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Writing from Research Ten Steps to a Research Paper

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1 Writing from Research Ten Steps to a Research Paper

2 Research Paper: Ten Steps 1.Propose a topic 2.Research 3.Note cards 4.Concept map 5.Thesis statement 6.Outline 7.First draft 8.Revise/edit first draft 9.Proofread 10.Submit final draft

3 Step 1: Identifying your topic The first step in the research process. Your topic must be ▫broad enough to allow for an in depth investigation and discussion, yet ▫narrow enough to address in a paper

4 Step 2: Researching your topic Journals and magazines Books Newspapers Databases Web sites As you read, you will begin to get a better understanding of your topic You will begin formulate your thesis ▫The position that you will take about your topic.

5 Step 3: Taking notes Record key ideas and supporting details from your source material.  Keep track of the information, as well as the source of this information.  Write your notes in your own words, paraphrasing your sources.  Record quotes carefully and sparingly. Be sure to include all source information for the material you use.  Title, author, publication, date of publication, publisher, and city of publication.  Electronic sources must include the URL address and date of access.

6 Step 4: Concept Mapping Using your notes ▫Identify all key points or main ideas about your topic. ▫Cluster all supporting points around each main point identified. Do not edit yourself. ▫This will be done later when you develop your outline.

7 Concept Map

8 Play with concept maps 3 possible topics Consider questions about your topic ▫Topic: Shakespeare and authorship ▫Did Shakespeare write the plays? Four related questions Consider further questions Construct three concept maps about your topic(s)

9 Getting some background Read one article on your topic from: ▫Wikipedia ▫The New York Times  Times Topics ▫Other recognized news source or encyclopedia Copy and paste the URL for each article into your notes.

10 For Monday, October 4th Your chosen topic. ▫You may still change your mind. Read background information. Frame an essential question. Tuesday: We visit the library

11 Assignment Statement of your topic or question ▫Did Shakespeare write the plays? Universal Resource Language: URL ▫Global address of documents and other resources on the Internet ▫Example  hip_question hip_question Send statement and 3 URLS by e-mail: ▫

12 Thesis Statement Answers a question ▫Interprets a question or subject ▫Takes a stand Provides an organizing principle. Establishes expectations for your paper. Is usually the last sentence in your introduction.

13 Your Essay’s Central Argument A good thesis statement: ▫Is concise and well-written. ▫Goes in the introductory paragraph. ▫Is clearly asserted at the beginning of your paper. ▫Makes an argument. ▫Is the road map to the argument you will subsequently develop in your paper.

14 Thesis vs. Opinion Unlike an opinion, a thesis ▫Conveys to the reader that the claim being offered has been thoroughly explored ▫Is defendable by evidence. ▫Answers the "what" question (what is the argument?) and ▫Gives the reader a clue as to the "why" question (why is this argument the most persuasive?).

15 Is this a good thesis statement? "A candidate’s ability to afford television advertising affects the outcome of Congressional elections."

16 Better "The ability to purchase television advertising is essential for any candidate's bid for election to the Senate because television reaches millions of people and thus has the ability to dramatically increase name recognition.“ ▫A thesis statement is not a statement of fact.

17 Is this a good thesis statement? "The United Nations was established to promote diplomacy between major powers."

18 The organizational structure of the United Nations, namely consensus voting in the security council, makes it incapable of preventing war between major powers."

19 Thesis statements are not merely opinion statements Congressional elections are simply the result of who has the most money." ▫This statement does make a claim, ▫but in this format it is too much of an opinion and ▫not enough of an argument. "The United Nations is incapable of preventing war" ▫is closer to a thesis statement than the factual statement above because it raises a point that is debatable. ▫But in this format, it doesn't offer the reader much information; ▫it sounds like the author is simply stating a viewpoint that may or may not be substantiated by evidence.

20 Your thesis should make clear What your argument is; Why your argument is persuasive.

21 Body of the Paper Gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation. Weaves quotations from your sources into your argument. Refers back to your thesis.

22 Conclusion Paraphrases your thesis Summarizes your evidence Leaves your reader with something to think about.

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