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Writing a Research Paper (Cont.) Chris Dison Fall 2010 What is Academic Writing? Academic writing begins with a thesis or idea about a certain topic. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing%20a%20Research%20Paper%20(Cont.)

Writing a Research Paper (Cont.)
  • Chris Dison
  • Fall 2010

What is Academic Writing?
  • Academic writing begins with a thesis or idea
    about a certain topic.
  • Central to academic writing is the ability to use
    what is known about a topic via existing research
    and to develop whatever new ideas may emerge by
    using the authors logical, fact-based argument
    as a jumping off point.

Academic Writing is
  • Formal The writing needs to be clear,
    unambiguous, literal, and well structured.

Academic Writing is
  • Logical The writing tests propositions against
    one another to determine their accuracy.

Academic Writing is
  • Planned The writing takes place after research,
    deliberation, and evaluation, and it adheres to a
    specific plan and outline.

Academic Writing is
  • Well Organized The writing must flow from one
    point to the next in logical order. The ideas
    must be well thought out, and the research must
    be solid.
  • Academic Writing is
  • Impersonal The writing must lessen the sense of
    emotional involvement between the topic and the

Academic Writing is
  • Objective The writing must show an unbiased
    presentation of facts.
  • But Mr. Dison, I thought this was my opinion!

Why Research Paper?
  • A research paper is designed to make a persuasive
    argument about a central thesis.
  • It is NOT a series of facts, a report of
    previously stated information, or a summary of
    information from a series of sources.

7 steps to success
  • Select a topic!
  • a. Make sure you have a focused topic/thesis
    BEFORE you begin your research.
  • b. The reverse of this process may work better
    for some students.

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Identify source materials.
  • a. Source material is information you have
    gathered to provide understanding of the topic.
  • b. This is also information from which you will
    be gathering evidence/support for your argument.

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Take notes and organize them for future
  • a. Detailed notes help shape the thesis
    statement and the paper itself.
  • b. As your paper develops, notes should become
    narrower in focus.

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Create an OUTLINE for the paper.
  • a. An outline will help you organize your
    thoughts, which will in turn help your paper to
    be organized in a logical and coherent format.
  • b. Screenplay example.

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Write the first draft.
  • a. Multiple drafts are necessary for any
    writing assignment.
  • b. Having multiple drafts will allow you to
    fine-tune your argument and identify errors in
    grammar and mechanics.

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Edit and refine the paper.
  • a. Editing your paper for mistakes is only ONE
    part of the editing process.
  • b. Refining your paper consists of checking
    your argument for unity, clarity, coherence, and

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Edit and refine the paper AGAIN!
  • a. Read the paper aloud to catch awkward or
    incorrect phrasing.
  • b. Ask yourself important questions about your
    paper, your thesis, and your overall argument

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Question 1 - Have I fulfilled the intent of the
  • Question 2 - Is the introduction clear? Does it
    indicate where the rest of the paper is headed?
  • Question 3 - Is each section in the appropriate
    place to fulfill the papers purpose?

7 Steps to Success (cont.)
  • Question 4 - Have I drawn connections between the
    sections and used effective transitions?
  • Question 5 - Does the conclusion make clear what
    question I asked and how I arrived at the answer?
  • Question 6 - Are there any issues with word
    choice, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation,
    or spelling?

Academic Writing Preparation
  • The most important question to ask yourself is

What Am I Writing About?
  • 1) Subject The subject of a paper is the
    general sense of what you are writing about.

What Am I Writing About?
  • Topic The topic of a paper is a manageable
    portion of the subject.
  • Ex. If the subject is the Space Shuttle, the
    topic could be design issues, the propulsion
    system, or stress tolerances in outer space.

What Am I Writing About?
  • What is the SUBJECT that we are focusing our
    research paper on?
  • What is your TOPIC?

What Am I Writing About?
  • 3) Thesis The idea you have formulated about the
    topic after the requisite research is the thesis.
  • The thesis statement is the beginning of the
    argument you are prepared to make throughout the

Questions to Ask
  • As you proceed with the writing, ask
  • yourself Do I have a good grasp of the concept
    of the thesis?
  • Does the thesis support the main idea of my
  • Does the information relate to and support the

Questions (cont.)
  • Does the paper have a clear order?
  • Are there enough specifics and details to explain
    each main or topic sentence idea fully?
  • Does the document adhere to the standard and
    correct MLA formatting? (Both in-text and works
    cited list?)

Research Paper Basics
  • 1) When writing about a complex subject, the
    first step is to do the research. It is not
    necessary to know about a subject from the
    outset, but it is necessary to be as open as
    possible to multiple variations on a subject.

Research Paper Basics (cont.)
  • Evaluate the sources. From the mass of
    information available on the given subject,
    narrow your focus to one aspect of the topic.

Research Paper Basics (cont.)
  • 3) Understand the material!
  • This comes from doing the research and reviewing
    and thinking about the information gathered.
    Some references are better than others, and some
    authors are more credible than others.

Research Paper Basics (cont.)
  • What is the best way to understand the material?
  • Writers must think about what they have read
    BEFORE writing the research paper.
  • Why am I telling you this?

Research Paper Basics (cont.)
  • Translate the material.
  • This is the part of the writing where
  • you get to formulate your argument. Ask
  • yourself questions like, What information
  • is pertinent to the topic? and How can I
  • break complex ideas into manageable
  • pieces?
  • From this point it is easier to outline your
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