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Writing a great research paper

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Karl Weber, M.

A. Writing a Great Research Paper: Picking an A+ Topic Study Guide Video Aided Instruction, Inc. Roslyn Heights, New York 1 #VAI-S1914 v1. 0 This study guide should be used along with a program published by Video Aided Instruction, Inc. For more information, call 1-800 -238-1512 or visit us online at videoaidedinstruction.

com. This study guide should be used along with the following program published by Video Aided Instruction. The instructor works through the exercises found in this guide – and much, much more – during the course of the actual program. Writing a GreatResearch Paper: Picking an A+ Topic Study Guide Introduction Selecting the right topic for your research paper is a crucial first step toward earning a high grade.

In this superb program, you’ll review the fundamentals of academic writing as you discover the secrets of choosing that elusive “ perfect topic”! You’ll learn to narrow your focus from a broad subject to a manageable topic, then from an intriguing research question to a strong working thesis. For easier studying and maximum success, we recommend that you view the program over a number of short sessions: don’t try to absorb too much at one time. Review the entire program, or specific sections, as many times as you find necessary in order to master the material. Perhaps most importantly: Don’t forget to take advantage of your “ pause” button while viewing the program.

Keep plenty of scrap paper handy so you can jot down ideas, work through concepts, and more. And finally, be sure to use the myriad onscreen graphics to take notes for yourself — when you’re done, you’ll have a notebook you can refer back to again and again. Writing a Great Research Paper: Picking an A+ Topic 1 DVD · 1 hr. 22 mins. item #VAI-1914 · price $49. 5 isbn 1-57385-191- 4 · upc 600459191498 Copyright © 2007 Video Aided Instruction, Inc.

To all users of the Video Aided Instruction publication named above, permission is hereby granted to create one (1) paper imprint of this document per person. In addition, teachers and librarians may reproduce paper imprints of this document in quantities not to exceed one hundred (100) imprints annually. All imprints and reproductions made must retain all copyright notices contained herein. This authorization is granted for this specific document only, and only when the document is used along with the publication named above. Any reproduction or distribution of this electronic document file itself – for example, copying this file to or from an Internet server, a disc, or an email message – is strictly prohibited.

In addition, no part of this document may be reproduced by any means or for any purpose other than as an aid during self-study or group instruction along with the aforementioned publication. Product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within Video Aided Instruction’s products and study guides are the property of their respective trademark holders. They are not affiliated with Video Aided Instruction, Inc. and do not sponsor or endorse our materials. For more information, visit: http://www. videoaidedinstruction.

com/trademarks Other Video Aided Instruction products include: 2 This study guide should be used along with a program published by Video Aided Instruction, Inc. About Your Instructor Complete English Grammar Series 10 programs on 10 DVDs Karl Weber, M. A. , is an educator, editor, and bestselling author in fields ranging from business to politics to test preparation. He has worked on books with such noted figures as management guru Adrian Slywotzky, Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan M.

Tisch, and President Jimmy Carter. To inquire about any of our products: web: videoaidedinstruction. com email: [email protected] com phone: 1-800 -238-1512 or 516-939- 0707 fax: 516-935-5552 mail: Video Aided Instruction, Inc. P.

O. Box 332 Roslyn Heights, NY 11577- 0332 For more information, call 1-800 -238-1512 or visit us online at videoaidedinstruction. com. Writing a Great Research Paper: Picking an A+ Topic Part 1: What Is a Research Paper? The Definition of a Research Paper For more information, call 1-800 -238-1512 or visit us online at videoaidedinstruction. com. A research paper is a paper that: • presents an original approach to some academic topic, • organized around a central thesis, • using insights based on research, and • citing sources in a scholarly fashion.

Part 2: From Subject to Topic The Hierarchy of a Research Paper Research papers (and most examples of scholarly writing) follow the following hierarchy, focusing down from a highly general subject to a highly specific thesis: ??????? ????? ???????? ?????? What Is Your Subject? If you were assigned a subject, write it here: ____________________________________________________ If you were not assigned a subject, consider these strategies: #1. Look at the Table of Contents in the textbook for the course you’re studying. Which chapter, part, or section names cover people, things, places, events, or ideas that you have found especially interesting? Your subject could be one of these general areas. #2.

Take a stroll through the library or bookstore, paying careful attention to books, periodicals, and other media that are related to the course you’re studying. Your subject could be one of the general areas covered by these materials. #3. Ask your teachers or professors for some guidance: In their experience, what sorts of subjects have their most successful students covered in their research papers? What sorts of subjects have they rarely seen a research paper cover but would find most interesting? List some potential subjects here (later, when you decide on your specific subject, circle it): ____________________________________________________________ ______________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _____________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ______________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ______________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ______________________________ 3 This study guide should be used along with a program published by Video Aided Instruction, Inc. Copyright © 2007 Video Aided Instruction, Inc. All Rights Reserved Writing a Great Research Paper: Picking an A+ Topic What Is Your Topic? If you were assigned a topic, write it here: ______________________________________________________ For more information, call 1-800 -238-1512 or visit us online at videoaidedinstruction.

com. If you were not assigned a topic, consider these strategies for exploring various facets of your subject in order to focus on a topic: #1. Think about an important turning point in the events within your subject. Your topic could relate to the causes or effects of this turning point.

#2. Think about some fact you discovered that surprised you about your subject, something that thwarted your expectations. What made it surprising? Why did you expect something else? Your topic could relate to why your expectations were wrong. #3.

Think about an oversimplification that is commonly made regarding your subject. Your topic could relate to the complexitities that undermine this oversimplification. #4. Think about a trend or “ story” that connects several different events within your subject. Your topic could relate to connecting these events together, tracing the trend or “ story” along the way.

#5. Think about two or more situations or personalities within your subject that have qualities that are either similar or different. What caused them to have these qualities? What effects did these qualities have? Your topic could relate to comparing and/or contrasting these situations or personalities. #6. Take a stroll through the library or bookstore, paying careful attention to books, periodicals, and other media that are related to the course you’re studying.

When you find an interesting topic that is only addressed in about a dozen or so materials, consider addressing a similar or related topic in your research paper. #7. Ask your teachers or professors for some guidance: In their experience, what sorts of topics have their most successful students covered in their research papers? What sorts of topics have they rarely seen a research paper cover but would find most interesting? Your topic shouldn’t be so broad that literally hundreds of books or articles have been written about it (in which case it would be too broad, and thus large enough to be considered a subject). Your topic shouldn’t be so narrow that only a handful of books or articles have been written about it (in which case it would be too narrow, and thus you would not be able to locate sufficient research sources). A good topic: • is not merely a narrative, • is not too broad, • is not too narrow, • has research sources, • has not been overdone, and • interests you.

As you do your background reading, look for: • a topic that interests you, • a topic about which a good amount of research material appears to be available, and • a question that seems intriguing, is not obvious, and that is the right scope for your paper to answer (neither too broad nor too narrow).

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