What is a Research Paper? A research paper is like a report. Before you write it, you use books, articles, the internet, and other sources to gather information about your topic. You GATHER information from these sources and use that information in your paper to tell your readers about your topic.
WAIT……WHAT??? A research paper is actually a WRITTEN piece of WORK IN YOUR OWN WORDS that fully discusses a topic that you have spent time learning about. It is to be in depth and intelligent, with support from credible sources. This paper will be YOUR work, but you have based your knowledge on the credible work of others. Sounds difficult? It’s not really so bad, actually, it gets pretty easy.
There’s NO NEED to become this…….we will work on this TOGETHER.
Magazine or Newspaper Articles Books Journals Internet Web
Pick a topic –You will receive a list of topics you may choose from. These are simply ideas to start with. You may add your own topic if you would like, however, it must be approved by Mrs. Stauss. –Choose something you are interested in. Please look at the attached list. Choosing a Topic
Choose a subject that interests you. Choose a subject for which a wide range of source material is readily available. You need to be able to find sources on your topic Choose a subject of some significance. A subject of lasting interest will be challenging and gratifying to pursue. You will be spending a great deal of time and effort on this so make sure it's of value. Things to consider when choosing a topic
After you have chosen a general topic, you must narrow it so that it becomes more specific and easier to research. Things to consider when choosing a topic
Do some general reading on your topic so that you become familiar with various aspects of it. Establish the purpose of your paper. What will you be informing the reader about? Be sure your topic can be handled within the assigned length. Focus on a particular aspect of your topic that will lend itself to the sources available. Things to consider when NARROWING a topic
G ENERAL T OPIC : 1. Alcoholism 2. Scientists/Mathematicians 3. Drugs 4. Elizabethan England 5. Tennis N ARROWED T OPIC : 1.Causes of Alcoholism 2. Albert Einstein's Impact on the 20th Century 3. Effects of Drug Use Teens 4. Health Concerns in Shakespeare's England 5. The Rise in Popularity of Women's Tennis
We will then narrow our topics even further into sub-topics. Consider your sub-topics the same thing as your reasons in the body paragraphs of your persuasive essay. This will not take place for a while. After we Narrow our topics, then what?
GENERAL TOPIC: Eating Disorders BROAD TOPIC: Anorexia Nervosa SPECIFIC TOPIC: Physical Effects of Anorexia Nervosa Sub-Topic 1: Depletion of Vitamins and Minerals in the body Sub-Topic 2: Negative side effects on internal organs Sub-Topic 3: Heart issues Example: How to Narrow Topic to Sub-Topics
ASSIGNMENT: This week we will complete independent research to identify what we’re interested in writing about. There will be no thorough research (like reading books or looking up magazine or newspaper articles) until we have chosen a topic we are interested in writing about. Tonight, you will discuss with your parents what you might be interested in writing about. Choose two or three topics and conduct research on both/all topics. Try to identify which topic you are the most interested in researching. YOU MUST PRINT OUT this information so that I can see you have done the work AND HAVENT’T RANDOMLY PICKED ANYTHING FROM THE LIST.
You should know that only a few select sites can be credible. Follow this checklist to ensure that you can actually use the source. 1.Know the name of the AUTHOR of the site, and their credentials (Dr., Researcher, Journalist, etc…) 2.Know what company or organization this site affiliated with. 3.Know WHERE this site exists. (Usually AngleFire, MySpace or blogger pages and their like ARE NOT credible). 4.Know what type of information is being conveyed. 5.There must be useful information you can gather for your study. 6.Know when the site was updated last. When I start researching, how do I know if a site is CREDIBLE?
