A Successful Research Paper in 12 Easy Steps
The Research Paper • Is a project • Is a complex project • Will be worked through step-by-step in our class • Will involve your own hard work, teacher feedback, and peer editing • Will be submitted in a pocket folder (you provide!), along with evidence of all steps
Choose a subject Narrow the subject into a manageable topic Research your material Make source cards Make note cards Form an expanded thesis Make an outline Add the references to your paper Write the first draft Compile the Works Cited page Revise your paper Write the final copy The Steps
Samples for Your Viewing Pleasure Papers • http://telecollege.dcccd.edu/library/Module5/Sample.htm • http://www.dianahacker.com/pdfs/hacker-Daly-MLA.pdf Online Resources • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/ Book Resource* • Mcgraw-Hill. Successful Research Papers in 12 Easy Steps. Columbus, OH: Glencoe/Mcgraw-Hill, 2000.
Choosing a Subject • Brainstorming • Asking questions • Clustering • Free writing/looping • Outlining • Scanning
A. Brainstorming • Brainstorm • On your own • With friends/peers • Think of subjects that interest you. • Write them down if you wish
B. Asking Questions • Ask other people what they find unusual or interesting • Post questions to a blog or chat board
C. Clustering • Helps you associate new ideas that might “work” with ideas that, by themselves, totally don’t work • Connect ideas that fit together
Sample Cluster Racial discrimination in the work place Fatdiscriminationin careers Racial discriminationin Ireland Racial discrimination Tolstoi(my cat) Black Pit bulls Animal prejudices White boxers
D. Free writing &/or Looping • FREEWRITING: Writing freely about a subject in order to figure out if you have anything to say about it • Try this technique for multiple subjects • LOOPING: Free writing with one addition: add a “summary sentence” after each free write • Grammar & spelling NOT concerns
E. Outlining • Brief summary of main points of a topic • As a subject-selection technique, enables you to see logical progression of ideas that need to be researched further
F. Scanning • Consult lists—indices, tables of content • Encyclopedia index • Nonfiction text (on dogs, a video game manual, etc.) index • Table of contents • Yellow Pages listings • Consult items • Movies in a movie store (titles might spark an idea!) • Video games • Computer games
Step 1 Assignment • Pick any one of the previous strategies, or another of your own • Find up to three strong topics that • Interest you • Seem “researchable” • Seem “write-about-able” • Be prepared to discuss these in class with a partner • Be prepared to submit these to me on paper with your final research paper
Narrowing Your Subject into a Topic • Easiest method: use the 5 Ws + H • What? • Who? • Where? • When? • Why? • How? • Best to start with too many questions & then cross some out if you can’t find corresponding information
Poem by Rudyard Kiplingfollowing the story "Elephant's Child" in "Just So Stories" I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west;But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
AIDS • What is AIDS?What does it involve?What research has been done about AIDS?What treatments exist for AIDS?What is the life expectancy for someone with AIDS? • Who usually has AIDS? • Where do many AIDS victims live?Where in the body does AIDS strike? • When do symptoms start? • Why is knowing about AIDS important?Why hasn’t a cure been found? • How is AIDs diagnosed? • How do family members of AIDs victims cope?
Other Considerations • Audience: classmates, children, teacher? • Purpose: to inform, to persuade? • Style & Tone: formal, informal? “The research paper is an academic paper reflecting much time and effort; therefore, it should be more formal than a normal essay” (Meriwether 18).
Step 2 Assignment, Part A • From the subject that you have tentatively chosen for your paper, make a diagram or list of ideas that you immediately associate with the subject • From the diagram, choose one subject with which you think you might be able to work • Develop a 5 Ws + H list now for that subject
Step 2 Assignment, Part B • Purpose • Write a tentative purpose for your paper • Define whether your paper will be persuasive or informative • Style & Tone • Define the style and tone you think most appropriate • Share your findings from Step 2 Assignment Parts A & B with a partner—help each other to decide if all parts seem reasonable
Research Your Material • Plan your time (see Timetable) • Identify potential information sources • Determine whether a source is CARS
Information Sources • To be explained in the library.
What is CARS? • The source • seems Credible • seems Accurate • seems Reasonable • provides Support
Credible • Is there evidence of the Author’s Credentials • Look for biographical information that shows education, training, or experience • Contact information (i.e., email, address, phone and/or fax number) • Job title or position with company/organization • * “GOOGLE” the author to find out who he/she really is! * • You will use the author’s credentials in your signal phrase later! • Indicators of Lack of Credibility • Anonymity • Bad grammar or spelling
Accurate • Is the information • Factual • Exact • Detailed • Up-to-date • Comprehensive FEDUC
Indicators of a Lack of Accuracy • No date on the document or old date on information known to change rapidly • Vague or sweeping generalizations • Very one sided view that does not acknowledge opposing views or respond to them
Reasonable • Is the information • Fair? • Consider tone & “calmness” • Objective? • Who gains if you “believe”? • Moderate? • Realistic or ridiculous? • Demand evidence! • Consistent? • Does not contradict self
Indicators of Lack of Reasonableness • Wild tone or language • "stupid jerks" • "shrill cries of my extremist opponents") • Over-claims • "Thousands of children are murdered every day in the United States." • Sweeping statements • "This is the most important idea ever conceived!") • Conflict of Interest • “Welcome to the Old Stogie Tobacco Company Home Page. To read our report, 'Cigarettes Make You Live Longer,' click here."
