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The Nuts and Bolts of Writing an Academic Research Paper

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  1. The Nuts and Bolts of Writing an Academic Research Paper Dr. Ryan Allen Assistant Professor of English & Writing Director, Writing Center Briar Cliff University ryan.allen@briarcliff.edu 712-279-5211

  2. What are the basics in research writing? Research-based thesis Strong and clear introduction Providing contextual information for essay and for each topic Developing organizational strategies Providing evidence from research to support topics and thesis Effective use of paraphrasing and quotations Conclusion Reference List

  3. Research-Based Thesis

  4. Research Based Thesis Avoids first person perspective or opinion Provides an assertion about the topic Different from informative or persuasive thesis Speak through the research, and let it guide your work!

  5. Research Based Thesis Topic: Acupuncture for dressage horses Informative: There are many types of holistic treatments for dressage horses, including acupuncture, acupressure, and massage. Persuasive: If you own a dressage horse, it is imperative that you treat his withers, back, and leg joints with acupuncture. Research-based: Studies show that dressage horses benefit from acupuncture because it effectively relieves wither and back pain, joint stiffness, and improves their overall circulation.

  6. Research Based Thesis Topic: Acupuncture for dressage horses Research-based: Studies show that dressage horses benefit from acupuncture because it effectively relieves wither and back pain, joint stiffness, and improves their overall circulation. Preview of points built in: Acupuncture effectively relieves wither and back pain in dressage horses Acupuncture also relieves joint stiffness. Acupuncture also improves a dressage horse’s overall circulation.

  7. Developing Organizational Strategies for the Essay:Introduction, Context,Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion

  8. Organizational Strategies for the Whole Essay: Thesis with preview of points built in Forecasts what topics you will cover and use to support your thesis Develops the main body sections of your paper Creates the continuity needed in a thesis-driven paper Develops a scaffolding for the whole paper

  9. Developing Organizational Strategies: Whole Essay and Scaffolding Thesis: Studies show that dressage horses benefit from acupuncture because it effectively relieves wither and back pain, joint stiffness, and improves their overall circulation. Supporting point 1: Careful research has revealed that dressage horses benefit from acupuncture primarily because it relieves pain in their withers and back, which in turn impacts the quality of their performance. Supporting point 2: Acupuncture also relieves joint stiffness in dressage horses, which allows for cleaner transitions in the arena. Supporting point 3: Leading experts agree that acupuncture also improves dressage horses’ overall circulation, which can prolong their careers and lives.

  10. Introductions

  11. Introductions Inverted triangle Broad introduction to the main topic Move to more focused information End with main focal point: the thesis Assume an “unknowing” reader Avoid first person No need for quotations

  12. Sample 1 Introductions

  13. Introduction Sample Dressage is one of the most physically demanding horse sports. Horses are judged on their athleticism, grace, and mental acuity as they “dance” across and around an arena. Dressage requires quick foot movement, transitions, and halts. Although it is a beautiful sport and art form, it requires intense physical dexterity, and as such, subjects horses to many bodily ailments. Many treatments have been developed to try to alleviate the pain central to these ailments, from traditional treatments by oral medications and cortisone injections, but recent studies have also shown that there are non-traditional ways to treat the aches and pains associated with dressage horses, such as massage, acupressure, and acupuncture treatments. Of these treatments, studies show that dressage horses benefit most from acupuncture because it effectively relieves wither and back pain, joint stiffness, and improves their overall circulation.

  14. Contextual Information

  15. Contextual Information Assume an “unknowing” reader What does your reader need to know first? Logical progression 1-2 paragraphs (not majority of essay!) Informative aspect of your paper

  16. Contextual Information What kinds of questions might I need to address and answer for my reader? What is dressage? When did it start? What makes a good dressage horse? What impact does it have on a horse’s body? What is acupuncture? How long has it been practiced? How is it effectively practiced on horses? What areas of the body might it benefit? What makes it ideal for dressage horses?

  17. Organizational Strategies within a Body Paragraph Organizational pattern for a body paragraph (or two) Topic sentence Brief explanation of contextual information needed to understand topic sentence/supporting point Supporting evidence from research Engage and link quotations to topic sentence Tie up any loose ends [Transition to next topic]

  18. Supportive Evidence from Research in a Body Paragraph

  19. Supportive Evidence from Research • Paraphrase • Rely most heavily on this • Remote paraphrase was the best • Quotations • Use sparingly! • Avoid block quotations (more than 1) • Citations! • Avoid plagiarism! • Demonstrate research!

