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Writing Research Papers - The Steps
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Writing Research Papers - The Steps


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  • 1. Research Papers: The Steps Writing for Anthropology
  • 2. Linear or Recursive? • Think of writing as a linear process (it keeps you on track) • Do the actual writing recursively
  • 3. Clarify What to Do • Choose a topic (and a backup topic) • Are you interested in the topic? • Will learning about the topic help you in the course (e.g., final exam)? • Will learning about the topic help you in future courses? • Will learning about the topic help you in your career? • Is your audience interested in the topic? (Ask!) • Has your professor approved the topic?
  • 4. Clarify What to Do • Do exploratory reading to see how your topic is being dealt with in the literature; focus your topic. • Write a one-paragraph proposal of what you will do, make a working or temporary outline of some sort • A research proposal paragraph should include four things: • The principle purpose of the paper (to explain? to argue? to explore?) • The intended audience • Your voice as the writer (What image of yourself do you want to create: advocate, critic, etc?) • A working thesis statement or a research question
  • 5. Gather Data • Create a working bibliography or list of resources • Gather all resources available to you • Is there enough information available to you on your topic?
  • 6. Locate, Examine, Read, and Record Sources • Locate sources • Read quickly to find the best sources • Read and take notes • Optional: Conduct original research (e.g. interviews)
  • 7. Organize for Writing • Re-evaluate your notes and select those most relevant • Optional: Write the research paper in 30 min. (a mini version) • Turn the working thesis into a carefully worded thesis statement • Turn the working outline into a formal outline which grows out of the thesis statement • Gather more information on any sections that are too weak
  • 8. Write • Write a rough draft • Revise: Make any major changes in areas such as ideas and organization • Edit: Check citations, bibliography, and format, as well as spelling, grammar, and sentence structure
  • 9. Copyright 2000-2008 by University of Northern British Columbia, Learning Skills Center, Michel Bouchard, and Alex Oehler