Examples: http://www.HoughtonMifflin.com/historical/vampire/ht ml Borne From Gaves and Charnel Houses. by: Dr. Julian Smithee PHD of Supernatural Lit, Cambridge College. Following the strange trails of the vampire through history leads down any number of false dark alleys and real dark corridors. However they are regarded, stalker or carrion rogue, the vampire seems to permeate every society in the world in one form or another. Yet where do these creatures originate from? Why do they differ in appearance and behavior from country to country? And above all, why are such murderous creatures so terrifying yet so attractive to us at the same time? To explore the true birth place of the vampire, we must look at two of the greatest empires in the world and their sub-cultures. The Greeks and the Egyptians were simultaneously the most powerful and populace empires in the known world. Thus, it is only fitting that from such great societies come the world’s most renowned fiends. Somewhere around eighty years before the birth of Christ, we find the first written evidence of vampiric happenings in Greek grave yards and Egyptian tombs. pg. 1 http://www.geocities.com/MorganLF/vampires.html Vampires are undoubtedly the coolest creatures out there. In comparison to werewolves or ghosts, neither is more real or more powerful than the vampire. I myself am a vampire, and so it is with pride I tell you about myself to scare you a little more…people taste better when they’re scared. I, like all vampires, originate from Los Angeles. Some people think vampires are from other places, but the true vampires are seen only in LA clubs. I’ve been to N.Y. clubs, and they’re just posers. Despite popular belief, vampires have been around as long as humans…longer, actually. We began as angels, fallen like the demons, but we made our way from Hell to earth where our lesser forms developed into humanity. Real vampires do not develop, we feed and continue. pg. 1
From the good site you could clearly see WHO wrote the article, WHY they were a credible source, and INFORMATION that would actually help you with your research. Furthermore, look at the WEB ADDRESS, (Houghton Mifflin is a school textbook company, thus a trustworthy source). The bad site is quite opposite. It is based on opinion, “I am a vampire….” Has irrelevant quotes as to helping you, and has no credible author or company to back them up. Furthermore, look at the address. Any time it is from Geocities, Angelfire, Tripod, a personal blog, or any other company that allows any and all individuals to make personal web pages, it is usually NOT a credible or accepted source.
STEP 1: Print the information OUT. Be sure to print out the information from the website. I encourage you NOT to copy and paste it into Microsoft Word because you will lose valuable information, including who wrote it, when it was published, etc. You will need this information when we create our bibliography. REMEMBER: The first step is to just get familiar with your topic. You are simply using any search engine to research your topic to see if you are interested in writing about it. More serious evaluation and gathering of information from credible sources will take place next week in the library. Once I start researching my topic, what do I do with the information?
STEP 2: YOU MUST READ your information. After you have printed out a valuable piece of information about your topic, highlight important information. Decide if this is the topic you want to write your paper on. Don’t be surprised if your opinion changes. We will begin a thorough evaluation of sources in the library next week. Once I start researching my topic, what do I do with the information?
INTRODUCTION : HOOK – Your Attention Grabber Brief discussion/explanation of topic Thesis Statement clearly stating opinion or point of view on topic How will we write this paper once we’ve finished researching and gathering our sources?
BODY PARAGRAPHS (each sub-topic will be 2 paragraphs): Explanation of Sub-Topic # 1 Supporting Evidence (supporting evidence may require the use of more than one paragraph to explain a sub-topic) Explanation of Sub-Topic # 2 Supporting Evidence (supporting evidence may require the use of more than one paragraph to explain a sub-topic) Explanation of Sub-Topic # 3 Supporting Evidence (supporting evidence may require the use of more than one paragraph to explain a sub-topic) How will we write this paper once we’ve finished researching and gathering our sources?
CONCLUSION Rephrased Thesis Statement Briefly discuss main points (sub-topics) again Think Big Picture – Attention Grabbing Statement. Leave the reader with a thought- provoking sentence or question for closure. How will we write this paper once we’ve finished researching and gathering our sources?
MLA BIBLIOGRAPHY This will be done in the library with the help of Mrs. Stendardi. MLA stands for Modern Language Association. It is a specific format we will follow. This will all be explained to you in class. How will we write this paper once we’ve finished researching and gathering our sources?
Step 1: Choose a topic: Take the time to do a little independent research on your topic utilizing google.com, bing.com, yahoo.com, or any other search engine. Familiarize yourself with the topic and begin to narrow your topic to something more specific. This is just intended to get your feet wet. Steps in Research Paper
Confirm your topic: After you have taken the time to “get your feet wet” and familiarize yourself with several topics you must confirm your topic with your parents. Parents must sign a release sheet/permission sheet. Bring permission sheet to school Step 2 in Research Paper
Begin Gathering Sources in Library: Working with the librarian, we will learn how to utilize an online database to help us find magazine, journal, and newspaper articles that connect to our topic. This will take place for 4 days in the library (subject to change due to class progress). If you do not complete this step in the days allotted, you will need to return to the library on your own independently. There are specific due dates you are required to abide by for the project. Sources : 1 book source 2 magazine or newspaper articles 2 web sources – comes from the Internet As you research, you will begin to brainstorm sub-topics Step 3 in Research Paper
Read and highlight sources: We will tackle one source a day. You will be required to read through each source and highlight information that you think will be beneficial to use in your research paper. Not all the information is connected to YOUR specific topic. As you read, confirm sub-topics that narrow down your specific topic even more. Highlighted notes will be checked each day. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT everything! Step 4 in Research Paper
Create source cards Each source card will contain information about each source (1 book, two magazine/newspaper articles and 2 web sources). This will contain information about the author, publisher, etc. DO NOT throw out your source cards at any point in the process! Step 5 in Research Paper Will count as a quiz grade
Begin to develop note cards from your sources: We will discuss the process of creating note cards in class once we have reached this point. Note cards help you narrow your information even further and help us practice paraphrasing information in our own words rather than simply copying from a source. Note cards will be organized according to sub- topics. Step 6 in Research Paper Each set of note cards will count as a quiz grade. Note cards will be staggered and completed in sections.
