Writing discipline specific research papers
Writing and Research in the Disciplines
This is a resource for students who are writing research projects in various disciplines. The sections that follow contain information about writing conventions in major citation style guides, sources for information in different fields of study, and helpful advice for developing a thesis and organizing material when writing a research paper.
How to Take Notes
When researching for a paper, taking notes is an essential part to the paper’s actual success. It is also a great way to avoid plagiarism and get as much original information into the paper as possible.
To start out, 3 x 5 note cards are great sources to write on, but regular loose leaf paper could be used just as well. It’s good to write down points, but summarizing and paraphrasing can be good too. I find that the best way is to take in a couple of sentences at a time. Read the small bit of information and then from what you can recollect in your mind without looking at the source, write down what you remember. This way you can avoid copying word for word and in the end avoid reiterating that exact information of ideas or actual words in your paper.
Make sure that you write down the major issues; you can go into details later. In order to take advantage of the time in which you are given to take notes, start with bold prints or look for main subject words, and then if you have time later, go back and highlight the specifics you might have missed to begin with. Also before you begin taking notes, you might want to start out with a source card so that you can go back and reference and cite your information later. Number the source cards according to the information contained in the note cards.
Melissa Collins' Work Cited Page
Brizee, H. Allen. Writing a Research Paper. 1995-2004: Internet. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/ResearchW/notes.html Apr 11, 2008.
How to Summarize
Summarizing is one of the most important tools needed in education. It is the basis for interpreting and translating text into one’s own words. Summarizing is taking the main idea of a text and putting it in fewer words to get the general idea of the material (Jones). When we summarize, we extract what the most important parts are to show the main essence of the material (Jones). There are some general ideas and guidelines that many agree on when teaching to summarize.
Some useful ways to start the summarizing process while reading the material include underlining or highlighting important words or passages and then writing down the main ideas in a column or separate sheet of paper (“How to….”). Multiple readings of the original source are often helpful, as well as reading it quickly to only pick up the most important ideas (“How to…”). After quickly reading the material, it is helpful to go through the material more in-depth to dissect each section.
The main point to remember about a summary is that it should be put into the writer’s own words to avoid any suspicion of plagiarism. Not only is it important to not use the exact same words as the original author, but it is also important to not use the same sentence structure (“Learn to…”). To avoid exactly copying the original source, it is helpful to set the original source out of view, and then trying to write a brief overview in your own words. It is important to stay dedicated to the original source, keeping its main essence and idea, without copying it exactly (“Learn to…”).
“How To Summarize.” Mantex. 2007. Mantex. 10 April 2008. <http://www.mantex.co.uk/samples/summary.htm>.
Jones, Raymond. “Summarizing.” Reading Quest. 3 February 2007. ReadingQuest.org. 10 April 2008. < http://www.readingquest.org/strat/summarize.html>.
“Learn to Summarize.” University of Houston Victoria. 2006. Academic Center University of Houston Victoria. 10 April 2008. <http://www.uhv.edu/ac/research/write/summary.asp>.
How to Paraphrase
Paraphrasing is something that everyone should know how to do and do it correctly. Paraphrasing is often confused with summarizing. They are not the same thing and can produce very different results to the reader. To summarize something will leave only a very general idea. Paraphrasing is taking someone else’s ideas and putting them in your own, unique words.
It is important, when paraphrasing someone, to give credit to the author. If you don’t give credit where it is due, it is considered plagiarism.
Here are a few basic guidelines for solid paraphrasing from Ms. Driscoll at Purdue University: 1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning. 2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card. 3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase. 4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form. 5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source. 6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper. (Driscoll, 1)
Mr. Plotnick gives a great example of what not to do when paraphrasing another person’s writing. Given this excerpt from Oliver Sack’s essay “An Anthropologist on Mars”:
“The cause of autism has also been a matter of dispute. Its incidence is about one in a thousand, and it occurs throughout the world, its features remarkably consistent even in extremely different cultures. It is often not recognized in the first year of life, but tends to become obvious in the second or third year. Though Asperger regarded it as a biological defect of affective contact—innate, inborn, analogous to a physical or intellectual defect—Kanner tended to view it as a psychogenic disorder, a reflection of bad parenting, and most especially of a chillingly remote, often professional, "refrigerator mother." At this time, autism was often regarded as "defensive" in nature, or confused with childhood schizophrenia. A whole generation of parents—mothers, particularly—were made to feel guilty for the autism of their children.”
