introduction - Centennial School District

William Tennent High School
Centennial School District
Warminster, Pennsylvania
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
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Table of Contents
Why Conduct Research-based Learning?
Selecting a Topic
Nuts and Bolts of the Big Six
Establishing a Schedule
Tips for Writing a Thesis Statement
Thesis Checklist
Starting Your Working Bibliography
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Use of Databases
Access PA Power Library
Evaluating an Internet Resource
Academic Honesty: Avoiding Plagiarism
Citing Sources in Your Paper
Examples of Cited Sources
Block Quotes
The Outline
A Sample Outline
Text of Paper
Works Cited
Works Consulted
Formatting Works Cited or Works Consulted
Citing Print Sources
Citing Non-Print Sources
World Wide Web Sites
Online Periodical Subscriptoin Databases
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During your academic career at WTHS, some of your most interesting work will be research projects
where you will have the opportunity to explore new frontiers and answer your most important
questions. This handbook is designed to help you with these assignments. It outlines the research
process you will follow and it describes the standard MLA format appropriate for English papers and
reports. The examples included in this handbook serve as a guide for particular phases of the research
process and various components of a formal paper.
Research is most satisfying when used to answer “real world” questions. It requires skills and a
proper attitude; curiosity, tenacity, organization, and patience will serve you well while you research.
The contents of this handbook include suggestions for note-taking, accessing and evaluating websites,
selecting relevant sources, using parenthetical citations, and compiling bibliographic information for
your works cited and works consulted pages.
People often rely in internet sources to research information and overlook other scholarly sources.
The WTHS library houses many important reference collections, such as computer databases, books,
and the periodicals collection (magazines, newspapers and journals) that will be useful to you in your
A research assignment gives you an opportunity to engage in creative, independent work. Following
clues to your subject, finding the information you need, and preparing your presentation can be an
interesting and satisfying experience.
Why conduct research-based learning?
emphasizes learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and
integrated with real world issues and practices
provides you with the opportunity to manage your own learning
allows you to pursue your own interests and questions and make decisions about how you will
find answers and solve problems
helps make learning relevant and useful to you by establishing connections to life outside the
teaches skills highly desired by today's employers, including the ability to work well with
others, make thoughtful decisions, take initiative, and solve complex problems
allows your teacher to fill the varied roles of coach, facilitator, and co-learner
actively involves you in the exploration of the content, issues, and questions surrounding a
specific topic or concept
emphasizes "how you come to know" and less on "what you know"
is about seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues -- because often there is no
“right” answer
fosters a greater understanding of the world in which you live, learn, communicate, and work
helps build self confidence, motivation to learn, and collaboration
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
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Make a firm decision on your topic after you have had an opportunity to do some research in the library.
Check the library catalog, magazine databases, Internet search engines, and other appropriate major
Is there too much material on your topic? Should you plan to focus on one aspect of it?
Is there too little material available? Should you plan to expand your focus?
Read at least one article in an encyclopedia or other source which will give you an overview of
your proposed subject and help you determine the scope and focus of your research.
The sub-headings in an encyclopedia article may suggest specific aspects of a subject to pursue. The
cross-references lead you to related ideas which you might want to consider. The way an encyclopedia
article is organized can also suggest ways to organize your own research.
The Big6TM is the product of Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. You can find their web site at . The Big6TM skills provide a systematic approach to information problem-solving
that relies upon critical thinking skills. The Big6TM skills can be used by librarians and teachers to help
learners attain information literacy and provide a full understanding beyond merely being able to
locate resources within a library. The Big6 involves:
a systematic approach to information problem-solving
six broad skill areas necessary for successful information problem-solving
a complete library and information skill curriculum
How is it different?
Big6 skills link information problem-solving and critical thinking. Simply knowing that the World
Book Encyclopedia exists involves a low-level of cognition. Incorporating knowledge and the use of
this encyclopedia within an overall problem-solving strategy represents a higher level of cognitive
learning. Traditional research skills focus on knowledge and understanding of specific sources (lower
cognitive skills). Students need the ability to use critical thinking skills and manipulate information
into a meaningful solution.
The Big6 Strategies for Information Problem Solving
1. Task Definition
In this step, the student determines exactly what the information problem is and the
specific information related to the problem. Using a simple school assignment as an
example, students would need to know which questions need to be answered, what kind
of information is needed to answer these questions, when it is due, etc.
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2. Information Seeking Strategies
Once the problem is clearly articulated, attention turns to the range of possible
information sources. Information Seeking Strategies involves making decisions and
selecting sources appropriate to the defined task. Too many times students don't spend
enough time thinking about these two steps. They leap right into step 3, Location and
Access. This is becoming even more true as the Internet proliferates and students start
surfing without the necessary forethought.
3. Location and Access
This is where the information seeking strategy really begins. Once students have decided
on the appropriate strategy, the strategy must be carried out. In the Big6 approach,
getting to materials follows logically after deciding what it is you wish to find and
where you might find it.
4. Use of Information
Once students are able to locate and access a source, they must be able to read, view,
listen or interact with the information and decide what is valuable for their particular
situation. They must evaluate the source to determine if it is the best source for their
needs. They must extract the information that they need using notes, copies, citations,
5. Synthesis
Synthesis is the restructuring or repackaging of information into new or different
formats to meet the requirements of the task. Synthesis can be as simple as relaying a
specific fact. Synthesis can be very complex, involving several sources, a variety of media
or presentation formats, and the effective communication of abstract ideas. This is
where the real learning takes place as new information is brought in and links are made
to pre-existing knowledge within the learner's head.
6. Evaluation
Evaluation determines how effectively and efficiently the information problem- solving
process was conducted. The primary concerns of evaluation are these questions:
Was the information problem solved?
Was the information need met?
Was the decision made?
Was the situation resolved?
Does the product satisfy the requirements as originally defined?
