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Writing a Research Paper Getting Started Taken from: Goldenberg, Phyllis. A Student Guide to Writing a Research Paper. New York: Sadlier-Oxford, 1997.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing a Research Paper Getting Started Taken from: Goldenberg, Phyllis. A Student Guide to Writing a Research Paper. New York: Sadlier-Oxford, 1997."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing a Research Paper Getting Started Taken from: Goldenberg, Phyllis. A Student Guide to Writing a Research Paper. New York: Sadlier-Oxford, 1997.

2 Types of research papers Informational – summarizes factual information from a variety of sources. Focus on a topic, find the information, produce an organized and coherent paper. Informational – summarizes factual information from a variety of sources. Focus on a topic, find the information, produce an organized and coherent paper. Analytical -- analyzes the information and presents conclusions. Displays some elements of persuasive writing since it states the writer’s opinions and supports it with detailed evidence. Analytical -- analyzes the information and presents conclusions. Displays some elements of persuasive writing since it states the writer’s opinions and supports it with detailed evidence.

3 Brainstorm Pre-writing strategies Pre-writing strategies

4 Getting Started Make sure you understand your assignment Make sure you understand your assignment Choose a workable topic that meets all requirements for a research paper topic: Choose a workable topic that meets all requirements for a research paper topic: You can find enough material on the topic. You can find enough material on the topic. The topic interests you, and you think you can make it interest your audience. The topic interests you, and you think you can make it interest your audience. The topic is objective, not subjective. The topic is objective, not subjective. The topic is limited enough to cover adequately in the space provided. The topic is limited enough to cover adequately in the space provided.

5 Begin your research Evaluate the sources you find. Evaluate the sources you find. Record complete information for every source you think you will use. Record complete information for every source you think you will use. Write each bibliography entry according to the style your teacher requires. Write each bibliography entry according to the style your teacher requires. Explore library resources: Explore library resources: Use Athena (card catalog) to locate books in the library Use Athena (card catalog) to locate books in the library Use the reference section to find information and sources Use the reference section to find information and sources Use academic databases – including reference tabs, magazines, newspapers, multimedia Use academic databases – including reference tabs, magazines, newspapers, multimedia

6 Taking Notes Before you start taking notes, make a working outline. Before you start taking notes, make a working outline. Skim each source to locate information for your paper. Skim each source to locate information for your paper. Take notes in your own words. Take notes in your own words. Enclose a direct quotation (the author’s exact wording) in quotation marks. Enclose a direct quotation (the author’s exact wording) in quotation marks.

7 Hint In your finished paper, keep direct quotations brief and use them sparingly. No more than one-fifth of your total paper should be direct quotations.

8 Guidelines for taking notes Write the source number and name of the source in the upper right-hand corner of your 3 x 5 card. Write the source number and name of the source in the upper right-hand corner of your 3 x 5 card. Write only on one side of each card, and write about only one main idea. Write only on one side of each card, and write about only one main idea. Write a heading – a key word or phrase – at the top of the note card. Write a heading – a key word or phrase – at the top of the note card. Make a conscious effort to use your own words when you take notes. Make a conscious effort to use your own words when you take notes. Enclose direct quotations in large quotation marks. Enclose direct quotations in large quotation marks. At the bottom of each note card, write the page number(s) where you found the information. At the bottom of each note card, write the page number(s) where you found the information.

9 Sample notecard What mountain climbers need 4 Survival Guide Interview w. Sir Edmund Hillary (first to climb Mt. Everest, 5/29/53) 1.Strong motivation 2.Technical skill 3.Good planning 4.Sense of humor p. 65 heading Source name and number Page number in source

10 Three types of notes Direct quotation -- copy the quote EXACTLY – word for word– and enclose the quoted material in quotation marks. Direct quotation -- copy the quote EXACTLY – word for word– and enclose the quoted material in quotation marks. Paraphrasing – restate the writer’s ideas in your own words. A paraphrase covers every idea in the same order as in the original but is usually shorter. Paraphrasing – restate the writer’s ideas in your own words. A paraphrase covers every idea in the same order as in the original but is usually shorter. Summarizing – restate the MAIN ideas in your own words. A summary does not give all the details – only the most important ones. Summarizing – restate the MAIN ideas in your own words. A summary does not give all the details – only the most important ones.

11 Organizing and Evaluating Note cards Sort note cards into stacks having same heading Sort note cards into stacks having same heading Evaluate note cards Evaluate note cards Be selective – too much information on one subject?? Be selective – too much information on one subject?? Fill in the gaps – not enough information. Go find more sources. Fill in the gaps – not enough information. Go find more sources. What’s this doing here? -- not sure why you took this note What’s this doing here? -- not sure why you took this note

12 Hint You should end up with a stack of note cards for each heading and subheading in your working outline. If you don’t have at least two cards for each section of the outline, you may not have enough information.

13 Unity and Coherence Make sure that all information fits the scope of your paper. Make sure that all information fits the scope of your paper. Arrange the information in a way that readers will easily understand. Arrange the information in a way that readers will easily understand. 1. Chronological – the order of events in time 1. Chronological – the order of events in time 2. Spatial – describing a place or object 2. Spatial – describing a place or object 3. Order of importance – ideas and details arranged from most to least important or vice versa 3. Order of importance – ideas and details arranged from most to least important or vice versa 4. OR in a clear and logical way 4. OR in a clear and logical way

14 Thesis Statement Draft a working thesis statement that tells what you will cover in your paper. Draft a working thesis statement that tells what you will cover in your paper. A thesis statement is a single sentence. It should not be expressed as a question. A thesis statement is a single sentence. It should not be expressed as a question. It is a preview of what the paper is about. It states the topic and the writer’s focus. (Do not begin with “The purpose of my paper is…” or “In this paper I will write about…”) It is a preview of what the paper is about. It states the topic and the writer’s focus. (Do not begin with “The purpose of my paper is…” or “In this paper I will write about…”) It should have a confident tone. Avoid using words such as probably, might, I think, seems, apparently, it seems to me, etc. It should have a confident tone. Avoid using words such as probably, might, I think, seems, apparently, it seems to me, etc.


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