The research paper is an essential part of college education. From it, you learn the basic
research skills that you will need for gathering information and writing papers in a variety
of courses as well as methods used for life-long learning, on the job and off. In nearly
every job, you will be asked to write reports and document your work. The research
paper is an exercise that will help you develop these skills.
Research is a hands-on experience in locating and processing new information, a process
that has become increasingly complex and involved with the explosion of electronic
sources in the last few years. The purpose of research is not to present a collection of
quotations that show how you can report what others have said but rather to analyze,
evaluate and synthesize the issues you research and take ownership of the newly-found
knowledge which will inform and support your opinions. The latter is a mark of an
educated person (Hacker 51).
A research paper requires extra time and energy, so plan accordingly. The process begins
with your selection of a topic suitable for your purpose or course. The topic should lead
you to new ideas which will enable you to formulate theories or find answers to
questions. Your instructor will guide you in the topic selection and the style of
documentation appropriate for a given discipline, subject or field of study.
There are three basic documentation styles: the oldest, footnote or endnote; the
parenthetical citation; and the scientific numbering system. Each requires a list of sources
at the end of the researched work. This Guide concentrates on the parenthetical citation as
the most modern and commonly used on the undergraduate level.
Except where the Guide is showing specific examples, it will use Modern Language
Association (MLA) style for in-text citation.
In writing your research paper, you will draw heavily on what you learned about writing
essays. The paper will have to have a defined audience, clear purpose, and developed,
well-supported thesis. As with other essays, you will write your first draft, which you will
most likely revise more than once. Then you will proofread, edit, and prepare a final
copy. The research paper probably will be longer than your other essays. It will have to
be sufficiently and correctly documented, showing the reader the sources of support used
in it.
1. Please explain what research is according to the passage.
2. What would be the benefits of having to write a research paper.