Choosing a Topic 1. What subject(s) are you interested in? 2. What interests you most about a particular subject? 3. Is there anything you wonder about or are puzzled about with regard to that subject?
Narrowing Topics• Once you have a topic, you will probably need to narrow it down to something more manageable.• Too general: Ancient Egypt.• Revised: The building of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt.
Free writing• Brainstorming is a useful way to let ideas you didnt know you had come to the surface.• 1. Sit down with a pencil and paper, or at your computer, and write whatever comes into your head about your topic. 2. Keep writing for a short but specific amount of time, say 3–5 minutes. Dont stop to change what youve written or to correct spelling or grammar errors. 3. After a few minutes, read through what youve written. You will probably throw out most of it, but some of what youve written may give you an idea that can be developed. 4. Do some more brainstorming and see what else you can come up with.
Freewrite example• In A and P Sammy was rude but in the end he tried to do good by standing up for the girls in his story. He didn’t seem like a hero throughout the story but his actions spoke louder than words. In Gift of the Magi we also saw people doing good. Again they did not do good for themselves but for others. This shows the reader that sometimes people end up helping themselves because they help other people.• Read your free write to pick your subject.Subject: Examine the motives behind kind acts in the shortstories “Gift of the Magi” and “A&P”
Topic• I have provided a list if you are struggling with a research topic.• Choose one provided, or create your own.• You must have one chosen by the end of class.
Finding Sources• In a research paper, you must use sources other than your own thoughts.• We will visit the library to learn how to use databases.• From these data bases, you will print 3 articles to help you with your writing.
Introductions • Contains background information on your topic • Use an introductory strategy • Broad at beginning • Narrows to thesis at end • 1-2 paragraphs
Thesis Statements• Write one or two sentences that will go into the first paragraph which tell what the writer wants the reader to know, think or do based on the information in the paper.• Thesis• A thesis statement indicates what the topic is, how you view the subject, and how you have organized your Research Paper. A thesis statement can also called an "argument," a "main idea," or a "controlling idea."• Before you can effectively address a topic, you must collect and organize evidence, explore possible relationships between known facts, and assess the significance of these relationships. Therefore, the thesis statement is likely to change while you do the research, from a preliminary thesis statement, to the final form as it appears in the finished Research Paper.•
Example assignment:• Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War.• While developing a thesis, ask yourself theses questions:• "Do I fully explain the topic?"• "Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose?"• "Does my thesis pass the So What? test?"•
Example thesis statements:• The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.• While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.• While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own rights to property and self-government.
Other examples:• “Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twains novel Huckleberry Finn.“• Mark Twains Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.• In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.• Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twains Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave "civilized" society and go back to nature