Here is an example of poor paraphrasing:
“The cause of the condition autism has been disputed. It occurs in approximately one in a thousand children, and it exists in all parts of the world, its characteristics strikingly similar in vastly differing cultures. The condition is often not noticeable in the child's first year, yet it becomes more apparent as the child reaches the ages of two or three. Although Asperger saw the condition as a biological defect of the emotions that was inborn and therefore similar to a physical defect, Kanner saw it as psychological in origin, as reflecting poor parenting and particularly a frigidly distant mother. During this period, autism was often seen as a defense mechanism, or it was misdiagnosed as childhood schizophrenia. An entire generation of mothers and fathers (but especially mothers) were made to feel responsible for their offspring's autism (Sacks 247-48).” Notice how most of the sentences have only a few words rearranged or changed for synonyms. The sentence structure and paragraph layout are even almost identical to the original. Just because you cite the page numbers at the end of your paragraph doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear for plagiarism (Plotnick, 1).
Driscoll, Dana Lynn. “Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words.” The Owl at Purdue. 1995. University of Purdue. April 11, 2008. 
Plotnick, Jerry. “Paraphrase and Summary.” University College: Writing Workshop. 2007. University of Toronto. April 11, 2008. 
How to Organize
One of the toughest things about writing a paper is figuring out just how to organize it. Where do you begin? How do you begin? What do you include? What order do you put it in? How do you conclude your paper? Well below is a list of websites that may assist you in your organizational writing process. Included is also a brief summary of the positive and negative points of each website to help you further narrow your search.
1) How to Organize a Research Paper http://www.geocities.com/athens/oracle/4184 A Research Paper is a Tree
good: This provides a simple explanation of what to include in your paper, how to organize the basics of your paper, and what section to include specific information in. It gives an example of how an outline is a tree and how each aspect of your paper is like a specific part of the tree. This makes it easy to visually see where each piece of information should fall in your paper.
bad: It takes the example of the outline being a tree a bit far. It focuses more on making that analogy than it does presenting valuable information about writing a paper.
2) How to Organize Your Paper http://www.lasalle.edu/services/sheekey/organize.htm
good: It is a list of links to several websites to help with specific organizational problems such as having trouble putting ideas into the proper format in a paper, having trouble relating the different concepts in the paper, and having trouble getting started/getting organized.
bad: This site contains no actual information itself; it merely provides links to other sites that may be useful.
3) How to Organize a Research Paper http://www.ehow.com/how_138072_organize-research-paper.html
good: It contains a very cleat set of 8 steps to prepare for and organize your research paper. It also contains tips, warnings, and links to related articles and example research papers.
bad: It contains no examples of an actual paper, just links.
4) Research Guide for Students http://www.aresearchguide.com/1steps.html How to Write an A+ Research Paper
good: It contains a very clear list of steps to go through including choosing a topic, finding information, stating your thesis, making a tentative outline, organizing your notes, writing your first draft, and revising your final outline and draft. It includes a detailed explanation of each step as well as examples and links to find further information. It also contains a series of checklists to help ensure that you included everything and have written an effective paper.
bad: It unfortunately doesn't focus too much on actually writing the paper other than a brief discussion of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
5)How to write a Term Paper http://gale.cengage.com/free_resources/term_paper/begin.htm Begin and Organize a Research Paper
good: It contains a very detailed outline of instructions on essentially how to go about formatting your thoughts, creating a detailed outline, and different methods to implement following the creation of and outline.
bad: It only has a few examples of how to actually carry out each step of the given process which may make it a little more difficult to thoroughly follow.
How to Create a Thesis
1. Defining Your Research Topic and Starting Your Search http://www.camellia.shc.edu/literacy/tableversion/lessons/lesson3/defining2.htm
Summary: The site seemed to be a broader, not quite as in-depth, website. The main reason I found it to be a useful resource is that it provided a very helpful analogy regarding narrowing a topic. The author compared it to two lakes, a smaller lake and a larger lake. The smaller lake was deep, but the large was shallow. The point was to emphasize how if you choose the larger lake, your topic will be more vague and broad, but by choosing the smaller, deeper lake you are able to go more into detail on your topic.
