Writing The Research Paper A Handbook (7th ed) - Ch 6 doing the research


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Writing The Research Paper Winker - Ch 6 doing the research
Winkler McCuen-Metherell
Seventh Edition

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Writing The Research Paper A Handbook (7th ed) - Ch 6 doing the research

  1. 1. 6 Doing the Research
  2. 2. What Information to Look For • The kind of material you need to look for depends on your topic, thesis, and point of view • Can be: essays, book chapters, magazines, newspapers, journal articles, pamphlets • At the beginning of the search: aim is to find sources • By the end: agree with some sources, not others, evaluating their relevance and scholarly worth • 3 Broad categories of research: • Single-fact information • General information • In-depth information
  3. 3. What Information to Look For • Single-fact information: • Answers specific factual questions • What year was Barack Obama born? • Who assassinated Julius Caesar? • How many cantons does Switzerland have? • Answers can be found in dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, magazines, or ask the reference librarian
  4. 4. What Information to Look For • General information: • Provides an overview of a subject or a particular topic • Example: Zionism – movement to create a Jewish national state in Palestine - Columbia Encyclopedia a good source • When did the movement start? • What brought it about? • Who were the leaders? • Encyclopedias and other general-information reference sources are found in a library reference room/section/online databases
  5. 5. What Information to Look For • In-depth Information: • Found in several sources that cover the topic in detail • Mainly found in books, but articles and essays can also be useful • Research Papers generally blend all three kinds of information • Single-fact information • General information • In-depth information
  6. 6. Where to Look for Information • Today, most libraries are electronic • Various databases (ask librarian) • Look up your topic in an online encyclopedia • Check Library of Congress online catalogue for books on your subject (catalog.loc.gov) • Appendix B of text book has useful reference sources • Search topic in internet search engine (Google) • Check bibliography at the end of the encyclopedia articles • Computerized library catalogue • Check Book Review Digest • Check Who’s Who for information on noteworthy people
  7. 7. Where to Look for Information • General Indexes • General index catalogue information published in magazines, newspapers, and journals • Up to date information can be found in recently published magazines like: • Time U.S. News and World Report • National Geographic Harper’s • Psychology Today Newsweek • Or found in recently published newspapers like: • New York Times Washington Post • Wall Street Journal Atlanta Constitution • Scientific American
  8. 8. Where to Look for Information • General Indexes • Stored and presented electronically in a database • Typical electronic entry: • Readers Guide to Periodical Literature (See Text pg. 72) • http://www.ebscohost.com/academic/readers-guide-to-periodical-literature • Many online databases index only recently published materials • New York Times Index (Archives) http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/nytarchive.html • 1851–present
  9. 9. Where to Look for Information • Specialized Indexes • Catalogues information on specific subject • Social Sciences Index http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/ • Humanities Index http://www.ebscohost.com/public/humanities-international-index • Education Index • Art Index • Art Abstracts http://www.ebscohost.com/academic/art-abstracts • Psychological Abstracts
  10. 10. Where to Look for Information • Using Interviews and Surveys • Interviews with experts found on campus can be an important source of information on every topic • Often overlooked as a source • An expert is someone who is acknowledged as an authority in a particular subject or has unique experience (ex. Air crash survivor) • Ask for their CV (curriculum vitae) to establish their credentials/legitimacy • Surveys – can also add another dimension to your paper (not all papers need a survey)
  11. 11. Where to Look for Information • Corresponding by Email • Can email an expert to ask questions • Identify yourself, and the research project and ask specific questions • Read Example email, pg. 76
  12. 12. Where to Look for Information • Attending lectures, concerts, art exhibits • Famous lecturer, artist, musician may pass through your city/campus • Attend performance of musician – take notes on themes and stories • Lecturer – try to obtain copy of lecture beforehand • Art Exhibit – take notes, obtain brochure about artist • Make a bibliographic card for accurate citation
  13. 13. Assembling a Working Bibliography • Bibliography - a list of sources on the research topic • Working Bibliography – sources you consulted for information • Final Bibliography – is an alphabetical list of the sources you actually used in the paper • Bibliography Card – write down promising sources on 3” X 5” card Review example text Pg. 77 • Contains information about source and notes on why they may be useful • Not necessary to used card format
  14. 14. Assembling a Working Bibliography • Bibliography Card – reasons to use: • Know where bibliographic references are located • Can shuffle the cards to put citations in order you like • Less likely to lose • Easy to use and convenient • Two Kinds of Cards: • Title on smaller bibliography card • Notes from the sources on the larger card
  15. 15. Assembling a Working Bibliography • Bibliography Card Process • Record each source in ink on a separate 3” X 5” card • Use same format as you will later use in Final Bibliography • List the following basic information on each card: • Name of Author • Title of Work • Facts of Publication • Page(s) of Information • Upper right-hand corner: write name of library, or where source found • Upper left-hand corner: cite library call number of source or full URL • Will have more sources in working bibliography than in final bibliography (as expected)
  16. 16. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Seldom have time to read every book or article written about subject • Skim the source to determine usefulness • Check if source appears to be dated, irrelevent or otherwise useless • Keep bibliography card for future reference
  17. 17. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Skimming: • Glance at the preface (author states what book is about) • Look at the subject in the index of book regarding how much information there is on your topic • Read the chapter headings – subject headings also useful • Read the first and last two sentences in a paragraph to find information contained – main idea • Glance at opening paragraph of an article, essay or book chapter – thesis is often stated in first paragraph or two • Glance at concluding paragraphs in an article, essay or book chapter – sums up discussion and restates major ideas. • Run eye down page, reading every fourth or fifth sentence to get idea of material content
