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RESEARCH GUIDE - COBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

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THE GUIDE WAS ORIGINALLY PREPARED BY PAT LAMB AND SARA MOORE IN 1988. IT WAS REVISED BY RUTH FARIS AND KATHY NICHOLS IN 1995. THE 1997 REVISION, WHICH WAS ...

Cobb County Public Schools

High School Language Arts

Revised, Summer 2006

    Foreword

     Students and teachers, welcome to the sixth edition of the “Guide to the Research

    Paper” published by Cobb County Public Schools. This guide is based on the Modern

    Language Association‟s Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth Edition, the

    accepted standard for documentation style in scholarly compositions in languages and literature. As with previous editions of this publication, this revision results from the study and the collaboration of classroom teachers who assert that all students benefit from the research process and the rigors of extended writing.

    The guide was originally prepared by Pat Lamb and Sara Moore in 1988. It was revised by Ruth Faris and Kathy Nichols in 1995. The 1997 revision, which was done by Pat Barras and Jane Frazer, incorporates revisions and additions to facilitate the use of online sources. The 1999 edition and this, the 2006 edition, represent further efforts to ensure that the guide is accurate and up-to-date. This guide is intended as a supplement and in no way supersedes the direction of the teacher who uses it, and it is intended for all grades and levels. The 2006 edition includes many new features and examples, including a list of websites that classroom teachers have found useful in teaching the research process. The students and teachers who use this guide should avail themselves of this list, as well as other, lengthier works on research and bibliography, including the source for this compilation, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth Edition.

Mary Hagan, McEachern High School

    Alfred Carson, Campbell High School

    Sandy Case, Sprayberry High School

    Gale Lyons, Wheeler High School

    Elisabeth Manguno, Walton High School

    Allison Paulk, McEachern High School

    Table of Contents

Part One: Preparation and Research

    Selecting the Topic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Reading and Limiting the Topic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    Formulating a Thesis Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Preparing the Working Outline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Preparing the Working Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

     Evaluating Web Pages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

     Annotated Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Taking Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

     Using Direct Quotations and Paraphrasing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

     Note Cards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Plagiarism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Assembling Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Part Two: Writing the Paper

    Writing the Formal Outline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Writing the First Draft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

     Integration of Quoted Materials. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

     Alteration of Quoted Material. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

     Special Cases for Literary Works. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

     Parenthetical Documentation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

     Format for Parenthetical Documentation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Preparing the Works Cited Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

    Sample Entries for the Works Cited Page and Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

     Books. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

     Other Sources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

     Periodicals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

     Internet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Writing the Final Copy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    Crafting a Title. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    Format for the Research Paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

    Final Checklist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Online Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Sample Paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

    Part One: Preparation and Research

The research paper is a unique type of writing that takes skill, careful thought, and creativity. It

    involves identifying a problem or asking a question on a specific topic and then collecting

    and investigating facts and opinions about the topic from numerous sources. A research paper is different from a report in that the research paper writer must go one step beyond the

    mere summary of facts and inject analytical or interpretive commentary on the subject,

    relying on the thoughts of others to support or clarify conclusions.

Eight steps guide the writer through the research paper process:

    1. Selecting the topic

    2. Reading and limiting the topic

    3. Formulating a thesis statement and working outline

    4. Preparing a working bibliography

    5. Taking notes

    6. Assembling notes and writing the formal outline

    7. Writing the first draft and preparing the Works Cited page

    8. Writing the final copy

    Selecting the Topic

    The teacher may suggest possible topics, or the student may be allowed to choose a topic of interest. In either case, use these guidelines to choose the topic. Select a topic

    1. that is suitable for serious research.

    2. with ample reference material.

    3. that can be presented objectively.

    4. that is more than a biographical treatment.

    5. that will allow interpretation(s).

If the paper is based on literature, the student must have a thorough understanding of the

    poem, play, novel, or short story. Students may choose an analytical, thematic, critical, or

    comparative approach to writing the paper. Students should distinguish between primary and

    secondary sources.

    ; A primary source is the work itself, such as “Thanatopsis,” Martin Luther King, Jr.‟s “I

    Have a Dream,” The Red Badge of Courage, or Macbeth.

    ; A secondary source is a work written about a primary source. Examples include critical

    commentaries such as Thomas DeQuincey‟s essay “On the Knocking at the Gate of

    Macbeth” or critical essays in Contemporary Literary Criticism.

