How To Write A Good Research Paper
Research paper presents and argues a thesis, the writer’s proposition or opinion.
It is an analytical or persuasive essay that evaluates a position. As such, a research paper tries to convince readers that the writer’s argument is valid or at least deserves serious consideration.
As a result, a research paper requires the writer to be creative in using facts, details, examples, and opinions to support a point. The writer has to be original and inventive in deciding which facts best support the thesis and which ones are superfluous.
When you write a research paper, you have to read what authorities have written about the topic and then write an essay in which you draw your own conclusions about the topic.
Since your thesis is fresh and original, you can’t merely summarize what someone else has written. Instead, you have to synthesize information from many different sources to create something that is your own.
A term paper, in contrast, is a collection of facts. It does not argue a point;
it does not try to persuade readers to think or act a certain way. Since a term paper is a summary of information from one or more sources, you are merely reporting what others have said. This is not to say that a term paper doesn’t have many valid uses. For example, it is very helpful for people who need a great deal of data in a condensed, easy to read form. Government workers are often asked to prepare term papers with information on weather, transportation, economics, and so forth.
What Are the Qualities of a Good Research Paper?
No matter what its topic or length, an effective research paper meets the following ten criteria:
1. The paper has a clear thesis.
2. The writer shows a strong understanding of the topic and source material used.
3. There is evidence that the writer has read widely on the topic, including the recognized authorities in the field.
4. The paper acknowledges the opposition but shows why the point being argued is more valid.
5. The points are organized in a clear and logical way.
6. Each point is supported by solid, persuasive facts and examples.
7. Every outside source is carefully documented.
8. All supporting material can be verified.
9. The paper follows the standard conventions of the genre, including the use of correct documentation and a Works Cited page.
10. The paper uses standard written English. This is the level of diction and usage expected of educated people in high schools, colleges, universities, and work setting.
APA (American Psychological Assoc.)
Rozakis, L. (1999). Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
MLA (Modern Language Assoc.)
Rozakis, Laurie. Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers. McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999. Schaum’s Quick Guide Series. EBSCOhost.
Organize your paper into sections with headings. For a term paper the sections might be:
Main point #1
Main point #2
Main point #3
(Figures – if not embedded in text)
• Length (7 pages).
• Make sure that when you turn in your paper, you have read through it in its final form. This may prove difficult to do after the many editing sessions that you have already enjoyed with it. It is often very helpful to have a friend read it through as well as this lends a fresh perspective.
• Please double-space all your text. That way it is much easier for the instructor to annotate your work.
• Use 1” margins all round. Use 12 pt font. (or 14 font with 1.5 space).Number your pages.
• The final copy should be clean and neat.
• Try to write in the third person whenever possible. For the most part you will be presenting facts. Although, for debate papers you will be arguing a certain point of view and it may therefore be appropriate to use “I” now and then, avoid repeated use of the first person.
• Avoid clichés. (“the bottom line”, “at the end of the day”, “all in all” etc.)
• Avoid slang and informal terms of expression. (“Well, …”, “It was like, we went…”)
• Avoid rhetoric. (“How should I interpret these results?”, “I asked myself – What do people think about global warming?”)
• When you use equations in your paper, make sure that every symbol in the equation is explained. Number equations sequentially for easy referencing.
Grammar and spelling
• Don’t rely on the spelling checker to find all your spelling errors. You must also read through you document to check that “their”, “there” and “they’re”, for example, are correctly used.
• Read and re-read your manuscript. Edit it more than once or twice. Avoid the repetitious use of the same word in a sentence or a paragraph. Edit away all redundancies. I do not want to read the same information over and over again, simply expressed in a slightly different way each time. Remove unnecessary words. Be clear and succinct.
• Cite articles by author(s) and year within your text. If there is a single author, the last name and year will suffice – e.g. (Hutchinson, 1995). If there are two authors, include both names and the year of the publication – e.g. (Hutchinson and Osborne, 1978). For more than two authors, use the first author with et al. – e.g. (Hutchinson et al., 1984).
• Include the list of references at the end of your paper. Do not include references you have read but not cited. List the references alphabetically by the first author’s last name.
Apply Semiotics (class terms):
The Saussurean model
– Signified concept
– The relational system
The Peircean model
– symbolic mode
– iconic mode
– indexical mode
– denotation and connotation
-intertextuality – intratextuality
(The book “The Basic Semiotics” is uploaded on Moodle).
Apply Ethical Theories: ( 3 main mega theories and 3-4 Subtheories out of 12. The book “Controversies in Media Ethics, Chapter 1 is uploaded on OSPACE).
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