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DISCOVERING, NARROWING, AND FOCUSING A RESEARCHABLE TOPICtry to find a topic that truly interests youtry writing your way to a topictalk with your course instructor and classmates about your topicpose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solvedFINDING, SELECTING, AND READING SOURCEScard catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographiesprimary vs. secondary sourcesjournals, books, the web, other documentsGROUPING, SEQUENCING, AND DOCUMENTING INFORMATIONa system for noting sources on bibliography cardsa system for organizing material according to its relative importancea system for taking notesWRITING AN OUTLINE AND A PROPOSAL FOR YOURSELFConsider:What is the topic?Why is it significant?What background material is relevant?What is my thesis or purpose statement?What organizational plan will best support my purpose?WRITING THE INTRODUCTIONpresent relevant background or contextual materialdefine terms or concepts when necessaryexplain the focus of the paper and your specific purposereveal your plan of organizationWRITING THE BODYuse your outline and prospectus as flexible guidesbuild your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don't let your sources organize your paper)integrate your sources into your discussionsummarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting itmove up and down the "ladder of abstraction" from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalizationWRITING THE CONCLUSIONif the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your readerif prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significancemove from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introductionperhaps suggest what about this topic needs further researchREVISING THE FINAL DRAFTcheck overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusionparagraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphssentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spellingdocumentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited
DISCOVERING, NARROWING, AND FOCUSING A RESEARCHABLE TOPICtry to find a topic that truly interests youtry writing your way to a topictalk with your course instructor and classmates about your topicpose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solvedFINDING, SELECTING, AND READING SOURCEScard catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographiesprimary vs.