Finding the Topic
Students are often allowed to choose the topic for the research which is interesting for them. It is necessary to determine the scholarly perspective and provide the topic focused on problem-solving. A general topic should be converted into a specific one. Students should relate their personal ideas on a topic, experience, and background to the definite scholarly problem and search databases to confirm the fact that the chosen topic was discussed in the academic literature. It is useful to participate in online discussions of the topic and list keywords to focus on the research.
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Finding Resources and Creating a Bibliography
To find necessary resources, it is important to searching the Internet and library databases. Internet resources can be found with the help of different search engines and keywords. Internet resources should be evaluated in relation to their validity. Scholarly resources found in libraries are more appropriate. Students should focus on scholarly books, articles, biographies, and then, websites. It is necessary to read abstracts, introduction, and conclusion parts of articles, and forewords and table of contents in books. Bibliography entries and annotations should be provided for examined sources.
Researching outside the Library
Researches are often based on observations, experiments, and usage of non-published sources. To interview persons, questionnaires should be prepared. The results of interviews, observations, and experiments are reported and recorded. The necessary information can be also found with the help of e-mail communication, writing letters, examining the media resources, reading personal papers and governmental documents. To cite the personal information, it is necessary to receive permission.
To organize the ideas, it is necessary to list all the ideas on the topic. The most important stage is the formulation of the thesis statement or hypothesis of the research basing on listed ideas. The issues to explore and problematic questions should be also determined with references to the thesis statement. Key ideas, keywords, and possible answers to the problematic questions should be organized in the rough outline of the research paper which will be used for writing a draft.
Important points and items should be accompanied by notes on the topic or source consulted. The sources should be fixed with references to the author’s name, publication date, and the page number. It is useful to label notes for looking through quickly. Notes can be divided into personal notes (personal ideas), quotation notes (direct quotations), paraphrased notes, summary notes (description of the source), and précis notes (the summary of a paragraph). The note should be presented in the form of a complete and well-developed sentence.
Writing a Draft
Having prepared the notes and outline for writing, it is necessary to write a draft variant of the paper basing on the research and leaving blank spots for adding evidence and discussion. The introduction paragraph should include background information and the thesis statement or hypothesis. It is important to use the information from the notes while writing the body paragraphs, citing the authors’ names and sources used. Ideas in body paragraphs should be supported with evidence and results of the research. The conclusion should restate the main idea or thesis statement without adding new facts.