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Edited  manuscript sample middle school textbook
 

Edited manuscript sample middle school textbook

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    Edited  manuscript sample middle school textbook Edited manuscript sample middle school textbook Document Transcript

    • Dear Author: The information in this chapter is comprehensive and your delivery tone is appropriately conversational without being chatty. Your use of instructional devices, such as analogy, is effective and the length of the chapter is manageable for middle school students. Following is a brief list of suggested improvements, as shown in the edit below. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you, Celene Adams Analogies – Using analogies as a way to draw comparisons between commonly understood concepts and the ideas you are introducing is an effective way to teach students. However, one analogy per idea is sufficient. Using more convolutes your message. Consequently, I’ve omitted all but one analogy in paragraph one. I have also moved it to the beginning of the paragraph so that it introduces your material. Passive Voice – It is best to avoid using passive voice. For example, in paragraph one, instead of “Research writing involves many steps that need to be followed…,” use active voice: “Conduct your research using the following steps: Choose a topic; make sure there is sufficient information about the topic; narrow the topic; make sure the topic is appropriate for your intended readers.” Lists – Using lists to note your points instead of long paragraphs clarifies the material for students. For example: I have replaced your first couple of paragraphs with a numbered list of steps for choosing a topic. Repetition – While there is much valuable information in this chapter, to avoid repetition I have tightened your prose where necessary. Organization -- Some reorganization of your materials enhances their logical progression. Subheads – I have correlated these directly to the reorganized materials so that they are meaningful for students. For example, I changed the subhead “Vocabulary,” which preceded material about how to choose a research topic, to “How to Choose a Research Topic.” Exercises – I have removed bolding of answers in exercise questions to enable students to arrive at the answers themselves. MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 1 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • Lesson Chapter 1: Choosing a topic and Narrowing focusHow to choose and narrow a research topic, define a thesis and organize your research Introduction Before you go on a road trip, you need to know where you want to go and how to get there, or you will get lost! The same is true when you’re writing a research paper. First you have to choose a topic (where you want to go); then you have to map how you’ll get there (narrowing the topic, defining a thesis and organizing your research). Research writing involves many steps that need to be followed. In order to end up with a final topic, you must know what you are aiming for. This involves choosing your topic. Just like any goal, you must be able to name it in order to reach it. If the goal is to bake a cake, you must know what type of cake you want to bake. If you want to go on a road trip, you need to know what your destination is. When you are researching, you must know what your topic will be. If you don’t know what cake you are going to bake, what city you are going to, or what your topic is, you will not know when you get “there.” That is what this chapter is all about. This chapter gives you step-by-step instructions on how to plan your research paper before you start writing. MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 2 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • In this lesson, you will become more familiar with choosing a research paper topic. Here are your goals for this lesson: • Identify and apply prewriting strategies to determine a topic Vocabulary: Thesis In this lesson, we will show you how to narrow a research topic appropriately. Choosing a suitable subject for a research paper is important. Because of the time you will spend researching the subject, it must be one that is interesting to you. Then you will have to narrow it down appropriately. If your topic is too broad, then you will write too much. If your topic is too narrow, then you will not fulfill the requirements of your research paper. Two steps to choosing a research topic 1. The first step to choosing your research topic is to make sure you choose a subject there is sufficient information about. For a three- to four-page paper, see if you can find at least five or six different sources of information about the topic. 2. Next, make sure the information you find about your topic is factual and not merely opinion. For example, scientific studies are factual sources of information; however, letters to the editor of a newspaper are opinions. In addition, the subject should be capable of being researched. A subject that has barely been written about is a good choice for a doctoral student in college, but is a poor choice for a middle school student. You, the middle school student, must rely on a variety of sources that have been written by others. The subject must be one that can be developed with facts. A personal subject that reflects your opinions is not suitable for a research paper. Choosing a subject, then, involves deciding on a broad area of interest, limiting its scope to a less general subject, and limiting that less general subject to a very specific subject that can be researched and written about in the number of words assigned. Guided practiceExample Indicate the appropriateness of the subject for a three to four page research paper by answering the following questions. Of the following three topics, which one is most suitable for a research paper? 