The Research Paper Process - Mrs Dettloff's English 9 Website

The Research Paper Process
English 9
Research Process
 Step 1- Choose a Topic
 Understand Prompt
 Step 2- Research
 Locate Sources
 Evaluate Sources
 Step 3- Take Notes
 Document Source
 Step 4- Formulate a Thesis
 Three Point
 Written in 3rd Person
 Step 5- Create Outline
 Topic Outline 1st step
 Sentence Outline 2nd step
 Step 6- Write Rough Draft
 Document Sources
 Step 7- Revise Rough Draft
 Find and correct errors
 Double Check
 Step 8- Finalize Paper
Research Paper Format
• MLA Format (See Research Packet)
– Proper heading & page header
– 12 pt. Times New Roman
– Double Space
• Minimum 10 Internal Citations
– Support topic/thesis
– Address opposition
• Works Cited Mandatory
– At least three (3) reputable sources
– Follow proper works cited format
Starting Your Research
• Use resources from the school and/or local
libraries in print or online.
– Books
• Non-Fiction
• Fact Based- Encyclopedias
– Magazines
• Time
• Newsweek
– Newspaper Articles
• Wall Street Journal
• New York Times
• Detroit Free Press/ Detroit News/Macomb Daily
Starting Your Research (continued)
• Online sources should be credible.
– Simple Searches (an acceptable way to begin)
• Google
• Yahoo
– Online Databases (where to hang out the most)
• Google Scholar
• Info Trac
• ProQuest
Evaluating Sources
• Examine all sources and determine usefulness.
– Check the extensions
• .com (caution!), .edu (yes!), .gov (yes!)
• Educational tend to be more reliable
Evaluating Sources (continued)
• Just because it’s in print/online does not mean it
is useful.
– Anybody can put anything online
– Just because it looks professional doesn’t
mean it is.
• AVOID the following:
– Wikipedia (1 exception!)
– Yahoo Answers
– Blogs
Five Source Standards
1. Expert Author:
– The author should be an authority
on the subject matter. The article
will typically list the author’s
academic degree and affiliate
Author Objectivity:
– The author’s purpose is to
inform, educate and explain. The
author’s arguments should be
support by properly cited facts
from multiple sources.
3. Peer/Scholarly Reviews:
– The article should be reviewed by
other experts in the author’s field
of study. One of the best! Experts
reviewing experts.
4. Reputable Scholarly Journal:
– The article should appear in a
university press, an academic
press or a peer-reviewed press.
– A credible source from a
scholarly journal or database
should contain a bibliography or a
works cited list that demonstrates
the author’s research.
5. High-Quality Content:
– The author’s material should be
clearly organized and relevant to
the topic at hand. And of course,
the article should be well written
and free of grammatical and
spelling errors
Works cited :
So, you’ve got your topic
…and you know where to get good
• Watch this tutorial
• Let’s practice some thesis statements!
– Remember 3 points, no facts (you’ve got to have
something to prove), and stick with 3rd person (no
“I” no “me” no “we” no “you”)
Thesis Prompt: Health Risks of a fast food
Bad Example: Do NOT write, “Eating fast food is bad and should be
• This statement is too general and would be nearly impossible for you to
defend. It leaves a lot of big questions to answer. Is all fast food bad?
Why is it bad? Who should avoid it? Why should anyone care?
Good example: DO write, “Americans should eliminate the regular
consumption of fast food because the fast food diet leads to preventable
and expensive health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart
• In this example, I’ve narrowed my argument to the health consequences
related to a diet of fast food. I’ve also chosen to focus on Americans
rather than everyone in the universe.
A good thesis is focused and not too broad.
Prompt: Homeless population increasing in Detroit
Bad Example: Do NOT write, “There are high numbers of homeless people living in Detroit,
No one can argue for or against this statement. It’s not debatable. It’s just a fact.
An argument over this non-debatable statement would go something like this:
“There are lots of homeless people in Detroit.”
“Yes, there sure are a bunch of them out there.”
As you can see, that’s not much of an argument.
