Writing a Research Paper Is Like Being a Lawyer in a Court Case 1.Frame the case. 2.Search out evidence. 3.Present the evidence. 4.Make a closing argument. 1.Define your topic. 2.Perform research. 3.Write the paper. 4.Draw a conclusion.
Frame Your Court Case (Define Your Topic) Too general: –Plumbing –Medical –College Can be defended: –What skills are needed to be a plumber? –What specific jobs are there in the medical field? –What classes would I need in college to be a Conservation Officer? Step 1
Search Out Evidence (Research Sources) Perform searches on your topic: –Ebsco Host –KV library –Online journals Search for articles that will “prove” your case. If you find articles to the contrary, be responsible and report on those too. Step 2
Ensure Sufficient Information Exists Ensure there are sufficient sources to support your topic. If not: –Adjust your topic. What kinds of articles are you finding on your topic? –Change your topic.
Suggestion: Research More than 3 Sources Selecting more than 3 resources is a good idea. Then you have more to write about. Don’t go too far, though. 20 sources is way too much! I wish I had researched more sources. I don’t have much to write about.
CAUTION: Use Only Professionally Respected Material Be careful if searching the Web in general: make sure that the material you plan to use is respected, scholarly, and valid. Ebsco Host and ERIC are respected repositories of scholarly materials.
Present the Evidence You present evidence by talking about and citing resources in the text of the paper. –Broskoske and Rogan (2004) argue that… –Research (McCann, 2003) suggests that… –Tomascik (2002) states that… Step 3
Draw a Closing Argument Begin by briefly reviewing the entire case. Based on all of the evidence you presented, draw a conclusion. –Did you prove your court case? –What are the implications for the future? Step 4
Search Strategy As you enter Ebsco Host, log into your account to access your personal folder. Select a database to search, such as Academic Search Premier. Be sure to select the following checkboxes: –Misericordia-owned –full text –OPTIONAL: peer reviewed
Search Strategy Look for “scholarly” articles/journals: –Cite other journal articles and/or books throughout the text of the article. –Contain a bibliography. –Attempt to provide unbiased, factual information to the reader. –Some are “peer reviewed.” –Ebsco Host and other library databases are good sources for scholarly articles.
Search Strategy Peer reviewed: –Usually higher quality scholarly articles. –Authors submit a potential article to a journal for scrutiny and comments by a review panel (“graded”). –Will not be published unless/until it meets the quality standards of the review panel. –To search for these, check peer reviewed box in Ebsco Host.
Search Strategy: Establish Your Court Case (Thesis) Topic area: PowerPoint Possible court cases (theses): –Can teachers improve learning with PowerPoint? –Does PowerPoint have the capacity to hold learner attention? –Does PowerPoint have a negative effect on the classroom?
Search Strategy: Keywords When performing research, formulate a search strategy by analyzing a topic to identify alternative keywords/concepts. For example, when searching for PDA’s in the classroom: PDA personal digital assistant handheld devices mobile devices AND classroom / teaching/ education
Search Strategy: Keywords Let’s try it. Identify several keywords for the following topic area: –Assistive technology (Can assistive technology improve learning for students with special needs?) –PowerPoint (Can PowerPoint improve teaching and learning in the classroom?) –Distance learning (Can distance learning improve the classroom?)
Searching Now that you have identified keywords, begin searching. Preliminary search strategy: –Read the abstract of an article. (Don’t need to read the entire article at this time.) –If an article appears that you might be able to use it, stuff it into your Ebsco folder.
Searching Second search: –Re-read the abstracts of articles in your Ebsco folder. –If an article appears that you can use it, keep it in your folder. If unusable, delete it. Sometimes you need to click into the full text of the article to decide if the article is usable for your research area.
Alter Your Topic If Needed What happens if you do not have enough articles to allow you to write a good paper? –Change your topic. –Alter your topic. Instead of “PDA’s to improve math” PDA’s to improve math and science. Instead of “cell phones in the classroom” Cell phones and Promethean Boards.
Develop an Outline 1.Identify themes you find in the articles you research. 2.Place the articles in categories, based on their themes. 3.Use these categories to develop your paper outline.
Identify Themes When researching distance learning, I found articles talking about the following things: –Definitions and descriptions of what DL is. –Technologies used in DL. –Various practices used in DL (some articles mentioned good practices, others poor).
Draw Up the Outline Introduction –Introduce the topic of the paper, the case that you will attempt to make, and introduce the topics (the outline) that will be covered. What is Distance Learning? –Define and introduce the topic. Technologies Used in Distance Learning –This section was determined after reading the articles. Summarize literature you have researched in this topic area. Good and Poor Practices in Distance Learning –This section was determined after reading the articles. Summarize literature you have researched in this topic area. Conclusion –Briefly summarize the entire paper. Review the purpose of the paper, and its main points. Draw a conclusion.
Module 3 Assignment #1 –Do a post in which you describe your paper topic. This discussion can provide guidance to other class members in choosing and designing their topic and outline. You are asked to reply (comment on) the post of at least one other student. This activity is meant to assist you in preparing to submit the course paper assignment, and in structuring your research and your paper.
HINT: Select a Topic Soon! Pick any technology-related topic. Do some preliminary research to ensure sufficient information exists to pursue this topic. Then, define your topic as a court case. Pick a topic soon! Don’t wait for God to inspire you! Don’t wait to select the perfect topic you’re not going to marry this topic!
Paper Requirement You must submit a proposed topic, outline, and 3 sources in advance of submitting the course paper. (This is due to the possibilities of online plagiarism.)