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A Guide for Writing Research Papers based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation.

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Presentation on theme: "A Guide for Writing Research Papers based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Guide for Writing Research Papers based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation

2 Research Paper A Brief Introduction

3 A research paper presents the results of your investigations on a selected topic. Based on your own thoughts and the facts and ideas you have gathered from a variety of sources, a research paper is a creation that is uniquely yours. The experience of gathering, interpreting, and documenting information, developing and organizing ideas and conclusions, and communicating them clearly will prove to be an important and satisfying part of your education.

4 There are many approaches to research. The library has books which will help you, and most English composition textbooks contain chapters on research techniques and style. It is important to follow consistently and accurately a recommended format that is clear and concise and that has been approved by your teacher.

5 Writing Research Papers: A Step-by-Step Procedure

6 The Preliminaries ___ 1. Choose a topic ___ 1. Choose a topic ___ 2. Begin preliminary reading ___ 2. Begin preliminary reading ___ 3. Restrict the subject ___ 3. Restrict the subject ___ 4. Develop a preliminary thesis statement ___ 4. Develop a preliminary thesis statement

7 Gathering Data ___ 1. Compile the working bibliography ___ 1. Compile the working bibliography ___ 2. Prepare the bibliography on cards in correct form (3" x 5" cards) ___ 2. Prepare the bibliography on cards in correct form (3" x 5" cards) ___ 3. Begin extensive work in the library reference room; be sure to check: ___ 3. Begin extensive work in the library reference room; be sure to check: ___ a. general bibliographies ___ b. trade bibliographies ___ a. general bibliographies ___ b. trade bibliographies ___ c. indexes (books and collections, literature in periodicals, newspaper indexes, pamphlet indexes) ___ c. indexes (books and collections, literature in periodicals, newspaper indexes, pamphlet indexes) ___ d. library electronic catalogue ___ d. library electronic catalogue

8 Taking Notes ___ 1. Develop a preliminary outline ___ 1. Develop a preliminary outline ___ 2. Evaluate your source material; which is primary material and which is secondary material? ___ 2. Evaluate your source material; which is primary material and which is secondary material? ___ 3. Begin note-taking on cards (4" x 6" cards) ___ 3. Begin note-taking on cards (4" x 6" cards) ___ 4. Avoid plagiarism ___ 4. Avoid plagiarism

9 Writing the Paper ___ 1. Develop the final outline; test your outline ___ 1. Develop the final outline; test your outline ___ 2. Prepare to write: ___ 2. Prepare to write: ___ a. put your note cards in the order that your outline is in ___ b. consider your (real and imagined) readers and how their expectations may affect your tone and style ___ a. put your note cards in the order that your outline is in ___ b. consider your (real and imagined) readers and how their expectations may affect your tone and style ___ 3. Write the rough draft ___ 3. Write the rough draft ___ 4. Check your documentation carefully ___ 4. Check your documentation carefully ___ 5. Revise and rewrite ___ 5. Revise and rewrite ___ 6. Check the format of the text, citations, notes, and bibliography (most instructors recommend MLA or APA format) ___ 6. Check the format of the text, citations, notes, and bibliography (most instructors recommend MLA or APA format)MLAAPAMLAAPA ___ 7. Proofread ___ 7. Proofread

10 Contents procedures procedures Statement on Plagiarism Statement on Plagiarism Statement on Plagiarism Statement on Plagiarism Developing a Thesis Statement Developing a Thesis Statement Gathering Materials Gathering Materials Gathering Materials Gathering Materials Taking Notes Taking Notes Taking Notes Taking Notes Using Outlines Using Outlines Using Outlines Using Outlines Working with Quotations Working with Quotations Formatting the Paper Formatting the Paper Preparing a Works-Cited Page Preparing a Works-Cited Page More Suggestions

11 A Statement on Plagiarism Using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism. Using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism.

12 Penalty for Plagiarism In many schools and colleges, it could involve failure for the paper and it could mean failure for the entire course and even expulsion from school. In many schools and colleges, it could involve failure for the paper and it could mean failure for the entire course and even expulsion from school. At the very least, however, students who plagiarize have cheated themselves out of the experience of being responsible members of the academic community. At the very least, however, students who plagiarize have cheated themselves out of the experience of being responsible members of the academic community.