Good example : Do write, “Homeless people in Detroit should be given access
to services, such as regular food donations, public restrooms, and shelter
facilities, because it would improve life for all inhabitants of the city.”
Now that’s debatable.
Opponents could easily argue that homeless people in Detroit already receive adequate services (“just
look at all those luxurious sidewalks!”), or perhaps that they shouldn’t be entitled to services at all (“get
a job, ya lazy loafers!”).
A good thesis is centered on a debatable topic.
Thesis Prompt: Second hand smoke
Bad Example: Do NOT write, “Secondhand smoke is bad and can cause heart
disease and cancer; therefore, smoking should be outlawed in public places,
but outlawing smoking is unfair to smokers so maybe nonsmokers can just
hold their breath or wear masks around smokers instead.”
• A wishy-washy statement like this will make your reader scratch his head
in puzzlement. Are you for smoking laws or against them? White Sox or
Cubs? Cubs or White Sox?
• Pick a side, and stick with it!
• Then stick UP for it.
Good example: Do write, “Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking
and leads to a higher prevalence of cancer and heart disease; therefore, people
who inhale secondhand smoke are doing so without their consent and for this
reason, smoking in any public place should be banned.”
A good thesis picks a side.
Thesis Prompt: Benefits of moving to Mars
Bad Example: Do not write, “Humans should relocate to Mars.”
This statement doesn’t include any supporting claims. Why should humans
move to Mars? What are the benefits of moving to a planet without oxygen or
Good example: Do write, “It is too late to save earth; therefore, humans
should immediately set a date for their relocation to Mars where, with
proper planning, they can avoid issues of famine, war, and global
This statement includes some thought-provoking claims. The reader will
wonder how the author plans to defend them. (“Famine, war, and global
warming can be easily avoided on Mars? Go on…”)
A good thesis makes claims that will be supported later in the paper.
Evaluation Sources
Taking Notes
• Review sources
• Take notes on your note sheet with relevant and
detailed information.
• Use a different note sheet for each source of
– Indicate whether the material is a quote, paraphrase,
summary, statistic, or your own idea.
• You will need this for your works cited page
Taking Notes
• Use the following for information regarding topic:
– Paraphrase
• Restate the material in your own words
• Obviously include all important information
– Summarize
• In your own words, write down only main idea
– Quotes
• Copy word for word, including punctuation.
• Use quotation marks
Proper Citation
• If you use someone else’s words you must cite it.
• Two ways to cite:
– Adding the author’s name in the quote:
1. Write the quote with the author’s name in the
2. Write the source in parenthesis after the
–According to James Smith, Wordsworth
stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a
"spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
(The History of Wordsworth).
When to Cite
• You paraphrase information from a source give the
meaning but change the wording.
• You got an idea from somebody else, even through email
or conversation.
• You summarize in your own words someone else’s words
or thoughts.
• Any time you make a claim that is not based on a wellknown fact or common knowledge.
• You make a claim that could be challenged.
• You quote somebody.
• Offer an authoritative or expert opinion.
• Beware of Plagiarism
What You Need for Proper Citation
•Author and/or editor names (if available)
•Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)
•Title of the Website, project, or book in italics.
•Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates,
volumes, or issue numbers.
•Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing
•Take note of any page numbers (if available).
•Medium of publication. (website etc)
•Date you accessed the material.
• The outline is your pre-write for the process.
• Outlines help group ideas together logically and
organize your thoughts.
• Formal outline shows:
– The main points of a topic
– The order ideas are to be presented
– The relationships among them.
Types of Outlines
• Two types of outlines:
1. Sentence Outline:
• Each main topic and subtopic is written in a
complete sentence.
2. Topic Outline
• Uses words or phrases instead of complete
• Choose one form
Correct Outline Form
1. Center the Title at the Top of the Page.
Below it, write your thesis statement, or a shortened
version of it.
2. Subdivide topics by a system of numbers and letters,
followed by a period
Each heading and subheading must have at least
two parts.
Use the arrangement of numerals and letters.
You may use the default version in Microsoft Word
Sample Outline Form
Sample Outline.pdf