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Re: The Research Paper
Transcript of Re: The Research Paper
Selecting a Topic
Formulating Questions &
Your Essay's Main Focus
Finding Sources and
Making Source Cards
Revising Outline, & Creating Works Cited
Finalizing Works Cited
& In-text Citations
What interests you about the world
What interests you about our society?
What do you care about?
What stirs up a reaction inside of you?
What would you like to see changed?
Questions to ask yourself:
Will you be able to write about this topic without bias?
Can you imagine how you might write about the topic? Does it have two or more sides or perspectives?
For topic ideas, Google "Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center."
First, what is your MAIN QUESTION? The main goal of your paper will be to answer this. Make sure it's not too broad or too narrow.
Eventually, it will be your job to teach your classmates about your topic, so come up with ten+ questions or subtopics that seem necessary for you and your audience to learn about and understand.
What do YOU wonder about, in relation to your topic?
What do you want to know MORE about?
Don't forget to examine all sides of the issue.
Sources should be:
Not Wikipedia, not ".com," not from personal blog, etc.
Source cards should look like:
Sources should be listed
on a Works Cited Page:
I. Background info
II. Side One
1. From the nation
2. From Minnesota
III. Side Two
IV. Potential Solutions
Keep it short, keep it simple, but keep it SUPPORTED. If you have a "1," you have to have a "2," etc.
Take all notes on individual notecards--one side only, one topic only--to allow you to easily organize them when you're ready to write.
Be SMART about what you write down. After you read something, ask yourself, "Does this relate to the topics on my preliminary outline? Am I going to use this?"
When recording a direct quote, make sure you include quotation marks. Who said this quote? If it was someone other than the author, what is their name and connection to the topic? Use ellipsis (...) if you leave any words or sentences out of a quote.
On each notecard, make CERTAIN you include the following
1. Source Card Number (upper right corner of card)
2. Page or paragraph number (lower left corner)
3. A short topic header...categorize the card's information
History - Pre-2000
Before the World Trade Center was attacked, people went about their daily lives "without much awareness of terrorism" (Dan Rather, TV news journalist).
History - Pre-2000
Total number killed in attacks: 2,819
Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000
page or paragraph #
source card #
who said the quote and why his/her opinion matters
: The main idea or position you are taking in your essay
A thesis is comprised of two parts:
(your social problem) and
(your research-based position on this social problem)
A thesis is not a fact; instead, it is a stance you are taking--a promise--that you will try to prove in the rest of your essay
All paragraphs in your essay will relate back to this position
But what about bias?! Your thesis is
considered biased because of phrases like, "based on the research," "the research suggests," "the research shows," etc. (Try to include one of these phrases in your thesis!)
For literary examples, watch Harry Potter video to the right
Make sure your thesis
1. States the social problem directly
2. Does NOT include quotes, stats, or other specific examples
3. Includes both your topic and your comment on that topic
4. Brings up the concepts of research, information, evidence...
5. Is the last sentence in your introduction
Harry Potter Thesis Statement Examples
When you're created your thesis statment, it's time to revise your preliminary outline to match your position and intentions.
Revising Your Outline
1. Add your thesis to the top of your outline
2. Consider order; which topics should be discussed first? The final body paragraph will have the most emphasis, so what should be placed there?
3. If you have a "1," you must have a "2," and so forth. This is to make certain that you have enough support.
4. Do NOT include "introduction" and "conclusion" on your outline
5. Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized
6. Do not include end puctuation (periods, etc.)
I. Background info
1. Media conglomerates
2. Hollywood lobbyists
1. Small-business owers
2. File-sharing businesses
IV. Legislation in limbo
Thesis: The issue of
in America is a contentious issue, but research shows that
too much governmental control will lead to a decline in the innovations and creativity
that have built the country.
- Authors or editor (if available)
- Title of document
- Title of institution or organization responsible for the site
- Date of electronic publication (if available)
- The date when you accessed the site
- URL <in angle brackets>
Taking Notes -- Top Ten Questions:
1) How many ideas (headings on an outline) do you have on one notecard?
2) How many sources do you have on one notecard?
3) What punctuation indicates that the words on a notecard are a direct quotation?
4) You want to eliminate part of a sentence or paragraph in a quotation. You'll need to use an an ellipsis to indicate this. What punctuation creates an ellipsis?
