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Writing an Excellent Research Paper: MLA Style


In addition, they will have a foundation for writing a proficient research paper in MLA format. ... Example from MLA Handbook, 5th edition ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing an Excellent Research Paper: MLA Style

Writing an Excellent Research PaperMLA Style
  • Students will develop an understanding of the
    importance of research writing. In addition, they
    will have a foundation for writing a proficient
    research paper in MLA format.

  • Students will be able to write a
    interdisciplinary research paper at the
    proficient level.

Why write a research paper?
  • It is a requirement for English III, your majors
    (vocal, theatre or dance) and Performing Arts
  • It is the standard form of communication in the
    academic world.
  • Connect the academic world with your major.
  • To provide you and your instructors with hours of
    thought provoking work.

Selecting a topic
  • Selected in your major classes.
  • Related to major and can integrate 3 or more
    academic areas seamlessly.
  • Begin with a general topic and then refine to
    more specific one that can be more fully
  • Narrow topic by focusing on aspect of subject or
    approach to it. (e.g. Roaring 20sIsadora
    DuncanContribution to art of dance.)
  • Availability and quantity of resources.

Conducting Research
  • Where can I go to obtain information? (e.g.
    school, local libraries, renowned institutions)
  • What type of reference works will you use?
  • Reference worksMagazines, books, journals,
    encyclopedias, biographical resources.
  • How much money will it cost?

Publication Forms of ReferencePrint and
  • General Reference Dictionaries, Encyclopedias,
    Biographical sources, Atlas, almanacs, etc.
  • Electronic FormsCD ROMS, Database, EBSCO,
    Professional/Reliable Websites.

Working Bibliography
  • Keep track of sources (Bibliography)
  • Will evolve into your Work Cited that appears
    at the end of your research paper.

Books Scholarly Journals
  • Authors full name
  • Full Title, including sub-titles.
  • Edition
  • Number of Volume, and total number of volumes.
  • City of Publication
  • Publisher
  • Year of publication
  • Authors full name
  • Title of the article (quotations)
  • Name of journal.
  • Volume number.
  • Year of publication.
  • Page number/s for article.

Budden, Julian. The Operas of Verdi. Rev. Ed. 3
vols. Oxford Clarendon, 1992.
Vartanov, Anri. Television as Spectacle and
Myth. Journal of Communication 41
(1991) 162-71
Newspapers, Magazines Internet Sources
  • Authors name
  • Title of document
  • Title of project, database, periodical, or
    professional or personal site.
  • Name of editor
  • Date of electronic publication or last update.
  • Name of institution sponsoring site
  • Date you accessed source
  • Network address or URL.
  • Authors name
  • Title of article (quotation marks)
  • Title of periodical (underlined or italics)
  • Date of publication.
  • Page number/s of article

Oakley, John H. The Achilles Painter. The
Perseus Project. Ed. Gregory Crane. Mar.
1997. Tufts U. 14 May 1998
Shea, Christopher. The Limits of Free Speech.
Chronicale of Higher Education 1 Dec. 1993
Note Taking
  • Essential to research
  • By hand on index cards or sheets of paper
  • Authors full name and complete title of source.
  • 3 Methods of note taking
  • Summaryrecord general ideas
  • ParaphraseDetailed notes on specific sentences,
    but specific wording is not needed.
  • Quotation--Believe sentence or passage in
    original wording will make paper more effective
    transcribe material word for word, comma to
    comma. When quote per verbatim use quotation
    marks in your notes to distinguish quotations
    from summary or paraphrase.

  • Refers to form of cheating defined as the false
    assumption of authorship the wrongful act of
    taking the product of another persons mind, and
    presenting it as ones own. (Alexander Lindy,
    Plagiarism and Originality, New York Harper,
  • Intellectual Theft
  • Punishable by failure of course to explosion from
  • Borrowed material must not appear to be your
  • Document everything you borrow, not only direct
    quotes, but paraphrases also.
  • Anything that is not common knowledge (when in
    doubt document)

  • Overall view of paper.
  • Establishes relationships between sections.
  • Provides logical progression.
  • Keep track of important aspects of topic.
  • Keep focus.

Thesis Statement
  • PurposeWhat are you try to accomplish with your
  • Describe, explain, or persuade?
  • AudienceWho are you writing for?
  • Specialist on topic
  • Someone who supports or refutes your point of
  • Someone who shares an interest or not.

Example from MLA Handbook, 5th edition
Students who wish to write successful research
papers must know as much as possible about the
modern academic libraryits central information
system, reference works, online catalog of
holdings and other resources and servicesand
must be knowledgeable about finding useful
Internet sources.
Final Outline
  • Help organize ideas into a logical, fluent and
    effective paper.
  • Delete everything on your working outline that is
    not relevant to your thesis statement.
  • Include only the ideas/information that enables
    you to accomplish what you have set out to do in
    your thesis.
  • Bring related materials together under general
  • Arrange sections so that they logically connect
    with each other.
  • Plan an effective introduction and conclusion.
  • Which is expected? Topic (Bullets, short
    phrases) or Sentence (More detailed, complete
    sentences) Outline.

Writing Drafts
  • Successful paper is the culmination of a series
    of drafts.
  • Helpful Hints
  • Follow outline closely
  • Revise outline when new ideas occur to you
  • Eliminate, add and rearrange material
  • If material seems sketchy or unclear, expand by
    writing new sentence, or if need be new
  • Find appropriate transitions between sentences
    and paragraphs.
  • Delete irrelevant material, repetitive
    information or unimportant facts.
  • Vary sentence patterns and word choice ( See a
  • Correct technical errors---punctuation, grammar
    and usage using a standard dictionary
  • Proofread

Language and Style
  • Scholarship requires objectivity
  • Avoid language that implies unsubstantiated or
    generalized statements about such personal
    qualities as age, SES, sexual orientation,
    political or religious beliefs.
  • Avoid the He/Him/His/Her to express gender, use,
    make pleural and use they or change structure
    altogether to omit those words.
  • Avoid gender-based job descriptions
    (policeman-police officer, stewardess-flight
    attendant, anchorman-anchor)

Organizing Principles
  • Chronology (Historical Events) time order
  • Cause and Effect (Scientific Discoveries)
  • Process (How political elections work)
  • Deductive/DeductionGeneral principle to specific
    (Violence in US to Use of Handguns)
  • Inductive---From specific argument to general
    (Violence using handguns to violence overall)

Senior Interdisciplinary Paper (SIP)
  • Begins sophomore year with researching possible
    topics (Includes topics connection to no less
    than 3 academic areas).
  • Junior yearsubmit a proposal for approval of
    topics writing paper (Failure to complete paper
    will result in failing English III)
  • Senior yearproduct/demonstration that reflects
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