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Research Papers. Doing it right, the first time. How to begin. The best researchers keep an open mind going into their research process. They do NOT begin researching with a set-in-stone, predetermined outcome in mind.

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Research papers

Research Papers

Doing it right,

the first time.

How to begin
How to begin

The best researchers keep an open mind going into their research process. They do NOT begin researching with a set-in-stone, predetermined outcome in mind.

They choose their subject and the slant they think they want to take, and then begin looking for information, both on the Internet and in print resources.

Once they have a hefty stack of resources laid out on index cards (minimum 10 per required typed page), they then begin organizing and a Thesis appears from the research.

Plan of attack
Plan of Attack

  • 1) Research and collect data from many sources, then create an outline.

  • 2) Separate information into stacks as you go based on type. Use color to identify on index cards – only add ONE idea, definition, statistic, quote, or paraphrase per card.

  • 3) Lay out cards in the order you think they will go into the paper. Read and shuffle them until you get a good flow.

  • 4) Create a Thesis Statement based on your layout and the conclusions to which you come.

  • 5) Readjust your outline and fill in the blanks with more research.

  • 6) Lastly, write the paper.

Index card layout
Index Card Layout

When you begin to research, have your index cards ready to go.

Collect each piece of information on the cards and color code them based on

what TYPE of information it is, not where it came from.





Only ONE thought per card.

Hunting and gathering
Hunting and Gathering

  • Begin looking for ANYTHING that goes with the subject you have chosen.

  • Balance your research by using one printed source (i.e., book, article) for every internet source.

  • Collect web pages, copy pages from books, print or copy articles and pull out the highlighters!

  • Highlight ANYTHING that you find interesting: statistics, quotes, sentences you want to paraphrase, names, dates, ideas, themes, etc. BUT read everything so that you have a good overall knowledge of your subject from many different points of view.

  • Fill out at as many cards as you need from each source after you have gone through it with your highlighter. Remember, only ONE thought per card – this is VERY important.

Citation made simple
Citation made Simple

Commit yourself to collecting the MLA citation information WHILE you are researching. This will save time and headaches later – TRUST ME!

Keep the OWL at Purdue University website open as you research so that you can refer to it often so your citation is in the proper order before you begin writing.

Parenthetical documentation
Parenthetical Documentation

  • This is a big, scary word that means “cite your sources in-text”.

  • In-text citation is easy. You need 2 things: the author’s last name

    (if no author, an original abbreviation of the title) and the page number (or paragraph number if from an article or website)

  • AS you are writing, put the information INTO the line of text where it applies. Here is an example:

    The Chinese government claims that its stringent birth-control policy had succeeded in avoiding a population explosion that would have endangered China's ability to feed its people. It says that the "one child" policy was responsible for preventing 250 million births in the past 20 years (Bezlova 14), but unfortunately, the methods by which these numbers have been achieved are at best questionable, and at worst murder.

Formatting the paper
Formatting the Paper

  • Title Page:






    (all centered)

Opening page
Opening Page

  • First Page:

    begin at the top

    Center the Title

    Skip a space, then begin opening paragraph.

    ALL formal writing should be double spaced.

Pages of text
Pages of Text

  • All pages:

    • Indent all paragraphs.

    • Double Space, 1” margins, 12 point font.

      • (Times New Roman or Regular Ariel only)

    • NO extra space between paragraphs

    • Do NOT use contractions in formal writing.

    • Vary the beginnings of sentences.

    • ONLY use short sentences to punctuate a point..

    • Do NOT refer to authors by just their first name; either use their first AND last names, or just their last name.

    • Use persuasive techniques in your writing, such as repetition:

      • ex. “They always write, always draw, and always sing.”

Works cited page
Works Cited Page

  • Works Cited Page:

    • A separate page

    • Center “Works Cited” at top

    • double space whole page

    • do NOT skip spaces between citations

    • indent all BUT the first line of each citation

Works cited page example
Works Cited Page Example

Works Cited

Bezlova, Antoaneta. "China to formalize one-child policy." Asia Times Online. 24 May 2001. 11 March

2003. <>.

