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  • 1. RESEARCH PAPER The Preliminary Stages CODE: WcU
  • 2. The Preliminary Stages
    • Identify a Topic
    • Create a Research Topic Question
    • Write a Thesis Statement
  • 3. Identify a Topic
    • The first step of writing a successful research paper is Identifying a Topic (*).
    • * Topic - a subject of conversation or discussion.
  • 4. Create a Research Topic Question
    • Elements of a Topic Question
      • A topic question asks a relevant and important question about the topic that is answered in an essay or research paper.
      • The topic question can be what other writers have already considered, but answered with a new spin.
        • Example :
          • Topic: Roe vs. Wade
          • Possible Topic Questions: (1) What are the negative/positive effects of the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling? (2) What effect would overturning the federal court's ruling have on teen pregnancy rates? (3) What effect did the decision have on its litigants?
  • 5. Create a Research Topic Question
    • Although these questions have been addressed by thousands of writers, there are still unexplored options.
    • The topic question can be formulated by the writer. When deciding to answer a question, be sure to explain why it is an important question.
      • Example:
        • Topic: Personal Finance
        • Possible Topic Questions: (1) What effect does bankruptcy have on pre-school children? (2) How does investing at a young age shape children's attitude about different jobs? (3) What effect does religion have on paying off debt?
  • 6. Think About the Type of Essay
    • When creating a research topic question, think about the type of essay being written.
    • The writer may identify a theory or a set of basic principles and use it to solve a problem.
      • Example: How can [a particular theory] explain [certain events]?
    • The writer may want to develop a new solution to explain a particular situation.
      • Example: What [new theory] explains [a situation]?
  • 7. Think About the Type of Essay
    • The writer may want to focus on the definition of a word or concept?
      • Example: How do I define [a particular word or concept]?
    • The writer may want to identify the cause of a specific event or the effects of a specific event.
      • Example: What was the [causes(s) or effect[s] of a [particular event]
    • The writer may want to explain the development of a specific event.
      • Example: How did [a particular event] develop?
  • 8. Create a Research Topic Question
    • Qualities of a Good Topic Question
      • A good topic question helps the writer focus.
      • A good topic question leads directly to the thesis statement.
      • A good topic question is open ended
      • A good topic question guides research.
  • 9. Evaluate the Topic Question
    • Make sure the topic question isn't too narrow as indicated by a lack of relevant materials pertaining to the topic.
    • A topic question can be broadened by relating it to broader issues.
    • Make sure the topic question isn't too broad. If the writer cannot answer the question in the space or time provided then the topic is most likely too broad.
    • Relating it to a more specific set of facts makes it more narrow.
    • Make sure the necessary resources are available. It doesn't make sense to research a topic with inferior resources.
  • 10. The Thesis Statement
    • Think of it as a “Road Map for Your Essay
    ESSAY Introduction Thesis Statement Body Paragraph #1 Body Paragraph #2 Body Paragraph #3
  • 11. Thesis Statement: Definition
    • A thesis statement is a complete sentence that contains one main idea. This idea controls the content of the entire essay. A thesis statement that contains sub points also helps a reader know how the essay will be organized. Look at the introductory paragraph on the following slide. See if you can identify the thesis statement and sub points .
  • 12. Thesis Statement Example
  • 13. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • states the main idea of the essay in a complete sentence, not in a question.
    • is usually at the end of an introduction.
    • states an opinion or attitude on a topic. It doesn’t just state the topic, itself.
    • often lists subtopics.
    • does not directly announce your main topic.
  • 14. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Main Idea in a Complete Sentence
      • Since the thesis statement is the main
      • statement for the entire essay, it should express
      • a complete thought and be a complete sentence .
      • The thesis statement is asserting an opinion or
      • idea, so it should not be a question. Look at the
      • examples in the following slide to see how they can
      • be made into thesis statements.
  • 15. Main Idea in a Complete Sentence
  • 16. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Location
      • Audiences like to know what an essay will
        • be about near the beginning of the essay
        • rather than at the end. This is why the
        • thesis statement is often found at the end
        • of the introductory paragraph .
  • 17. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • States an Opinion or Attitude
      • Good thesis statements often express a writer’s opinion or attitude on a particular topic. This makes the thesis statement more specific and requires the writer to explain or prove his/her opinion in the essay. Look at the examples in the following slide.
  • 18. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • States an Opinion or Attitude
  • 19. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Subtopics
      • You can make your thesis statement more
      • specific by including subtopics or
      • supporting ideas. By doing this, you give
      • your reader a clear idea of what will
      • follow in the body paragraphs of your
      • essay.
  • 20. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Subtopics
  • 21. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Don’t state the obvious
      • In thesis statements, you should avoid using statements like, “ This essay will discuss… ” or “ I’m going to write about… ”. Try to write a thesis statement that captures your reader’s attention without announcing your main topic and stating the obvious. Look at the example on the following slide.
  • 22. Thesis Statement: Key Features
    • Don’t state the obvious
  • 23. References
    • PowerPoint Presentation by Ruth Luman: Modesto Junior College.
    • This project incorporates portions of copyrighted works. These items are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the educational fair use guidelines. They are restricted from further use.
    • http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/21510.aspx