Other considerations in evaluating the efficiency of the information solving process
include the amount of time spent on useful activities and whether there was any
miscalculation in the amount of time needed to complete the tasks. This "de-briefing" by
the students, whether conducted mentally or formally in the classroom, will improve
their overall ability to solve future information problems and is an important part of
learning. It is always useful to have an evaluation checklist provided by the teacher so
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that students will know what criteria will be used to grade their work and how long each
major task should take.
How can it be used?
An effective way to implement the Big6 is to seek out opportunities within existing or planned
classroom units and lessons that are directly related to the Big6 skills. The simplest question
may turn into an opportunity to explore the Big6.
Excerpted from
Establishing a Schedule
At the time you are assigned a written report, your teacher may give you a "Components of Report"
form. The teacher may also give you the due dates for each component of your report. Enter the dates on
the form so that you will know when each part of the assignment is to be checked or handed in.
Knowing the due dates will help you organize your time as you progress through each part of the report.
Topic Ideas
Topic Choice
Working Bibliography
Thesis Statement
Preliminary Outline
Note Cards
Final Outline
First Draft
Final Draft
Thesis Statement (Preliminary):
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Note taking is an essential part of the research writing process. There are several
ways to approach this. You can read a selection and write a summary. You can
photocopy pages of information and highlight what you need. However, these are not
the most organized methods, since you may find yourself going back and forth to the
same page of notes as you try to write on one topic at a time.
The note card method promotes good organization. You may have several index
cards for one source, but each card will hold only one topic. You can then bundle all
cards on a particular topic together, thereby organizing your paper in the same way as your outline.
Whether you use the note card method or the summary method these are the following things to
consider avoiding unintentional plagiarism:
 Make sure direct quotations are copied accurately and placed in quotation marks to distinguish
them from summaries and paraphrases.
 When paraphrasing, be careful not to use the exact wording of the author, take an idea out of
context or word it in a way that that suits your own conclusion.
 Each note card must include the following: four pieces of information: the author’s last name,
the page number, the topic and a code number to help cross reference the notes to the source,
as opposed to writing the title of the book on every card.
 In note taking, attempt to write as little as possible. In other words, take down only the most
important information. Use shorthand and abbreviations and phrases as much as possible.
Read one section of material at a time to see what is important, then go back and take notes.
As you take notes you will find that some information has been repeated, and some fits the purpose of
your paper better than others. This is part of the narrowing and focusing of your topic.
Finally, there will be times when you will jot down your own ideas based on your reading to
incorporate in your paper. These note cards should be included with the rest of your content cards.
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Many papers completed in school are reports. Information is gathered, organized, and presented in a paper.
Advanced research requires you to formulate and support a thesis. A thesis is a statement of a position, for
example: "The V-Chip in new televisions violates free speech.”
Once you have stated your position, your research task is to find information and/or arguments to support it. In
some cases the supporting material may be hard facts, but you may also find support in editorials or in the
opinions of experts in the field. You will then organize these facts and opinions in your paper to prove your thesis’
According to the Research 2: The Research Paper, 2006, published by the Center for Learning, a thesis is to a
research paper what a topic is to a paragraph. It should capture in a sentence or two how your argument will
A thesis can be any one of the following:
an opinion “Hemingway was a master of economizing action and description.”
a statement indicating categories or reasons “In all likelihood, advances in technology will mean the first ‘foot’ to step on Mars will
belong to a robot”
a statement showing two sides to a question, but emphasizing one “Shakespeare will always be one of the greatest dramatists, but he was a poor historian.”
A thesis is not
neutral “Gun control is a controversial issue that has been debated for years.”
a fact or widely accepted observation “The sun is critical to the continuation of life on Earth.”
a question “Will the Amazon rainforest be preserved in our lifetime.”
a topic sentence announcing what your paper is about “The Vikings discovered North America.”
an emotional attack “No one with any brains could claim that hunting is a sport.”
vague “Blues music will always appeal to a certain kind of audience.”
too broad “History has shown in countless ways that dictators never succeed.”
(see “Updating Your Topic and Focusing on Your Thesis” in Research 2: The Research
Paper,2006, from the Center for Learning, 146).
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A good thesis tells readers both the subject of the paper and, more importantly, the author's plan to
treat his or her subject. It also serves as a personal guide to the writer to help him or her to focus on
that subject throughout the entire essay.
The thesis is one or two sentences that contains two or three main elements: a limited subject plus a
specific feeling or attitude toward that subject and possibly three aspects of that subject that the
author will explore. This last portion usually establishes the organizational pattern of the body of the
Make sure that the thesis focuses on a single, limited subject.
Make sure that the thesis is stated in a clear, direct sentence. It may not be a question.
Make sure that the thesis conveys the writer's point of view or attitude about the topic
Make sure that there is enough good information to support the thesis statement
Make sure that the thesis directs the writer to generate a paper that meets all of the
requirements of the assignment.
Remember that your thesis is not carved in stone. You are in charge. If necessary, you may revise it
during the writing and research process.
As you check the catalogs, databases, and other sources, fill out a bibliography slip for any book or
article you find that might be useful in your research. The library has book and magazine slips which
will simplify this task. It is very important that you record all the source information at this point.
Your collection of slips becomes your "working bibliography," the sources you want to check as you do
your research. If you do not find any helpful information in a particular book or magazine, you will
include it on the Works Consulted page which accompanies your completed paper.
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When using sources in a research paper, you must be aware that a variety of materials are available to
you. You MUST include a variety of sources; all of your sources CANNOT be from the Internet.
There are two main types of sources that you may wish to include in your research.
They are original documents with no interpretation, evaluation or analysis and reflect the
individual viewpoint of a participant or observer, who reports actual events as they
occurred. Primary sources are firsthand, “direct from the source” information.
Some examples of primary sources may include:
 speeches
 interviews
 letters
 memoirs
 original documents (such as birth certificates)
 autobiographies
 artifacts
 photographs
 audio recordings
 surveys and census information
 data and statistics
 documentaries
Primary materials also need to be carefully read and interpreted. These questions will assist you in
determining whether the source is truly a primary source, rather than a secondary source.
Who created the source and for what original purpose?
