What is a Research Paper?
The focus here is primarily on writing essays concerning literature. Psper may have many great ideas and be a very intuitive Write a paper meaning fine reader of Write a paper meaning, but no-one will ever know if you cannot express your ideas properly and ppaer communicative skills are not developed. It is emaning good carrying around insights into a particular piece meaninng literature if you do not put efforts into presenting them clearly. Some of the following may papef obvious, but the points need to be emphasised and consulted each time you are preparing an essay. An essay should not be merely a list. Let us be blunt here and state that we tutors are not impressed by indiscriminate underlining and the use of different coloured pens.
Sub-headings written in magenta, underlined in ochre, followed by a list of quotations in vermilion are pointless. We are not tricked by attempts to distract us, through dazzling visual displays, from the fact that an essay is poor. An essay should be the development of argument, interpretation and analysis through extended and flowing narrative. To papr this you need to work at the level of the sentence, of course, but also, very importantly, you need to work papper the level of the paragraph. The paragraph is a coherent passage of logically connected sentences usually concentrating on no more than one or two ideas relevant to your argument. Do not use very short and unconnected staccato sentences.
It takes experience and practice to develop a sense of when a new paragraph is needed and when it has been finished. Examine the introduction to this booklet and this guide to get some sense of how paragraphs, or 'idea units' as they have also been called, can be developed and constructed, and how their 'natural' beginnings and ends appear. The first sentence of the paragraph should generally be a 'strong' one, used to signal or indicate the idea to be discussed within the paragraph. Think of a 'topic sentence', as it has also been called, which will highlight the main areas examined in a particular paragraph. Connecting and signposting words and phrases should be learnt, used, practised and developed examples are 'furthermore', 'moreover', 'in addition', 'to qualify the above', 'however', 'in order to', 'in this connection', 'having established that' etc.
The argument should develop through the language you use and therefore in a short essay sub-headings are unnecessary. Several stages are involved in essay preparation, choosing which points are to be considered, deciding how you will deal with them, and the actual writing. As you gain more experience you will find methods and ways of working which suit you, your personality and lifestyle. Generally, however, the process will involve the following. You should examine carefully the statements made in the essay question, making sure you understand each word and what is being asked, as misreading and misunderstanding at this stage can be fatal.
Essay questions can be very general, very specific and sometimes deliberately provocative, and an understanding of them is essential. Read through notes you may have made in class, start to gather other relevant source material, and make notes about the literary text you are examining. Ask yourself questions concerning style, content, and imagery etc. Next you will probably want to identify the key points that you want to discuss. There may be many points you find generally interesting, but ask yourself if they are relevant to the essay in question.
To do this it can be useful to try to think of a title for your essay. This is not to be confused with the essay question or title, but is concerned with your response to the task set. What title would best give the reader an overview of your approach and analysis, and highlight the main points you examine and the conclusions you reach? Suggestions concerning conclusions will be given later. You should not assume that an essay has to include and cover all the possible points an interpretation may offer up. A short, well organised and structured essay focusing on some of the main points is far better than an over-long and unwieldy attempt to say a little about everything. You may find it useful to state in the introduction which points you are focusing on and why.
Keep your reader informed of the development of your argument.
Let papr or him know which direction is being Writte and the reasons why. Once the main points have been identified keaning need to consider in which w they will be examined. Students often do not make the most of the good ideas they have because they get lost if the argument does not develop coherently. Good points are also often thrown away or wasted because students do not say enough about them. Make sure the relevance of each point to the main argument is clearly stated and demonstrated. You should dwell and linger on the points: A good essay takes time to prepare and write, so start to think about it and do the groundwork well ahead of the essay deadline even in timed conditions, such as exams, it is important to take the time to organise and structure the essay before starting to write.
You will probably find that you need to work out your ideas on paper before writing the essay, and are encouraged to prepare an outline of the essay: This will help you to organise the structure and to recognise what is relevant and irrelevant to the essay as a whole. Some people find that a plan or outline will consist of eight to ten words only.
Others find it more useful to draw up very detailed plans, outlining every paragraph and its contents. Again you will discover which method works for you as you go along. Some students find it easier to think and plan the essay point by point before beginning to write, whilst others find that after some initial preparation, reading, organisation and thinking they can only develop their ideas through writing. Both these approaches take time, if the essays are to be done well. It should be stressed here that the first plan does not have to be binding and may change as the work begins and develops. The main point here is that essays involve a certain amount of planning and preparation even before the actual writing begins.
Having emphasised that essays are hard work and take time it should also be stressed that it can be very stimulating and rewarding to work through a number of ideas in depth and detail. Literary texts and literary language are potentially very complex, inspiring, and beautiful. The ideas and images often demand careful thought and attention. Computers are essential in terms of using the time you spend on an essay efficiently and productively. As stated earlier, good essay writing demands time spent on every stage of the process: With this in mind it cannot be stressed enough how important it is for you to learn word-processing skills and to make sure you have access to a computer.
Use the university resources. Admittedly the space available is limited at times but this is no excuse not to learn the skills, if you do not already possess them, and to find out where there are available computer terminals. Of course if you use university resources it is even more important to start your essay early in order to avoid the last minute rush as most students, not only from this department, search for terminals in a panic on the Friday before a Monday deadline. It is appreciated that students are very busy and do have a lot of work, but it is a mistake to claim, as some students have been heard, that they are too busy to learn word-processing skills.
