2 Exploring a topic in depth . . . From Reading to Writing As you read Macbeth, several questions probably came to mind. Was Macbeth a real person? Was treason a serious threat to the monarch in Shakespeare’s day? Did Banquo’s descendants ever rule Scotland?
3 Exploring a topic in depth . . . Out of these questions you might develop a topic for a research report. A research report is an academic paper in which you present information you have gathered and synthesized in exploring a subject.
4 B a s i c s i n a B o x Research Report at a Glance RUBRIC Standards for WritingA successful research project shouldfollow a logical pattern of organization, using transitions between ideassynthesize ideas with a satisfying conclusionprovide a correctly formatted Works Cited list at the end of the paperprovide a strong introduction with a clear thesis statementuse evidence from primary and secondary sources to develop and support ideascredit sources of information
5 Writing Your Research Report 1Prewriting and ExploringWriting, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.Henry MillerTo explore topics, you might begin by looking through the magazine section of the library, or think of movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read. Generate a list of interesting and researchable questions.
6 Planning Your Research Report 1. Choose a topic. What topic appeals to you most? What would you like to learn about it? You might make a cluster map with a general topic area in the center. Connect related ideas with lines and circles radiating outward.new airportsair trafficcontrollersaviationaircraftnoiseaccidents
7 Planning Your Research Report 2. Narrow your topic. Is your topic too broad to cover in the research report you plan to write? How can you divide it into smaller subtopics? You may need to do some preliminary research as you narrow your topic.3. Set on your goal. What do you want your writing to accomplish? Do you want simply to learn more about your subject, to prove a point, or to elicit a strong response from your audience?
8 Planning Your Research Report 4. Identify your purpose. Will your main purpose be to inform, to examine cause and effect, to compare and contrast, to analyze, or a combination of these?5. Write a statement of controlling purpose. What will you focus on in your paper? Your controlling purpose will guide your research and give you direction as you work. Your controlling purpose should be flexible, so you can revise it as you continue your research.
9 Researching Writing Your Research Report 2ResearchingThe best place to begin your search for reliable information is the library. Consider making a list of questions about your topic that will help to guide your research. The information you find will either be in primary or secondary sources.
10 Researching Writing Your Research Report 2ResearchingPrimary sources furnish eyewitness accounts of events. Primary sources include letters, journals, diaries, and historical documents. Secondary sources present information that is derived or compiled from other sources. Encyclopedias, many books, newspapers, and magazine articles are examples of secondary sources.
11 Researching Writing Your Research Report Evaluate Your Sources 2ResearchingEvaluate Your SourcesSome sources of information are better than others. Use these guidelines to evaluate your sources.To what extent is the author’s viewpoint biased? Be sure to read material from a variety of viewpoints.
12 Researching Writing Your Research Report 2ResearchingIs the source up-to-date? Certain fields such as science, technology, and medicine change rapidly. Use recent information when researching these fields.Is the source reliable? Supermarket tabloid newspapers, for example, are not reliable sources of information.
13 Researching Writing Your Research Report 2ResearchingWhat is the intended audience? Is the source written for young people, for the general public, or for experts in a particular field?
14 Researching Writing Your Research Report Make Source Cards 2ResearchingMake Source CardsWhen you have found information that is relevant to your topic, you will need to make source cards. Use index cards to record publishing information for each source you decide to use. Number each source card and refer to it when you take notes. You will use these source cards to credit sources in your report and to write your Works Cited page.
15 Researching Writing Your Research Report Take Notes 2ResearchingTake NotesKeeping your controlling purpose in mind, take notes on pertinent information. Use a separate index card for each piece of information and write the number of the source on each note card.
16 Researching Writing Your Research Report Organize Your Material 2ResearchingOrganize Your MaterialOnce you have gathered the information from your sources, you can begin to organize your notes. One way to do this is to make a topic outline. Begin by grouping your note cards into stacks of related material. Determine the main idea of each stack. Next, think about the best way to arrange your stacks of note cards.
17 Researching Writing Your Research Report Organize Your Material 2ResearchingOrganize Your MaterialChronological order works well for historical or biographical information, although you may wish to try other organizational patterns, such as comparison-and-contrast order or cause-and-effect order. Write your outline based on the order of the main ideas and subpoints in your stacks of notes.
18 Drafting Writing Your Research Report 3DraftingYour report, like many other essays, will begin with an introduction that states your thesis and will end with a conclusion that restates this thesis and summarizes your main points. The largest part of your report, the body, should explain and support your topic.
19 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Develop a Thesis Statement 3DraftingDevelop a Thesis StatementWhen you finish your research, you should have a good idea of what you want your report to accomplish. Rework your statement of controlling purpose into a thesis statement that expresses the main idea of your report.
20 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Write Your Draft 3DraftingWrite Your DraftIn the drafting stage, concentrate on getting your ideas on paper using your own voice. Follow your outline and refer to your note cards as you write.
21 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Write Your Draft 3DraftingWrite Your DraftSupport your thesis. Use the information from your sources creatively, analyzing, synthesizing, making inferences, and interpreting evidence to reach a conclusion.
22 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Write Your Draft 3DraftingWrite Your DraftDocument your sources. After each quotation, paraphrase, or summary in your paper, write in parentheses the author’s name (or the source title, if no name is given) and the page number. Use your note cards and source cards to identify the sources of information used in your report.
23 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Evaluate Your Draft 3DraftingEvaluate Your DraftThink about these questions as you review your draft.How could I make my thesis statement clearer?What additional support for my thesis can I provide in the body of the report?
24 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Evaluate Your Draft 3DraftingEvaluate Your DraftWhat material can I delete?How can I organize my material more effectively?What material could I paraphrase rather than quote directly?
25 Drafting Writing Your Research Report Evaluate Your Draft 3DraftingEvaluate Your DraftWhat facts and documentation do I need to check?How can I better accomplish my purpose?
26 Revising Writing Your Research Report 4RevisingTARGET SKILLPARAGRAPH BUILDINGWriting has unity when all the sentences in a paragraph support its central idea. As you revise your research report, delete any unrelated ideas.
27 Editing Writing Your Research Report 5TARGET SKILLSHIFTING VERB TENSEKeep in mind that writers generally avoid shifting verb tense in a paper. However, not all shifts in verb tense are incorrect. A shift in tense may be needed to show when an action occurred in relation to another action.
28 Making a Works Cited List Writing Your Research ReportMaking a Works Cited List6When you have finished revising, editing, and proofreading your report, make a Works Cited list and attach it to the end of your paper.