A research paper is a “long essay that presents your own thoughts, supported by the words and ideas of others who must be given credit through the use . . . parenthetical documentation and . . . a list of works cited” (Dawson College).
Your task is to present and support a claim about your chosen topic. Your thesis must be debatable – in other words, it cannot be fact-based or so obvious that no reasonable person would disagree. You should have an introductory paragraph with a thesis that you then support in your paper. Don’t limit yourself to just the positive aspects of your issue—consider the negative also, and discuss and refute the counter-argument(s). Some parameters that your paper will be evaluated on are the following: Is the thesis clearly stated? Is it adequately supported with your research? Are the supporting paragraphs coherent? Do they transition into each other in a logical manner? Or, could they be randomly rearranged? (Not a good thing!) Are quotes integrated within your own sentences and properly cited?
- Adding Perspectives to Argument
- Audience & Purpose
- Developing Paragraphs
- Finding Academic Journals
- Logical Fallacies
- Research Writing Handout
- Writing Paragraphs
Web Resources: Textbooks, Chapters, and Articles
- The Process of Research Writing: An online research writing textbook created and published by Steven Krause at Eastern Michigan University
- Methods of Discovery: A Guide to Research Writing: This is a link to an online open-source composition textbook by Dr. Pavel Zemliansky of James Madison University. There are several helpful chapters about research writing.
- How to Write College Research Papers: An online article created by Maryland Community College that provides general overview of research writing.
- What is a Scholarly Article?: This link takes you to another article explaining what scholarly journals are and how they differ from magazines.
Web Resources: Websites
- Research Paper Checklist: What Professors Look For When Grading: This website provides a good check-list explaining what is expected in a research paper.
- Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines: What's the difference?: This website by the University of Central Florida Libraries provides a helpful chart explaining the difference between scholarly journals and magazines.
- Writing a Research Paper: An extensive virtual handout from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab that walks students through the steps in writing a research paper.
Web Resources: Citation
- MLA Style Lite for Research Papers: A link to MLA citation style.
- APA Style Lite for College Papers: A link to APA citation style.
- Argumentation (Podcast)
- Writing a Research Paper: First Steps
- Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals
- Plagiarism: Avoid Academic Theft
- Plagiarism: How to Avoid It
- ArticleSearch: Free App that allows for multiple searches of scientific papers, journals, articles, and other publications
- Questia: Ability to search through 75,000 books, 9 million articles, and 7,000 research topics
- Ilaro: A research note taking and citation database; useful for organizing notes and tracking citations.
- Essay Starter: Program that allows for transfer of information from PDFs to notes and/or essays