5) You want to add a word or words to a quotation. What punctuation would you use around that world or those words to indicate that you have added them?
6) All commas and periods are placed_______________ quotation marks.
7) In the lower left hand side of your note card, what should you always include?
8) When you are directly quoting and the quotation goes from one page to another, which punctuation mark do you use to show where the quote continues on another page?
9) How many direct quotations must you have in your final paper?
10) You should use direct quotations only when you cannot do what?
Times New Roman, size 12; 3-4 pages
Number pages, double-spaced, normal margins,
MLA format (in-text citing, etc.)
No personal pronouns (I, you, our...)
Formal writing style
2-4 quotes throughout paper
No plagiarism (!)
Opinion vs. research-based observation
"Writing as a house"
"Define and Divide"
Thesis goes at END of your intro—last sentence!
Tie it in! Make sure it flows together!
In 1959, Charles Darwin published his book The Origin of Species, and the theory of evolution began. When Darwin’s book first came out, the theories he talked about didn’t affect
because most families were religious and believed that God created the earth; in fact,
seemed to pay attention to his ideas. Some people did believe these new theories, though, and ever since evolution was introduced as a way for the world’s beginning, there have been debates between creationists and evolutionists. Despite this
creation versus evolution
conflict, however, if
does enough research, it becomes clear that
hard science supports evolution
Follow your outline
Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence
The material from your notecards is used to create paragraphs full of details and facts that support each topic sentence
Use connecting words (transitions) between paragraphs and sentences to help your reader understand the organizational logic of your paper
OLD --> New
"On the other hand," "next," "in addition," etc.
Paraphrasing vs. Quotations
Tips for Using Quotations
Try not to leave a quotation hanging with no reason for its existence
This is called “prefacing” your quote…explaining WHY you included it, why it’s important; USE the quote…don’t just let it sit there
DON’T: I read a good book about diversity in America. “America is woven of many strands” (Poe 2). Diversity seems to be on the rise.
DO: Ralph Ellison famously said, “America is woven of many strands.”
OR: When Ellison said, “America is woven of many strands,” he was referring to the diversity found here (Poe 2).
Try to quote from different sources in the same paragraph (or at least in succeeding paragraphs)
Strengthens your argument
Shows you’ve done your research
Don’t use a quote if you can’t define all the terms within it or if you can say it just as well yourself
Be careful about quote-over-use
Before you use, ask: Is this necessary? Is all of it needed?
If you're quoting a person, make sure you attach an appositive to their name. This tells your reader who this person is and why their words should be trusted.
(John Smith, a scientist at NASA, said, "..."
A teacher for over twenty years, Mr. John Rosholt believes that, "..."
When your quote is four lines of text or longer, then you must:
Indent 10 spaces (two tabs)
Do not use quotes
Place your citation AFTER the punctuation
Although it’s clear that Judy Hampl believes strongly that nuclear weapons are a mistake, it seems important to note that her brother John Hampl, a physicist, said this in an interview:
If all weapons are evil, then why are we making cars? Why are we making soda pop and ice cream bars and Hershey kisses? Aren’t these all killers in their own way? I say these activists are shouting into the wrong science lab. If we are really serious about protecting our children, then we need to keep them out of the candy aisle. (Hanson 2)
Clearly, the dissension in the Hampl family argues against the idea that individuals of the same family all hold the same opinions.
Using In-Text Citations
Whether you are paraphrasing or directly quoting, you MUST note where you got your information (source card!)
Failure in doing so results in plagiarism... no good!
Each citation must link back to one found on your Works Cited page
Think of in-text citations as footprints that lead back to the citation's full body (listed on the Works Cited page)
After your sentence, first list the author, then the page number/paragraph number in parentheses
(Henson, par. 11)
If no author, list the article title in appropriate form
(“A Simple Truth” 43)
("Obesity," par. 4)
If two sources in one sentence
(Taylor 32; Bern, par. 4)
(Taylor 32, 33, 43)
Caroline can offer him no financial advancement, and such a marriage is therefore instantly judged as “strongly imprudent and asinine” in Robert’s eyes
Whitman considered their speech “a source of grand opera, something worth singing to”
(Ellison, par. 13).
