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The Research Project Learning the Process

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1 The Research Project Learning the Process
Source Information from the following: Sebranek, Patrick, et. Al. Write Source 2000: A Guide to Writing, Thinking and Learning. New York: Great Source, 1998. Trimmer, Joseph F. A Guide to MLA Documentation. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton, 2004.

2 Writing a Research Paper
“All Life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better” Ralph Waldo Emerson What is a research paper? A research paper involves a quest for knowledge, and then a thoughtful analysis of the information found. A Research paper is YOUR own ideas, backed up by the ideas and information of EXPERTS in the field.

3 Types of Research Papers
An analytic paper uses evidence to analyze one aspect of an issue. To analyze means to break down the information, becoming in a sense, an expert yourself. This paper consists of you arranging the material as you understand it, and then contributing your own opinions. Example: "What is the ultimate effect of music-listening while studying on grades?" An Argumentative paper uses evidence to convince the reader that your opinion is correct about a debatable topic. You will take a stand on an issue, then use evidence to back-up your statement. Example: “Listening to music while studying is in fact a beneficial activity to add to a study regime for better grades because of the way music motivates students and keeps them alert" There are two types of research papers.

4 What are the steps? Select a topic
Formulate a thesis statement (What is your question about the topic? What will you prove?) Conduct Research Answer your question by connecting your findings to what you already know

How to Select a Topic FIRST AND FOREMOST: MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR ASSIGNMENT! Has your teacher already given you a topic to research – or even a thesis statement you must defend? If not, you must THINK! Here are a couple ways to look for inspiration: Freewrite: Set the timer for five minutes and write down everything you can think of in no particular order. Brainstorm: If you have a broad topic in mind, make a list of everything associated with this topic. Cluster Diagram: Like brainstorming, but using a web instead. At the top of your paper, write a keyword associated with the assignment.

6 Selecting a topic cont…
Once you have some ideas, take a moment to think about possible thesis statements. Then think – will this work for the assignment? Too broad or too narrow? Will there be enough research? Is your choice a popular choice? A topic that is too broad means that you won’t possibly be able to cover it in the few pages you are required to write, but a topic that is too narrow won’t fill enough space. Are you going to have a hard time coming up with sources – is it a confidential issue, is the person you are researching too contemporary (too modern or too new)? Are so many people going to be researching your topic that even if there are plenty of sources, they are all checked out? (etc.) Is the topic still debatable? Writing a paper on the idea that drinking and driving is dangerous would not be meaningful because no one would argue with you. Before we get started: Do Not Even Think of Copying! Check out this website for information on plagiarism.

7 Writing the Controlling Idea
Defining features of a controlling idea: A controlling idea is a 1-2 sentence summary of what your paper will cover/prove. A controlling idea is to your paper, what a topic sentence is to a paragraph. It is placed at or near the end of the introduction.

8 Conducting Research With the controlling idea completed, you now have a focus for your essay. Time to gather material! Brainstorm what sources could be used with your topic: Books, newspapers, magazines, video/audio, interviews, and the list goes on. Where can you go to gather these sources: The school library, the public library, a local college library, the Internet When can you gather sources: During class time, before homeroom, study halls and lunches, after school, at home Who can Assist you with Finding Materials: ANY teacher, librarians, Computer Lab Aide, parents, friends Play button Graphic is from Microsoft Office Online. It will be used to link students to the conducting research video on the Discovery Education’s United Streaming Website.

9 How to use the library Your first step in finding research is to locate book sources that have information on your topic To look for books, use the catalog. A subject search will be your best bet. Type in keywords – if you are unsuccessful at first, try different (combinations) of words, or ask a librarian for guidance. Write down the call numbers of the book, then locate it on the shelf. If the book has a bibliography, you can use this for additional source material. If the book cannot be checked out, do a source card for it, then copy the material you need. Student finding books graphic is from

10 What about videos and tapes?
While you are in the library looking for books, check for miscellaneous sources that may aide you in your search. Some ideas include: Videos & DVDs Audio Tapes & CDs CD-Roms Disc Graphic is from Microsoft Office online.

11 And LAST… Now you can search the Internet.
Please remember that the Internet is not referred to as the “WORLD WIDE WEB” for nothing. Internet sites are not regulated. Anyone can create a site about anything – that means that some of the information you find, may not be accurate. Website Evaluation Sheet 2. Once you find a reputable source, create a source card for it, and ask for assistance with printing. Cartoon Graphic is from page about reasearch papers. Stop here to introduce the Website Evaluation Sheet. Explain that students must complete this before they are allowed to use a site. They must make sure the information is legitimate. Use as a sample.

12 The Source Card You must use a 4X6 or a 5X7 index card.
On the source card you will need to properly cite the book you are using to gather your information. You will also need to properly cite the webpages you use to gather more information. It is important to give credit to the people attain your information from. If you do not give credit to the author you would be plagiarizing and this can have severe consequences. Plagiarizing is defined as taking the work or an idea of someone else and use it as one’s own.

13 Sample Source Cards Source Card 1 Hook, Janet. “Raise Standards of
Admission, College Urged.” Newsweek. May 4, 1998: John Smith You will have to cite the sources of information you use within your paper, and you must create a works cited. Here’s how to do a source card: Source Card 2 “Edgar Allan Poe.” The Academy of American Poets. 4 NOV 2005. < pid/130 John Smith Keep in mind, you MUST use pgs in your MLA book, or the back of the password sheet, to understand how to do this!!

14 Fact Cards From each source you will complete three fact cards.
These cards will be labeled with your name on the back and the source card number where you got your information from.

15 Thinking about the paper
Once you have completed all of your note cards, you must draft an outline. Outlines are a list of how your paper will be organized. You Should: Decide which note cards you will use for your paper and group them by paragraph (which paragraph are you using them in? – Title the outline. Main ideas are chief points. Label them with Roman numerals (I, II, III). Follow rules for indenting - see sample on next slide. Writing Graphic is from

16 Sample Outline Title of Outline I. Main Topic A. Important subtopic
B. Important subtopic 1. Detail a. Sub-detail b. Sub-detail c. Sub-detail 2. Detail 3. Detail II. Main Topic See MLA book pg. 28 for sample and instruction for heading. Click here to see sample outline for Shakespeare

17 Writing the Rough Draft
Remember: Your paper should be typed, double-spaced (format, font, line spacing = double), with 1” margins (file, page set-up, margins = change right and left from 1.25” to 1”). Only use Times New Roman or Arial font size 12. Do not bold anything, only underline book titles (poems and short stories go in quotes). Put your last name and page number in the top right hand corner (view, header and footer, align right from main toolbar, type last name, space, choose the # sign from the header toolbar, close) Your paper should be an organized paper with an Intro, body paragraphs and conclusion. Girl at Computer Graphic is from help page for research papers.

18 Sample Rough Draft Format
1 Your name Teacher’s name Class Date Title

19 And Finally: The Works Cited Page
This is where your source cards come into play. If your source cards are done correctly, you will be able to transfer the information directly to the works cited. See your MLA book pg. 35 for sample. Skip down five lines after the end of your paper and center the title: Works Cited Do not bold, underline or make this any bigger!!! Only list the works that you have actually cited in your paper. List them in alphabetical order. Indent each line after the first in an entry (5 spaces). Double-space the works cited, but do not include any additional spacing between entries. Do not bold, number or letter the entries.

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