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LIS 342: Conducting Liberal Studies Research A student’s journey.

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1 LIS 342: Conducting Liberal Studies Research A student’s journey

2 Research journal: What’s a research paper? So I’m in LIS 342 which is supposed to teach me how to do research for a research paper. I don’t know if I have ever done one of these before, I guess I’d better find out what a research paper is. Here are a couple of sites that have research paper examples: UIS- Center for Teaching and Learning Oregon State University Purdue Writing Workshop Definition of a Research Paper- a presentation of facts which are based upon reading or consulting several specified sources, presented according to a standard method of procedure, and limited to a relatively narrow phase of a subject

3 What should I research? Alright, now I know what a research paper is, but I don’t know what my topic should be. I am interested in a lot of things, how I am going to narrow it down? Interests: History Literature Criminal - Justice Social work I wonder if there is any way that I can combine all of my interests in a research topic? I guess I will start by looking at the subject headings on the library website.

4 How Can I Research Topics? Pick a topic that you actually are interested in, because then the research might actually turn out to be interesting and fun. Brainstorm keywords to describe your topic. Consider any qualifiers: time period, geography, limitations on types of sources, etc. Get background information. If you do not have any general or background information on your topic, find some useful encyclopedia entries. Reading an overview of your issue might help to narrow or broaden your focus, and to come up with terminology. They will sometimes have a short list of suggested readings as well. What type of Source do you need? Consider the kind of sources you want. In general, books tend to be more overviews of a subject, while articles tend to be focused on a more particular issue within a subject. Consider whether you need scholarly or mainstream news sources. Keep Track. Write down your search strategy, what databases you used, what keywords you used, etc. When you find an interesting citation, note the words used in it, especially the subject headings (if there are any). Think of as many synonyms for your keywords as possible. What words could someone use to describe your topic? When you do find relevant books or articles, note the sources used by that author. You may start seeing a pattern, where a particular author or book is frequently cited. Information from:

5 Research Questions Research questions should : be clear. They must be understandable to you and to others. be researchable. This means that extremely abstract terms are unlikely to be suitable. connect with established theory and research. This means that there should be a literature on which you can draw to help illuminate how your research questions should be approached. be linked to each other. You could not very readily construct a single argument in relation to unrelated research questions. have potential for making a contribution to the current knowledge on the topic. be neither too broad nor too narrow. Information from:

6 Scholarly Research Sources Now I’ve figured out what my research questions are going to be. What I have to do now is find out what sources are available for my topic. How do know if I have good sources? Critically analyzing sources Identifying scholarly journals Evaluating web-pages Research questions: What is the history of the Prison? What were the time periods of reform in the prison? Who was warden during these time periods? What programs were implemented?

7 Research Journal: Developing a Thesis Statement Well, I have come up with research questions, and now I have to develop a thesis statement. Thesis Statement websites Purdue University Undergraduate papers Thesis Statement Ideas: The penitentiary has inadequate reform efforts. The warden was a great reformer. Do I want to write an analytical or an argumentative thesis statement? Definition of a Thesis Statement- a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view. It states what is to be explained and how the explanation will be devised.

8 Thesis Statement Characteristics of a Good Thesis Statement 1.It is exact enough to focus your discussion. 2. It is limited enough to be covered in the space and time available. 3. It is unified, so it can control a coherent discussion. Argumentative Thesis Statement should include: 1. your claim or assertion 2. the reasons or evidence that support this claim 3. the order in which you will be presenting your reasons and evidence Analytical Thesis Statement should include: 1. what you are analyzing 2. the parts of your analysis 3. the order in which you will be presenting your analysis

9 An Annotated Bibliography Creating an Annotated Bibliography Center for Teaching and Learning (UIS) Purdue University Outline for annotated Bibliography APA style citation Short description that points out relevant information, strengths and weaknesses, and why it will work for my paper. Purposes of Annotation: To learn about your topic: You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. To help you formulate a thesis: Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. To help other researchers: They provide a comprehensive overview of everything that has been and is being said about that topic.

10 Research Journal: Validating Sources Questions to ask about my sources: Audience- who is the material written for? Authority- what are the credentials of the author? Bias- is it objective? Credibility- does the information seem credible? Factual- is the information accurate? Up to Date- Is the information current? Appearance- does it appear scholarly? Identifying Scholarly sources Webster's Dictionary defines scholarly as: 1) concerned with academic study, especially research, 2) exhibiting the methods and attitudes of a scholar 3) having the manner and appearance of a scholar.

11 APA Style Why Do We Need to Cite Sources?? 1. To help readers find the resources you used. Citations give enough information for readers to locate the resources. 2. To help readers evaluate the data or information you used. Citations for different resource types contain specific information, so readers can tell what types were used and evaluate the information accordingly. 3. To help you avoid plagiarism. Citing sources lets readers know which parts originated with you and which ones originated elsewhere. As a result, your work maintains integrity. 4. To help you comply with copyright guidelines. Documenting sources acknowledges the owner of creators for their works and ideas (words and style, images and presentation, musical arrangement, etc.). Information from: Basic APA Format Author.(date). Title. City of publication: publisher.

12 Research Journal Avoiding Plagiarism Well, it’s about time to compile my research into my I-Search paper. The professor keeps warning against plagiarism, but I am never sure how often or when I should cite my sources. “Your readers should be able to understand how your sources support your line of argument or your interpretation of the evidence. The readers should also be able to locate the sources themselves if they want to learn more from them or if they want to judge the reliability of sources themselves. (Rodrigues, 2 nd ed.,p.103) Plagiarism Websites Rodrigues website (w/ exercises) Turnitin To Do List: *Go to Turnitin website and create a user profile *Post on discussion board about plagiarism.

13 Research Journal Writing and Revising This I-Search paper is harder then I thought it would be. I have a lot of information, but I can’t figure out how to organize it. I’d better go and look for some suggestions on how to begin. Websites on Paper-Writing Purdue- getting started Purdue- Revision Empire State College To Do List *Write *Revise *Write *Revise

14 Research Journal Final Week!! Well, I thought the hard part was over, but now I have to give feedback on other student’s papers. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I guess I have to learn how to give and take constructive criticism eventually. Four Questions To Ask in Writing Assessment 1.What is the quality of the content of the writing; the ideas, the perceptions, the point of view? 2.How well is the writing organized? 3.How effective is the language? 4.Are there mistakes or inappropriate choices in usage? To Do List: *Turn in Draft of Paper for Feedback *Give Feedback

15 Research Journal Some Final Thoughts I have certainly learned a lot in this class. I think now that I am ready to take on a big paper without being afraid of the research process. I’m excited about what I learned, but it sure will be nice to take a break. To Do List: *Submit Final Draft *Complete Evaluation *Take a nap


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