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Presentation on theme: "MS. GUEVARA’S GUIDE TO: WRITING A RESEARCH PAPER."— Presentation transcript:


2 Five steps that will make topic selection easier TOPIC SELECTION

3 Pick a topic that:  Genuinely interests you  Is consistent with the purpose of the assignment  Shows awareness of the intended audience  Is not vague or general, for example, the meaning of life or the causes of world conflict STEP 1: SELECT AN EXCELLENT TOPIC

4 It’s a good idea to: Consult your teacher to make sure the topic is suitable Find an approach distinguish your paper from the rest of the class Focus on a specific aspect of the topic instead of a large general subject STEP 2: NARROW YOUR TOPIC AND FIND AN ANGLE

5  Research your topic and make sure there are adequate resources available.  Try a variety of approaches to your topic. Look at your topic from different angles. For example: A. Koalas  Threats to their survival (cause)  Differences from bears (comparison, classification)  Reasons for their highly specialized diet (cause) B. Global Warming  Controversy over evidence of recent climate change  Causes of global warming (cause)  Dangerous consequences (effect)  Solutions to the problem STEP 3: DO PRELIMINARY WORK

6  Jot down ideas or make a rough outline  Create a concept web or branch diagram, where you write down as many ideas as possible that connect with the subject  Free write to generate flow ideas about your topic STEP 4: BRAINSTORM

7 General Subject: The Role of American Women in World War II  Why were American women not drafted into the army?  In what ways could women volunteer for military service?  How did WWII affect women’s demands for equal rights? General Subject: Substance Abuse with Inhalants  What are the chief products that inhalant abusers use, and why are these products sought?  What is the extent of inhalant abuse, and why has there been an increase?  What programs are available to help inhalant abusers? STEP 5: ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT When you find questions that interest you turn it into a tentative thesis statement

8 Three methods of trimming your topic down to a manageable size NARROWING THE TOPIC

9 To begin narrowing down your topic, ask five searching questions about your general topic. For example: General Subject: Football  How has the game changed since its inception?  How did football originate?  How dangerous is it? Is it becoming more dangerous?  What is the secret of being successful in pro football?  How has the equipment changed to make the game safer? METHOD 1

10 Another way to narrow your topic is to break the general subject into smaller parts by looking at it from different angles. General Subject: Social criticism in Charles Dickens’s novels  Concentrate on one novel rather than several  Dickens’s attitude toward the imprisonment of debtors in David Copperfield  Dickens’s portrayal of child labor in David Copperfield  Focus on one particular problem or aspect  Dickens’s criticism of the judicial system in Bleak Horse  Look at major elements in the novel – plot, characterization, setting, theme, structure.  Compare and contrast two novels that share important elements: attitude toward child labor in David Copperfield and Oliver Twist METHOD 2

11 Treaty of Versailles:  Prepare diary entries for participants such as Woodrow Wilson or George Clemenceau  Debate the validity of select important points in Wilson’s Fourteen Points  Write an editorial sympathizing with Germany’s dissatisfaction with the treaty Struggle to establish a Jewish state in Palestine:  Create letters written by the leaders of political Zionism about the problems they faced  Focus on the role of the League of Nations or the United Nations  Give an eyewitness account of the first World Zionist Congress in Basil METHOD 3 Many historical events are extremely complicated to cover adequately in a single paper. For topics like these, focus on a single aspect or take an unusual approach.

12 Writing your own thesis FORMULATING A THESIS STATEMENT

13 1.Begin by examining the general topic for angles, aspects or approaches. Do preliminary reading to get ideas. Write down questions about your topic 2.Select an angle that narrows the topic to manageable proportions. 3.Propose a judgment, criticism, or evaluation that you can support in your paper. This is a temporary thesis that you can refine and improve. 4.Determine how you will back up your thesis by deciding what topics will provide evidence, reasons, and arguments that will convince the reader of your thesis. PROCEDURE FOR ARRIVING AT A SATISFACTORY THESIS

14  A declarative sentence that clearly and concisely states the main point the author wishes to make.  The perceived injustices of the Treaty of Versailles made it a major cause of WWII.  A sentence that embodies judgment, evaluation, or criticism. Uses value terms such as valuable, worthwhile, effective, major, significant, or should  The major problems that made enforcement of the Treaty of Versailles difficult concerned disarmament, reparations, and the punishment of war criminals.  A statement you consider significant A GOOD THESIS STATEMENT IS:

15  Suggest a comparison or contrast  The treaty that followed WWII was radically different from the one that concluded WWI.  Focus primarily on the causes or effects of a particular event, condition or change  A number of economic and political developments in Europe made WWI almost inevitable.  Propose a solution to a problem or recommend a policy  Community service should be made mandatory for all high school students, but it should take place during the school day. A GOOD THESIS MAY:

16  A statement of fact  The Treaty of Versailles was signed by four major powers and became effective January 1920.  Merely the expression of personal opinion  I think the Treaty of Versailles was a foolish mistake.  A vague generalization  The Treaty of Versailles caused the world a lot of problems.  A question  Was the Treaty of Versailles a major force in precipitating WWII? A GOOD THESIS STATEMENT IS NOT

17  General subject: Teenage runaways  Specific topic: Reasons why adolescents run away from home  Thesis: Many adolescents run away from home, not because of delinquent activity but because they are seeking help.  General subject: History of Jewish People  Specific topic: The attempt to establish a Jewish homeland  Thesis: American Zionists played an important role in the struggle to establish a Jewish homeland.  General subject: The electromagnetic spectrum  Specific topic: Use of X-rays in the analysis of paintings  Thesis: Radiography makes possible the verification of paintings by revealing age and underlying brushstroke techniques. EXAMPLES OF GOOD THESIS STATEMENTS


19  After formulating your thesis statement, your next goal is to find topics that support it. This will help you put useful topic headings on your note cards, distinguish relevant from irrelevant information and know how to use the relevant material.  Once you have turned a topic into a thesis statement, the next step is to divide the narrowed topic into three or more major topics that provide support for your thesis. Let these be arguments and evidence that will convince the reader that your thesis is valid.  This process enhances your Method of Development (MOD). SUPPORTING A THESIS STATEMENT

20  Thesis: Throughout history, dogs have been useful to mankind in many ways.  Hunting and tracking  Guarding and attacking  Sniffing out drugs or bombs  Acting as guide dogs for the blind  Providing companionship  Pulling sleds in snowy regions  Finding buildings in collapsed buildings  Herding sheep and other farm animals  Now that we have supporting topics, we can group them into paragraphs: Throughout history, dogs have been useful to mankind in many ways.  Hunting  Guiding  Providing companionship  If when researching, you come about another promising topic, you may add it as a subtopic.  B. Guiding  Subtopic: Aiding the deaf by recognizing sounds like the doorbell or phone. SUPPORTING TOPICS

21  Thesis: there seem to be some negative, long-term consequences of marijuana smoking, but the evidence is inconclusive.  Alteration of attention  Memory impairment  Physical addiction  Increased risk of lung cancer  Thesis: Loneliness and alienation are dominant themes of the fiction of J. D. Salinger.  Isolation from family  Isolation from individuals  Isolation from society and institutions  Thesis: Cheating has been part of professional baseball in the United States since the first game was played in 1871.  Tampering with equipment  Dishonest grounds keeping  Using illegal devices to steal signals THESIS STATEMENTS WITH SUPPORTING TOPICS


23  Provide the structure for your paper  Allow you to see relationships among main ideas and supporting facts.  Change. You should keep revising your outline as your research and writing progress so that it reflects new insights, deletions, modifications, connections, and improvements.  Are finished only when your paper is finished. Then you can write it in cement. OUTLINES:

24  Thesis Statement A.First major supporting statement 1.Specific examples, details 2.Specific examples, details 3.Specific examples, details B.Second major supporting statement 1.Specific examples, details 2.Specific examples, details 3.Specific examples, details C.Third major supporting statement 1.Specific examples, details 2.Specific examples, details 3.Specific examples, details PRELIMINARY TOPIC OUTLINE

25 Thesis: The dangers of professional football.  Head injuries  Shoulder and spinal cord injuries  Knee injuries; leg fractures Thesis: Despite efforts to improve safety through rules and equipment changes, professional football is a violent game that causes many serious injuries.  A. Head injuries  Statistical or numerical evidence – the incidence of head injuries in the National Football League  Quotation from Dr. Cantu, medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports  Example: Drew Bledsoe, who has suffered multiple concussions EXPANDING AN OUTLINE

26  The number of subtopics is not fixed either but should never be less than two for each given topic.  Always aim for logic, consistency, and completeness in your outline.  A topic outline, rather than a full sentence outline, is usually sufficient for most research papers.  A well-done outline changes as your essay progresses. TOPIC OUTLINES

27 1.Find an appealing topic within your general subject area. 2.Narrow it by finding a specific angle or approach. 3.Locate sources of information about your topic; record information on source cards. 4.Formulate a tentative thesis statement that states the central idea of your paper. 5.Determine the major topics that will support your thesis statement. These become the main topics in your outline; they are also the topic headings on your note cards. 5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN WRITING A RESEARCH PAPER


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