Ultimately word-processing will save you a lot of time. It is far easier to add and delete material, and to restructure and reorganise essays by moving material around, on a computer than if you are writing by hand. Software has become really user-friendly; 'Word', for instance, will tell you what to do in explicit English or French, and typing skills can be learned whilst typing.
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Your essay will be the representation of an argument on a given subject or subjects. It will include only points which are relevant to the subject, so be careful to get rid of material that is not directly relevant. Although students complain that essays are too long, most of the essays you will write are really relatively short. Part of the skill of writing is to write concisely and economically, without wasting material or 'padding' the work with irrelevant diversions and repetition. Once the points have been chosen they should be presented Write a paper meaning and coherently, so do not leap about from point to point.
Each point generally Write a paper meaning have some connection to the preceding one and the one to follow. If you do leave one area of the essay to move into another, but intend later to go back to the point you have left and show, for example, how the points may be connected or related, then it can be useful to say so by 'signposting', e. After each draft of the essay check that each point is presented in a logical and coherent order. Read each draft carefully and critically. Is there a significant idea you have not included in the essay? Do you need to expand some of the points you have chosen to write about? Are some of the points, after due consideration, not really relevant?
Have you been too long-winded or repetitive? Does your argument need to be clearer, and do the links between some of the main points need more emphasis? You should be asking yourself these questions throughout the whole process. A particularly distressing weakness in the past, but hopefully not the future, has been the absence of serious discussion of imagery and literary language. Some students have merely stated that the author uses imagery, illustrated this with an example, and then moved on to the next point on the list. If you discuss images, metaphors and other literary devices, then say how and why they are being used in the piece of fiction, and maybe if you think the imagery works or not.
If you do not say how and why an image is being used then don't mention it. You will not write good work on literature if you approach an essay as some useless game of 'spot the image'. These quotations can obviously add much to the texture and quality of your work, but they are often handled very badly by students. Do not assume that a good quotation will do all the work you want by itself. Poor essays are often merely a patchwork of quotations stitched together by the briefest of comments, and it is a mistake to leave quotations hanging in mid-air, as it were, without comment or explanation.
Quotations need to be framed.
Is it a report where you just gather facts and describe a topica paper in which you must offer your own ideas on an issue, or both? Are there specific class readings you must use as sources? What types of sources do you have to use? Can you use only Internet sources, or do you oaper to use books, journals, and newspapers too? Does your teacher like you to interview people, or does he or she prefer you stick only Write a paper meaning printed sources? S there certain types of sources that mewning off-limits? Obviously, blogs and personal web pages aren't considered reliable sources. But what about other websites you might want to use? Find out what your teacher thinks about your sources before you start work.
What will your teacher look for while grading your paper? For example, is your teacher looking for a casual, descriptive writing style like a magazine article or a research paper with a more formal tone? Is there a certain way your teacher wants you to structure your paper? How long should the paper be how many pages or words? Does the paper have to be typed or presented in a certain form such as double-spaced lines, specific margins, presented in a binder? Are there additional graphics that you also have to provide, such as illustrations or photos?
Do you have to provide a bibliography, footnotes, or other list of sources? Sometimes a teacher will assign a topic or thesis for a paper, and sometimes he or she will leave it up to students to pick their own topics of course these have to be related to the class or subject! If the teacher lets you choose your own topic, it's best to write a paper about something that you find really interesting. This might be an issue that you feel strongly about and want to defend or one you disagree with and want to argue against!
After you come up with your topic, run it by your teacher before you move on to the next step — research. Researching a Topic Behind every good paper is even better research. Good research means reading a lot — both as background to help you choose a topic and then to help you write your paper. These are known as your sources.
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Sources need to be reliable. To find good sources, begin at your school library, where the Wrife catalogs and search engines can direct you to materials that have been published. When a source has been chosen for your school's library collection, you can be fairly confident that it's accurate enough to use in your paper. Using Online Sources When doing online research, avoid people's personal meaninng — it's impossible to tell if the person is an expert or just sounding off. It's best to focus your research on government sites their domain names end in. Knowing which sources are considered good — and which ones aren't — is a skill that everyone gains with experience.
Get your teacher or librarian's help in deciding if a source is credible. If you don't understand what a particular source is talking about, ask your teacher what it means so you can better understand the material. Teachers can usually tell when students use information in their papers that they don't really understand. Keeping Track of Sources Once you've found a good source, make a note of it so that you can use it for your paper. Keep a notebook or computer document that has the source's title, the page number of the important information, and a few notes about why it's important. This will help you move ahead efficiently as you write.
It will also help you to cite your sources correctly more on this later.
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Writing Your Paper The great part about doing lots of research is that when you really know your topic, writing about it becomes easier. Still, sitting with a blank computer screen in front of you and a deadline looming can be pretty intimidating. Even if you've read countless books, websites, and journals, and have all your notes prepared, it's normal to struggle with exactly how to get started on the actual writing. The best way to begin? Just start putting ideas down on paper! The first few words don't have to be perfect and there's a good chance they won't be but you'll find it gets easier after you've started.
And you can always revise the actual writing later — the important thing is getting your ideas down on paper.