Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information. As you gather your resources, jot down full bibliographical information author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers, URLs, creation or modification dates on Web pages, and your date of access on your work sheet, printout, or enter the information on your laptop or desktop computer for later retrieval. If printing from the Internet, it is wise to set up the browser to print the URL and date of access for every page.
Remember that an article without bibliographical information is useless since you cannot cite its source. Most research papers normally require a thesis statement. If you are not sure, ask your teacher whether your paper requires it. A thesis statement is a main idea, a central point of your research paper. The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important. Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your research paper thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief.
The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief. A thesis statement should be provided early in your paper — in the introduction part, or in the second paragraph, if your paper is longer. It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize and analyze materials and your ideas.
You cannot make a finally formulated statement before you have completed your reseach paper. It will naturally change while you develop your ideas. Stay away from generic and too fuzzy statements and arguments. Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read.
Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present your own ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers. Make sure your thesis is strong. If you have time and opportunity, show it to your instructor to revise. Otherwise, you may estimate it yourself.
A well-prepared thesis means well-shaped ideas. It increases credibility of the paper and makes good impression about its author. More helpful hints about Writing a Research Paper. An informal outline working outline is a tool helping an author put down and organize their ideas. It is subject to revision, addition and canceling, without paying much attention to form.
This article is a part of the guide:
In a formal outline, numbers and letters are used to arrange topics and subtopics. The letters and numbers of the same kind should be placed directly under one another. The topics denoted by their headings and subheadings should be grouped in a logical order. All points of a research paper outline must relate to the same major topic that you first mentioned in your capital Roman numeral.
The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Make the first outline tentative.
Introduction — State your thesis and the purpose of your research paper clearly. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic.
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Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic. Body — This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point.
Conclusion — Restate or reword your thesis. Summarize your arguments. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion. Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct.
Steps to Writing a Research Paper: Step 4 MLA Citing
Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. Here you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic which is the real purpose of doing a research paper in the first place. You must also be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.
Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words, if possible. Plagiarism is definitely out of the question. Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page. Devise your own method to organize your notes.
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One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e. Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e. This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline. Start with the first topic in your outline. Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e. Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e.
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Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e. This is important to keep in mind when including lists in a project. Place a colon between the introductory sentence and the list.
MLA Writing Style Guide - The Learning Center
There are also times when a colon is not included. Do not place a colon before the first list item if the list is part of the sentence. Here is an example of how a list may look in a research project or assignment when the list is part of the sentence. For more detailed information, make sure to check out EasyBib. Also, check out EasyBib. Containers are what hold the source. Is it all necessary? Check out Section 15 above to learn how to arrange the references on the page. Our MLA formatter will help you create citations quickly and easily!
Some professors or instructors will provide guidance on how to secure hard copies of projects. If your instructor does not provide you with any expectations or guidance, a simple staple in the top left corner should suffice. If a stapler is not available, some instructors allow paper or binder clips. Do not fold the top left corner down to secure the pages together. The page could easily unfold, causing a mess of papers. While binders and plastic holders are cute, in reality, they add bulk to a professor or instructor who may like to take the papers home for grading purposes.
Keep the binding simple and clean. Staples work best, and binder and paper clips are the next best option. As always, follow any instructions your professor or teacher may provide. The guidelines found here are simply recommendations. Editing and proofreading your assignment prior to submission is an incredibly important step in the research process. Editing involves checking the paper for the following items:.
Your instructor may ask you to submit a hard copy, or submit it electronically via email or through a course management system. Begin the MLA header one inch from the top and left margins. The MLA format heading and the entire paper should be double spaced. Privatization of Prisons in Texas.
The privatization of governmental services has increased dramatically in the past decade as local, state, and federal agencies have searched for ways to cut costs while still meeting their mandated responsibility to provide various public services.
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