Writing a Research Paper Part 4

The purpose will be stated in the introduction of the topic, as well as in the abstract of a paper, if one is required. It is not uncommon to read an abstract that makes the statement –The Purpose of this paper is ….

The statement of the purpose of the research paper, as well as the inclusion of an abstract, are both style criteria determined by the research reporting style required of you by your instructor. Be certain that you are adhering to the instructions given to you by your instructor. There are many different style manuals of research. Each one provides the writer with guidelines for writing, and many fields prefer particular style guides.

For instance, English instructors prefer the Modern Language Association (MLA), and Psychology instructors prefer the American Psychological Association style guide (APA) (APA, 2014; Hacker, 1998). The guides provide writers with information concerning such things as margin setting, the writing of citations, references, and accreditations. All research papers require that you have either a
reference section, also known as works cited page, or a bibliography page.

The APA style guide requires that a research paper have a reference sheet (Borst, 1997; Ellsworth & Higgins, 2001; Hacker, 1998; Thaiss & Sanford, 2000; Weinbroer, 2001). A reference sheet is a list of all the articles cited in the text of the paper. If a work is not cited, it does not belong on the reference sheet. A bibliography page is a listing of the articles or books that are read or consulted when researching a research topic. These books or articles may or may not be cited in the body of the paper.

You know how you want your paper to look because you planned it out, you read the instructions, and you consulted the appropriate style guide. You have selected your quotes, created an out line or topical layout for your paper and focused your paper around a narrow theme. Having completed these tasks, you now proceed with the writing of your paper.

Once you complete it, rewrite it, check it for errors, and read it out loud. Ask a friend to check it for errors. Rewrite it again and then with the knowledge you have done all you were suppose to do, turn it in on time. You picked the topic, conducted the research, wrote the paper and learned it was not so frightening after all.

Writing a Research Paper Part 3

According to Borst (1997), not citing work is the mistake that student writers make which costs them the most points on their papers. An author’s work can be quoted directly.

“If you quote, paraphrase, or summarize a specific fact or idea from a source, cite in your text the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page from which the material came” (Ellsworth & Higgins, 2001, p56).

Depending on which discipline that you are writing the paper for, it may
not be necessary to use quotation marks. Thaiss and Sanford (2000) state that when writing Psychology papers, if the quote is fewer than 40 words, use quotation marks and give the page number.

For longer quotes, 40 words or more, place the author’s name at the beginning of the quote, the page number at the end and separate the quote from the text by indenting five spaces from the left margin (Thaiss & Sanford, 2000). Also, according to Ellsworth and Higgins (2001) if it is not a specific fact but a general statement about an entire article paraphrase it and mention the author’s last name and the year the article was published in the text.

Now that all of the information is gathered, the fun part begins.

It is time to write the research paper. The topic is chosen, the research is gathered and now it is time to organize and construct the information into a reader friendly document. Planning can make the actual writing of the paper
the easiest part of the process. Hacker (1998) suggests that you start with a plan.

Creating an outline is one way of planning a research paper. Grouping information into sub-categories or into topic sentences is another way to plan out the paper. When planning the paper, or predrafting, consider how you want the paper to look, what you want to tell the reader about the topic, and who will want to read the paper (Hacker, 1998; Ellsworth & Higgins, 2001; Thaiss &
Sanford, 2000; Weinbroer, 2001). According to Ellsworth & Higgins (2001), part of the planning process involves developing a focus, an overall theme or purpose of your paper.

Writing a Research Paper Part 2

Furthermore, the Library is full of books, journals, and media resources that can be useful to any researcher. When writing scientific papers many instructors require students to use journal articles, which are called primary sources (Thaiss & Sanford, 2000).

Because of the limited access to material, at some of the smaller schools, some instructors will accept secondary sources such as magazine articles, books, and newspapers as sources for nonprofessional student papers.

Many times when a topic is entered into a database or a search engine numerous articles will appear. It is not possible to read them all. That is why abstracts are important. Reading the abstract, a short article summary, can save a researcher an incredible amount of time (Thaiss & Sanford, 2000). If the article is relevant, read it and record notes about what you read, paying particular attention to sentences you might want to quote.

Some people photocopy the information that they find allowing them the freedom to take the information they find with them for later review. Be sure to record the bibliographical information when either photocopying or recording notes from an article. Failure to do this can be dangerous for a writer, because it may spur the temptation to copy information directly from an article without giving proper credit to the author of the source article.

To copy information from a book or article without attributing it to its source is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is illegal and unethical. Now, it can be very tempting to plagiarize because sometimes the article’s author used the exact words and sentences that you would use if you wrote the article. Maybe
the author wrote the perfect sentence. If it is the perfect sentence, use it, just quote the author. If the quote is shorter than four typed lines; indicate to the reader that it is a quote by placing quotation marks around it (Raimes, 1999). At the end of the quote, before the period and in parenthesis, write the last names of the author, the year and the page number.

Raimes (1999) explains in her book Keys For Writers that long quotes are handled differently than short quotes. If you quote more than three lines of poetry or four typed lines of prose, do not use quotation marks. Instead, indent the quotation one inch or ten spaces from the left margin in MLA style, or indent five spaces if you are using APA style. Double-space through out.

Do not indent from the right margin. You can establish the context for a long quotation and integrate it effectively into your text if you state the point that you want to make and name the author of the quotation in your introductory statement (pg. 89).

