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).