paper is a rigid thing that both makes a claim and provides it's own support. If the thesis for a Reflective Essay was the fluffy, amorphous organizing principal, the thesis for a Research Paper is a rigid, skeletal thing upon which the whole paper depends. A flaw in this thesis statement of a Research paper spells doom for the whole project.
Not much to say here. Figure out how long you think each stage will take and schedule the time you need to ideally have the paper done a night early.
Avoid Barbarian scholarship at all costs.
Draft a working Thesis Statement:
Remember, a quality thesis statement for a Research Paper is characterized by clarity of language and focus of ideas.
It is called a working thesis statement because it is subject to change and modification until you hand in the final draft.
Finally, make sure that your TS is two things; first that it is broad enough that it will fill up the page requirement, and second that it is focused enough to keep you on track in the limited space that you have.
Conducting Library, Internet and First-Person Research
*Library Search Bar: EBSCO Host
*Google & The Interweb
Determine Your Contribution
As the researcher/writer of this Research Paper one of your most important jobs is contributing to the conversation. You are adding something to what has been said about your topic in the past, therefore, you need to constantly ask yourself, "How is this contributing to the conversation? What am I adding to all that has already been said?"
One way to figure out your contribution is to figure out:
With whom do I agree?
With whom do I disagree?
What can I add to the points that I agree with?
What can I add to the points that I disagree with ?
What original analysis, commentary or theorizing can I offer?
And, if relevant, what original findings from first hand sources can I offer?
Pre-writing the paper
Determine your main points according to the major trends and ideas that you found while researching.
It is very important here to be honest with your research and with your topic.
At this stage you ought to be able to decide the final order of your main points.
Be willing at this stage to completely revise your thesis statement. It is better to revise your original direction than to try and force your research to prove a point that it doesn't naturally prove.
At all costs avoid plagiarism.
Read page 522 in the Textbook. Use the APA guide in Cies and Sources and become besties with the OWL.
Very Simple Repeatable Structure:
* Topic Sentence
* Concrete Detail
* Transition Sentence
Never forget that you are the creator of this Research Paper, therefore this is the section where you as the author get to explain the importance of the CD you just used. Remember that since this is research writing everything must be written in third-person impersonal language. You job is to factually explain why you used that specific CD where and when you did.
As always Edit, Edit and Re-edit.
Remember that it is a good practice to give yourself actual physical space from your work at least once before you hand it in. Take a walk, watch a show, sleep, or eat. Do something that gives you a brain break and then return to your work with a fresh brain and the desire and ability to look critically at your own work.
APA 4-Ever and 4-Everything
If there is a discrepancy between TS and main points now is the time to solve it.
Research Essay Rough Draft: Due Beginning of Class Week 11
Worth 5% of your final mark. Though don’t let this fool you. It is a very important 5% in that this draft is the next step towards your final draft, and this Research Paper Project is ultimately worth 45% of your final mark for the class. Take this draft seriously because this is that point at which you ought to do the real heavy editing and focusing for your final draft.
As it is a rough draft it does not need to be polished like a final draft. All that I am looking for at this point is that you take the Proposed Thesis Statement that you have started and take it a little bit further. Flesh it out. Start making connections between the ideas that you think will help you argue your point and demonstrate your research.
You ought to include your working Works Cited Page. I will not be marking the correctness or your citations or the formatting of this document yet. I simply what to know what your sources are and you need the practice putting this document together.
As this is a Research Paper it must be written in third person scholarly language, so now would be a good time to start getting in the habit.
Focus on good research. Focus on finding and using Concrete Details. Focus on explaining those CD in the best way that you can.
Finally, begin thinking expressly about your conclusion. Remember that a good conclusion is one that contributes to the conversation that you have been listening to through your research. Do not simply summarize, rather try to add something, or draw new insight about your topic.
Way the first:
Way the second:
The reason to begin with a question is because a question is a thing about which you are already curious. You have observed something in your world and thought, "HMMM, I wonder why that is?" Research then is the process of gathering information (facts) and arranging them into a coherent and persuasive argument or compare/contrast (writing). Starting with a research question is the tougher route becase you are simply asking a question, gathering research and recording your findings.
The reason to begin with your opinion is twofold: first its your opinion so it is already something you believe, second because who doesn't like to be proven right in what they believe? Starting with your opinion is the tougher route because we are often stubborn about our opinions and want them to be right; even in the face of facts to the contrary. This type of research is the process of writing down your opinion, conducting research on the topic and then refining your opinion to match the findings of your research.
Quality of sources
Time for revisions, and revisions and revisions...
You have gathered and organized all of your research. Now what?
Refers to the main idea of the paragraph. It refers to the thesis and contains connecting words, which connect the paragraph with the one before it.
Mentally takes the reader from the paragraph they have just read and shifts them to the idea they will encounter in the next paragraph. Often includes phrases such as: consequently, therefore, accordingly, indeed, finally, for this reason, it is clear that, it follows that, with this in mind.
Summary. It is always a good idea to quickly, and I do mean quickly, summarize your research in your conclusion.
Respect your audience and know that they have a good enough memory to remember the research you have just presented. Once you have conducted a quick summary finish your Research Paper with a Contribution. An excellent ending is one in which you add to the research conversation you presented through your paper.
A summary is just rehashing what has already been said, whereas a Contribution demonstrates that you are able to extend and possibly move thinking and information in this field forward. Think of it as the last word, and honestly, who doesn't love to have the last word?