Brookes, Adam. "China’s Unwanted Girls." BBC News. 23 August 2001. 11 March 2003. <


Cook, Thomas. "Unfair burdens: impact of the population control policies on the human rights of

women and girls.” Human Rights in China. 30 June 1995. 10 March 2003. <


Croll, Elizabeth, Karen Kinnear, and Lai Ching Leung. “One Child Policy: A Quick Fact Sheet.” China

Family Planning Policies. 10 March 2001. 10 March 2003. <


"Twenty-Years After Chinese "One-Child" Policy, Abuses Run Rampant." French Press Agency. 2

January 2001. 10 March 2003. <>.

Research paper example yes there are mistakes can you spot them
Research Paper Example(yes, there are mistakes – can you spot them?)

Comparing and Contrasting

the Baby Boomers and Generation X

Genji Bailey

Dr. Hellstrom

English 401 Spring 2003

February 13, 2003

Research papers

The Baby Boomers, generally thought to have been born between 1946 and

1964, and Generation X, generally thought to have been born between 1965

and 1980 (Amoruso 1), would to all outward appearances, seem to be the

closest two generations in history. In actuality though, they have created what

is thought to be the biggest ever generation gap. In fact, the only things that

they share are a slight overlap in age and the surge in technology that they

have both incorporated into their lives. The characteristics of their childhoods

and core values are so vastly different that a huge rift of misunderstanding has

formed between the two groups.

Research papers

Baby Boomers grew up in a time when the streets were safe and parents

were happily married or at least stayed together for the kids. Boomer mothers

stayed home with their children, read Dr. Spock and expected their offspring to

be the saving grace of America. Boomers were brought up in child-focused

homes when the Beaver Cleaver middle class was touted as the ideal. Then

the Boomers became “yuppies” (Young Upwardly-Mobile Professionals 5),

created the two-income household and overspent to the point that

overwhelming debt drove many of them into personal bankruptcy and divorce.

Interestingly, Boomers considered their careers better, personal freedoms

greater and lives more meaningful than their parents (Howe & Strauss 3).

Research papers

In contrast, Researchers Howe & Strauss describe the birth years of

Generation Xers as the "most virulently anti-child period in modern American

history.” Gen Xers were the first generation born to a society that took The Pill

to escape parenthood. Gen X kids were the first “latch-key” generation and

grew up in day-care centers and malls with friends and gangs as their true

families. Typically both parents of Gen Xers wanted to work, which we now

realize was a direct cause of what some have called the “divorce epidemic.”

Gen X kids tried to learn New Math in the chaos of “open concept” classrooms

and watched the collapse of ideals as Watergate unfolded in their living rooms.

They were intellectually arrogant, socially immature and became thirty-

something just as the television show Thirty-Something got canceled (Howe &

Strauss 8).

Research papers

The Boomers, on the other hand, had parents that touted a good work ethic,

loyalty to your family and employer, and honesty. During the Boomer rise to

Corporate America’s highest towers the economy flourished, disposable

income became more abundant, and extravagance became the norm. The age

of indulgence allowed Boomers to provide their children, without much

sacrifice, everything advertised in name-brand commercials. Decades of luxury

and indulgence have had an adverse effect on the children of the Boomers,

what could be called “Generation ADD,” but the consequences of the

lavishness have not yet taken their toll because the oldest ADDers are just

reaching drinking age (Amoruso 11).

Research papers

As a generation, Generation X has married late, is more interested in function than

comfort, and don’t cook because their mothers were never home to teach them how.

Xers grew to maturity right along with computers and embraced the Internet where they

could be a part of a society which does not require them to have real relationships with

real people. Gen Xers are just now coming into the home and auto buying market with a

vengeance. Companies are scrambling to switch gears from Boomer desires because

Gen X is more interested in getting back to the Beaver Cleaver neighborhood, recycling,

and in buying vehicles that they don’t have to replace every few years (Howe & Strauss).

They expect better quality for their dollars and are not upwardly mobile if it requires taking

time away from their families. They also do not see any security in loyalty to a single

employer which has caused the employment market to make drastic adjustments

(Amoruso). Gen Xers do not believe it is worth their time to rise the Corporate ladder,

and even if they wanted to, and are pessimistic about long term stability.