1. How to hold chopsticks at a Chinese restaurant 2. Why rock and roll music is so popular MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 3 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • 3. The health benefits of exercise Which topic do you think you will find the most information about? Which topic do you think you will find the most factual information about? The first topic, how to hold chopsticks, is not likely to yield sufficient information for you to work with. And while you might find a lot of information about the second topic, why rock and roll is so popular, it would be opinion. You are, however, likely to find a lot of factual information about the third topic;, because the health benefits of exercise is a topic that can be and is frequently is scientifically studied. 1. Is the following topic suitable for a research paper? Why or why not? How to hold chopsticks at a Chinese restaurant. a. No, it is too broad. b. No, it is too narrow. c. Yes, it is broad enough. d. Yes, it is narrow enough. 2. Is the following topic suitable for a research paper? Why or why not? The first months in a baby hippo’s life a. No, it involves opinion. b. Yes, it is researchable. c. No, it is too broad. d. Yes, it is narrow enough. 3. Why is this not an appropriate research paper topic? Why my school should not have a dress code. a. It is too broad of a subject. b. It is too narrow of a subject. c. It is not researchable. d. It involves opinion. How to Narrow a Broad TopicThree steps to narrowing your topic Now we show you how to break down topic suitable for a 3-4 page paper.Once you have chosen a suitable topic, you need to find a specific category of that topic you want to write about. MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 4 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • Let’s say your teacher walked walks into the class and said,says, “Class, you are going to write a three-page research paper. Your topic is technology.” But technology is a huge topic! So your task now is to narrow the topic – to decide specifically which category of the topic to write about. 1. First, brainstorm the categories the topic includes. Do this by asking Who, What, When, Why, Where, How questions, like these: What types of technology are there? Computers, televisions, MP3 players, etc. Where is technology used? In many places – at home and at work, for example. Why is technology used? In different ways– to communicate, to analyze data, etc. How is technology used? Technology is used to communicate, to record information, to analyze data, etc. 2. Next, pick the category you’re most interested in. It’s important to be interested, because you will spend a lot of time researching. For instance, you might pick: How we use technology to communicate. 3. Finally, check that there is enough factual information about this specific category of the topic to write about. If not, go back and choose another interesting category. Example 1. Which of the following is the best topic for a research paper? a. The history of technology b. Why technology is so popular c. How technology is used d. How technology is used to communicate After going through the process of narrowing your topic and choosing a category within that topic to research, you can see that the most specific answer is the best topic for a research paper. e. So you have any technological option available to you. How broad is that topic? Initially it might not seem that large, but actually it is huge. What type of technology? Is it technology that is used at home or at work? Or maybe we could attack it from the standpoint of entertainment or career-oriented technology? Or maybe it could be technology for adults or children? In each of the above questions asked, the field was narrowed down a little, but not nearly enough. Remember, this is only a 3 to 4 page paper, which might seem MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 5 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • quite long now, but is certainly not long enough to discuss all the technology available in each sub-category listed above! So we will pick a “type” of technology by choosing the internet as a topic. Now, the internet is used home and at work. It is used for entertainment and in the office. It also used by children and adults. So, our initial collection of questions is not all applicable; we will need to make some new questions in order to further narrow down our research because the topic “internet” by itself is too large. Defining a thesis and organizing your research Defining your thesis Now Let’s say you narrowed your topic to how technology is used to communicate. Now ywe ou need to choose what we will say abouthow to approach it. This is called defining your thesis. A thesis is a sentence that states specifically what you will write about in your research paper. It must be concise but still include everything you will discuss in the paper. For example, to define your thesis for this paper, the internet. start by asking more Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions: How do we use technology to communicate? We use cell phones, for example. Why? Because they are easy to use, fast and convenient. the internet. What do we use them for? We use the internetthem to instant message and email, and we use them to send text messages and take photographs. When do we use them? We have been using cell phones since the mid 1990s. Who uses cell phones? Millions of people use cell phones. Note that while we also use cell phones to do research and shop on the Internet, download music and read our favorite magazines, our topic is how we use technology to communicate. Discussing sDiscussing shopping and downloading music isn’t necessary for this paper. Be careful not to get sidetracked when you’re defining your thesis! Remember, it has to be concise and include only what you will discuss in your paper. A