1. mollyburton
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    mollyburton Member

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    Please Help

    Discussion in 'Research' started by mollyburton, Nov 18, 2007.

    I have no idea how to write a research paper. I'm supposed to have it finished by Thursday, but all I've written before are analysis essays and what have you. I'm freaking out.

    HOW?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Here's one step-by-step guide, which provides both a specific strategy and general guidelines as to what comprises a research paper.

    If you don't care for this guide, do a web search, like I did; I used the keywords research paper guidelines
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    The first rule of writing any research paper is don't freak out. Actually, I find thats a general rule in life. Freaking out is a bad thing in all situations.

    Cogito's suggested guide looks good to me. I find that a research paper is the same as any other paper (With a few key additions that make it different). First you need your thesis, then your evidence, and your conclusion. The key thing about a research paper is that it has a specific format that needs to be followed. It depends on the subject which format you use. Unless your in a college science or psychology course you will probably us MLA format.

    MLA is basically a double space paper with paranthetical citations at the end of paraagraphs and sentences that scite your source, and a works cited page that cites your sources of information. I often find the best way to learn MLA is to see an example. For an example of MLA format I offer a section of my paper on Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.


    "In 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Rommel was at the time assigned to Hitler personal guard (Showalter, 170) <- This is a parantheical citation. On
    DOUBLE SPACE
    February 6th 1940, Rommel, going around his commanders, asked Hitler for a Panzer command (Showalter, 172). Rommel was given command of the 7th
    DOUBLE SPACE
    Panzer Division just in time for the invasion of Belgium (Showalter, 174). Rommel became famous for his rash, brute force tactics in Belgium and France.
    DOUBLE SPACE
    Rommel ignored the vulnerability of his flanks relying on the shock value of his tanks to confuse the enemy and break their morale. Rommel’s 7th Panzer
    DOUBLE SPACE
    Division earned the nickname “Ghost Division” for its quick surprise attacks. Rommel was so quick in fact that his commanders often lost track of where he
    DOUBLE SPACE
    was (Showalter, 192)." ~ Taken from Erwin Rommel Research Paper by Lord of Hats



    In a proper MLA format that paragraph have proper indentation. The key thing is that in an MLA paper you need the "(Source of Information)" citations to show where you got your information from. Then you need a set of info on the source in your works cited page. My above paragraph uses the following book citation in the works cited page at the end of the paper.

    Showalter, Dennis. Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century. New York City: Penguin Group (USA) Inc, 2005.

    Now every form of medium has a different citation format. I noticed Cogito's article did not have an apparent list of these formats. You will find a nearly complete list of the formats here http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/workshop/citmla.htm.

    In the actual paragraph you insert information that can be used to reference the source in your works cited page. I have this for you:
    1. For Books: Sentence (Author, Page Number)
    2. Internet --> Sentence (Site Name) Try not to use more than one website teachers prefer books and articles.
    3. Film --> Sentence (Film title)

    Citation is key in any research paper and is the major difference that seperates it from other kinds of papers.

    Some quick pointers:
    1. Use formal language. Don't use first person words (I, Me, Us, We, You et cetera). Avoid slang and make sure you maintain a very formal tone of voice in the writing.
    2. Cite EVERYTHING in your paper unless it is a simple general knowledge kind of thing (2 + 2 = 4 for example. Everyone knows that.)
    3. Be careful to watch out for palgerism. Big no no in any paper but especially a research paper.
    4. Avoid Wikipedia. Teachers treat Wikipedia like the devil. So much so I listed it.
    5. Your teacher probably requires a certain number of sources of various types (Journal, Article, Book, Internet, Film et cetera). If she doesn't, use a variety of sources to confirm information and maintain accuracy.
    6. I highly suggest you choose a subject you can work with (Unless your topic is chosen for you). having a topic you can become involved with makes the process easier.
    7. Encyclopedia's are not acceptable sources of info. I would use them to start your research but I would not include information gained soley from them in a paper.
    8. When using internet sites make sure you can varify the info is reliable, unbiased, and up to date (For example a site runned by a white supremeisist organization would not be a reliable source of information on african amaericans or hispanics)

    The format is the hardest thing on a research paper. If you can get the format right its easy because outside of that format its the same as any other formal scholarly paper.

    Now there is another kind of format besides MLA but it is typically only used in college science, anatomy, and psychology classes. It is called APA format and the major difference is in the way citations are organized. Make sure you're paper is supposed to be in MLA format because if its not... well... I can't help you. I've never written an APA format paper.

    I suggest you read Cogito's posted link. If you need help with citations there are several sites that do the citations for you with a online program. I suggest http://citationmachine.net/ and go to MLA or APA depending on what you need. Its a simple site. You find the info (Author, publisher, title, year published etc) enter it in the fields and then submit it and the site will send a properly organized citation to you. Then you just sopy and paste to your works cited page.

    I hope this helps.
     
  4. mollyburton
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    mollyburton Member

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    I love you guys so much.

    I got an A minus on my paper. I ignore the minus though, because it's still an A. Even if it is the lowest possible percent of A. I will ignore all this, because (disregarding the minus symbol) there is still a big red A on my paper.

    :love:
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's great Molly. Good work!
     

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