First, let me answer the number one question about research
Too much information? Follow the STEP BY STEP GUIDE.
Now you've finished note taking - here is how to slug your cards and write a thesis statement.
Mon 11/4 – Blank note cards (100 cards at least)
Tues 11/5 – 10 note cards filled out (not including source cards)
Wed 11/6 – 25 note cards filled out (not including source cards) (grade weighted 1.5)
Thurs 11/7 - 40 note cards filled out (not including source cards) (grade weighted twice)
Fri 11/8 – 50 note cards filled out (not including source cards) (grade weighted twice)
Tues 11/12– Bring in all source cards (must be at least six) and all note cards
Tue 11/12 – Thesis statement (grade weighted twice)
Mon 11/18– Bring in Rough Draft (at least 1 page typed)
Thurs 11/21 – Bring in Rough Draft (at least 3 pages typed) (grade weighted twice)
Fri 11/22 – Bring in Rough Draft (at least 4 pages typed) (grade weighted twice)
Mon 11/25 – Works Cited Page (typed)
Tuesday 11/26– Research Paper
Literary Criticisms (honors)
Missed a deadline? Do not despair! You can replace those zeros with a grade you get from the Study Island Research Paper Deus ex Machinas. You will need to do 10 questions in the assignment. Do one assignment for each zero you need to replace. No bonus points will be added to this grade.
Regular English IV - you will pick a topic that can be argued. You will choose one side of the issue and convince me that your side is the correct one. I do not want both pros and cons. Just one side is fine. We are not FOX News so there is no need to be fair and balanced.
You can use these sites to maybe get you thinking about possible controversial topics:
Writing the Research Paper LinksThese links take you away from this web site
Honors - Must have 8 sources total - one will be the book you are analyzing.
Regular - Must have 6 sources total.
Top Ten Reasons Students Get a Low Grade in their Writing:
See these in more detail plus more by clicking here.
The works cited page must included all works that have a parenthetical documentation in your paper. It cannot include any works that do not have a parenthetical cite in the paper.
Put the words Works Cited at the top of the page, centered.
Keep the font size the same as your paper.
Do not number or bullet your cites. Put them in alphabetical order.
The first line is at the left hand margin. All other lines in the cite are indented once.
Continue the cite until you hit the margin before you start a new line.
How do you reverse indent? Highlight your entries, click the upside down triangle on the margins bar, drag it halfway to the 1, then drag the rectangle back to the original position. Here is a video that shows how:
Common mistakes to look for when revising the Works Cited page:
You will need approximately 10 note cards x the number of pages required for your paper. Then add about 15 to it because many of the first cards will not work well into your paper.
What do you need?
Here are some links to help you research -
Our Learning Common's Handy Research Resource
Now it is time for slugging. Take your note cards and make sure that they all have a source code on it before you begin.
Now remove your blank cards and put them out of the way.
Remove your source cards. Check to make sure each one has a period at the end of the MLA. Count them. Do you have at least six? If so, good. If not, no worries, wait a bit and you'll know where to continue researching in just a little bit. Put them away.
Take the remaining cards and start to put them into stacks by like information. For example, if I am researching banning the death penalty, I might have a stack of cards about how the death penalty is racist, another stack about how it is sexist, another stack of statistics of states that have the death penalty and those that do not, another stack of the history of the death penalty, and another stack of miscellaneous information.
It is now time to slug our cards. You are going to write a small one word description of that category on each card in each category (I know, I know...).
You need to figure that your argument is going to rely on three to four of those categories. Pick your strongest reasons. Take the other ones and put them to the side. Don't throw them away, just get them out of the way.
Organize each category so that the cards are in order of how you are going to present them in your paper.
Put the categories in the order that you are going to argue your point. Now your note cards are in order. When you type your paper, you can start with the first note card, work it in, move to the next. You will find that this is easier than trying to sort through a pile of cards while you write.
What about the left over cards? You ay find a good way to use them, but be prepared to leave them out. You do not want to put useless information into your paper just because you researched it. That makes your paper weak. I do not like weak papers.
THE THESIS STATEMENT
Basically, this is your paper summed up in one sentence. There are several ways to write a good thesis statement. Here is an easy way to write a decent statement:
Your Assertion + Your Categories
For example, if I am writing a paper arguing that an all ice cream diet is healthy and beneficial and my categories are the four food groups, healthy benefits, and case studies, I could write a decent (not great, but workable) statement this way:
All of this information can all be found in this Thesis Statement worksheet.
Better yet, watch this video:
O.K., now it is time to start writing the paper. Before you begin, let me remind you of the specs of this paper:
Make sure you understand how to in-text.
Since you are writing this on a Google Doc, may I suggest that you get the add-ons SAS Writing Reviser and GradeProof: Writing with AI put onto your Google Docs. These will help you proof and correct while you write.
I suggest that you write your paper by starting with the body. You have note cards to help you get through it and you can always go back and add in the introduction later. The introduction tends to be the hardest part to write. Information on each part of the paper is below.
You may wish to review these tip sheets:
Before you go any further, make sure you understand this concept. Worried about accidental plagiarism? Read this sheet.