Did the creator have firsthand knowledge?
What biases or hidden agendas did the creator have? Is the document meant to persuade
or inform?
Was the source originally meant to be private or public?
When was the source created? Soon after the event, years later?
Taken From:
Secondary sources interpret, evaluate or analyze a primary source and are at least one
step removed from the event. They are not a firsthand account.
Some examples of secondary sources may include:
 articles in magazines
 newspapers
 books
 critical essays
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 textbooks
 dictionaries
 encyclopedias
You must remember that today, just about anyone can post a website on any subject. Your task is to find the
BEST information. The huge numbers of sites found by your favorite search engine may be inadequate for your
research: either they contain material completely unrelated to your topic or offer very little data that can be
utilized in a research paper. You can often easily judge a site’s worth by the type or quantity of information
offered, as well as the author or generator of the site. So, DO NOT believe everything you read on the Internet!
In order to determine the accuracy or validity of an Internet source, you must consider the quality and type of
information provided.
What’s the difference between surfing the web and using a database?
How does information get on the Web?
Anyone can post anything on the Web. There is no agency that controls content or polices what
happens on the World Wide Web. Any point of view is welcome; no one has to prove their expertise
on a subject.
How does information get onto a database?
Information on a database comes from published reference books, scholarly journals, reputable
newspapers, and evaluated websites. The companies that make databases are very concerned that
their products be accurate, up-to-date, and free from bias so that schools and libraries will purchase
their services for their students and patrons. Database companies acquire the best materials for their
How much does it cost to access information on the Web?
Most information on the Web is FREE, once you have Internet service…until you get to a site for a
newspaper or magazine and want to access an archived article. The publisher will ask you to pay for
the individual article. Try going to for a sample.
How much does it cost to access information on a database?
A database is a PAID service that a school or library subscribes to, like subscribing to a magazine or
newspaper or buying a book for the shelves. Databases contain 1000’s of articles from magazines and
newspapers from around the world, as well as sets of reference books. Because the school or library
has paid a fee to the database company, students or patrons can search all of the holdings at once—for
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Why can’t my favorite search engine get to those articles?
Even the best search engines only access a part of the FREE web and CANNOT access the same
information that the paid databases can. Even though Google may bring back millions of hits, it does
not return the QUALITY resources that a database does. Google hasn’t paid the subscription fee to
enter the database.
Every 24 hours, over 4 million new pages are added to the Web;
The average life span of a Web page is 44 days;
The Web is expected to double in size each year;
83% of Web sites contain commercial content;
6 % of websites are educational, scientific, or government sites;
70% of medical and health information is considered wrong or misleading;
The best search tools can only index 40% of the Web.
(The American Library Association -citing numerous studies)
Search easier, better, faster!!!
Access PA Power Library
ACCESS PA POWER LIBRARY which includes EBSCOhost, the magazine database/index, can
be accessed from home with your Bucks County Free Library card. Follow these steps to use
Go to the Bucks County Library Network website: <http:/>*
Click on “POWER Library.”
Submit the barcode number on your library card.
Click on “EBSCOhost Web Interface.”
Choose the “MasterFILE Premier” database and click “continue.”
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*At this website you can also access the online catalog of the entire Bucks County Library system
Why shouldn’t I use WIKIPEDIA as a source for my project?
Is Wikipedia accurate and reliable?
“Wikipedia is as reliable as the external sources we rely on. Properly written articles cite the sources,
and a reader should rely on the Wikipedia article as much, but no more, than the sources the article
relies on. If an article doesn't cite a source, it may or may not be reliable. Students should never use
information in Wikipedia for formal purposes (such as a school essay) until they have checked those
external sources. Fortunately, Wikipedia cites its sources more frequently than most other
Wikipedia is rapidly developing, so the reliability of the encyclopedia is improving all the time.
Because readers continually compare articles to what they already know, articles tend to become more
accurate and detailed. Certain articles about many of the major sciences were developed from other
free or public domain encyclopedias. This provides a reliable basis upon which encyclopedia writers
could develop more current information. Wikipedia is cited almost daily in the press.
On the other hand, it is possible for an article on Wikipedia to be biased, outdated, or factually
incorrect. This is true for any resource. One should always double-check the accuracy of important
facts, regardless of the source. In general, popular articles are more accurate because they are read
more often and therefore any errors are corrected in a more timely fashion. Also, there may be a
Western bias in particular because that is where most contributors are from.”
What keeps someone from contributing false or misleading information?
“Nothing. Anyone can, at this very moment, go to almost any page and change the information to
make it misleading or wrong. Very specific minor facts, like an exact date for a less well known
historical event, are less trustworthy since vandals sometimes change them.
However, it probably will not stay that way very long. Scores of contributors monitor the list of
contributions (particularly to important or controversial articles), and will quickly delete nonsense or
obviously wrong articles, and undo baseless edits. Almost all articles will be on one or more editors'
personal watch lists, and they will quickly undo any vandalism. Major articles will be on hundreds of
watchlists, so that whenever vandalism is performed, it will be seen and undone in a matter of
minutes or less. If an anonymous or relatively new user changes a number or a date by a little bit,
without justifying their edit, it is particularly likely to raise a red flag.
But Wikipedia cannot be perfect. There is almost certainly inaccurate information in it, somewhere,
which has not yet been discovered to be wrong. Therefore, if you are using Wikipedia for important
research or a school project, you should always verify the information somewhere else. You should
also check that the other source does not rely on Wikipedia for it's [sic] information.”
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Guidelines for Evaluating an Internet Resource
Is the author’s name given?
Does the site give the author’s background, position, title, educational level?
Is there an address to contact the author?
Is the title of the page indicative of the content?
Is the information reliable and free of errors?
Does the information contradict something you found somewhere else?
Is a bibliography included to verify the information given?
Does the domain (i.e. edu, com, gov) of the page influence your evaluation?
Is this someone’s personal webpage?
Is the site factual (without bias/opinion)?
Are graphics or information used to influence you emotionally?
Is the date of the latest revision of the site clearly stated?
