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The Research Paper

The process of researching a topic for a formal paper.
by

Jackie Madrigal

on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of The Research Paper

The Research Paper... What exactly is it? First... You must start with a topic. Pick something you like and are intersted in because you're going to spend a lot of time reading about it. Okay, I really would like to learn more about dolphins. Second Okay, I don't think dolphins should be locked up in zoos. I think that's wrong. I think that they should live free and wild in the oceans. They should not be kept in "captivity". Third Alrighty, here is my thesis statement..."Dolphins are naturally wild animals that should be kept in their natural habitat and be allowed to live freely. Keeping dolphins in captivity harms their well-being and is dangerous to their development." Great, you have a topic, but now you have to come up with an opinion about your topic. You have to PROVE or ARGUE a point related to your topic. Something that you think should be changed or examined more thoroughly. Next, it's time to come up with your thesis statement. What is it that you want to prove? You have to write that in one complete sentence (maybe two) and throughout your research, this is what you will prove. You will look for various information that will support what you have to say. Fourth Next, you will begin looking for "sources". Sources are places where you find information from experts that agree with your thesis statement. These sources can be: newspapers, academic journals, books, magazines, documentaries, podcasts, videos, websites (be wary), and almost anything. Okay, I can look for books and articles in journals on dolphins in captivity . I'm sure there are some magazines about this topic too. Of course the internet is a good place to start. I can start looking on the internet and the library. The Kansas State Library (kslib.info) is a great resource, so is our librarian's web backpack. Fifth After you have a good body of sources you can use, then you will being refining your thesis statement (if necessary) and begin writing your outline. Your outline is basically a skeleton of what your paper will look like. Start with your introduction and place your thesis towards the end of that paragraph and UNDERLINE it. There are several ways to complete the outline. The options are explained on my Web Backpack. My outline might look like this...

I. Introduction
A. Dolphin's life in the wild
i.warm waters
ii. food easily accessible in those locations
iii. live together in pods
B. Dolphins in zoos (captivity)?
i. Zookeepers steal the babies and raise them in aquariums
ii. This is done so spectators (visitors to the zoo) can watch them perform tricks
C. THESIS STATEMENT
i. "Dolphins are naturally wild animals that should be kept in their natural habitat and be allowed to live freely. Keeping dolphins in captivity harms their well-being and is dangerous to their development."

II. Why is it important for dolphins to maintain their freedom
A. Dolphin's ability to display emotion (both positive and negative)
i. Dolphins smile when happy and cry when sad
a. Proven that they smile more in the wild than in captivity (Williams 2006)
ii. Crying increases the most when babies are taken away from their mothers (Peterson 2003)
B. Dolphins live longer lives in the wild (Williams 2006) This outline only represents my introduction (1st paragraph) and the beginning of my 2nd paragraph. I have a lot more to say to prove my thesis statement, but I just wanted to show you an example of how to start your outline. The steps to help you through this process can be found on Ms. Madrigal's Web Backpack. Don't worry, Ms. Madrigal will be there to guide you through the entire process. Good luck! www.kslib.info A=Abstract. It's just a short summary of the actual article F=Full Text. It's the entire article. Look for the F. If you find one with an A, and it's really good, don't discard it because it might be possible to find it with the help of the librarian. Academic Search Premier is a great database. Check out the different databases in this section to see which ones best suit your needs and how many results are found. In my search for "dolphins in captivity" there are 169 hits in the EBSCO Academic Search Premier database. On Ms. Crawford's Web Backpack, there are links to the EBSCO Host Databases, the Encyclopedia Britannica, the ABC-CLIO Databases, and the SMSD Online Catalog. Check out her website for helpful links and information.
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