Writing a Research Paper Or Yes you must write one, And No, you can’t steal it from the Internet
What is a research paper? • “Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others.” (Winkler, 3) “A research report is a composition based on information drawn from books, periodicals, interviews, and media resources including the Internet or other online sources.” (Senn, C523) “A research report presents information that the writer has learned through a detective-like search for facts. Fact are found in books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, atlases, computer programs, even in personal interviews.” (Null,4)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step • Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzuChinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
A great research paper starts with a single step. Miss Mott English Teacher
Step 1 • Understand the assignment • This means more than just the subject of the research • You must understand what you are truly being ask to produce • What form it will take • Length • Style • # and type of sources • How is supposed to look ?
A. What form it will take: • This is what type of paper is expected • The assignment might be to write a certain type of paper • Or the subject may determine the form
Report: a form of independent study summarizes and reports on the facts found Writer neither judges nor evaluates The History of the Rome Empire
Thesis: Takes a definitive stand on an issue – a point of view writer argues or defends the side against all possible rebuttals the writer must exercise judgment, evaluate evidence and construct a logical argument in favor of their side Lobbyists wield disproportionate influence on federal legislation
Issue Analysis: Highlights a particular issue or problem focuses on an analysis of the issue and its solutions probably from both the historical and current perspective writer is a neutral observer, merely reporting the facts of the issue The Genocide in Dalfur
Literary analysis: sometimes called a critique or an evaluative paper that critically and carefully examines another writer’s work the purpose is to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge The writer will use summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles. The Clown in Shakespearian Drama
Regardless of FORM: • Success is based on how well the research was conducted, the organization of the information, and the clarity with which it is communicated to the reader
What form it will take: How to tell: If asked to Analyze: That means To break into its parts and find out how the parts are related to each other. Discuss cause and effect, explain your opinions and revel facts and truths Other words that mean this: evaluate, examine, explain, describe, FORM: Thesis, Issue Analysis, Literary analysis
If asked to Argue or Support: that means take a stand on one side or the other. must give evidence and reasons why you feel that way other words: justify, defend, persuade, FORM: Thesis, Literary Analysis
If to Describe: this means to use carefully selected details to re-create an issue/idea so the reader can understand Other words: narrate, relate tell about, portray FORMS: Report, Issue Analysis, Literary Analysis
If you are asked to Discuss: this means: tell what is known about a subject from more than one perspective Other words: compare/contrast, FORMS: Report
B. Length • The length is usually given in TYPED pages or in words • the computer will count both of them for you • For most people 2 pages of handwritten work will equal 1 page of typed material
WORD COUNTS FOR DIFFERENT WORKS Epic: A work of 200,000 words or more. Novel: A work of 60,000 words or more. Novella: A work of at least 17,500 words but under 60,000 words. Novelette: A work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words. Short story: A work of at least 2,000 words but under 7,500 words. (1,000 words minimum by some definitions) Flash fiction: A work of less than 2,000 words. (1,000 by some definitions) The acceptable length of a thesis varies greatly, dependent predominantly on the subject. Griffith University gives the following maximums (not including appendices or footnotes): Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): 100,000 words Master of Philosophy(M.Phil.): 50,000 words Doctor of Education (Ed.D.): 50,000 words Doctor of Visual Arts(D.F.A.): 20,000 words (Wikipedia)
C. Style • Many professors, and Universities will require the purchase of a specific style manual. • Almost every Academic field has an organization which will put out a style manual specific to persons of that field • What is a Style Manual? A handbook or guide that illustrates the accepted format for citing your references in term papers, theses, articles, etc. (CSULA) APA (American Psychological Association) Style Chicago Style MLA (Modern Language Association) Style Turabian Style These are the common styles used. • We will use MLA.
D. # and type of sources • Some teacher/professors will set a minimum number of sources you must have • Some teacher/professors will set the type of sources • EX. Books, internet, newspapers, magazines, etc
E. How it is supposed to look: • Font and size • Cover page or not • if yes, design? • What information? • Page numbers. Or not • If yes, where? • Section breaks or Not • if yes, titles? Title Name Class, period
Step 2 • Think about how to get it done • The paper is a end product • Don’t focus so much on the end, that you loss sight have everything you have to do to get there.
Step 3 Choosing the topic: How do you do it? 1. The teacher assigns it specifically. You must do a literary analysis of the characters in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. 2. The teacher assigns it generally. Research Paper on a British Writer 3. It’s left totally up to you.
