Research Paper Know-How
A common assignment in many colleges and universities is the research paper. This is usually a project assigned early in the term with a lot of time to complete. This means that it is expected that the product will be exact and in-depth.
The student will choose from a wide-range of topics related to the course of study. After some initial research, the student will narrow the field until finally isolating a definite research question.
Having pinpointed the precise question, the student then gathers primary and subordinate references to answer the question. The case is then presented in a well-defined, original paper with supporting quotes.
Sure, it sounds easy when you put it that way, but how do you actually do it? Below are listed some guidelines to assist in the creation of a proper research paper.
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Once you have written a research paper or two you will have learned the skills that will take you through the rest of your life. The process of learning continues well past college. The formula for writing a research paper is the same formula you will need to answer deep questions about every aspect of your life. Taking a broad topic and narrowing it down to a single focus until you find the real question you want answered. Then finding out, through study, where to get those answers.
The presentation of your paper will prepare you for the work world as you have to convince people, through evidence, that your theory is correct. You will provide arguments for the naysayers. And you will learn the skill of standing up for what you found to be true.
Research Papers: The Five Things You Need to Know
If you are interested in writingan excellent research paper there are a few things you need to know. Do not expect to do a half-assed job and get a good mark. If you want top marks you have to put in a little extra effort and do a few straightforward things. You would be surprised how many people don’t do half of these steps and expect good results.
1. Do some related research on your topic. Refer to the instructor for clarification and to narrow down a focus.
A great way to find a general topic is to search your life. What are the things that are important to you? Do you have a condition that makes you different from other people that not too many know about? Are you from a place that not everyone has heard of, even in this day and age? Finding a topic that is close to your heart is a great way to start your research. Now you are interested and you will be more invested in your work. See what other people have written about your topic. You are starting to get a focus. Now is a good time to speak to the instructor about your topic idea. She may be able to send you in a specific direction. Don’t assume that just because you know about something that everyone else knows about it too. Stay away from the rehashed topics of students past. Find your own path.
2. Define your research question.
The main thing you want your question to contain is the word “How” or “Why.” In a social sciences course you will have plenty to choose from. If you are relating this to something in your own life, you can look at it from a macro point of view. If the thing you are writing about is alcoholism, you may ask “Why is alcohol so prevalent in First Nation Communities?” or “How did alcohol come to North America?” You could ask a question about prohibition, or smuggling of alcohol. The topics are endless.
If you are interested in politics and you are particularly upset about a recent election you could ask “How did the democratic government lose the last election?” or “Why is America providing relief to other countries when it is in a deficit.”
The topics are endless. It is a matter of identifying something that matters to you. Think about what you are talking about with your friends. Think about what you are reading in the newspapers. Think of a problem you had as a child and the children who still have that problem.
Put a “Who” or a “How” in front of those thoughts and you have a research question.
People working in the social sciences ask these questions every day. They demand an argument. You won’t find an argument in a “What” question, but you may find a “When” or a “What” in the introduction of a “How” or “Why” research paper.
3. Doing primary research.
Remember that reading a reference book is a secondary or subordinate resource. If you want to get to a primary resource you are going to have to talk to people, read newspapers and make some phone calls. Maybe it won’t be as exciting as in the movies, but it is pretty good. It is a different kind of writing than paraphrasing an encyclopedia.
In our alcohol in the First Nation communities’ example, above, you could easily go to a band office and talk to a counselor there who deals with the effects of alcoholism in their community every day.
Find out which states were the first to introduce prohibition and find the archives of their newspapers.
If government is your topic call your representative and set up an interview.
The definition of primary source is the actual source of the information. You want to get as close as you can. Ask people, read periodicals, get names, send e-mails and make phone calls. You want to make your argument using actual data from actual sources.
4. Make an argument.
As discussed earlier, regurgitating stuff from the encyclopedia is not acceptable.
You have to use the information you get from all your sources to make your argument. The facts have to answer the question. You want to make your argument as close as you can to
Author: Leslye Walton
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
I’m a sucker for a good title. Who amongst us isn’t? In the wumbunculus sea of books that are out there and available to read, I don’t really have the time to hone the art of browsing through my local bookstore/library in the hopes of whatever I lay my hands on will be worth my time. It’s unfortunate, I know. But I think that’s one of those things that falls under the “things you sacrifice when you’re a busy adult” category. Sigh.
When I came across this title, this magically intriguing string of words, I was hooked. Not only that, but the delicate feather that graces the cover adds a lot as well. Judging by the cover alone (which is sometimes necessary, I don’t care what the naysayers say), this book speaks of magic, heartache, and brilliantly concocted words.
