Guidelines: Writing the Research Paper
Purpose and Topic:
Your final paper will draw on work we do all throughout the semester, known as a “sequenced writing approach.” We will discuss strategies for finding sources, utilizing sources, and creating and supporting arguments. At the end, it is time to think about putting it all together in the final research paper. The ultimate purpose is to help you become better at research-based writing for your other classes here at Oakland University and any future research writing.
The topic of your research is the following:
· An issue or problem that concerns a local community, perhaps a community to which you belong or wish to belong. The community may be defined geographically (OU, Detroit Metro area, Michigan) or culturally (through shared values, experiences, etc. such as a hobby or fan-based community, or the disciplinary community of your major).
In reality, your primary audience for the research paper is your fellow classmates (when you read each other’s work for peer review) and me, your instructor. But try also to imagine an audience of educated persons with some interest and knowledge in your topic and a desire to conduct their own academic research on the topic. That is, you are not writing to parents, children, or a general audience or to people who want to learn more about a particular issue, condition, or personal experience. Think of yourself as a scholar/researcher writing to other scholar/researchers.
We will spend time conferencing and engaging in pre-writing activities and strategies to help you develop your ideas. Storyboarding will help you open up a document and get started on the paper itself. As you draft, use your notes of summaries, paraphrases, and quotations to fill in evidence for your claims.
· The research essay should be 6-7 pages in length (around 2,500 words), not counting the title page, abstract, and References page.
· The research essay must have a minimum of 6-8 secondary sources. A minimum of 4 must be scholarly secondary sources.
We will be using APA format for this assignment. Spend some time acquainting yourself with the overall design and layout of APA papers: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Your essay should include (See the next page for a description of each section):
· APA-formatted Title Page
· Literature Review
· Analysis and Discussion
· References page
Outline for Research Paper
An overview/summary of the project.
In this section you will introduce the topic (identifying the issue/problem) and explaining the current discussion overall (some of which you may already have from your initial proposal). Give readers background here so they have a better idea of the discussion/topic before they read your article overviews. Also, give readers a thesis (goals and objectives) of the project.
n Literature Review:
Here you will overview the various positions that your authors (sources) take on the topic. Develop this overview with the positions and authors as the focus. This is the section that will report on how the authors have presented their positions.
(Be sure to address the authors by last name rather than giving the articles numbers like “the first article,” etc.) Keep your own audience in mind here – guide them through the various positions on this topic as presented by your articles. How have these authors presented themselves and what do they advocate?
n Analysis and Discussion:
Now that you’ve given your audience everything that they need to know about these positions, here’s where you get to interpret/analyze/argue about them; which position is the most compelling, and what makes it so?
What you discuss and analyze here will be what you have discovered is the most compelling position in the discussion and why. How is the information presented? What is the logic used? How are the authors making their case? Also consider other expectations and values of this community in developing your analysis.
This section asks of you to go beyond summary and reaction. In examining the most compelling position consider are many, many directions that your analysis might take you about the topic overall.
Here again are some basic step to consider (and should be considered with most types of academic analysis):
1. Have a claim
2. Show examples/evidence supporting the claim
3. Explain how and why your evidence supports your claim. Here is where outside concepts (theories) work to give you credibility and support for your overall points. Explaining how/why is an essential step here.
4. Tie the analysis back to the overall claim/thesis of the project.
Here you will recap the position/problem and give the most important conclusions and meanings that you have reached regarding your topic. Recap overall what your analysis says about your topic.
n References page including complete and correct APA citations that match up with your in-text citations.
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