Unit #6
Feb 5-10
Assignment 6.1
Take notes over the reading below as well as notes from the links scattered throughout the reading.

A Research Paper is a thesis driven exploration of thoughtful reading on a particular subject. The reading material may come from several sources.

The purpose of this paper is to find and compile data, to participate in an exploration of the data, to make original observations, to show relationships between data, and to make evaluations on a subject.

Sounds pretty scary, doesn't it...it is.  But...know that we will take "baby steps" and it will be relatively painless...like slowly taking a huge band-aid off a bloody scab.

Just to give you an idea of how this will work, here is the order of events:

1.  Learn about research papers
2.  Learn how to use Google Scholar
3.  Decide on a topic
4.  Write thesis statement
5.  General Research (lots of reading using your "scanning skills")
6.  Essay map
7.  Basic Outline
8.  In-depth Research
9.  Annotated Bibliography. 
10.  Make any changes to your thesis statement and essay map
11.  Better Outline
12.  Bibliography
13.  Intro Paragraph
14.  First Main Point (Roman Numeral #1)
15.  First Complete Draft
16.  Abstract
17.  Title Page
18.  Finish APA format
19.  Peer Review
20. Transfer everything to a Word document

So, here we go...
Learning about research papers...

Here is the link: Learning About Research Papers

When you get to this page, read it, the look at the left column, under "Research Papers" there are 6 sub-topics...read each of them and take notes.

Read pages 363-371 and take notes

Meaningful research projects start with a personal need or desire to know.  Think about the subjects you've studied in school, the hobbies you've enjoyed, the materials you've read, the movies or television programs you've see.  Think about current controversial topics, recent stories in the news, and things that are important in your daily life.  What do you need or want to know?  To do good research, you need to find a subject that interests you and seems practical for the time and resources available.

Once you've selected a general subject, you need to explore it further.  Write down everything you know about the subject and what you would like to find out about the subject.

After you have come up with a general topic, it is now time to limit the topic into a manageable research paper topic.

For example, if you want to write a paper on "endangered species", you will need to narrow the subject down something like this:

  Endangered Species
    Programs to protect endangered species
      Programs to protect the gray wolf
        Programs to reintroduce the gray wolf in the lower 48 states.

How to Choose a Research Paper Topic: 6 Tips to Come
Up with Great Ideas

Research papers are the backbone of many college courses and probably the least favorite assignment for students taking the course. Too often you will find yourself starting a paper a few days or even the night before it is due and many of those times you won't even have a topic for your research paper picked out. If you are one of these people who go this route and aren't too happy with the results you have been getting then perhaps it is time to change your approach. Choosing a paper topic doesn't have to be a painful decision like deciding between a punch to the face and a kick to the stomach. It can be a great learning experience and an assignment you will no longer find difficult once you have figured out how to tackle it in a timely manner.

1.  Know what the assignment is

When your professor informs you of the research paper take the time to understand right off the bat what it actually entails. I know that I used to not really read the prompt until a few weeks down the line when I was ready to start researching the paper and this was a huge mistake. Knowing what your assignment is helps to give you some defined parameters for the research and let's you focus on what you want to write about instead of what you are supposed to do. If you are unclear at all go and talk to the professor and see if he can explain it better or even suggest some areas that you could explore for your paper.

2.  Choose a topic that interests you

Not all classes we have to take are all that interesting to us. However, if you really sat and thought about it I bet you could come up with something that would be at least mildly interesting to you. Sometimes when you only have a basic understanding of a topic you might find it terribly boring. For instance, basic chemistry classes are often mind numbing but the applications for chemistry can be on really interesting topics that you haven't ever had a chance to learn about.

3.  Information is easily obtainable

Choosing to narrow of a topic or one that doesn't have much information about it can really make trying to write an eight to ten page research paper frustrating. When you choose your topic try to make it something that you know has enough sources that you can rely on to help you construct your argument. Come up with a few topic ideas and see which ones would be easy to gather sufficient information on.

4.  What do you know about?

There is the old adage that you should write what you know and really there is no better replacement than that for writing a long research paper. Having familiarity with a particular topic allows you to organize your thoughts easier and know exactly where you need to start researching. Be careful you don't fall into the trap of thinking you can put off writing the paper simply because you do know a bit about the topic, you still need to buckle down and get it done.

5.   Choose something relevant

As an education major I have to write papers for every single class I take and often times up to three or four per class so I constantly have to look for new topics that inspire me. Sometimes the best topics come from things that have been in the news a lot recently or even something that you saw on your favorite show. I remember one time I saw something about world oil supplies and the program talked specifically about Nigeria and the impact the oil production had on some of its citizens. Just by watching that television program it made me want to write the research paper I had coming up on an issue dealing with Nigeria despite knowing nothing about it previously.

6.  Go Random

If I am at a total loss of what exactly I should write a research paper about I will go to the library and scan the stacks of books related to my course until something catches my attention. Sometimes it will be an interesting title that jumps out at me or just the design of the book itself. I have learned over the years that if I just accept the random choice and it is something that can be easily researched then I should just stick with it. It doesn't always turn out to be as interesting as I may have hoped but other times it is something that I end up becoming really intrigued by. Now I will say that a random choice does require you to have discipline to keep writing even if the topic is boring but just be sure to have a couple of random choices to filter out the bad ones.

Writing a research paper is always a pain if you wait until the last minute to start or even to choose the topic but it doesn't have to be that way. Start thinking about your paper right from when it is assigned to you and be quick about choosing a great topic. We have gone over how to choose a paper topic but remember that it is only the beginning and no matter what topic you select there will be plenty of work involved so just gets started now.

(3 hour)

Submit Assignment 6.1 notes on Feb 9 (20 pts)

Assignment 6.2
After doing some research and reading the above notes, choose a focused topic that there is enough info on, but not an overwhelming amount of information for.  (1 hour)

Submit Assignment 6.2 Feb 10 (10 pts)

Assignment 6.3

Learn to use the CCU library and Google Scholar

Explore the site

Submit 6.3 on Feb 12 (10 points)

Assignment 6.4

With a limited topic, you'll next want to put together a thesis statement which will serve as the controlling idea for your paper.  It states what you believe your research will prove.

Here is how the thesis statement is developed for a research paper:

1.  Consider the info you have collected so far and decide specifically what you would like to cover in your research paper.
For example:  Programs to reintroduce the gray wolf into the lower 48 states.

2.  Put your idea in the form of a question

For example:  What programs are currently in effect to reintroduce the gray wolf into the lower 48 states?

3.  Now turn your question into a sentence that states exactly what you would like to say about your subject.

For example:  The current programs to reintroduce the gray wolf into the lower 48 states are achieving the desired results.

Note:  A good thesis statement tells readers what your topic is and how you plan on treating your topic and what side of the argument you are taking.

Now, with your limited topic, design a thesis statement for your topic. (1 hour)

Submit 6.4 on Feb 14 (20 pts)

​Total Time:  7 hours

The Research Paper
(ominous laugh inserted here)
Novel Test #4 Friday, Feb 10

The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde due Feb 13