  20. Example 2 Developing organizational Strategies and using research evidence in body paragraphs

  21. Body Paragraph Sample (APA example) Acupuncture relieves joint stiffness in dressage horses, which allows for cleaner transitions in the arena and helps to prevent premature lameness. Joint stiffness is common to performance horses, as is lameness. Lameness occurs when a horse is unable to remain stable on their feet and “founder,” which ends their careers and compromises their health (Hackett, Spitzfaden, May, Savoldi, & Dodd, 1997). Due to the amount of work stress developed through repetitive and intense motion in the arena, stiffness and lameness are issues frequently met by dressage horses. Acupuncture offers relief to over-worked joints and feet by opening up the “chi,” or energy flow, through a horse’s musculature and skeletal systems (Schoen, 2000; DeRock, n.d.). By creating “chi” flow throughout the horses legs, hip and shoulder joints, and feet, acupuncture also increases a horse’s flexibility and mobility, thereby allowing them to make cleaner transitions in the arena. The “chi” flow also decreases a horse’s chance of becoming lame (Schoen, 2000; Brennan and Ekroate, 2004).

  22. Body Paragraph Sample(APA example) Acupuncture relieves joint stiffness in dressage horses, which allows for cleaner transitions in the arena and helps to prevent premature lameness. Joint stiffness is common to performance horses, as is lameness. Lameness occurs when a horse is unable to remain stable on their feet and “founder,” which ends their careers and compromises their health (Hackett, Spitzfaden, May, Savoldi, & Dodd, 1997). Due to the amount of work stress developed through repetitive and intense motion in the arena, stiffness and lameness are issues frequently met by dressage horses. Acupuncture offers relief to over-worked joints and feet by opening up the “chi,” or energy flow, through a horse’s musculature and skeletal systems (Schoen, 2000; DeRock, n.d.). By creating “chi” flow throughout the horses legs, hip and shoulder joints, and feet, acupuncture also increases a horse’s flexibility and mobility, thereby allowing them to make cleaner transitions in the arena. The “chi” flow also decreases a horse’s chance of becoming lame (Schoen, 2000; Brennan and Ekroate, 2004).

  23. Conclusion

  24. The Dreaded Conclusion! Some sources will suggest to ask a question that has not yet been answered, but avoid this in a research-based paper! Reiterate main point/thesis Review the supporting points covered in the paper Keep it simple and straightforward!

  25. Sample 3 The Dreaded Conclusion

  26. The Dreaded Conclusion From the introduction: [Dressage is one of the most physically demanding horse sports. Horses are judged on their athleticism, grace, and mental acuity as they “dance” across and around an arena. Dressage requires quick foot movement, transitions, and halts. Although it is a beautiful sport and art form, it requires intense physical dexterity, and as such, subjects horses to many bodily ailments. Many treatments have been developed to try to alleviate the pain central to these ailments, from traditional treatments by oral medications and cortisone injections, but recent studies have also shown that there are non-traditional ways to treat the aches and pains associated with dressage horses, such as massage, acupressure, and acupuncture treatments. Of these treatments, studies show that dressage horses benefit most from acupuncture because it effectively relieves wither and back pain, joint stiffness, and improves their overall circulation.] It is precisely because dressage takes such a physical toll on a horse’s body that effective treatments are needed to both prolong a horse’s quality of life, both in the arena and in life. Although traditional treatments lead toward medication as a cure-all, studies have shown that holistic treatments, such as acupuncture, are even more effective than medication. Since a dressage horse’s work in the arena creates stress on their musculature and circulatory system, acupuncture’s unique ability to create energy movements, or “chi,” throughout the horse’s body provides a more holistic and long-lasting treatment and prevention of joint and wither pain, injuries that create lameness, and poor circulation.

  27. Tidying Up: Reference List

  28. Reference List • Double check formatting, whether it’s APA, MLA, or Chicago style. • OWL at Purdue • Check all source types used • Double check one-to-one correlation with in-text citations! • Run “Find” search for each of your reference list authors/titles as authors. • Make sure they come up at least ONCE in the paper as in-text citations!

  29. Questions?Concerns?Complaints?Criticisms?Please contact the Writing Center!writing.center@briarcliff.edu712-279-5520 Heelan Hall 050