concise, all-inclusive thesis for this research paper might therefore be: Since the mid 1990s, millions of people have begun using cell phones to communicate because cell phones are fast, easy to use and convenient. This one sentence notifies the reader of everything you will discuss in your research paper. Organizing your research By answering questions about uses of the internethow and why we use cell phones to communicate, we’ve you have already identified some categories subtopics that we may be able to useyou can use to organize your research. We have:: • CommunicationTalking • ResearchInstant messaging (IM) and email • Sharing photographs MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 6 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • If we choose to discuss the internet within these smaller sub-topics (communication, research, and entertainment), we have narrowed down the research into a smaller, more accessible topic. But wait. How will we unify these three aspects of the internet? WeYou can talk about these three aspects under the umbrella of how the internethow we use cell phones in these three areasways to communicate, why we use them and since when. Can this be accessed in three to four pages? Yes. We have three sub topics to discuss under the larger umbrella of the internet’s transformation of these topics. Look at the following graphic to see how we narrowed the topic. Have a look at the following graph to see how you have narrowed your topic, defined your thesis and organized your research. Technology InternetCell Phones Uses of the internetCell Phone CommunicationTalki ng ResearchIM and Email EntertainmentSharing Photographs Keep in Mind…Conclusion MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 7 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • When you narrow downAs you can see, once you have chosen your a topic, you might initially choose a topic to write on that you might think it is narrow enough, but upon beginning your research, you find that it is too broad of a subject. That is fine and even normal. If you find yourself in this situation, just narrow down the topic further or you might even need to start over. The key part to this is recognizing the error before you go too far in your research that you end up wasting time by having to change topics.narrowed it, defined your thesis and organized your research into subtopics, it is much easier to write your research paper. Don’t worry if you need to choose a few topics before you find one with enough factual information and with a specific category that you can research. Be patient, follow the steps and learn the process first before you begin writing. Once you have learned how to map out your paper like you chart a road trip, you’ll be sure not to get lost mid-way through! Keep the length of the composition in mind when you are brainstorming a topic for a research paper. The more you think about your topic ahead of time, you will tremendously decrease your chances of having to change topics mid-research. So in this research paper, we will be writing about how the internet transformed the areas of communication, research, and entertainment. This actually gets us to our thesis of the research paper. A thesis is a sentence that states what you will write about within your research paper. It must be concise but still include everything you will discuss in the paper. The thesis for this research paper is: Since its creation, the internet has transformed the way millions of people world wide communicate, research, and entertain themselves. This one sentence notifies the reader about everything that will be discussed in your research paper. In order for your thesis to be accurate, all portions of it must be discussed and proven. AssessmentExercises Answer the following questions with the best possible answer.* Keep in mind that the research paper referred to is a three- to four- page paper. 1. Is the following topic suitable for a research paper? Why or why not? The positive effects of roller skating a. No, it is uninteresting. b. No, it is too broad. c. Yes, it is narrow enough. d. Yes, it is researchable. 2. Is the following topic suitable for a research paper? Why or why not? Fishing gear needed for deep-sea fishing MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 8 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    • a. No, it is too broad. b. No, it is too narrow. c. Yes, it is broad enough. d. Yes, it is narrow enough. 3. Which of the following would be the best topic for a research paper? a. The history of music b. Why rock and roll music is so popular c. The instruments the Beatles used d. The Beatles’ influence on The Beans 4. Is the following topic suitable for a research paper? Why or why not? The future of robotics a. No, it is not researchable. b. No, it is too broad. c. Yes, it is narrow enough. d. Yes, it is researchable 5. Which of the following would be the best topic for a research paper? a. Stage directions in Romeo and Juliet b. Shakespeare’s influence on the English language c. Mercutio’s bravery in the play Romeo and Juliet d. Why Romeo and Juliet continues to be such a popular play __________ *Answers appear on p. 88[Eds. Note: Cross-check reference] To conclude The research process will take several weeks to complete. Be patient with the process and allow yourself to finish each step completely. There are reasons for each step and they guide you to having a more finished product. The initial step is to limit your topic. In the case of this lesson, we limited the topic from technology to “how the internet transformed communication, research, and entertainment.” We were also able to write our thesis based on our narrowed topic. Keep in mind this process of narrowing your topic as you begin to your own research. MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE Page 9 7/19/2010 © 2006 OdysseyWare, Inc. All Rights Reserved