The teacher assigns it specifically • You don’t have to worry about selecting it, just how are you going to find the information you need. • The teacher assigns it generally. • Do some reading on the general topic, • Get an overview • Find a portion that interests you • You may want to choose more than one thing just in case you can’t find enough information • It’s left totally up to you . • Pick something you are interested in some way • Pick something you would like to learn more about • But limit the topic to something manageable
EXAMPLE • Feudal Weapons • Swords • Axes • Shields • Mace • Lance • Crossbows • Daggers • Long bows • Flail • Halberds • pike • Ballista • Battering ram • Catapult • Trebuchets • Mangonel
Limit it: • Personal weapons Swords Axes Shields Mace Lance Crossbows Daggers Long bows Flail Halberds pike • Siege Weapons: Ballista Battering ram Catapult Trebuchets Mangonel
Limit it: Knights Swords Axes Shields Mace Daggers Flail • Foot Soldiers: • Long bows • Axes • Lance • Halberds • Pikes • Daggers • Swords • Shields • Archers • Crossbows • Long bows • Daggers
Step 4 • Thinking about research • What questions do I need to answer • What information do I need? • Where do I look to find it? • How do I find it? • What do I do with it when I find it?
What information do I need? • Start by asking questions you would like the answers to. • Brainstorm key words • get an overview of the subject • Encyclopedias • Summaries of article on the subject • Short books • Short articles
Where do I look to find it? • Library • Books • Magazines • Pictures • Documents • Computer • TV • Radio • Interviews
Library Research: • Books • Locate any books on your topic using the card/online catalog. • Check the index for key words • Take notes or check them out and take notes at home • Reference materials • May not check out. • Take notes in Library • Include things like: • Encyclopedias • Dictionaries • Atlases • Almanacs
Indexes: • Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature • New York Times • Used to find magazine articles • Periodicals: • Things printed periodically • Newspapers • Magazines • Audiovisual Material • Audiocassettes • Videos • DVDs • CD-ROMs • Special Collections • Works on state/locate history or anything “special” • Don’t circulate
How do I find it? • Using key words: • Indexes of books • Encyclopedia articles • Google • Ask.com • Synonyms for key words • Indexes of books • Encyclopedia articles • Google • Ask.com
Computer searches: • Use a search engine: • www.Google.com • www.ask.com • www.yahoo.com • www.dogpile.com • www.metacrawler.com • www.altavista.com • www.lycos.com • www.bing.com • Use your key words
Synonyms: Feudal Weaponry • Medieval weapons • Middle Ages weapons • Armor and Arms • Personal weapons • Siege weapons • Swords • Axes • Shields • Mace • Lance • Crossbows • Daggers • Long bows • Flail • Halberds • pike • Ballista • Battering ram • Catapult • Trebuchets • Mangonel
What do I do with it when I find it? • Evaluate it • Take notes
STEP 5 • How do I evaluate the usefulness of the information I find? • It depends on the source. • Books • Check Table of Contents AND Index • Is there any information on your subject in the book? • What is the publication date? • Too old for up-to-date information? • But okay for “historical” information? • Who is the author? • What are his/her credentials? • Could he/she be biased?
Articles • Does it contain information on your subject? • What is the publication date? • Too old for up-to-date information? • But okay for “historical” information? • Who is the author? • What are his/her credentials? • Could he/she be biased? • Is it published in “special” interest magazine?
Internet • Check the domain name • .com = commercial (for profit) site • .edu = educational facility • .mil = military • .org = organization • .gov = governmental agency • Does it have a “special” interest? • Have you heard of the org., edu., gov.? • Does the article have a “signed” author? • Same test as for other authors • Recently up-dated? • Same as for other dated material • Is the information fitting in with the material you have found on other sites or in other sources? • JUST BECAUSE IT IS ON THE INTERNET DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To appreciate the importance of web site evaluation, compare these two web sites on Martin Luther King, Jr. • Martin Luther King, Jr.: A True Historical Examination available at: http://www.martinlutherking.org/ — Despite its professional look and fancy title, the tone and content of this web page suggests a very strong racial bias and further investigation indicates that this web page was created by the Stormfront White Nationalist Group. Note that this site comes up as the third entry in a Google search for "Martin Luther King." (by the way… St. Bernarded) • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/— This comprehensive web site devoted to the life and works of Dr. King is made available by Stanford University, a very reputable educational institution
STEP 6 More about to come later!!!!! • How do I take notes? • The goal of note taking are to summarize the main points in your own words and record quotations that you might use in your research report. (Senn,C537) • On index cards – • Make source card • Read the material • One fact per card • Source id on card • Page number on card • Topic on card
SIDE TRIP- Plagiarism • What is it? • How do you avoid it? • What will happen if you don’t avoid it? • In this class • In college • In real life
Side trip • What is it? • Using someone else’s words or ideas as if they are your own. (Glenco, 15) • The act of passing off another’s words and ideas as your own. (Winkler, 93) • Using another’s work without giving credit….“Work” includes the words and ideas of others, as well as art, graphics, computer programs, music, and other creative expression. The work may consist of writing, charts, data, graphs, pictures, diagrams, websites, movies, TV broadcasts, or other communication media. (UC-Davis)
It's like lip-synching to someone else's voice and accepting the applause and rewards for yourself.