2. How To Write A Thesis Statement http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml
Summary: I liked this website because it was more specific as far as discussing certain points of developing a topic which would then turn into a thesis statement. What I found most interesting is the site had two sections which provided two approaches to developing the statement depending on whether or not the topic was assigned. Despite being given a topic, one must develop their own thesis. It also gave tips on deciding upon a topic if one is not assigned. I liked where the author stated that, "In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores." Very well put.
3. Developing a Central Claim http://uwp.duke.edu/wstudio/documents/developing_claim_000.pdf
Summary: This Duke University Writer's Studio webpage was a useful resource for explaining the development of a research question/thesis statement. It was a bit more detailed that most of the sites I have viewed, but I believe that is a good thing. It contained a lot of information, but it was well-organized into a paragraph layout, and it was easy to read. I liked one of the points in the second paragraph stating that, "Several sentences might be necessary to convery your thesis or central claim". I think many are taught that a thesis is a single sentence, and the website addresses that appropriately.
5. Creating A Thesis Statement http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01
Summary: I was glad to find a page on the Owl site because I have found it to be a useful database for writing in the past. The design of the page is simple and clearcut, making it easy to find information about the desired subject. The webpage provides several great ideas for developing a thesis as well as provides examples. There was not as much information as I had thought there might be, but the information provided was useful and to-the-point.
How to illustrate with the second degree
The second degree can make a text attractive or pleasant, but can also introduce a malaise when not mastered (eg: to ask to keep an eye on your text to a one-eyed person).
Apart from those conventional tools, it exists many different ways to build a proper style, and become proud of the communication poetic function, especially with the help of homonyms and false-friends.
How to Find Sources
Reliable and Unreliable Sources
Searching for information and developing the knowledge needed to discuss your topic in depth can be the most nerve-racking step in writing a research paper. Finding credible and reliable sources of information from which to draw your conclusions has become increasingly difficult in today’s information drenched world but here are a few steps that you can take to better insure the credibility of any particular source.
Take a moment to ask yourself these questions when you are presented with a new potential source.
What is the author’s motivation for presenting the information provided in this source?
- Is it to report facts or data?
- Is the writer trying to attract attention to a cause?
- If so, what is the cause?
- Is the work geared toward advertising a product or Idea?
- Is this motivation apparent or was it hidden?
- Do any objectives of the source create a bias that is pertinent to your issue?
- Has the information presented been verified?
- How has the information been verified?
- Does the verifying party have any bias toward the issue? Do they stand to gain from the presentation of this information?
If the work has been published, check out the publishing company.
- What other works have been published by the company?
- Are the works popular? Are they scholarly? Are they accurate?
If the name of the Author is available research their previous works and background.
- Is the author experienced in the field he or she has written about?
- How has the public and/ or the academic community responded to the authors past work?
Finding reliable sources on the internet can be extremely difficult because of the publishing freedom that is found online. The site below has a lot of helpful information on determining the reliability of a web source. There is even a section that teaches you to decode a URL and discover all the information that is hidden within it
The Wikipedia policy on Reliable Sources also provides valuable guidance.
Finding resources can be overwhelming at first. With all the information that is out there, how are you supposed to know where to find all of it? The first place that you should go to is your local library and searches their online databases for the specific topic that you are working on. A great database to use in the field of biology is PubMed.  It has over 11 million documents, some with full text that you can view. Another very broad database is the Biological and Agricultural Index Plus. It has a great variety of full text sources that one can utilize. Another database that you can search from your own home is called EurekAlert!  This site is regularly updated and includes links to article and databases dealing with science and technology.
Internet sources If you want to do a simple internet search on your topic, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Make sure that it is a scholarly website, primarily .org or .edu. Make sure that the author is credible. If the article isn’t peer reviewed, do a background check to make sure the author is trustworthy.