13 Thesis and Thesis Statements Everything you write should develop around a clear central thesis. Your thesis is the backbone of your paper: the main point, the central idea. In fact, if you ask yourself -- "What is the main point of this paper?" -- your answer should resemble your essay's thesis statement. The thesis statement focuses your central ideas into one or two sentences. Everything you write should develop around a clear central thesis. Your thesis is the backbone of your paper: the main point, the central idea. In fact, if you ask yourself -- "What is the main point of this paper?" -- your answer should resemble your essay's thesis statement. The thesis statement focuses your central ideas into one or two sentences.

14 Gathering Materials Books Books Books Essay or Article in a Collection or Anthology Essay or Article in a Collection or Anthology Essay or Article in a Collection or Anthology Essay or Article in a Collection or Anthology Encyclopedia Encyclopedia Encyclopedia Pamphlets, brochures Pamphlets, brochures Pamphlets, brochures Pamphlets, brochures Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers Electronic, On-Line Resources, Electronic, On-Line Resources, Electronic, On-Line Resources, Electronic, On-Line Resources, CD-ROMArticle/Dissertation CD-ROMArticle/Dissertation CD-ROMArticle/Dissertation CD-ROMArticle/Dissertation Reference Books Reference Books Reference Books Reference Books

15 Source Analysis Analysis of Simple Data Developing Critical Thinking Critical Reading: Persuasion Analytical Reading: Compare/Contrast Tools for Reading Critically Electronic Note Taking: Content Grid Synthesis Workshop Source Synthesis Exercise Summarizing Your Article Article Analysis and Summary Comparing Sources Analysis of Source Material Electronic Notes: Context Grid Analysis of Simple Data Developing Critical Thinking Critical Reading: Persuasion Analytical Reading: Compare/Contrast Tools for Reading Critically Electronic Note Taking: Content Grid Synthesis Workshop Source Synthesis Exercise Summarizing Your Article Article Analysis and Summary Comparing Sources Analysis of Source Material Electronic Notes: Context Grid

16 1. Two books written by Umberto Eco and two book reviews on his novels. 2. Two books about weapons and two related essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 3. Two books written by Harold Bloom and two articles from Economist.

17 4. Two books about Islam and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 5. Two books about black hole and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like) 6. Two books about earthquakes and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like) 4. Two books about Islam and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 5. Two books about black hole and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like) 6. Two books about earthquakes and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like)

18 7.Two books about virtual reality and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like) 8. Two books about African over- population and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 9. Two books about anti-matter and two related articles or essays from journals or periodicals. (Science, Nature, and the like)

19 10. Two books about basketball or culture and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 11. Two books about French history and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 12. Two books about Nobel Prize and two related articles or essays from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.) 13. Two books written by Mark Twain and two book reviews from magazines. (Time, Economist, Newsweek, and the like.)

20 List the bibliographic data according to MLA style:

21 Taking Notes

22 Preparing and Using Outlines

23 MLA Modern Language Association (MLA) format provides writers with a system for cross-referencing their sources--from their parenthetical references to their works cited page. This cross-referencing system allows readers to locate the publication information of source material. This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects. Modern Language Association (MLA) format provides writers with a system for cross-referencing their sources--from their parenthetical references to their works cited page. This cross-referencing system allows readers to locate the publication information of source material. This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects.

24 The proper use of MLA style also shows the credibility of writers; such writers show accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism--the purposeful or accidental use of source material by other writers without giving appropriate credit.

25 Working With Quotations Quotations that constitute fewer than five lines in your paper should be set off with quotation marks [ “ ” ] and be incorporated within the normal flow of your text. Quotations that constitute fewer than five lines in your paper should be set off with quotation marks [ “ ” ] and be incorporated within the normal flow of your text. For material exceeding that length, omit the quotation marks and indent the quoted language one inch from your left-hand margin. If an indented quotation is taken entirely from one paragraph, the first line should be even with all the other lines in that quotation. For material exceeding that length, omit the quotation marks and indent the quoted language one inch from your left-hand margin. If an indented quotation is taken entirely from one paragraph, the first line should be even with all the other lines in that quotation.

26 Your Research Paper's Format Paper: Paper: Margins: Margins: Spacing: Spacing: Heading and Title: Heading and Title: Page Numbers: Page Numbers:

27

28 Preparing a "Works Cited" Section 1. the name of the author or authors; 2. title; 3. editor, translator, compiler, if any; 4. edition, if it is not the first (i.e., 2nd ed., rev. ed.); 5. place and date of the book's publication; and 6. the name of the book's publisher.