Writing a Research Paper

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide instruction for writing a research paper. Writing a research paper can be a frightening process. Instructors often assign research papers in-order to provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into a subject. Choosing a subject, conducting the research, and writing the paper are the major tasks that students have to complete when writing a research paper. A selective review of sources concerning how to write research
papers was conducted.

The Research Paper Assignment

It is the first day of class, the instructor hands you a syllabus. It could be any class, Psychology, English, Government, Economics or even Kinesiology. You scan the syllabus and then you notice it, one of your assignments is a research paper. Writing a research paper can be a frightening process.

Research papers provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into a subject.

Choosing a subject, conducting the research, and writing the paper are the major tasks that students have to complete when writing a research paper.
When choosing a subject for a research paper, pick a topic of interest (Wienbroer, 2001). Textbooks are excellent sources for potential ideas. Brainstorming, browsing through the newspapers, and considering experiences in your personal life are ways of generating ideas for your paper. The mistake that some students make is that they choose a subject that is too broad.

Narrowing the topic will help bring focus to the paper and will help you to wade through the tons of information (Hacker, 1998; Weinbroer, 2001).

Conducting the actual research is the part of the process of writing that frightens students the most.

There are many places where you can find information. Search engines, indexes
databases, and library catalogs can provide more than enough information for writing a research paper (Hacker, 1998; Thaiss & Sanford, 2000; Weinbroer, 2001).

Search engines, on the World Wide Web, make it easy for people to find information on almost any subject. Yahoo, Dogpile and Google are some of the more popular search engines used. When using a search engine, carefully examine the information it provides. Because the information may not be subject to peer review, information on the Internet can be inaccurate.

Also, information can be stored in electronic storehouses. These storehouses are called databases (American Psychological Association [APA], 2014; Weinbroer, 2001). Westlaw, Eric, Readers’s Guide Abstract, PsyLit, PsychInfo and Ebsco-host are all examples of databases that can provide research information. Databases are probably the best place to start when conducting research. Some students find it difficult to access the information in databases. Have no fear, Librarians are more that willing to assist students in their search.

Essay Writing Practice Guide

Step One: Thesis Statement Brainstorm

Argument:  Describe one way that the above statement can be proven true

OR

Counter-argument: Describe one way that the above statement can be disproven

Step Two:  Thesis Statement

Directions:  Choose a thesis template below based on your thesis brainstorm from the previous step, and create a thesis using one of the templates below.

Full extent (Use if you have THREE arguments)

Moderate extent (Use if you have TWO arguments and ONE counter-argument)

Step Three:  Topic Sentences

Rewrite your thesis statement here

Directions:  Now, break down the three arguments/counter-arguments in your thesis statement into three separate topic sentences.  Each one of these topic sentences will begin each of your body paragraphs, and should explain what you will be arguing in each body paragraph.

Topic Sentence 1:  First argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 2:  Second argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 3:  Third argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Step Four: Evidence Workshop

Directions: Write out each one of your topic sentences.  Then find two pieces of evidence to support each argument/counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 1. Make sure that you have used the word “because” to help you explain your argument.

 Supporting evidence 1:  Quote or other information

Supporting evidence 2:  Quote or other information

Topic Sentence 2. Make sure that you have used the word “because” to help you explain your argument.

Step Five: Essay Graphic Organizer

Directions: Use the following graphic organizer to write your essay.  Each one of your topic sentences will become a body paragraph. Each body paragraph must contain two pieces of evidence from a text that support the argument or counter-argument being made in the paragraph.

Your thesis statement, topic sentences and pieces of evidence for each body paragraph, should be copied from prior pages.

By filling out the following essay graphic organizer, you will have completed a rough draft of your essay.

Do not use the following words in formal writing: I, we, your, feel, believe, thing, basically, a lot, things, something.

Introductory Paragraph

  1. Introduce your topic (Who are you writing about?, What events will be covered?, Where did they take place? When?) 
  2. Essay Thesis Statement: (Copy from previous section)

Body Paragraph 1

A. Topic Sentence 1: First argument/counter-argument: State your first argument or counter-argument from your thesis statement. Use the word “because” to explain your thought)

B. Provide context for your first piece of evidence. What background information does the reader need to understand the quote or information in part C below? If using a quote – Who wrote or said it? What is the quote about? Where was it written? When was it written?

C. First piece of evidence proving your argument/counter-argument above: Provide a quote or other information from a text would support this little thesis.

D. Paraphrase: Put this evidence in your own words if using a direct quotation from a text

“The author is communicating the idea that …”

E1. Analysis of evidence
“This evidence proves the argument that” …. (re-state your argument or counter-argument)

E2. Deepen your analysis by choosing ONE prompt below that is most relevant to your argument or counter-argument
– “This represents a change from the past/continuation of the past because …” OR
– “The tone/underlying belief of this evidence is …. This further supports my argument because …” OR
– “This was caused by/this led to ….” OR
– “This is significant because …”

Common Core State Standards for Five Paragraph Essay

This packet contains a comprehensive set of graphic organizers and suggested lessons that assist students through the entire essay writing process, including the construction of a thesis statement, the selection of appropriate supporting evidence, and the writing of a draft of the essay.

By employing heavy scaffolding, these graphic organizers allow students to create and develop complex, nuanced ideas and express them in a clear and coherent manner that is consistent with the type of writing required by the Common Core State Standards.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2a Introduce a topic and organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2b Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2c Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2e Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).