Is the date given for when the information was gathered and/or posted?
Is the scope of the topic clearly stated?
Does the site give supporting facts, data, charts, statistics, etc?
Are you satisfied that the information is useful for your purpose?
Citing Sources
Academic Honesty: Avoiding Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined as "Passing off someone else's work as your own.”
It happens if you copy somebody else's work instead of doing your own.
It also happens in those cases where people actually buy essays instead of doing the work
Schools, colleges, and universities regard this as a serious offence - and they often have stiff
penalties for anyone found guilty.
All the following can be counted as plagiarism:
Copying directly from a text, word-for-word
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Using an attractive phrase or sentence you have found somewhere
Using text downloaded from the Internet
Paraphrasing the words of a text very closely
Copying from the essays or the notes of another student
Why do teachers, schools, colleges, and universities make such a big fuss about this issue? The answer
to this is that they are trying to keep up important conventions in academic writing. The conventions
involve two things at the same time. They are:
You are developing your own ideas and arguments and learning to express them.
You are showing that you have learned about and can use other people's work.
When doing this, you must show which part is your own work and which parts belong to somebody
else. You also need to show where the information comes from. Using PARENTHETICAL
CITATIONS to identify the source of the idea or phrase does this. This is the year for you to develop
your own style and research methods. You will acquire the skills needed for success in both writing
and research this year. Remember that what you have to say is important and should be your own
ideas and words.
Please remember that plagiarism is an offence that is punishable according to the
guidelines in your Handbook: “If you plagiarize or engage in academic cheating of any
kind, you will be assigned the grade of “zero” for that assignment and may be given
additional disciplinary consequences.”
Citing Sources in Your Paper
According to the Research 2: The Research Paper, 2006, published by the Center for Learning, 116,
the purpose of this format is to provide brief and specific information without interrupting the flow of
the text. Usually in-text citations are placed at the end of the sentence, but they may be placed in the
middle, too (see example 6). Further publication information can be found in the paper’s
When you are citing in your paper, each quote, paraphrase and statistic or figure should be followed
by an in-text parenthetical citation.
Citing is important for several reasons:
1. It gives credit to ideas or words that other people used and prevents plagiarism.
2. It provides the reader with the source for your information.
3. It relieves you of the responsibility of verifying the information.
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If your source has incorrect information it is not your fault, but only if you cite it correctly.
A parenthetical citation consists of the author’s last name and the page number within parentheses. If
you are dealing with an anonymous piece, you will use the title and the page number.
Be sure that you cite any information you did not previously know.
Parts of a Citation
(from Research 2: The Research Paper, 2006, published by the Center for Learning, 116-118)
Use the author’s last name, or title when an author is unavailable, and give the page number
in parentheses.
DO NOT use page or abbreviations for page (p., pp., pg., pgs.); just WRITE THE NUMBER
Allow one space before the parentheses but none after it if a period (.) follows.
Examples of Parenthetical Citations
1. One book with one author: use the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses
Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native is a masterly example of coincidence (Ellman 89.)
2. more than one book by the same author: give the author’s last name, comma, the title, and the page
Animal imagery conveys the primitive, uncontrolled rage that the peasants feel. One person “had acquired
a tigerish smear about the mouth” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 33-34).
If you identify the author and title in the text: just give the page number
In Jude the Obscure, Hardy depicts the heartrending disappointment that Jude must face: “the spires of
the Medieval buildings haunted his existence and at the same time they beckoned him to call the pillars of learning
his home” (9).
4. If no author is given: give the title and the page numbers
Some critics, including Christopher Ricks, believe that Thomas hardy overuses the trite coincidences to
generate the action in his novels (Spectator 5).
5. If the quoted material exceeds FOUR LINES in your text (BLOCK QUOTE): set it off by starting it
on a new line and indenting the entire quote one inch (ten spaces) from the left margin, WITHOUT
Seen in later Roman feasts of the Saturnala, masters and slaves would exchange their position. Sir James
Frazer said:
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Feasting and revelry and all the mad pursuit of pleasure are the features that seem to have
especially marked the carnival of antiquity. As it wears on for seven days in the streets and
public squares and houses of ancient Rome from the seventeenth to the twenty-third of
December. (Myers 33)
Obviously, the celebration of Mardi Gras has been a tradition, as well as a nuisance.
6. Corporate Publication: If the quoted material involves corporate or committee authorship, it is
best to include the name of the organization within the text.
The Thomas Hardy Literary Society has called Hardy the “Victorian-modern father of literature” (34).
7. Work in a multiple volume: It is unnecessary to use the word volume or the abbreviation if you
identify by both the volume and the page number. The order is to give the volume number first,
then a colon, a space, and then the page.
Dvorak is nicknamed “Old Borax,” but it is never mentioned by some critics (Hall 5: 87-88).
8. Magazine Article: Give the author if available, otherwise, use a shortened version of the title of the
article, then follow with a page number if available.
(The article is “A Questionable Hero: Jude the Obscure” in Time magazine)
Jude can be surveyed from a biblical point of view as a martyr (“Questionable Hero” 16)
9. Plays: Generally give Arabic numbers for both acts and scenes, but you may still use Roman
numerals for acts and lower case ones for scenes. List the line numbers last and separate them
with a period.
In Julius Caesar perhaps the most quoted line comes from Caesar: “Et, tu, Brute!” (3.1.23) OR (III. Iii. 23)
10. Poetry:
For short quotations: separate lines of poetry with / marks and list the line numbers as if they
were page numbers
“When I was half the man I was / And serve me right as the preachers warn,” (“Lament”
For longer quotations (more than three lines), start the quotation on a new line. Indent each line
one inch (ten spaces) from the left margin, without quotation marks (unless they appear in the
The persona of the poem, however, takes years to realize his father's message. Once he realizes the
importance of sports to their relationship, he sends a message back to his father:
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and I never learned what you were laying down.