Support • Are sources documented? • Can you verify any of the sources? • Are the sources reasonable? • “K.K.K.” example
Annotated Source Cards • Annotation: • (1) evaluate for CARS on back of card • (2) include brief summary of source—What is it? What is it about? • Source cards contain all of the info. on your Works Cited page • Info. from each source basically the same • Write down all info. as you do your research • Document EVERY source “just in case”; “X” out the whole card later if it’s definitely not used
Citation Generators • We WILL use citation generators • You MUST know what information to PUT INTO the citation generator or it won’t work
A Note on Citation Machines • Very basic generator—great for cell Internet use • http://www.palomar.edu/dsps/actc/mla/ • More complex—does APA, MLA, and Turabian/Chicago • http://citationcenter.net/ctool.php5 • http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php • My favorite • http://www.bibme.org/ • http://www.easybib.com
Info. Needed • Name of the author, editor, compiler, or translator of the source • Reversed for alphabetization Lee, Jamie M. • If no author is given, begin with the title • Title: A or B only • (in “Quotation Marks”) of poem, short story, article, or essay within scholarly project, database, or periodical • (underlined) of book, scholarly project, or database
Info. Needed (Cont.) • Name of the editor, compiler, or translator of the text • (if relevant and different from person(s) cited in item 1) • Ed. for editor; Trans. for translator; Comp. for compiler • Publication info. for a print source • Publishing company • City of publication, plus state, if city is obscure
Info. Needed (Cont.) • Title of the scholarly project, database, periodical, or professional or personal site (underlined) • Name of the editor of the scholarly project or database (if available) • Version # of the source, including vol. #, issue #, etc. (especially for periodical) • Date of electronic publication OR of latest update
Info. Needed (Cont.) • For a work from a subscription service, the name of the service (i.e., GaleGroup or EBSCOHost) and the name & city of the library from which it was accessed • Name of institution or organization who sponsors or is associated with the website • Date when you accessed the source • Website <in angle brackets> ** Be sure to use the “persistent link” if you accessed it via a library database!!!
Quick Tip • For a book source, copy the ISBN number exactly • Many citation generators fill in ALL relevant information for you so you don’t have to look it up!
Sample Source Card Source 2, Website “Facts on Tourettes Syndrome.” 30 Nov. 1996. NAMI (Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness). 13 July 1999 <http://www.nami.org/disorder/ tourette.html>.
Make Note Cards • Two Types: • Paraphrase: putting the meaning of a passage in your own words • Quotation: direct words • BOTH give credit to the original source
Sample Paraphrase Card Note Card 3, Source 2 (Website) Children with Tourette Syndrome are often teased. It is important that these children are assured that, when bullies tease them, it is the bullies’ fault and not because the TS child is flawed (194).
Sample Quotation Card Note Card 4, Source 2 (Website) “Teachers and principals must explain to other children that TS symptoms are not under your child’s control, and that teasing will not be tolerated in school” (194).
Step 5 Assignment • Select one of the children’s books from the basket in the front of the room • Work by yourself to create 2 separate cards: a quotation card and a paraphrase card • Share them and check them with a partner • Partners should then pair up with another set to explain findings • Each group will have the chance to recreate their cards on the board
Forming an Expanded Thesis • THESIS: A statement of your main belief • Focus of your entire research paper • EXPANDED THESIS: Contains your plan of development • **Both the thesis and plan of development are NECESSARY, so you MUST have an EXPANDED THESIS in your research paper
Thesis vs. Expanded Thesis • Thesis: The boxer is a phenomenal breed of dog and makes a great addition to any family. • Expanded Thesis: Due to its protective nature, easy care and grooming, and famous intelligence, the boxer is a phenomenal breed of dog and makes a great addition to any family. 1 2 3
Steps to Form an Expanded Thesis • Brainstorm & record any ideas that you can think about your topic • Look back at your 5 Ws + H questions that you used to help you narrow your topic. Create more questions now, if need be. • Be as specific as you can. • Create an antithesis (counter thesis) to prove that your statement is purposeful/takes a stance. • Make sure you can find research to support each item in your plan of development. • Accept that your thesis may change as you work through the research process.
Step 6 Activity • Review the former slide. • Create a potential expanded thesis statement now. • Share your statement with a partner. Check each others’ statement according to these requirements: Does the thesis… • Have one major point to defend? • Seem like it will have enough research available? • Reflect a position statement, even if the paper is informative? (Test this by verbally creating an antithesis together.)
Outline Creation • Organization structure for yourself • Includes • Introduction paragraph • Con/antithesis paragraph (optional) • Body paragraphs • Conclusion paragraph • Helps to keep your essay focused—if it’s not in your outline, it probably doesn’t need to be in your paper
How to Create an Outline • Label each note card with a title • Death Statistics for Measles Before Vaccine • Other Health Statistics for Measles Before Vaccine • Measles Statistics Since Vaccine • Vaccine Cost • Vaccine Recommended Use
2 Types of Outlines • Topic Outline—headings only • Sentence Outline—single sentence to describe each topic
Step 7, Activity Part A • By now, you have done some research and created note cards. • Physically organize your cards on your desk in a way that matches your plan of development.