Children will learn to write if they are allowed to choose their own subjects, James Britton asserts, citing the Schools Council study of the 1960s (37-38).
(notice that there is no "p" to represent "page number;" "par." represents that you're referring to a paragraph number instead)
(How would you represent that you're referring to a published BOOK with no author?)
(Notice that the in-text citation goes at the end of the full sentence and after the quotation mark, but before the period.)
If your introduction was shaped like a funnel, your conclusion is that same funnel flipped upside down
First reread your introduction. Does your paper discuss what you promised that it would in your thesis?
Reminder: Do not use any personal pronouns (I, you, our, etc.)
should be a rewording or review of your thesis. Do not copy and paste your thesis. Think of a fresh way to review your initial "promise."
second, third, and perhaps fourth sentences
should summarize the different points you’ve brought up, highlighting the research that seems to best support the position you have taken
should tie things together and--without introducing new information--leave the reader with something interesting to think about
Sometimes a great unique title idea for your paper will come directly from your conclusion
: Despite the growing awareness surrounding alcoholism,
: the research shows that this issue remains a serious problem in America.
Think OLD --> New
Part 1: Reorganize the following sentences into their appropriate order. One is the first sentence in a new paragraph.
1. Merlin is something else entirely, something much more mysterious.
2. Despite the differences in their portrayals, though, looking at these characters’ similarities makes certain things obvious about the source of the legend.
3. It is his mysteriousness and Arthur’s endurance that make the story enduring.
4. Of all the characters in the Arthurian saga, only Arthur and Merlin are immortal.
5. Arthur, of course, is the warrior, the king who was and who will be, who lies in enchanted slumber.
Follow directions below, answering the questions when appropriate. Initial each line after the task is completed.
______ Place a STAR next to the capture device. Does it catch your interest? How could it be improved?
______ HIGHLIGHT the thesis statement. It must be at the end of the intro. Is it?
______ UNDERLINE each topic sentence IF it actually introduces the paragraph's information. If there is no topic sentence (remember – transitions!), label that paragraph with “topic sentence needed.”
______ Put a box around the 2-4 quotations used. Are they cited accurately? Do they include speaker tags and appositives? Check if block quotes are used appropriately.
______ Check if the Works Cited page is double spaced, alphabetized, size 12 Times New Roman font, accurate form, accurate punctuation.
______ Using your transition sheet, ADD four transitions to where they are most needed on the rough draft (check between paragraphs and sentences).
_____ Give suggestions for how to fix any parts that seem awkward or unclear.
_____ Check here if there are NO personal pronouns used in paper. If you find some (me, you, us, etc.), change them to one, people, individuals, etc.
_____ Correct ALL spelling, punctuation, and comma errors (refer to DOL notes).
_____ Initial if the ENTIRE paper is the following: 12-point font, double spaced, Times New Roman Font, 3-4 pages in length.
Check that the paper has an introduction and a conclusion
Label the rough draft so the letters/numbers on the outline coordinate to the rough draft
Make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence
Check each in-text citation and make sure that
it lists (AuthorLastName #)
all puctuation is appropriate ("articles")
it leads you to an appropriate full citation on the Works Cited page.
Check that you have 2-4 quotations
Are they cited correctly?
Have you stated who said them and what his/her position is?
Have you prefaced them? Said why they matter?
Read your paper OUT LOUD. This will help you find simple grammar mistakes.
Check that the entire paper is in Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced, 3-4 pages in length with page numbers
First and last name
Research Paper Project Order:
Paper (numbered pages!)
After you have finished writing your paper, you must make sure that each of your in-text citations matches the citations you have on your Works Cited page.
Think of this like a footprint (in-text citation) that leads to the body (the full citations on the WC page).
If you realize that you've used a new source that was not on your original WC, add it to the WC, following the formatting rules in Step 3.
If you realize you have a source listed on your WC that you did NOT reference in your paper, delete it from you WC.
Although Lenny Bruce experienced some serious difficulties, the fact that he overcame them speaks to why the general's men defected to his camps (Collins 47). This is also why he is referenced in various history books as being "one who stood tall and mighty among the greatest of men" ("Alexander the Great" 59).
(Didn't reference these works, so must take out.)
(In-text citations and full citations must match.)