Like a hand brushed across the bill of a cap,
let this be the sign
I'm getting a grip on the sacrifice. (20-23)
11. Newspapers: List the author if available, otherwise list the newspaper title without any definite or
indefinite articles that begin it (New York Times not The New York Times) and the page number.
According to the New York Times, Jesse Jackson appeared to have a good chance to win the Democratic
nomination for President (Kehoe C4).
12. Encyclopedia: treat encyclopedias like books.
The average age of residents of New Mexico, 27, is the lowest among the fifty states
(Collier’s 1276).
13. Electronic and Internet sources
Database materials generally have no page numbers. If your source includes no text divisions,
numbered pages, or numbered paragraphs, simple provide the author’s name.
Science writers have pointed out that the “extra deep groove” in Einstein’s brain may have contributed to his
unusual intelligence by allowing for the presence of more neurons (Day).
14. Visual Material (graphs, charts, tables, etc.)
These materials must be documented. Generallym write “Source:” and then following bibliographic information:
author, title (place of publication: publisher year of publication) page number.
Immigrants to the United States, 1976-1986
Country of Origin
Approximate Numbers
Source: Eric Foner and John A. Garrity, eds., The Reader’s Companion to American History (Boston: Houghton
Mifflin, 1991) 538.
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Some things to remember about block quotes
They should not be endless in length. The purpose of a quote is to illustrate a point to your
reader, or back-up a comment you made. It is not to fill up space in your paper.
Your block quote should ALWAYS be followed by a sentence or two with your analysis of the
quote. Remember, your interpretation is what’s important.
The sentences immediately following the block quote should not be indented in any way. Since
these sentences are your analysis, they are essentially a continuation of the paragraph you have
already started. Indents in sentences are only used to show a new paragraph.
DO NOT put the block quote in quotation marks (“ ”). You have already indented it twice.
This is sufficient to let your reader know that they are reading someone else’s work and/or
Remember to place the period before the closed parenthesis.
The Outline
When you feel you have completed your research, use the outline keys on
your note cards to arrange them in the same order as your preliminary outline. Read through your
notes to make sure you have
 all the information you need to write your report
complete bibliographic information (author, title, date, etc.) for each of the sources you used
You are now ready to draft your final outline. The final outline will help to insure that your report is
clearly and logically organized and that you do not inadvertently omit material you had meant to
Reflecting your increased knowledge of your subject, the final outline will be more detailed than the
preliminary outline or you may decide to organize it in a different way. The time you spend on this part
of your project will not be wasted; once you have created a logical, detailed final outline, the report will
practically write itself
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 19
Sample Outline:
Thesis statement: Mental illness should be treated like any other illness in terms of payment and
a. The case of a mentally ill man
b. Problems facing the mentally ill
c. National economic impact of mental illness
Comparison of Costs
a. Costs associated with lost productivity, crime, incarceration
b. Costs associated with treatment are less by comparison
c. Cost comparisons to treating other illnesses: coronary heart disease, cancer
Mental Illness at School
a. Accounts of students with difficulties at school
b. School psychologist’s testimony on childhood depression and other disorders
Mental Illness in the Workplace
a. Accounts of workers with mental illness
b. Popular misconceptions about “workplace killers”
c. Influence of the media on promoting stereotypes and fear
The Problems of Payment
a. Insurance issues surrounding the costs of treatment
b. Instances of abuse by treatment centers and payment plans
c. Efforts to guarantee fairness
Reconsidering Mental Illness
a. Summary of problems still facing the mentally ill
b. Reluctance of insurance companies to pay
c. The struggle of those who cannot afford treatment
VIII. Conclusion: strong restatement of thesis
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William Tennent High School
When your first draft has been approved, you will be ready to prepare your paper for submission. The
completed paper will include your text, a work cited page, and a works consulted page. Some teachers
may ask you to submit your final outline with the paper. Your paper should be written in grammatically
correct, standard English.
A separate title page is not necessary. Instead, on the first page ( and only the first page) beginning
one inch from the top and at the left margin type your name, your teacher's name, the name of the
course, and the date on separate lines; double-spacing between each line. Double-space again and
center the title. Double-space between the title and the first line of the text. Do not underline the title
or put it in quotation marks or type it in all capital letters.
Text of paper
Spacing: Double-space the entire research paper including quotations and the lists of works cited and
works consulted. Because the ENTIRE paper is double-spaced, you do NOT need to put an extra space
between paragraphs. The indent in the beginning of a paragraph is sufficient to show that you are
starting a new one. When done one paragraph, simply hit the “enter” button once, make sure your
paragraph is “tabbed” in once. And then start typing.
Font: All work throughout the paper should be in Size 12, Times New Roman.
Margins: Leave one-inch margins at the top and bottom and on both sides of the text. Most computers
have a default setting of 1.25 inches. You must change this. In order to fix your margins,
Click on “File”
Click on “Page Setup”
Make sure the tab selected is “margins”
At the places where is says “top,” “bottom,” “left,” and “right,” make sure they all say 1.00.
Click OK
Header: Number all pages consecutively throughout the research paper using Arabic numerals. The
number should be placed in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top at the right margin.
Type your last name before each page number. Do not use the abbreviation p. or any other mark before
or after the page number. You can set up a header in your word processing to do this automatically.
Usually, on most PC’s the process is
Click “View”
Click “Header and Footer”
Hit the Tab button twice (this should bring you to the right side of the page)
Type your last name
Hit two spaces
Then, look to the Header and Footer Toolbar that has appeared. Click on the button that has the
“#” symbol on it. This will number each of your pages for you.
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 21
Works Cited
Works Cited is the term for the list of sources actually documented (paraphrased or quoted) in your
project through parenthetical citation. All of the parenthetical references in the paper or project
should lead the reader to this list of sources.
Works Consulted
Works Consulted is the term used for the list of sources used in the preparation of a research project.
It is used to list background reading, summarized sources, or any sources read for informational
purposes but NOT paraphrased or quoted (cited) in the actual paper.