Side trip • “To a writer, an artist or a musician, plagiarism is just like identity theft, because creative people’s identities are wrapped up in the works they produce.” • Glenn Barr
Side trip • How can you avoid plagiarism? • Know what plagiarism is: • ignorance is not an excuse. • Intentional plagiarism, such as deliberate copying or use of another’s work without credit, submitting a paper from the Internet as one’s own, or altering or falsifying citations to hide sources • Unintentional plagiarism may result from not knowing how to cite sources properly, sloppy research and note-taking, or careless cutting and pasting from electronic resources • Use your own words and ideas. • Give credit for copied, adapted, or paraphrased material • Avoid using others work with minor “cosmetic” changes. Examples: using “less” for “fewer,” reversing the order of a sentence, changing terms in a computer code, or altering a spreadsheet layout. If the work is essentially the same as your source, give credit. • Always cite words, information and ideas that you use if they are new to you (learned in your research). (UC-Davis)
Side trip - continued • How can you avoid plagiarism? (continued) • Beware of “common knowledge.” You may not have to cite “common knowledge,” but the fact must really be commonly known. • When in doubt, cite. Better to be give unnecessary credit than not give credit when you should! (UC-Davis)
Side trip - continued • How can you avoid plagiarism? (continued) • Summarize: read the passage, without looking, write the main points, do not include your interpretations, do not add your ideas, after finished check for accuracy • Paraphrase: read the passage, without looking, rewrite the passage in your own words, include all points made by the author, do not include your interpretations, do not add your ideas, after finished check for accuracy • Quote: copy the author’s words exactly and place them within quotation marks. Include the capitalization and punctuations. If there is a mistake in the passage, place (sic) in the quote.
Side trip - continued • How can you avoid plagiarism? (continued) • Summarize example • Example • Original text • 'At a typical football match we are likely to see players committing deliberate fouls, often behind the referee's back. They might try to take a throw-in or a free kick from an incorrect but more advantageous positions in defiance of the clearly stated rules of the game. They sometimes challenge the rulings of the referee or linesmen in an offensive way which often deserves exemplary punishment or even sending off. No wonder spectators fight amongst themselves, damage stadiums, or take the law into their own hands by invading the pitch in the hope of affecting the outcome of the match.' [100 words] • Summary • Unsportsmanlike behavior by footballers may cause hooliganism among spectators. [9 words] (mantex) Football = Soccer Footballer = Soccer player
Side trip - continued • How can you avoid plagiarism? (continued) • Paraphrase examples: all From UC-Davis Original Source: ‘[A totalitarian] society … can never permit either the truthful recording of facts, or the emotional sincerity, that literary creation demands. … Totalitarianism demands … the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run … a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.’ 3 Student Version A -- Plagiarism A totalitarian society can never permit the truthful recording of facts; it demands the continuous alteration of the past, and a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth This is plagiarism; the student has combined copied pieces of the author’s language, without quotation marks or citations
Side trip - continued Original Source: ‘[A totalitarian] society … can never permit either the truthful recording of facts, or the emotional sincerity, that literary creation demands. … Totalitarianism demands … the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run … a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.’ 3 Student Version B -- Improper paraphrase, also plagiarism A totalitarian society can’t be open-minded or allow the truthful recording of facts, but instead demands the constant changing of the past and a distrust of the very existence of objective truth. (Orwell) This is plagiarism because the student has woven together sentences and switched a few words (“open-minded” for “tolerant,” “allow” for “permit”) has left out some words, and has given an incomplete and inaccurate citation