29 Example Mumford, Lewis. The Highway and the City. New York: Harcourt Brace and World, Pikarsky, M. Urban Transportation Policy and Management. Boston: D.C. Heath, 1976.

30 Write a separate listing for each article from a magazine or journal. Include the name(s) of the author(s); the title of the article; the title of the periodical; the date of the issue in which the article appears; and the pages on which the article you are referring to appears.

31 Examples Prin, Dinah. "Marriage in the '90s." New York 2 June 1990: Schell, Orville. “China Syndrome: Have China’s Leaders Lost the Gift for Bold, Creative Thought?” Time 25 November 2002: 40.

32 Cross-referencing: Using MLA Format Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily Provides consistent format within a discipline Provides consistent format within a discipline Gives you credibility as a writer Gives you credibility as a writer Protects yourself from plagiarism Protects yourself from plagiarism

33 What are the differences among quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing? These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing. These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.

34 Paraphrase Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. The major issue of drug abuse among the teenagers did not call a public attention until 1999 (Pinker 200). The major issue of drug abuse among the teenagers did not call a public attention until 1999 (Pinker 200).

35 Summary Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. In “How to Survive,” Peter Wang aims to demonstrate the importance of humorous but positive attitudes towards the most dangerous situations in our life (13-55). In “How to Survive,” Peter Wang aims to demonstrate the importance of humorous but positive attitudes towards the most dangerous situations in our life (13-55).

36 Quotations Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author. Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author. Shorter and longer citations: Shorter and longer citations:

37 Author’s last name and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263). Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

38 If no known author... If the source has no known author, then use an abbreviated version of the title: If the source has no known author, then use an abbreviated version of the title: Full Title: “California Cigarette Tax Deters Smokers” “This indicates the danger of smoking” (“California” A14).

39 David becomes identified and defined by James Steerforth, a young man with whom David is acquainted from his days at Salem House. Before meeting Steerforth, David accepts Steerforth’s name as an authoritative power: David becomes identified and defined by James Steerforth, a young man with whom David is acquainted from his days at Salem House. Before meeting Steerforth, David accepts Steerforth’s name as an authoritative power: There was an old door in this playground, on which the boys had a custom of carving their names.... In my dread of the end of the vacation and their coming back, I could not read a boy’s name, without inquiring in what tone and with what emphasis he would read, “Take care of him. He bites.” There was one boy—a certain J. Steerforth—who cut his name very deep and very often, who I conceived, would read it in a rather strong voice, and afterwards pull my hair. (Dickens 68) For Steerforth, naming becomes an act of possession, as well as exploitation. Steerforth names David for his fresh look and innocence, but also uses the name Daisy to exploit David's romantic tendencies (Dyson 122).

40 SOS! There are many different combinations and variations within MLA citation format. If you run into something unusual, look it up!

41 Where Do I Find MLA Format? MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 5th ed. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 5th ed. Composition textbooks Composition textbooks

42 Improving Your Writing: Some Practical Advice 1) You can improve your writing--anyone can--but it will require work and time. Even a small effort toward improvement can have positive results. It’s up to you 1) You can improve your writing--anyone can--but it will require work and time. Even a small effort toward improvement can have positive results. It’s up to you 2) Care about your writing. Take it seriously. Good writing is important. 2) Care about your writing. Take it seriously. Good writing is important. 3) Most writing can stand some improvement. 3) Most writing can stand some improvement.

43 4) Read. Anything. Daily. The more familiar you are with a language, the more comfortable you are with it. Distinguishing between proper and improper word choice, grammar, and so on will become easier. 5) Improve your vocabulary. Learn a few new words every week, month, or year. A wide vocabulary gives you a better command of a language; bigger word menu provides you with more selection, more possibilities of expression when conveying ideas to others

44 6) Practice writing. Write letters. Write in a journal. Write whenever you can. Write about anything. You'll become more comfortable with the act of writing. 6) Practice writing. Write letters. Write in a journal. Write whenever you can. Write about anything. You'll become more comfortable with the act of writing. 7) Buy books about writing style, and read them. Even a few pages every month can be helpful. 7) Buy books about writing style, and read them. Even a few pages every month can be helpful.

45 8) Revise your writing. Revise. Revise. Why Revise? A. Simplicity B. Clarity C. Readability


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