Formatting Works Cited or Works Consulted
There are many resources on the internet to help you format your Works Cited and Works Consulted
page. You will not always have all the information you need in order to fill in all the “spaces” in a
citation. Cite what is available. The information you give in your Works Cited and Works Consulted
should be complete enough that if someone read your paper and wanted to look at one of your sources,
he or she could easily find it.
Arrange your bibliography slips in alphabetical order by the author's last name or by the first word in the
title of an unsigned work. Alphabetize by the second word if the title begins with A, An or The. Do not
number the items. When you have finished typing in all the items, use the “hanging indent” format,
where the first line of each item is on the left margin, and other lines are indented one-half inch. Or, you
can simply hit “Enter” at the end of each line so that you can indent the second, third, etc. lines
independently. NEVER number your works cited or works consulted page.
Should I use a Works Consulted Page?
A student might prepare ONLY a Works Cited page if he or she
paraphrased or quoted from and therefore cited all sources used.
A student might prepare both Works Consulted and Works Cited
pages if, in addition to the sources cited in the project or paper, he or
she also consulted other sources that were not paraphrased or quoted in the paper.
If your paper includes both Works Cited and Works Consulted, the Works Consulted page
should follow the Works Cited page.
In rare situations, a student might prepare only a Works Consulted page if he or she did not
quote or paraphrase at all in the project.
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William Tennent High School
The following pages contain examples of how to cite your sources. Use this to help format "Works
Cited" and "Works Consulted" pages.
Print Sources
A Book by One Author
Blum, Ralph. Beyond Earth: Man's Contact with UFO's. New York: Bantam Books, 1974.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
Motley, Michael. Who Was this Shakespeare Guy Anyway? Princeton: Princeton Press,
Never Enough Bard. New York: Bittlesworth Inc, 1998.
A Book by Two Authors
Rutland, Barbara T. and Susan Jones, eds. Stories from the Universe. New York: Johnson Press, 1981.
A Book by Three Authors
Simpson, Homer, Bugs Bunny, and Charlie Brown. Cartoon Life is a Drag. Los Angeles: Warner Bros., 2004.
A Book by a Corporate Author
William Tennent English Department. How to Survive in the Real World. Warminster: Centennial Pub, 2007.
A Book with an Editor
Turk, Megan ed. Reflections on Time: An Anthology. Cambridge: Penguin Publishers, 1991.
A Book with Two Editors
Rutland, Barbara T. and Susan Jones, eds. Stories from the Universe. New York: Johnson Press, 1981.
A Work in an Anthology
Doe, John. "No One Really Knows Me." The Lonely Road. Ed. Jane Anonymous. Phoenix: Random House Pub, 1978. 201211.
An Edition Other Than the First
Peters, Michael. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Keeping Your Classroom Neat and Clean. 4th ed.
Philadelphia: Lysol, 1995.
A Signed Article in a Reference Book
Smith, Jenna. "The Assassination of Brutus." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2001 ed.
An Unsigned Article in a Reference Book
"The Assassination of Brutus." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2001 ed.
An Article From a Monthly or Bi-Monthly Periodical
Kelly, Tara. "Myspace or Nospace." Internet Communication Mar. 2006: 20-24.
An Article from a Weekly or Biweekly Periodical
Cartright, Jack. "Skateboarding is Life." X-treme Sports 17 May 2006: 34-16.
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 23
A Signed Article from a Daily Newspaper
Mydans, Steve. "A Green Cloud Adds to Soviet UFO Lore." New York Times 31 Jan. 1983: B1.
An Unsigned Article from a Daily Newspaper
Reporting UFO Sightings. Tucson: Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, 1983.
“Strange Designs in England’s Field.” Editorial. The Boston Herald 13 March 1985: A10.
Facts on File
"CIA UFO Watch Detailed." Facts On File World News Digest, 9 Feb. 1979: 93.
SIRS (Print Notebooks)
McLaughlin, Janet. "AP History--The McLaughlin Group." Forbes June 1993: 21-23.
CQ Researcher
Cooper, Mary. "Strange Happenings: the UFO Question." CQ Researcher, 12
Sep. 1988.
DISCovering U.S. History
“First Laser Is Developed.” DIScovering U.S. History. Vers. 1.0. CD-ROM. Detroit: Gale, 1997.
DISCovering World History
“Winston Churchill.” DIScovering World History. Vers. 1.0. CD-ROM. Detroit: Gale, 1997.
Non-Print Sources
Radio or television interview
Mack, John. Interview. Talk of the Nation. National Public Radio. WHYY, Philadelphia. 19 May 1986.
Films; Radio and Television Programs
"Starring the Other Peggy Lee." Slightly Off Broadway--The Series . Prod. Sheldon Wang. PBS. WNET,
Aug. 1995.
New York. 6
Making Creative Bookcovers. Dir. Tom Martin. Videocassette. Clemens, 1997.
Sound Recording
Jones, Norah. "Don't Know Why." Come Away With Me. Rec. 2001. Blue Note, 2002.
Personal or Telephone Interview
Correll, Steve. Personal interview. 3 Jan. 2007.
Personal photograph (Good for your scanned images!)
Begin with a description of the photo. Do not use italics or quotation marks. Indicate who took the photo and the date it
was taken.
Grandpa Al at Home. Personal photograph by Susan Student. 28 May 2003.
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William Tennent High School
World Wide Web (WWW) Sites:
To cite files available for viewing/downloading via the World Wide Web by means of Explorer, Netscape, or
other Web browsers, provide the following information:
Basic Format
Include as many items from the list below as are relevant and available.
1. Name of the author of portion used (if available).
2. Title of portion used from a site (in quotation marks).
3. Title of the Web site (underlined) as given on the home page. If no title given, use
“Home Page.”
4. Name of editor of the site (if any).
5. Date of creation, publication, copyright, or last date updated.
6. Name of any institution or organization sponsoring the information on site.
Burka, Lauren P. "A Hypertext History of Multi-User Dimensions." MUD History. 1993. 5 Dec. 1994
“Roswell.” HistoryChannel.Com. History Channel. 12 Oct. 2000 <>.