If you are stuck and can’t find any sources, try checking the bibliographies of the books you already have. These usually contain relative information on the topic that you are researching and should provide a good starting point to lead you to other sources. If all else fails, just ask a librarian. They will be more than happy to assist you in finding information for a topic. Even if they don’t have the information in the library, they will either order it for you or send you to a place where you can get it.
Search Engines for Business Related Disciplines
There are a number of professional online journals that cover current business topics. These include magazines concerned with the connection between business and environment and even running businesses from home. Others include…
Citing Sources using APA*
In APA, the works cited list at the end of a paper is called "References." The order, punctuation, and capitalization of the information in a citation are all very important, so here are general guidelines for citing sources using APA.
Listing a Publication’s Author(s) Authors are listed by last name and first (and possibly middle) initial, followed by the year of publication in parenthesis. Up to six authors may be listed in this format, placing “&” before the last author’s name. For something with more than six authors, the first six should be listed followed by “et al.” which means “and others.” If the author is unknown, the title of the publication is written before the date of publication.
Capitalization of Titles In APA format, only journal titles follow traditional capitalization techniques. For all other titles, only capitalize the first letter of the first word of a title (and subtitle), proper nouns, and the first word in a title to come after a colon or dash (excluding hyphenated compound words.)
Citing a Book Author, X. Y. (Publication Year). Title of Book: Subtitle. Publication City: Publisher. —For a book with an editor, the editor’s name is written in parentheses after the book title, followed by “Ed.” (or “Eds.”)
Citing an Article in a Periodical Author, X. Y. (Year). Title of Article. Name of Periodical. Volume(Issue). Page-Range.
—If the article being cited is a letter to the editor, this is indicated by adding “[Letter to the Editor]” between the title and the name of the periodical. —If a review is being cited, the title of the review is given followed by “[Review of the book]” and the book title.
Citing an Electronic Source Author, X. Y. (Date of Update). Title of Document on Site. In Title of Website. Retrieved Date of Access, from URLofWebsite.com —If there is no date of publication, it is replaced by “(n.d.)” —For an article from an online periodical which also appears in a printed journal, “[Electronic Version]” is added after the article title. —If the source is obtained from a university program’s website, include the program name in the “Retrieved” statement.
Article from Database Author, X. Y. (Date of Publication). Title of Article. Name of Periodical. Volume(Issue). Pages. Retrieved Date of Access, from Database Name database (Document number).
For more specific and in-depth guidelines, and to view citation examples within each category, go to http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05/
Adapted from Hacker, D. (2007). A writer's reference (6th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. and from Neyhart, D. & Karper, E. (2008, April 9). APA formatting and style guide. In The owl at Purdue. Retrieved April 10, 2008, from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
The following is a very helpful web link to a sample paper done in APA style - http://www.vanguard.edu/uploadedFiles/Faculty/DDegelman/psychapa.doc.
Also, another good reference tool is Diana Hacker’s 6th Edition of A Writer’s Reference. Pages 414 through 459 give you all sorts of advice when creating a paper to be done in APA. Another sample paper is given in pages 451 through 459 of the Hacker book.
Formatting your paper in APA style can be a little tedious, but the process is quite simple once you understand the rules. For example, you are allowed to insert visuals such as graphs, comics, or any type of pictures. Make sure each visual has a title and number (like Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, etc.) posted above the artwork and place this fragment in a paragraph that addresses its purpose.
Margins = 1 inch
Double Space? Yes and No – do double space your actual paper (this includes in-text citations), but single space footnotes.
Quotations:If you want to use a quote that is longer than 40 words, don’t use quotation marks. Instead, you need to indent the quotation 5 space bar clicks from the left margin (if this confuses you – check out a sample paper to get a more hands-on approach).
Headings:Not required, but can be very useful for addressing your main points. Center your headings.
Page Numbers:If you have a title page, label it i (where? far upper right) …if you have an abstract page, label it ii. One of the most noticeable characteristics of APA style papers are the page numbers partnered with a title. The title can be a shortened version of your main title. Here is an example:
Main Title: Bee Keeping Journals of the Late 1860’s: The Value of These Collections to American Science
Heading of page 2 in an APA type paper: Bee Keeping Journals 2
Works Cited:You’ll actually label your “Works Cited” page, as “References”. This will be the final page of your paper, one that still deserves a heading, and will be double spaced. When typing authors’ names, you will use initials instead of first names (Ex: “Mallory Durham” would be cited as “Durham, M.”). Secondly, don’t use quotations when citing article titles. Instead you will italicize.
