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Chapter Twenty-One Writing a Research Paper. College Writing Skills with Readings , 4 th Canadian edition John Langan and Sharon Winstanley. 1) Select a topic that you can readily research. 2) Limit your topic and make the purpose of your paper clear.

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chapter twenty one writing a research paper

Chapter Twenty-OneWriting a Research Paper

College Writing Skills with Readings, 4th Canadian editionJohn Langan and Sharon Winstanley

writing a research paper
1) Select a topic that you can readily research.

2) Limit your topicand make the purpose of your paper clear.

3) Gather information on your limited topic.

4) Plan your paperand take notes.

5) Write the paper.

6) Document accurately.

Writing a Research Paper
writing a research paper1
Step 1: Select a topic that you can readilyresearch.

Check your library’s catalogue (or that of a major online library or bookseller) to be sure there are bookson your topic;

Check periodicals indexes to be sure there are articles on your topic;

Do an online search to see whether reliable sites on your topic exist.

If sufficient information exists, go ahead. Otherwise, modify your topic.

Writing a Research Paper
writing a research paper2
Step 2: Limit your topic and make the purpose of your paper clear.

Develop thoroughly a limited topic -- one that can be covered fully in the required length of the assigned paper.

Pay attention to subject headings as you research your general topic -- these can help you limit your focus.

Writing a Research Paper
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Step 2: Limit your topic and make the purpose of your paper clear.

Remember, research papers generally have one of two purposes:

1: to make and defend a point of some kind (e.g., elected officials should be limited to a single term in office);

2: to present information about a topic (e.g., the most recent scientific findings about the effect of diet on heart disease).

Writing a Research Paper
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Step 3: Gather information on your limited topic.

Try to gather all the information you need in one place:

Check out books you need from your library, or request them via interlibrary loan.

Make copies of relevant articles, or read them and make careful notes. (Some online articles can be printed out in their entirety.)

Writing a Research Paper
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Step 4: Plan your paper and take notes.

Prepare a scratch outline for your paper that shows both its thesis and the areas of support for the thesis.

Thesis: There are things parents can do to overcome the negative influences hurting their families.

Support: (1) Create quality time with families

(2) Increase families’ sense of community

(3) Minimize the impact of media and technology

Writing a Research Paper
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Write your notes on index cards or loose-leaf paper, or type them into computer files.

Notes should be in the form of

direct quotations

summaries in your own words

a mix of direct quotation and summary

Writing a Research Paper
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Direct quotations must be reproduced faithfully: if you omit unnecessary words, supply an ellipsis [. . .] in their place; if you supply a word or capitalize a letter to clarify meaning, you must indicate that you have done so using [brackets].

Otherwise, quotes must be written exactlyas they appear in the original.

Writing a Research Paper
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In summaries, you condense original material by expressing it in your own words.

Summariesmay be written as lists, brief paragraphs, or both.

Inparaphrase,you also express the original material in your own words, but do not condense.

Writing a Research Paper
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Keep in mind the following:

Write on onlyone sideof each card or piece of paper, and onlyone kind of informationon each. (If using acomputer file, decide whether each file should contain notes on asingle topicor from asingle source.)

Write atopic headingat the top of each card.

Identify thesource and page numberat the bottom.

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Beware ofPlagiarism!

If you do notdocumentspecialized information or ideas that are not your own, you will beplagiarizing--stealing,in other words.

Writing a Research Paper

When in doubt, DOCUMENT.

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Notecard:

Direct Quotation

Movie content

“We cannot guarantee that bad things will happen,

but we can argue that good things are not happening

[. . .]. [I]ncreasing numbers of young people are

left to their own devices at a critical point in their

development.”

Medved and Medved, 62

Writing a Research Paper

topic heading

ellipsis: indicates omitted material

brackets: indicate capital not in original

source, page number

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Notecard:

Summary

Movie content

Study conducted in 1996 showed that of PG-13 movies, 91 percent had crude language, 89 percent had obscene language, 45 percent had actual or suggested sex. Worrisome because most parents assume PG-13 movies are OK for their kids.

Medved and Medved, 62

Writing a Research Paper
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Step 5: Write the paper.

Make afinal outlineand use it as a guide to write yourfirst full draft.

A topic outlinecontains your thesis plus supporting words and phrases.

A sentence outlineincludes the above expressed as full sentences.

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In anintroduction,include a thesis statement expressing the purpose of your paper and indicating theplan of developmentthat you will follow.Writing a Research Paper
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As you move from yourintroductioninto themain bodyand conclusion, strive for

UNITY

SUPPORT

COHERENCE

SENTENCE SKILLS

Writing a Research Paper
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Step 6: Document accurately.

Youmusttell the reader thesourcesof the borrowed material in your paper.

The documentation style used by theModern Language Associationis relatively simple and widely accepted.Follow the rules for this system described in your text, unless your instructor specifies another.

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Sample In-Text Citation

Book with a single author

Other parents work at home, even if it means earning less money than before. “[H]eading home is a real possibility for those parents who can master the new home-office technology [. . .]. If enough people can manage to do this, the neighborhoods might once again come alive for workers and their children” (Louv 285).

Writing a Research Paper

capital in brackets indicates capital not in original

ellipse: indicates omitted material

start of quote

end of quote

source, page number

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Sample Works Cited Entry

Book with a single author

Writing a Research Paper

indent second and subsequent lines .5 inch

author’s name, last name first

Louv, Richard. Children’s Future. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,

1990.

title, underlined or in italics

publisher

year of publication

place of publication