Tolkien Society Home Page. 29 April 1999. Tolkien Society. 3 Mar. 2001 <>.
Online Periodical Subscription Databases Basic Format
1. Author’s name (if given)
2. Title of article or material (in quotation marks)
3. Name of the periodical (underlined)
4. Date of publication
5. Number range for pages (if given)
6. Name of database (underlined)
7. Name of the subscription service (do not underline)
Signed article found in EBSCO host:
Wilson, Jim. “Roswell Declassified.” Popular Mechanics Vol. 180 Issue 6, June 2002, 80. EBSCOhost.
"Roswell Alien Landing Claims Debunked." Facts On File World News Digest, 24 July 1997. “Key Event: Meteorite Hints
at Life on Mars.”
SIRS Researcher Online:
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 25
Kaplan, Carl S. “Friend or Foe?” Newsday 4 March 1999: 60+. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source.
SIRS Government Reporter Online:
Harris, Susan L. “What is Archeology” Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands, 1993: 6-7. SIRS Government
Reporter. SIRS Knowledge Source.
SIRS Renaissance Online:
DiFate, Vincent. “The Flying Saucer Decade: a Filmography of UFO Movies… 1950-1959.” Outre 23 Nov. 2001: 35-41.
SIRS Renaissance. SIRS Knowledge Source.
World Book Online:
Strong, Ronald. "Unidentified Flying Object (UFO)." World Book Online. 2003 World Book, Inc. 17 April 2002 .
For more information on MLA documentation style go to: and choose “MLA Style” from the left
column. Then select “Frequently Asked questions about MLA Style” on the left.
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William Tennent High School
The following Works Cited page was prepared according to the guidelines in this handbook.
You may find it useful as a reference.
Works Cited
Baulk, Catherine. “Why Isn’t Mental Illness Talked About?” Medscape 2 December 1998.
Bellenir, Karen, ed. Mental Health Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics. 1996.
Brink, Susan, “I’ll Say I’m Suicidal.” U.S. News & Work Report 19 January 1998: 63+.
“Carter Center Video Counters Stigma of Mental Illness.” The Carter Center Video Counters Stigma of Mental
Illness.” The Carter Center. 12 December 1998
Dykstra, Tracey. “How I Cope.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 23 (4): 697-699, 1997. National Institute of Mental
Gabbard, Glen O., MD. “Are All Psychotherapies Equally Effective?” The Menninger Letter 3 (1995): 1-2.
Hannig, Paul J., Ph.D. “What Is a Personality Disorder?” Internet Mental Health 8 December 1998.
Holm, Emma. “Colder Weather.” Medscape 14 December 1998. <>.
Kemp, Mark. “Out of the Woods.” Rolling Stone December 1997: 24+.
Kleinfield, N.R. and Kit R. Roane. “Subway Killing Casts Light on Suspect’s Mental Torment.” New York
Times 11 January 1999: A1+.
“Mental Health: Does Therapy Work?” Consumer Reports November 1995: 734-739
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 27
Daly 1
MLA Research Paper (Daly)
Angela Daly
Mrs. Chavez
14 March XXXX
A Call to Action:
Title is centered.
Regulate Use of Cell Phones on the Road
Opening sentences catch
readers’ attention.
When a cell phone goes off in a classroom or at a concert, we are
irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. When we are on the road,
however, irresponsible cell phone users are more than irritating: They are
putting our lives at risk. Many of us have witnessed drivers so distracted by
dialing and chatting that they resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes,
for example, or nearly running down pedestrians in crosswalks. A number of
bills to regulate use of cell phones on the road have been introduced in state
legislatures, and the time has come to push for their passage. Regulation is
Thesis asserts Angela
Daly’s main point.
needed because drivers using phones are seriously impaired and because
laws on negligent and reckless driving are not sufficient to punish offenders.
Daly uses a clear topic
No one can deny that cell phones have caused traffic deaths and
injuries. Cell phones were implicated in three fatal accidents in November 1999
alone. Early in November, two-year-old Morgan Pena was killed by a driver
distracted by his cell phone. Morgan’s mother, Patti Pena, reports that the
driver “ran a stop sign at 45 mph, broadsided my vehicle and killed Morgan as
she sat in her car seat.” A week later, corrections officer Shannon Smith, who
was guarding prisoners by the side of the road, was killed by a woman
distracted by a phone call (Besthoff). On Thanksgiving weekend that same
Page 28
Signal phrase names the
author of the quotation to
No page number is
available for this Web
Author’s name is given in
parentheses; no page
number is available.
William Tennent High School
month, John and Carole Hall were killed when a Naval Academy midshipman
Daly 2
crashed into their parked car. The driver said in court that when he looked up
from the cell phone he was dialing, he was three feet from the car and had no
time to stop (Stockwell B8).
Expert testimony, public opinion, and even cartoons suggest that driving
Page number is given
when available.
Clear topic sentences,
like this one, are used
throughout the paper.
while phoning is dangerous. Frances Bents, an expert on the relation between
cell phones and accidents, estimates that between 450 and 1,000 crashes a
year have some connection to cell phone use (Layton C9). In a survey
published by Farmers Insurance Group, 87% of those polled said that cell
phones affect a driver’s ability, and 40% reported having close calls with drivers
distracted by phones. Many cartoons have depicted the very real dangers of
driving while distracted (see Fig. 1).
Scientific research confirms the dangers of using phones while on the
road. In 1997 an important study appeared in the New England Journal of
Medicine. The authors, Donald Redelmeier and Robert Tibshirani, studied 699
Summary and long
quotation are introduced
with a signal phrase
naming the authors.
volunteers who made their cell phone bills available in order to confirm the times
when they had placed calls. The participants agreed to report any nonfatal
collision in which they were involved. By comparing the time of a collision with
the phone records, the researchers assessed the dangers of driving while
phoning. The results are unsettling:
We found that using a cellular telephone was associated with a
risk of having a motor vehicle collision that was about four times
as high as that among the same drivers when they were not
using their cellular telephones. This relative risk is similar to the
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 29
Long quotation is set off
from the text; quotation
marks are omitted.