Just say the title to yourself: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. My, my. Surely, a good story must follow. The title demands no less.
There are a few things that hit me as I started this story. The way the words weaved together was one. The story itself came sneaking by in a close second.
To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of love's long lost. But I knew the truth deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl.
A mysterious tale unfolds in which we learn about the mysterious Ava Lavender, her equally mysterious family, her heritage, and how she came to be.
To her, she is just a girl. But to those around her, she is a girl born with wings. Wings that cannot be severed, that are irrevocably attached to her muscular, skeletal, and circulatory systems. Puzzled as to why she is born with such a strange gift, Ava decides to research her family tree in the hopes of discovering who she is and where she came from.
This is a book about heartache. Heartache that extends through generations of women, namely Ava's mother ,Viviane, and her grandmother, Emilienne, who watch as their families disintegrate, get spurned by those they considered true loves, and how they cling to the past with a fierceness that disables them from living properly. All this is transferred to Ava.
The family is strange, to be sure. But there is no strangeness to their sorrows. Rather, a common theme, a connection, can be felt throughout each character of the book. Walton employs a neat writing technique in that she re-uses certain sentences, tying them to different characters to bind them together in a shared experience.
Overall, the book was a wonderful read. The writing is fairytale-esque and beautiful, the story is appropriately sad, but word to the wise: it is best to make sure you have a buddy close by after you finish because you will not want to be alone after reading this book.
So why the 3 star rating? While I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, there were a couple hiccups that I do not want to ignore. The first one is minor. In the prologue, Walton sets up the story of Ava Lavender by declaring that Ava spent a weekend in her local library researching her family tree. I am assuming she also talked to various family members to piece everything together. She adds in the caveat, I will be the first to admit that certain facts may have been omitted, long forgotten over time by myself or by other involved parties. Fair enough.
Were supposed to gather that through this research and through talking to family, she pieces together her family's history. A history which makes up the book. However, by the time I finished the book, the mention of her doing research at the library really tore me away from the story. I did not feel that the idea for the story needed a reason so specific. It robbed the rest of the story from its fairytale feel and I think the story would have flowed just fine without it. It is a nit picky thing, I know, but I can't stop thinking about it.
My only other issue, and some might call this a big one, is Walton's use of first person POV. The story is told by Ava, but towards the end of the book, she somehow knows what other characters are doing when she is not around. She knows their thoughts and intentions and feelings. Maybe she got the information later, which could be the case. But for a certain character, who I will not say because that would spoil some things, that is just not possible. Luckily, the story kept me going so it did not bother me too much, and maybe someone can shed light on why she did that, but I could see readers getting turned off by it.
That said, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is definitely worth your time. There is enough distance between the world Walton has created and the one we live in to feel a growing sense of magic, but it is also grounded in the everyday so that we do not feel too far removed from our surroundings.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and what is more important I hope you learned something from it. If you did, please share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. I love reading you you have to say, because reading your comments helps me to improve my blog! Thank you!
This is a book I’ve been waiting to read for a long time, and imagine my delight when I found it in my This is a book I’ve been waiting to read for a long time, and imagine my delight when I found it in my library’s audiobook archive.
I downloaded immediately and I was completely engrossed in the rich futuristic world of New Beijing and the human, cyborg, android, and Lunar characters that populate it.
WRITING 5/5 wings
Very descriptive. Each sentence painted a picture in my mind, and it was a great book to experience via narration, as I felt I was more involved in the world than if I had simply read it with my own eyes.
PLOT: 4.5 wings
Everything happens for a purpose, and you can feel the constructed-ness of the plot as you’re listening/reading. Not one event is meaningless. Every sentence, every word has its place. You really fall into the world, because there’s so much detail. And really, when you’re creating a futuristic world and you want it to be believable, it’s all about the details.
Even though you can predict a lot of the plot twists, it doesn’t matter it’s all about the journey with this story. And that’s saying something, when you can not be bothered with nitpicking any other part, when nothing else bothered you. Listening to this book was like soaking in a warm tub.
CHARACTERS: 4.5 wings
Every character was unique. The narrator of the book also did a good job distinguishing between one character and another. I felt like they were real people. They were real people with real problems. Having great characters like the ones in Cinder is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s the characters, the world-building, and the story and the way that it’s told that brings it all together. Like I said above, some of the plot twists and character paths were somewhat predictable, but I very much enjoyed the ride.
OVERALL 5/5 wings
Totally amazing. Loved it SO MUCH and I can’t wait to read the sequel. Completely absorbing.