In this unit, you will write a major research paper. This paper will be considerably different from many papers you have written as an undergraduate. Most papers you have written to date have been opinion papers in which you express an opinion and give your reasons for the opinion. You may look at the paper by Buckley and the one by Cheung and Halpern for an example of an opinion paper (Buckley) and a research paper (Cheung and Halpern). Note that Buckley is expressing his opinion. He quotes some anecdotal data but makes no effort to systematically and objectively examine all of the evidence on both sides. Mr. Buckley was a very intelligent person and a good scholar, but notice how easily he fell into logical errors when he expressed his opinion on a controversial topic rather than carefully examining the evidence and drawing a conclusion from that. Notice in the Cheung and Halpern paper that they started out with a question about “Women at the top.” They then reviewed all of the relevant evidence/information and drew conclusions. Note too that each point of fact is backed with a reference to the source for the fact and that the points are presented via precise information (for example, percentages) and details about the research methods employed rather than vague general statements about the findings. You must cite references for every point of fact in your paper. Cheung and Halpern also provide a good example of correct use of APA style. Examine their citations in the text and list of references at the end of the paper. Review the text Concise Rules of APA Style paying special attention to pp.171-207. For additional help, go to http://www.apastyle.org/ and read the material under Basics of APA Style; Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style; APA Style Help; and, Learning APA Style. In writing your paper, you will use APA style for your references. You do not need to follow APA style for the format of the paper (for example, you do not need an Abstract, Method Section, etc.—these are for research reports of specific empirical studies which are different from the essay style you will employ).
To choose a topic for the paper, think of an area in which there is a question that interests you and one which can be answered by examining evidence. Generally, there will be two or more views regarding the answer. It will be your task to examine the evidence on all sides and come to a conclusion that the data support. This is not an opinion or argument paper in which you try to support your own view. It is one in which you arrive at a decision by objectively examining the evidence. It may or may not come out the way you want it to. You are to approach the topic with an open mind and critically analyze scientific information in order to answer the question. Do not start out with a thesis, opinion or argument that you attempt to persuade the reader to accept. The conclusion should grow out of examination of the evidence. Read the paper “Tips on Writing a Research Paper.” Examples of possible areas are listed below but you may choose any area you wish provided your instructor approves it. Once you choose an area, you must formulate a specific topic or question that can be answered by examining research results. For example, if you choose to write on abortion, your title might be, “What is the effect of abortion on the mental health of the woman who chooses to undergo the procedure?” not, “Is abortion a ever justified?” Likewise if you are interested in home-schooling, you might pose the question, “Do home-schooled students succeed in college” rather than, “Home schooling—good or bad?”
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This will be a library research paper which means that you will do the research by consulting reports of scientific studies that have been completed by others and have been published in journals and books. Were you to conduct your own experiment and report the results that would entail another type of research paper that is beyond the scope of this course? To examine a couple of papers submitted by previous students, read the following papers. This paper by Schouest is a good example of a standard research paper. The paper by Curcio is an example of a research paper dealing with a historical/logical topic.
For this assignment, write a first draft (note that this is a first draft, not a rough draft–it should be as good as you can make it on your first effort)of your research paper. The paper should be approximately ten to fifteen double spaced typed pages in length. Every point in the paper should have a reference to an appropriate source and the references should be in proper APA style. Most of your sources should be articles in peer reviewed professional journals. You may use one or two books and one or two carefully chosen web sites but these should not be heavily relied on in the presentation of your points. For the most part your paper should be based on the list of references submitted with your proposal in Unit Two, however, you may add or delete references from the list submitted in Unit Two as long as they are of equal quality to the ones previously approved. If you make extensive revisions of your reference list, contact your professor for approval before you proceed. The paper should include a title at the top of the first page and a list of references at the end. You should have sub-headings in the paper to help organize the points you are presenting. Direct quotes are rarely used in scientific research writing. Unless you have explicit permission for more from your professor, you may use a maximum of two direct quotes. Place your paper in the appropriate dropbox and post a copy on the Discussion Board. You may not change the topic of your paper without permission from your professor. If you wish to change topics, you will have to go back to Assignment four of Unit Two and submit a new proposal with sources. Your score for this paper will be based on your ability to write an academic research paper using APA reference style. You are encouraged to comment on your classmates’ papers and solicit their comments on your paper..
Read about the Principles of Academic Writing . Be careful to follow these principles as you write your paper. It is recommended that you use these principles as a check list for reviewing your paper. Credit will be deducted for failure to follow these principles.
Go to the OU Provost’s web site on Academic Integrity. Read the topics, “A Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity” and “Nine Things You Should Already Know About Plagiarism.” You do not need to take the quiz, but the following statement should be typed on the title page of your paper:
I certify that I have read the assigned material on academic integrity and this paper is an original paper composed by me for this course. It has not been copied or closely paraphrased from any other source and has not been submitted as a whole, or in part, for credit in any other course at OU or any other educational institution. It has not been created or submitted for any other purpose such as a job assignment at my workplace or any other agency.
Unit Three Checklists
Before you submit your assignments, check your work using the note below.
For this unit, you will have prepared a first draft of a ten to fifteen-page research paper. Be sure that the course number, assignment title and your name appear on each page (e.g. Jane Doe, LSTD 5003, Research Paper First Draft). The pages should also be numbered. Deposit this paper in the drop box and on the discussion board. You are encouraged to comment on your classmates’ work. You can learn a great deal by sharing ideas with each other.
Be certain that you have followed the principles of academic writing and have avoided any breaches of academic integrity. Shortly after you deposit your paper, a link with a percentage number will appear. This is a report from Turnitin that compares your paper with other sources to determine the degree of overlap. Click on the box with the percentage and read the report. Instructions on what the report means are on the site. Check carefully to be sure you have not copied from other sources without indicating that it is a direct quote and giving credit to the original source. If you have questions, contact your professor.
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