Daly 3
Illustration has figure
number, label, and
source information.
Summary begins with a
signal phrase naming
the author and ends
with page numbers in
Fig. 1. Chan Lowe, cartoon, Washington Post 22 July 2000: A21.
hazard associated with driving with a blood alcohol level at the
legal limit. (456)
The news media often exaggerated the latter claim (“similar to” is not “equal
to”); nonetheless, the comparison with drunk driving suggests the extent to
which cell phone use while driving can impair judgment.
A 1998 study focused on Oklahoma, one of the few states to keep
records on fatal accidents involving cell phones. Using police records, John M.
Violanti of the Rochester Institute of Technology investigated the relation
between traffic fatalities in Oklahoma and the use or presence of a cell phone.
He found a ninefold increase in the risk of fatality if a phone was being used and
a doubled risk simply when a phone was present in a vehicle (522-23). The
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William Tennent High School
latter statistic is interesting, for it suggests that those who carry phones in their
Daly 4
cars may tend to be more negligent (or prone to distractions of all kinds) than
those who do not.
Some groups have argued that state traffic laws make legislation
Daly counters an
opposing argument.
regulating cell phone use unnecessary. Sadly, this is not true. Laws on traffic
safety vary from state to state, and drivers distracted by cell phones can get off
with light punishment even when they cause fatal accidents. For example,
although the midshipman mentioned earlier was charged with vehicular
manslaughter for the deaths of John and Carole Hall, the judge was unable to
issue a verdict of guilty. Under Maryland law, he could only find the defendant
guilty of negligent driving and impose a $500 fine (Layton C1). Such a light
sentence is not unusual. The driver who killed Morgan Pena in Pennsylvania
received two tickets and a $50 fine--and retained his driving privileges (Pena). In
Facts are documented
with in-text citations:
authors’ names and
page numbers (if
available) in
Georgia, a young woman distracted by her phone ran down and killed a two
year- old; her sentence was ninety days in boot camp and five hundred hours of
community service (Ippolito J1). The families of the victims are understandably
distressed by laws that lead to such light sentences.
When certain kinds of driver behavior are shown to be especially
dangerous, we wisely draft special laws making them illegal and imposing
specific punishments. Running red lights, failing to stop for a school bus, and
drunk driving are obvious examples; phoning in a moving vehicle should be no
exception. Unlike more general laws covering negligent driving, specific laws
leave little ambiguity for law officers and for judges and juries imposing
punishments. Such laws have another important benefit: They leave no
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 31
Daly uses an analogy
to justify passing a
special law.
ambiguity for drivers. Currently, drivers can tease themselves into thinking they
Daly 5
are using their car phones responsibly because the definition of “negligent
driving” is vague.
As of December 2000, twenty countries were restricting use of cell
phones in moving vehicles (Sundeen 8). In the United States, it is highly unlikely
Daly explains why US
laws need to be
passed on the state
that legislation could be passed on the national level, since traffic safety is
considered a state and local issue. To date, only a few counties and towns have
passed traffic laws restricting cell phone use. For example, in Suffolk County,
New York, it is illegal for drivers to use a handheld phone for anything but an
emergency call while on the road (Haughney A8). The first town to restrict use of
handheld phones was Brooklyn, Ohio (Layton C9). Brooklyn, the first community
in the country to pass a seat belt law, has once again shown its concern for
traffic safety.
Laws passed by counties and towns have had some effect, but it makes
Transition helps
readers move from
one paragraph to the
more sense to legislate at the state level. Local laws are not likely to have the
impact of state laws, and keeping track of a wide variety of local ordinances is
confusing for drivers. Even a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless has said that
Daly cites an indirect
source: words quoted
in another source.
statewide bans are preferable to a “crazy patchwork quilt of ordinances” (qtd. in
Haughney A8). Unfortunately, although a number of bills have been introduced in
state legislatures, as of early 2001 no state law seriously restricting use of the
phones had passed--largely because of effective lobbying from the wireless
Daly counters a claim
made by some
Despite the claims of some lobbyists, tough laws regulating phone use
can make our roads safer. In Japan, for example, accidents linked to cell phones
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William Tennent High School
fell by 75% just a month after the country prohibited using a handheld phone
Daly 6
while driving (Haughney A8). Research suggests and common sense tells us
that it is not possible to drive an automobile at high speeds, dial numbers, and
carry on conversations without significant risks. When such behavior is
regulated, obviously our roads will be safer. Because of mounting public
awareness of the dangers of drivers distracted by phones, state legislators
For variety Daly
places a signal
phrase after a brief
must begin to take the problem seriously. “It’s definitely an issue that is gaining
steam around the country,” says Matt Sundeen of the National Conference of
State Legislatures (qtd. in Layton C9). Lon Anderson of the American
Automobile Association agrees: “There is momentum building,” he says, to
pass laws (qtd. in Layton C9). The time has come for states to adopt legislation
restricting the use of cell phones in moving vehicles.
Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006). Used with Publisher’s
Permission For more samples of research papers and how to cite see:
A Handbook for Research and Report Writing revised 2008
Page 33
The paper ends with
Daly’s stand on the
There may be times during the research process where you will need to write a formal business letter.
For example, you may need to write an inquiry letter, in order to get information to use as a source.
Here is one example of a business letter. Be sure to tailor your actual letter to the situation or the
333 Centennial Road
Warminster, PA 18974
January 21, 2003
Mr. Jim Lovenzen
Aerial Phenomena Research Organization
2501 Santa Rita Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85714
Dear Mr. Lovenzen
I am a sophomore at William Tennent High School doing research on the history of UFOs. I have come
across your organization's name in a number of books and articles and hope you can supply me with some
I want to make a graph or table showing the number of sightings or reported experiences since 1945 to the
present. If you have some statistics you can send me or if you can refer me to a specific publication, it would
help me very much.
As my project is due by the end of March, I would appreciate receiving this information as soon as possible.
Thank you.
Mary Smith
) = skipped line
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William Tennent High School