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Intro to a research paper dos & donts-1

Research Paper vs. Report
To understand what makes something a
“research paper,” in any course, it is helpful
to first understand what a research paper is
A Research Paper is NOT
 The goal of a research paper is not simply to
inform. It is not a general discussion of an issue.
 A research paper should have a thesis -- a clear
point of view.
 A research paper is not a summary of everything
you can find
A Research Paper is NOT
 Your goal is not to collect everything you can find
out about a subject and summarize it.
 You should review as much material as possible, but
you should only select sources to use in your paper
that directly support your thesis.
A Research Paper is NOT
 A research paper is not a list of quotes - your
commentary should do more than simply introduce
or link quotations.
 The focus of your paper is your point of view and
commentary. Direct quotations, facts, and statistics
may be woven throughout your paper, but they
should support your position.
A Research Paper is NOT
 A research paper does not support a pre-conceived
point of view.
 Looking up facts that support what you already
believe is not genuine research. You should first
examine evidence, and then form an opinion.
A Research Paper is NOT
 A research paper does not present the ideas of others
without documentation.
 Research papers must use documentation methods
(citations) to prevent you from plagiarizing sources.
 Do not borrow ideas, statistics, or facts without
noting their original source.
On the other hand…
 A Research Paper is written after you go through a
research process that includes critical thinking about
the topic, finding and evaluating sources, and
organization of your information and arguments.
 A Research Paper analyzes a perspective or
argues a point. Your finished research paper
should present your own thinking backed up by
others' ideas and information.
A Research Paper IS
 A research paper meets the needs of the assignment.
Read your directions carefully.
 Many instructors give specific requirements for
research papers, detailing topics, use of sources, and
documentation methods.
 Make sure you fully understand the scope of the
assignment – the extent of the subject matter to cover. How
broad/narrow should you be?
A Research Paper IS
 A research paper has a clear focus. This is why you
should narrow down from a broad topic
 A research paper has a clear thesis.
 To develop your thesis:
Start with a question. Clearly state what you want to find out through
your research.
The answer to that question becomes your thesis statement.
Read more about thesis statements:
A Research Paper IS
 The more narrow you make your subject, the
easier your paper will be to write.
Example: It is easier to focus on one treatment for a
single psychiatric disorder than trying to address mental
 A research paper must express a point of view,
not simply report on the ideas of others.
 You include the views of others to compare with
your own. but the focus of the paper is your
opinions and interpretations.
A Research Paper IS
 A research paper comments on the quantity and
quality of sources.
 A good research paper distinguishes between
reliable and biased sources, between
authoritative and questionable statistics, and
between fact and opinion.
A research paper does not simply summarize and present
the ideas of others. Evaluate the sources you cite.
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