Research papers

Boomers on the other hand have refused to give way to the interested in function thanXers and are

working harder to stay at the top and, as a general trend, are putting off

retirement. Boomers still see themselves as the personification of

righteousness and judgment, just as they did in the 1960's, and now have

thrown their hat, as they did when they burned their draft cards and bras,

wholeheartedly into the political arena. Boomers as a generation want to

redirect the nation toward what they consider worthy purposes. They are

prodding the nation to address social issues such as crime, health,

homelessness, and education by voting for politicians such as Pat Robertson,

Jesse Jackson and Pat Buchanan (Howe & Strauss 4).

Research papers

Gen interested in function thanXers realize that their parentless childhoods have made them

street smart and they are beginning to suspect, according to researchers

Howe & Strauss, “that they are a necessary generation for a society in dire

need of survival lessons” (Howe & Strass, 4). They accept that they are the clean

up crew and will have to shoulder more economic, political and ecological

burdens than any previous generation if America is to stay strong. Gen X does not

expect to ever see a cent of Social Security and it shakes its collective head in

shame at the rising National Debt (Krotz 11). They see themselves as the

generation that will be sacrificed to save the nation and world but they do it

willingly for their children.

Research papers

Each generation looks at the developments in the world and their own

Entrance and exit from the world stage from different points of view. Currently

these two groups make up the most influential generational powers in the

marketplace and workforce and impact each other in ways that neither of them

Realizes (Krotz, 11). They are bonded by technology and history, but separated by


Research papers

Gen their own Xers accept that the size of the Baby Boom generation has reduced the

number of jobs available, and they have acclimated. They are individualistic

businesspeople and entrepreneurs that find Dot Com dollars an attractive

option because they fuel the pseudo-society with which Gen X is comfortable

(Krotz 13). Boomers, regardless of how nervous these nomadic and quirky

workers make them, have had to admit that the problem solving and goal

reaching skills the Gen X worker exhibits are a benefit to business and are

beginning to take advantage of what Gen X has to offer (Krotz 9). Hopefully

with time and understanding these two powerful and influential groups will drop

their arrogant self-centered attitudes and find common ground for the good of

the nation and the world.

Works cited
Works Cited their own

Amoruso, Dena. “Generation X Powers New Home Design Trends.”

Reality Times. 2001. Lycos News. 11 February 2003.


Howe, Neil and William Strauss. “The New Generation Gap.”

Generation X Papers. 1991. Reaching Generation X for Jesus. 10

February 2003. <>

Krotz, Joanna L. “Why Can’t Boomers and Gen X Just Get Along?”.

Marketing Intelligence. 2003. Microsoft bCentral. 12 February 2003.


Tips to remember
Tips to remember their own

  • Support the main points with examples and statistics, and with logical and ethical proofs.

  • Do not stoop to name-calling, character attacks, and truth-stretching to make your point – research is not emotional.

  • Stick to the subject – do not stray off on tangents, no matter how interesting you think they may be.

  • Eliminate all topics in your brainstorming that do not directly apply to the subject at hand.

  • Focus on your goal and do not confuse readers with random factoids and thoughts.

Research papers

  • Do NOT use Personal pronouns, such as: their own

    • You, I, We, My, Our, Mine, Yours, etc.

    • Always use wording such as “the reader”, “Americans”, etc.

  • ALWAYS transition from one topic to another with transitional phrases such as:

    • “And, furthermore . . .”

    • “As well . . .”

    • “In Addition . . .”

  • ALWAYS use author introductions such as,

    • “According to Dr. Smith, veterinarian, . . .”

    • Congressman Jones, representative of Wisconsin, stated in his rebuttle . . .”

    • “Joan Levy, aeronautical engineer for NASA, proved in her research that . . .”

    • “Researchers Howard and Strauss . . .”

Research papers

  • Do not go in depth on one section and gloss over another, but give all equal time and say what you say in an efficient manner.

    • Remember: Thumb, Finger, Finger, Finger, Pinky =

      Intro, Body, Body, Body, Conclusion.

  • Narrow your subject and coverage down to manageable proportions and analyze them.

  • Expand on your thesis by asking strategically placed questions and internal summaries, when appropriate, to keep your audience on track.

  • Use wording that is clear, appropriate, vivid, and personal, and say the same thing in different ways: use a variety of definitions, look at it from different points of view.