The Research Paper Process Text Version

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  • 7/31/2019 The Research Paper Process Text Version


    The Research Paper Process Text Version

    Welcome to the Research paper!

    Did that term make your stomach sink or did you feel like clicking to the next assessment?Relax and take your hand off of the mouse for a minute! Research papers have struck fear into

    the hearts of students for too long! They really are not so daunting if you understand that the

    purpose of the paper is take a position and use evidence to prove your point - you do that allthe time when convincing your parents and friends! A research paper is not an overwhelming

    task if you break it into easy and manageable steps - which is what I am here to help you do.

    First, you'll want to think about your topic. What would you like to explore in the novel To

    Kill a Mockingbird? I have a few suggestions listed below, but you are welcome to make aproposal to your teacher as long as your idea focuses on To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Once you have chosen a topic, it's time to see what other people have to say on the idea. You

    can conduct your research using books, magazines, or reliable websites. As you research, you

    will take notes that you will be able to use to help you support your analysis. We'll show youhow take notes and how to use that research in your writing. You will also learn how to

    correctly cite your sources and how to avoid plagiarism.

    Next you will develop your thesis statement which will make outlining your paper a breeze!

    Once you have your outline, you will be ready to write the first draft of your paper. Wait aminute! Did that make you feel overwhelmed? It shouldn't! By this time, you will have

    already done most of the hard work and you will have received detailed feedback from your

    teacher on each phase of the writing process. Writing will simply involve connecting youranalysis to what the experts from your research had to say on your topic. You will then learn

    how to revise for the best possible draft.

    I am convinced that you are going to learn a great deal and that your research paper will be an

    assignment that will bring great satisfaction and pride!

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    The Research Paper Process Text Version

    1. Contemplate the novel and choose a topic.

    2. Conduct research. At library of Congress or edu and org sites. Do not use Wikipedia.

    a. Take notesparaphrase when you take direct quotes and use them in your own


    b. Create source cards

    3. Create your thesis statement.

    4. Write an outline.

    a. Decide how to use your research.

    5. Write a first draft.

    a. Get your ideas down and cite your sources correctly.

    b. Get adult feedback.

    6. Revise for the best possible draft.

    Gathering and Using Evidence Text Version

    Gathering Evidence

    Text: When finding resources for your research, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

    Your sources should be reputable and academic. This is especially important for online

    resources. Sites that end in .gov or .edu will have information that is accurate, complete, andlegitimate. Avoid using .com sites and Wikipedia for your research; anyone can publish

    information on these sites, and the information is not always accurate or complete. As a

    researcher, you have to examine your source to make sure it is credible. In a published sourcelike a book, the publisher has already done this for you, but no one does this for .com sites or

    wikis. By using .gov or .edu sites, you can avoid being misinformed. You should also make

    sure the sources that you use are current as outdated material can skew your ideas about a

    subject. Including a variety of sources, both electronic and printed, will ensure that any biasedinformation is balanced and does not affect your analysis of the subject.

    Sources to Consider

    Text: Here are a few suggestions to help you begin your research. Please use these sites only

    as a starting point. This assignment asks you to use a minimum of 2 sources. Although

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    websites are listed here, books and magazine articles are also excellent sources. To locate

    books or magazine articles, you can search your library catalog or database. Remember, the

    best research will be varied.

    Harper Lees Life Scottsboro Trials

    Gender Issues

    Civil Rights Movement

    The Library of Congress is a fantastic resource for historical and literary research.

    Taking Organized Notes

    Text: Once you have selected your sources of information, it is time to take notes. It is

    important to use an organized system for taking notes and keeping track of your sources. The

    first thing you should do once you have your book or printed pages in front of you is create asource card. The information you need for a print source such as a book or magazine article is

    listed on the left; you will need to record the author, the title, publisher, date of publication, as

    well as the page numbers. The source number gives you a shorthand way to label your notesso that you will know from which source each bit of information came. The information you

    need for an electronic source is listed to the right. As you can see, you need much more than

    the website address. You will need to record the author, if one is mentioned, the title of the

    article, the title of the site, the date you accessed it, as well as the URL. You will need thisimportant information to accurately document your facts in your paper and on your Works

    Cited Page.

    Taking Organized Notes (2)

    Text: When taking notes, only record details that are important and pertain to your topic. Youcan record the information from the source in three ways: a direct quote, a paraphrase, or a

    summary. As you begin to take notes, you should identify if what you are recording is a

    paraphrase, which takes a specific passage and restates it using your own words, a directquote, which records the information exactly as it is in the original source, or a summary,

    which records the main idea in general. All of these uses of information require citation. It is

    crucial to make note of what type of information you are writing down as you go because it

    might be days or more before you begin writing. By then, you will have long forgottenwhether that sentence was a direct quote or if it was a paraphrase or summary. The next thing

    to think about is where or how you plan to use this information in your paper; by keeping thisin mind you can avoid taking notes on information that does not help you prove or supportyour point.

    Sample Note Card

    Text: On this example, you can see that it was my first source and that it is a paraphrase. You

    can also see that I am going to use that information in my second paragraph to help me prove
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    my point about the authors personal experiences shaping his works. On this card, I have all

    of the information that I will need to use and cite the paraphrase correctly.

    Including Research in Your Paper

    Text: Once you have credible research to support your analysis and you have created yoursource and note cards, it will be time to include your research in your paper. Avoid just

    sticking the quote in with other facts; always introduce and explain your research. You can

    do this in several ways: you can tag the quote, connect it with an explanation, or embed key

    words or phrases from the quote. I will show you examples on the next slide. A good writerwill use all of these methods to create variety in his paper.