IMPORTANT: A distinct trait of APA style reference pages is the format. Alphabetize by the first letter of authors’ last name(s) – if there is no author, then type out the source name (Ex: March for Cancer Foundation - in this case you would use the “M” from “March” to alphabetize). Don’t number your sources. The first line (starting with author name(s) or other sources) is typed with no indention, but all of the lines following the first one will be shifted 5 space bar clicks from the left margin.
Free APA bibliography generator
If you have never composed a cited bibliography in APA, MLA or CSE before, this website could be the answer to all your questions. Simply create a new folder on the website, fill in the citation type, format, author, title, publication year and a few more optional boxes, hit format and it’s completed! Another great feature about this site is that you can either print it from the website directly, or download it to another document. www.carmun.com
Need help formatting your paper? Learn the basics for writing an APA style research paper. It is user friendly with great links to more detailed features that go into writing a research paper. Most cites like this are not free and very hard to navigate through. The home page contains an example of a term paper with all the correct formats. However, I was still slightly confused after skimming though the given work. To fix this problem, the creators of English Works provide links to general guidelines of APA, how to avoid plagiarism, guides to writing a thesis, introduction and conclusion, prewriting strategies, and guide to paraphrasing. If you are a first time APA style writer, I highly recommend checking out this cite! http://depts.gallaudet.edu/englishworks/writing/apa_sample.html
Everything you need to know about writing an APA paper
This cite is a hypertext which is perfect for this class since we have been dealing with them! It is focused towards writing psychology papers but its main purpose is to guide another in writing and giving examples on an APA paper. Everything is listed on the helpful cite: style details, abbreviations, numbers, citations in text, quotations, title page, introduction, methods, references, the body, and conclusions. If you are still confused and want examples there is an appendix of example title pages and reference sections. http://www.uwsp.edu/PSYCH/apa4b.htm
Tips For Citing Your Academic Paper In APA Format
A brief lesson on how students and researchers can learn the basics of constructing a properly formatted paper that meets APA guidelines. https://canvas.elsevier.com/eportfolios/9904/Home/Five_Tips_For_Citing_Your_Academic_Paper_In_APA_Format
In-text Citation of Sources in APA Style
In APA style, not only direct quotes used within a paper must be cited. In addition to these, in-text citations must include all ideas borrowed from any other source. This may be paraphrased material or it may even be something like statistics. Visuals such as cartoons and graphs must also be cited. General information known by many and appearing in numerous other sources is not cited.
There is a three-part system that is accepted by the APA. First, the authors’ names are included in a “signal phrase” and the publication date in parentheses. Second, a page number in parentheses follows the cited material. Finally, the last page of the paper must be an alphabetical list of sources cited in the paper.
CMS writing style stands for the Chicago Manual of Style first used at the University of Chicago in 1890. It is known for being one of the easiest and most informative citing methods. CMS is usually used in the humanities such as art, literature, or history because of its importance placed on the author of the work instead of other details: date and placed published. Here are the rules for the CMS citation. 
1. The title is centered an inch below the top of the page
2. Citations are arranged in alphabetical order
3. Citations are double-spaced between entries, but single within the entry
4. The first line of each citation is aligned with the left margin and the subsequent lines are indented five spaces.
1. All in-text citations direct the reader to the appropriate source in the Endnotes at the end of the text.
2. Endnotes are a list of the source ordered and numbered according to the sequential number of the corresponding in-text citation.
3. The first in-text citation is superscripted with a 1, the second in-text citation is superscripted with a 2 (no really), and the numbers continue on.
1. Footnotes are used to provide complete publication information for unoriginal content or structure of a text.
2. Any text, for which there is information in the Footnotes, is superscripted with a corresponding number. The number is found in the Footnotes section at the bottom of the page.
1. Endnotes are used to provide complete publication information for each unoriginal idea or concept in the writing.
2. Any text, for which there is information in the endnotes, is superscripted again with a number and that number can be found in the endnotes with the citation.