  18. 18. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Primary and secondary sources (should use both) • Primary Sources – original writing by an author, documents, artifacts, laboratory experiments, or other data that provide firsthand information • Secondary Sources – writings, speeches, and other documents about a primary source • Examples: • Opinions of critics are important secondary source • Experiment is a primary source • Commentary on experiment is secondary source
  19. 19. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Evaluating sources • All sources are not created equal • Quality of scholarship, useful, accurate? Silly? Misleading? Hoax? • Choose sources that cover your subject in-depth • Recognize the point of view (opinion) in sources • Verify one opinion against another (authors often comment on the work of their peers) – look for consensus of expert opinion • Note the date of the evidence – natural and social sciences change rapidly; put greatest importance on most recent data • Journals tend to more accurate/ up-to-date than magazines
  20. 20. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Evaluating sources - continued • Exercise your editorial judgment • Evaluate logic and authenticity of source – look for contradictions/ errors • Check your evaluations against those of professionals • Literary critics (ex. Review Digest), • Check credentials of critics (Who’s who) • Beware of statistics • Questions the credibility of any source that cites statistics • Often used carelessly, exaggerated
  21. 21. Selecting Your Sources: Skimming • Reliable statistics: • General Statistics  World Almanac, Current Index to Statistics • Statists about the United States  Statistics Abstract of the United States • World Statistics  United Nations Demographic Yearbook, UNESCO • Public Opinion Polls  Gallup Poll, Public Opinion Poll Online • Census Statistics (U.S.)  U.S. Census Bureau • Other National Statistics Agencies
  22. 22. Note-Taking • Note-Taking: • Eventually turn the information found into notes • Many students use computers to take/edit notes • Text recommends using 4” x 6” note cards, which can be added/deleted/reshuffled • A research paper should contain a variety of material taken from different sources / as well as your conclusions
  23. 23. Note-Taking • Choosing the number of notes: • How much of paper should consist of original writing vs. drawn from sources? • No exact rule – ideally should consist of information from sources blended with your own commentary and interpretation • Say what you think, what evidence, other opinions exists to support your opinions, why those of a different opinion are probably wrong
  24. 24. Note-Taking • Formatting the note cards: • Use 4” X 6” cards for note-taking. These are large enough to accommodate fairly long notes (not like smaller bibliography cards). • Write in ink rather than pencils, so cards can be shuffled without blurring • Write one idea or quotation on each cards (staple two together if necessary) • Identify the source in upper left-hand corner of the card (bibliography card already lists complete source information) • General heading on upper right-hand corner (pencil so it can be changed)
  25. 25. Note-Taking • Using the computer to take notes: • Can print out material and highlight passages • Keep electronic sources on computer organizing by folders/files and copy/paste • Number each note sequentially • Identify page/bibliography information if not using bibliography cards
  26. 26. Note-Taking • Using a copy machine/camera to take notes • Can photocopy/scan pages from books or magazines • Now, can just take a picture with phone 1. Always write down/record details about the source on the top of the page immediately after scanning/taking picture • Take picture of pages that include necessary bibliographic information 1. Be neat with organizing copies/photos/scans of pages
  27. 27. Note-Taking • Kind of Notes - Notes must blend into body of your paper to support thesis • 4 Kinds of Notes: a. The Summary – condensation of significant facts from an original piece of writing • Chapter condenses into a page, a page into a paragraph • Read text pg. 85 Figure 6-5 b. The Paraphrase – restates a passage in approximately the same number of words as original, using syntax/vocab of paraphraser • Read text pg. 85 Fig 6-5 • Achieves two purposes: 1. Shows you have mastered the material well enough to be able to rephrase it 2. Gives your paper an even, consistent style in your own words
  28. 28. Note-Taking • 4 Kinds of Notes, cont’d: c. The Quotation – reproduces an author’s words exactly as they were spoken or written • Justified when evoking authority of writer, original material is very well expressed/splendid • Rule of Thumb: quoted material should be no more than 10% of paper • Quotation Rules: • Read text, pg, 86, Fig 6-7 • Put Quotation Marks around the quotation • Introduce the quotation or place it in proper context • Copy quotations exactly as they are written • Sometimes a summary or paraphrase is combined with a quotation • Read text, pg, 87, Fig 6-8
  29. 29. Note-Taking • 4 Kinds of Notes, cont’d: d. The Personal Comment – are ideas, conjectures, or conclusions that occur to you during the research • Notes generally are used to: • explain fuzzy statement • stress a particular point • draw a conclusion • clarify an issue • identify an inconsistency • introduce a new idea • Read text, pg, 87, Fig 6-9
  30. 30. Plagiarism and How to Avoid It • Plagiarism - the act of passing off another’s words and ideas as your own • Everyone plagiarizes in daily life, ex. proverbs, language • Blatant Plagiarism involves deliberately stealing from someone else’s words and ideas, generally with motive of undeserved reward • Ex. Student copying a friend’s paper • Ex. Student steals an idea from a book, rewords it, and passes off as original thought • Plagiarism can be grounds for dismissal or expulsion from a class, school or job
  31. 31. Plagiarism and How to Avoid It • Conventions of writing research paper - must acknowledge the source of any idea or statement not truly your own • Made a note specifying the source, author or material • All summaries, paraphrases, or quotations must be documented • Only personal comments can remain undocumented • Summary: • Provide a note for any idea borrowed from another • Place quoted material in quotation marks • Provide a bibliography entry at the end of the paper for every source used in the text or in a note • Not necessary to document common knowledge
  32. 32. Plagiarism and How to Avoid It • The following must be accompanied by citation specifying author and source: • Any idea derived from a known source • Any fact or data borrowed from the work of another • Any clever expression that is taken from someone else • Any information that is paraphrased, or summarized, and used in research paper • Applies to both printed and electronic sources • Read text examples, pgs. 89-90