    Sample Uses of Quotations

    Text: For this sample, the direct quote is provided at the top of the screen. Tagging the quote

    usually involves mentioning the source or author. According to, Dr. King explains,Hughes states, are all examples of tags. When you connect a quote with an explanation, you

    will still use most of the quote, but you will tie it to your point.

    Sample Uses of Quotations (2)

    Text: Embedding a quote involves choosing a key word or phrase and using it in your own

    point. More advanced writers use the last two methods regularly in their writing.

    Things to Remember When Gathering Evidence

    Text: When you have completed the note-taking part of the research process, analyze yourinformation for an idea that can be proven by the evidence that you have. You will be able to

    formulate your thesis statement based on the research that you have done. In the end, well-organized notes will help you create a focused and well-documented research paper that you

    will be proud of. Before accessing the assessment for 6.02B, you should:

    Know your topic.

    Have one reliable source.

    Complete one source card.

    Complete one note card that uses a direct quote that is either embedded or connected

    with an explanation Know how to use quotations.

    Know the difference between paraphrase, summary, and direct quote.


    1. _Wikepedia________is not a reliable source because it is created by individuals and

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    their information is not always accurate.

    2. _Libray of Congress________ is a great source for historical and literary research.

    3. .gov or _edu_____ sites are credible sources for online research.

    4. Before taking notes, I should create _source entry________________.

    5. What type of quote takes information for a source and records it exactly? Direct quote

    6. What is it called when you take a specific quote and restate it using your own words?

    A paraphrase

    7. What is it called when you take the general of idea of a passage and use no words

    from the original text? A summary

    8. Hemingway once explained, "All American novels come from one great novel"(Smith *). What type of quote is this an example of? Tagged quote

    9. The "great novel" Hemingway referred to is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    (Smith 8). What type of quote is this an example of? Embedded quote

    10. When Hemingway said, "All American novels come from one great novel," he paid aprofound compliment to Mark Twain (Smith 8). What type of quote is this an example

    of? A connected quote

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    Developing Your Thesis Statement Text


    Developing Your Position

    Once you have chosen your topic and done preliminary research, you should be ready

    to take a position. Your thesis statement should be one, unified sentence that clearly

    states the focus and purpose of your paper. Some people think of the thesis statement asan essay map; it tells your audience exactly where you are going and why you are going

    there. It gives you a clear plan for writing.

    An excellent thesis statement is essentially a one-sentence answer to the prompt or

    essay question. It usually is located at the end of your introductory paragraph. This one

    sentence should answer the what?, how? Or why? And so what? of your topic orposition. The so what? sounds harsh, but really it is meant to make the writer

    consider the significance of her topic and gives her writing purpose.

    One Sentence Can Do All of That?

    Can one sentence really do all of that? Yes! As you can see in the example provided, itis possible to answer the question clearly and concisely while establishing a purpose for

    writing. From this one sentence, I know the two poems that the writer will discuss, I

    know that he will talk about how Langston Hughes uses his personal experiences ineach poem, and finally, I know that all the writer is going to prove that the significance

    or purpose of the poems is to chastise injustices and convey hope. From this example,you can see how writing an outline and organizing the essay will be easy. More thanlikely, this writer would have two body paragraphs, one for each poem, and in each

    one, he would discuss how personal experiences in each poem are used to chastise

    injustices and convey hope.

    Thesis Statement Pitfalls

    Now that you know the characteristics and purpose of an excellent thesis statement, Iwould like to point out a few common pitfalls. The most obvious pitfall is an absent

    thesis statement; without a thesis statement, a paper lacks direction and purpose.

    Wordiness is another common mistake; a great idea can get lost in a sentence that goeson and on. A thesis statement that is general will present a problem for the writer

    because it doesn't offer any specific direction for the analysis. The Sky is Blue thesis

    statements make an obvious and widely-understood statement such as the sky is blueor authors lives affect their writing; this pitfall is a problem because it lacks specifics

    and significance. A Tour Guide thesis statement usually begins by stating, First I will

    discussthen I will prove, and finally I will talk about This type of thesis

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    statement takes on the tone of a tour guide that drones on and on without telling us whywhat we are seeing is important. This type of thesis usually focuses only on the what?

    The final type of pitfall is relying on I your audience knows that your paper is your

    thoughts so you can omit I think.

    The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to ask yourself:

    Did I answer the question? (this is the what?)

    Did I give specifics that establish how or why?

    Am I writing about something that matters? (this is the part of your thesis

    statement that will answer so what?)

    Things to Remember When Developing Your Thesis Statement

    Before accessing the assessment for 6.02B, you will need to:

    Read a few sample thesis statements and determine if they are applause or


    Create an excellent thesis statement for your research topic.

    Now you that you have taken notes, created a source card, learned how to use your

    quotations, and created your thesis statement, your outline should be a breeze! Writing

    well happens in phases; with each step, you prepare for the next phase. When you sitdown to write your research paper, most of the hard work will already be done and

    that is worth celebrating!

    Formal Outline Presentation Text Version

    Format Your Outline

    Format your outline using Roman numerals for the first heading level. Alternate using letters

    and numbers for subheading levels or subtopics.

    Pair Numbers and Letters

    When creating an outline, never include a 1 without a 2 or an a without a b. For

    example, on outline heading level 1, only use a Roman numeral I if you use Roman numeral

    II. Likewise, on outline heading level 2, only use an A if you use a subheading B. The same istrue for outline heading level 3 and 4, only list a subheading 1. if you list a subheading 2. and

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    only use an a. if you list a subheading b.

    Divide Headings into Parts

    Divide your first heading level into two or more pa...


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