Contents I.The Basic Definition……………………slide 3 II. The Thesis Statement…………………slide 4 III. Collecting and Organizing Data………………………………………slides 5-6 IV. Arrangement of a Research Paper……………………………………slides 7-10 V. Example Outlines……………….slides 11-14
I. The Basic Definition A research paper… o is an extensive writing project. o has a thesis. o presents research that supports the thesis. o arranges research in an easy-to-read, prose- style format.
II. The Thesis Statement o The thesis statement is usually presented in the introduction. o A thesis statement is made of a topic, a position on that topic, and reasons why the reader should agree with that position. o A detailed examination of the reasons presented in the thesis make up the content of the body of the paper.
III. Collecting Data o Material from reliable sources supports the thesis. o Research expands the ideas of the paper by: o adding needed information (such as background information or statistics). o giving new ideas to support the thesis or the topic sentence of a paragraph. o Research can also help formulate reasons stated in the thesis or topic sentences.
Collecting Data o Possible Resources: o Books o Computer Databases o Scholarly Journals o Printing/Making Copies o After printing, highlight relevant information. o Paraphrase important information in the margins. o Cite quotes and paraphrases in accordance with the appropriate documentation style (MLA, APA, or Turabian).
IV. Arrangement of a Research Paper o Before comparing a basic essay to a research paper, review how a paragraph compares to a basic essay: o A typical, single paragraph has a topic sentence that makes a statement. o The statement outlines two or three reasons why the statement is true. o The remaining sentences in the paragraph deal with one of those reasons (see slide 11 for an example outline). o A basic essay has an introduction that includes a thesis statement that makes a argument and provides reasons why the reader should accept that argument. o The thesis does the same thing for the basic essay that the topic sentence does for its paragraph.
A research paper is like an extended basic essay. o An extended research paper is constructed on the same foundation as the basic essay. o The only difference is that a research paper will usually have one or more paragraphs (instead of just one sentence) for each point. o Thinking like this can help to keep the paper organized and the writing on-focus. So, try to keep some of these things in mind...
Topic sentences support thesis. o A basic essay has a topic sentence for each of its body paragraphs; this sentence describes why each point supports the thesis (see slide 12 for an example outline). o The same applies to research papers, except the ‘topic sentences’ will now describe why several paragraphs make up a reason to support the thesis (see slides 13-14 for an example outline).
Strategy of writing a quality research paper. o The challenges in writing a research paper are: o trying to keep all of the information in the paper revolving around one of the main points. o making sure that all of the main points support the thesis. o This means that while writing every paragraph of the research paper, be sure to tie it all together, explaining why these facts support the thesis statement.
V. Example Outlines o An outline for a paragraph could be : I. Topic sentence: “Tolkien’s fantasy is better than Terry Brooks’s fantasy because of his Christian worldview, the reaction of critics, and the closure he provides.” II. “Tolkien’s Christian worldview will improve the soul of the reader.” III. “Critics laud Tolkien as the best fantasy writer of our time.” IV. “Finally, Tolkien’s fantasy has a completed story, giving the reader closure.”
An outline for a basic essay might be: I. Introduce topic. Thesis: “Tolkien’s fantasy is better than Terry Brooks’s fantasy because of his Christian worldview, the reaction of critics, and the closure he provides.” II. Topic sentence: “Tolkien’s Christian worldview can improve the soul of the reader.” A. Theistic universe. B. Eschatology. III. Topic sentence: “Critics laud Tolkien as the best fantasy writer of our time.” A. Critics in the 1950’s. B. Critics today. IV. Topic sentence: “Tolkien’s fantasy has a completed story, giving the reader closure.” A. End of conflict in Return of the King. B. No final ending in Brooks’s Shannara stories. V. Conclusion: Restate thesis. (No new material here!)
An outline for a research paper might look like this: I.Introduce topic. Thesis: “Tolkien’s fantasy is better than Terry Brooks’s fantasy because of his Christian worldview, the reaction of critics, and the closure he provides.” II. Topic paragraph: “Tolkien’s Christian worldview will improve the soul of the reader; the worldview is demonstrated through the theistic nature of Tolkien’s universe and the eschatological nature of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.” A. Paragraph describing the theistic universe of Middle-Earth, drawing from various primary and secondary sources. B. Paragraph on eschatology, drawing from victory over evil in Return of the King. (rest of outline on next slide)
Example Research Paper Outline Continued III. Topic paragraph: Transition from previous subject. “Critics laud Tolkien as the best fantasy writer of our time.” A. Paragraph about critics in the 1950’s. B. Two paragraphs about critics today. 1. Critics love Tolkien. 2. Critics like Terry Brooks but not as much as Tolkien. IV. Topic paragraph: Transition from previous subject. “Tolkien’s fantasy has a completed story, giving the reader closure” A. Two paragraphs on the end of conflict. 1. Primary source: Return of the King. 2. Secondary sources: comments from literary journals. B. Two paragraphs on: no final ending in Brooks’s shannara stories. 1. Primary source: The Sword of Shannara. 2. Secondary source: quote from website and comment on quote. V. Conclusion: Restate thesis. (No new material here!)