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April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 1How to writeA Research Paper
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 2 Writing a Thesis Statement• A thesis statement is a sentence or sentences that express the main ideas of your paper and answer the question or questions posed by your paper. It offers your readers a quick and easy to follow summary of what the paper will be discussing and what you as a writer are setting out to tell them. The kind of thesis that your paper will have will depend on the purpose of your writing. This handout will cover general thesis statement tips, explain some of the different types of thesis statements, and provide some links to other resources about writing thesis statements.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 3 General Thesis Statement Tips• A thesis statement generally consists of two parts: your topic, and then the analysis, explanation(s), or assertion(s) that youre making about the topic. The kind of thesis statement you write will depend on what kind of paper youre writing.• In some kinds of writing, such as narratives or descriptions, a thesis statement is less important, but you may still want to provide some kind of statement in your first paragraph that helps to guide your reader through your paper.• A thesis statement is a very specific statement -- it should cover only what you want to discuss in your paper, and be supported with specific evidence. The scope of your paper will be determined by the length of your paper and any other requirements that might be in place.• Generally, a thesis statement appears at the end of the first paragraph of an essay, so that readers will have a clear idea of what to expect as they read.• You can think of your thesis as a map or a guide both for yourself and your audience, so it might be helpful to draw a chart or picture of your ideas and how theyre connected to help you get started.• As you write and revise your paper, its okay to change your thesis statement -- sometimes you dont discover what you really want to say about a topic until youve started (or finished) writing! Just make sure that your "final" thesis statement accurately shows what will happen in your paper.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 4 Expository (Explanatory) Thesis Statements In an expository paper, you are explaining something to your audience. An expository thesis statement will tell your audience:• what you are going to explain to them• the categories you are using to organize your explanation• the order in which you will be presenting your categories Example: The lifestyles of barn owls include hunting for insects and animals, building nests, and raising their young. A reader who encountered that thesis would expect the paper to explain how barn owls hunt for insects, build nests, and raise young. Questions to ask yourself when writing an expository thesis statement:• What am I trying to explain?• How can I categorize my explanation into different parts?• In what order should I present the different parts of my explanation?
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 5 Argumentative Thesis Statements In an argumentative paper, you are making a claim about a topic and justifying this claim with reasons and evidence. This claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. However, this claim must be a statement that people could possibly disagree with, because the goal of your paper is to convince your audience that your claim is true based on your presentation of your reasons and evidence. An argumentative thesis statement will tell your audience:• your claim or assertion• the reasons/evidence that support this claim• the order in which you will be presenting your reasons and evidence Example: Barn owls nests should not be eliminated from barns because barn owls help farmers by eliminating insect and rodent pests. A reader who encountered this thesis would expect to be presented with an argument and evidence that farmers should not get rid of barn owls when they find them nesting in their barns. Questions to ask yourself when writing an argumentative thesis statement:• What is my claim or assertion?• What are the reasons I have to support my claim or assertion?• In what order should I present my reasons?
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 6 What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement . . .• Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.• Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.• Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper.• Is generally located near the end of the introduction; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.• Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 7 Introduction The introduction has a "hook or grabber" to catch the readers attention. Some "grabbers" include:2. Opening with an unusual detail3. Opening with a strong statement4. Opening with a Quotation5. Opening with an Anecdote: An anecdote can provide an amusing and attention-getting opening if it is short and to the point.6. Opening with a Statistic or Fact: Sometimes a statistic or fact will add emphasis or interest to your topic. It may be wise to include the items authoritative source.7. Opening with a Question8. Opening with an Exaggeration or Outrageous Statement The introduction should also include a thesis or focus statement. The three objectives of a thesis statement are:• It tells the reader the specific topic of your essay.• It imposes manageable limits on that topic.• It suggests the organization of your paper. Through the thesis, you tell the reader that you have thought about the topic and you know what you believe and how to organize it."