Develop THESIS statement Remember, a THESIS statement tells the reader specifically what will be covered in the written paper. We will THOROUGHLY discuss the thesis statement, and how we can write a thesis statement together in class, once we reach this point. From this point forward, after we have gathered our research and prepared all of our note cards, we will need to ensure everything connects to our thesis statement. Ultimately, everything that you write should connect to your THESIS statement. Step 7 in Research Paper
Develop OUTLINE Once all note cards are completed, we will then organize our note cards into three piles: Sub-topic 1 Sub-topic 2 Sub-topic 3 We will then organize our information into an OUTLINE. You will receive several samples of outlines and we will thoroughly discuss in class how one can type an outline in Microsoft Word. The outline is a precursor to writing the research paper. The paper will follow the EXACT order of your outline. Step 8 in Research Paper Will count as two quiz grades.
Develop Bibliography We will then return to the library and type our bibliography. The bibliography will be based off of our source cards. The bibliography will follow the MLA format. Don’t worry! Mrs. Stendardi and I will show you how to do everything! Step 9 in Research Paper Will count as a quiz grades.
Learn how to include Parenthetical Citations: Parenthetical citations give credit to the author or source you retrieved your information from. You must understand that a research paper focuses on the information you have retrieved from other sources, NOT your own information, therefore the researched information needs to “cited”. It’s very simple: Whenever you provide a specific quote or evidence that is not your own, you will put the author’s last name and page number of where you retrieved your information. SAMPLE: In a recent study by the FDA, researchers found that over 70% of high school students have thought about taking steroids in order to enhance their performance (Livingston 56). Step 10 in Research Paper Parenthetical Citation
Every step in the research paper process is graded and will contribute to the final product. If you choose to become lazy at any point in the process, it will affect the final product and frustrate you in the end. Take PRIDE in your work and REMEMBER: it reflects your work ethic and commitment to excellence. Choose a topic you would be interested in reading. And, above all, create something you are proud of altogether.
Plagiarism is when you take someone else’s works, ideas or words and use them as your own. Whether it is a sentence, a part of a sentence or an entire paper, it will ruin your grade. It is an academic crime and an ethical offense. Plagiarism is stealing someone’s intellectual property. If you plagiarize in ANY college class, you are usually expelled from the college, cannot reapply EVER, and the infraction is placed on your permanent record. Why is it an academic crime? It is an academic crime because you are stealing another person’s ideas. It is illegal and immoral. If you are thinking about it, don’t chance it. If you ever need to help summarizing, properly quoting or paraphrasing, see me! It’s better to ask for extra help than take the sneaky route and copy someone else’s writing. I will have more respect for you if you ask for help. We will discuss how to avoid this much more in class.
Student Learning Center39 Integrating Sources Use a variety of lead-ins to introduce concepts or findings from researchers: 1. According to Smith (2001), the presence of a television set in the home even changed eating habits; frozen TV dinners, TV trays, and TV tables altered the physical and social contexts of family meals. 2.By the early 1960’s, “90 percent of all households had at least one television set” (Bishop & Marx, 2006, p. 2). 3.Television programs and commercials reinforced rigid gender roles and promised consumers material wealth if they could fit the roles. One social critic from the era remarked that “television certainly nurtured both consumerism and conformity” (Cole, 1966, p. 24).
Questions Now you should come up with some questions you can research about your topic: –When was the first Thanksgiving and why was it held? –What happened at the first Thanksgiving? –How has this celebration/event changed over time?