If you are going to write your paper using a word program other than Google Drive, you probably want to download DROPBOX and store your paper there. That way you can access your paper anywhere. If you lose your computer or it crashes, you have not lost the paper.
How do I write:
This paragraph exists for two purposes:
Let's look at these two things. How do you grab my attention? Well, since attaching $100 bills to your paper is unethical, let's try an approach that actually relies on your writing skills. First you need a "hook" to catch my attention. Consider using these techniques:
Your thesis statement should be somewhere in your introduction. Where? Well, that is up to you. You will probably find it easier (and quite effective) to make it your last sentence. Start broad, get narrower, then hit the reader with your thesis. Typically an introduction paragragh will have 4-7 sentences and either none or just one in-text (it is not uncommon to have no in-text in the introduction).
Sample Intro -
In 2012, Americans spent over $20 million on diet books, weight lose drugs, and surgeries to become trimmer ("100 Million"). People are obsessed with loosing weight, but often find themselves right back where they started. This is because people pick diets that they cannot possibly keep for long periods at a time. The key in weight lose is to pick foods that both healthy, but fun to eat, and design the program around that. The all ice cream diet is healthy for people because ice cream has the four main food groups, the individual ingredients are healthy, and there are several case studies where it has worked.
This is the easy part. In fact, I suggest that you start with your body and write your introduction later. You already have your note cards in order. Now you all you need to do is to look at that first note card and find a way to write that piece of information. Then you can go from there. Don't forget to put in your in-text documentation as you write.
If you listed your topics in your thesis statement, then write your paper in that order.
What Is In-Text Citation and Why Are You Making Me Do This?????
First of all, let's address why we are doing it:
This is an easy way of giving credit to your sources. Remember that plagiarism is copying someone's words OR ideas without giving proper credit.
So how do you do it? Simple. Just look at your source cards and follow the pattern to the right. It all depends on the first word of the source.
You can also use this sheet as a helpful guide:
Once you finish, you can clean up unneeded in-text by following these guidelines for cleaning up in-text.
Run across something unusual? Check the Purdue Online Writing Center.
Transitions - these help your reader to realize that you are moving from one idea to the next. If you've ever been talking to someone who abruptly changes topic without letting you know that they were now talking about something else, then you understand how annoying a lack of transitions can be.
You can use transition sentences. If I was talking about comic book superheroes and I want to move to the amount of money that comic book movies are making, I could start my next paragraph like this:
"The Incredible Hulk may be super powerful, but that is nothing compared to the power that comic book movies have to make money."
You can also use transition words to alert your
reader. Overusing these can make your writing seem childish and formulaic.
However, using some here or there can add strength to your writing.
Some transition words:
Other Issues in the body of the paper:
Repetition - this is using the same word too many times, or too closley together. Sometimes you can fix the problem by just choosing a different word and other times you will need to rewrite the sentence.
Redundancy - this is harder to spot than repetition, although similar. This is when you say the same information using different words. Itis easy to think that you are saying something new, when in fact you are merely repeating yourself.
Things that weaken your argument:
Off Limit Words - just get rid of them. All of them.
This is the last paragraph of your paper. You wrap up all your ideas in a neat little package. Please do NOT start your conclusion with these words: LASTLY, IN CONCLUSION, or FINALLY. We can see it is the last paragraph. You do not need to insult your reader by telling them that.
You will want to summarize your main points and reassert (note that I did not say restate) your position. Do not end your paper with a question. You can end with a quotation (especially effective if you tie that quotation in with a quotation from the introduction), a prediction, a recommendation, or a reference to something mentioned in the introduction. Here is a great way to do that (borrowed from Mr. Assael): Introductions and Conclusions
You can use these sites to help proofread your paper online:
EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: If you can get Paper Rater to give you an A on your full five pages, send it to me using teacher code 34CCC. If you get an A-, I'll give you a double daily grade. If you get an A, I'll give you a double 100 quiz grade. If you get and A+, I'll give you a 100 test grade.
Get rid of the word "very." It is an overused word and you can do better than that. Here are some ways to avoid it:
Clean up your in-text
Go through your paper and get rid of unnecessary in-text. Do it this way:
Here is an example (swiped from wikipedia.org). All red and crossed out cites or words need to be eliminated.
You can following these guidelines for cleaning up your in-text.
Check your sources
Go through your paper and put a checkmark on your Works Cited page beside every entry that has an in-text. This will prevent you from getting the penalty for a source in-texted that is not on the Works Cited page or having a source on the Works Cited page that is not in-texted in the paper.
You do not have to number your pages, but if you do, do NOT number the title page or the works cited page. If you wish to go the extra mile, number pages 2-5 only.
What to Put in Your Envelope
You won't believe that this is true, but the following is an actual e-mail from a former student who was in college at the time of this letter. This has no alterations to make me look good (I look good enough as is). So read this and then keep your handouts where you can get them.
Guess who it is??!! Your FAVORITE former student
Adrian. I'd just like to take the time to thank you so much for giving
us a research paper. I'd be lost already if I hadn't have used MLA and
all that fun stuff.
Talk to you soon