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 8 GUIDE TO PREPARING BIBLIOGRAPHY / WORKS CITED When doing research and writing a report, it is always necessary to name the source(s) of your information. This list of sources is called a bibliography / works cited. A bibliography should be listed alphabetically. The second line of an entry should be indented. Skip a line after each entry.• FOR A BOOK: Author’s last name, first name. Title of book. Place of publication: Publisher, copyright year. example: Fogle, Bruce. Training Your Dog. New York: DK Publishing, 2001. If you only used part of a book: Fogle, Bruce. Training Your Dog. New York: DK Publishing, 2001, pp. 50-55• FOR AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLE THAT IS SIGNED: Article author’s last name, first name. "Title of article." Name of encyclopedia. Copyright year. Volume number, page(s). example: Clark, William W. "Gothic Art." World Book Encyclopedia. 2004. Volume 8, pp. 277-278.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 9• FOR AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLE THAT ISN’T SIGNED: "Title of article." Name of encyclopedia. Copyright year. Volume number, page(s). example: "Golden Retriever." World Book Encyclopedia. 2003. Volume 8, p.255• FOR A MAGAZINE OR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: Article author’s last name, first name. "Title or headline of article." Name of magazine or newspaper. Date of magazine or newspaper, page(s). example: McGill, Kristy. "A Baltic Scramble." Faces. May, 2003, p. 27• FOR AN INTERNET ADDRESS: Author’s last name, first name. "Title of item." [Online] Available http://address/filename, date of document or download. example: DiStefano, Vince. "Guidelines for Better Writing." [Online] Available http://www.usa.net/~vinced/home/better-writing.html, October 5, 2004. This example of how to cite an INTERNET source was downloaded from this online source.• FOR A CD-ROM: "Article title." CD-ROM title. CD-ROM. Copyright date. example: "Titanic Disaster." Encarta 99 Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 1999 Your finished bibliography should be alphabetized by the first word of the entry
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 10 Body Paragraphs for the Research Paper• Your body paragraphs are perhaps the most important part of your paper; without them your thesis is meaningless and your research question remains an unanswered question.• The number of paragraphs you have will entirely depend on the length of your paper and the complexity of each subtopic. However, after you have begun to double space your prose, there should be a new paragraph somewhere on each page; a page without an indent is usually a signal that a paragraph somewhere is running too long.• The three most important features of a paragraph (and unfortunately the most common errors as well) are unity, coherence, and adequate development.• Unity is the development of a single controlling idea usually presented in the topic sentence. Each sentence should somehow develop that idea and no other. During revision, youll see whether there isnt a better spot for it or if it ought to be scrapped.• Coherence is a quality where the writer makes it explicitly clear what the connections are between thoughts. In Latin, coherence basically means "to stick together." Make things stick together for your readers. Your work has to reveal to the reader exactly what you mean.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 11• Repeat key words. Using synonyms may be great for creative writing but in research papers, key words are markers• Use pronouns for important nouns. Of course, you cant always be saying the same words over and over again so luckily the English language has a device called the pronoun to refer back to the same word.• Use demonstratives. "This . . . ," "that," or " . . . these " are great ways to, again, point back to a previous sentence.• Establish some logical order to the sentences in your paragraph such as cause to effect, or general to particular.• Use transitional words. Transitional words like "therefore," "moreover," "however," arent just great links between paragraphs but also signal the type of relationship one sentence has to another.
April 2012 - Gr. 11 & 12, English – Research Paper – Slide 12 Adequate development is what it sounds like: fulfill what you promise in your topic sentence. If you say you will discuss several unusual items found in drugstores, then discuss several. Integrating sources into your body paragraphs is hard work but rewarding if done well.• Use your sources as support for your insights, not as the backbone of your paper. A patchwork of sources stuck in a paper like random letters in a ransom note does not a research paper make.• Summarize (condense a text by stating the main ideas in your own words) and paraphrase (say the same thing in a different way) much more often than you use direct quotes (same words as the original, in quotation marks).• Dont use direct quotes as fillers but because the author says something so aptly or dramatically that a paraphrase would lose that power.• If do you use a direct quote, the explanation should be twice as long as the quote. Even summaries and paraphrases dont become your own thoughts just because theyre in your own words. You have to explain them too. Readers have to know why you include source material where you do.• If multiple sources say the same thing, summarize what they say and put a few key names in brackets at the end of the sentence. This can both add credibility and reduce space!• Dont summarize plots of primary sources. Assume your audience has read the work. Only explain as much as you need to establish context for an example.