    Reading and Limiting the Topic

Introductory reading helps narrow the topic.

    ; Do introductory reading on the subject. Introductory reading provides a framework for

    the topic, allows the writer to set boundaries, and enables the researcher to focus on the

    important points of the topic.

    ; Introductory reading can span a variety of sources, including articles in encyclopedias,

    chapters in textbooks, histories, or specialized reference books such as Contemporary

    Literary Criticism.

    Note: General encyclopedias may be used only for introductory reading, not as sources for the paper

    itself.

    Following are examples that show the progression in narrowing a topic using introductory reading as a guide.

    Social Issues Topic

     General Topic: violence

     Narrowed Topic: violence in the media

     Narrowed More: violence on television

     Appropriate Topic: the implications of violence on television

    Literature Topic

     General Topic: The Scarlet Letter

     Narrowed Topic: one aspect of The Scarlet Letter: literary devices

     Narrowed More: one literary device: symbolism

     Appropriate Topic: the scaffold as a symbolic element in The Scarlet Letter

    The student may discover that further restriction is needed after reading and taking notes.

    Formulating a Thesis Statement

    A preliminary thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument of the paper, will help to limit the scope of the research. Before beginning in-depth research, it is necessary to write a sentence that expresses the central focus of the paper; however, the thesis may continue to evolve as work continues.

    A good thesis should

    ; state the main idea in a declarative sentence.

    ; limit the subject.

    ; establish an investigative edge.

    ; point to the conclusion.

    ; conform to the evidence.

Example 1:

    As an epic hero, Beowulf exhibits physical courage, demonstrates mental agility, and

    reflects the ideals of his culture.

    Example 2:

    Edgar Allan Poe‟s characterization of Montresor in “The Cask of Amontillado” suggests

    the theme that humanity is inherently evil.

    Preparing the Working Outline

    The working outline is an initial method of organization and a starting point for note taking. The purpose of the preliminary outline is to prevent the researcher from taking unnecessary notes and to keep the writer focused and on-task. In order to develop a working outline, it is necessary to break down the elements of the preliminary thesis and to analyze the specific areas the research will address. This analysis should result in a list of three to six ideas or topics will constitute the divisions of the research.

    A working outline should

    ; relate directly to the thesis.

    ; be brief and clear.

    ; list the main topics using Roman numerals. These headings will later be the “slugs” on

    the note cards.

    ; not be subdivided, unlike the Formal Outline, which is discussed later.

    ; not contain the words Introduction or Conclusion.

    ; not contain articles or any repeated, unnecessary words.

Example 1:

    Thesis: As an epic hero, Beowulf exhibits physical courage, demonstrates mental agility,

    and reflects the ideals of his culture.

    I. Physical Courage

    II. Mental Agility

    III. Ideals of Anglo-Saxon culture

Example 2:

    Thesis: Because of increasing concern over television‟s influence on violence and crime,

    the television industry should assume responsibility for regulating the extent and nature

    of violent acts in television programming.

     I. Amount of violence on television

     II. Connection between TV and street violence

     III. Ratings race among networks

     IV. Censorship in the media

    Preparing the Working Bibliography

    The working bibliography is a list of sources related to the research topic. Begin to locate sources by checking the media center catalogue, visiting other libraries, searching databases and on-line sources, and expanding the preliminary reading. For each likely resource, write a bibliographic entry on an index card using correct MLA format. A variety of sample entries appears under the heading Preparing the Works Cited Page on page 20. Because these

    bibliography cards will eventually become the source of information for compiling the Works Cited page, it is essential to record information correctly and thoroughly.

In preparing bibliography cards,

    ; use one index card per source.

    ; write on only one side of the card.

    ; use exact punctuation.

    ; use hanging indents (see examples below).

     1

    Generic Example:

     Call #

     Author‟s last name, Author‟s first name.

     Title of Work. Place of publication:

     Publisher, Copyright date. 2

    1. Write the media center call number of printed materials in the top right corner to make

    later relocation easier.

    2. Use hanging indents (the reverse of regular paragraph indentation) to make the

    author‟s last name more visible.

Actual Bibliography Card Example:

     808.04

     Tur 1 Turabian, Kate. Student‟s Guide for Writing College Papers. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976. 3 2

    1. Use the first city listed on the title page. Give only the city if it is well known (e.g., New

    York, London); give both city and state otherwise.

    2. Use a correct, shortened name for the publisher. Refer to page 20 for guidelines.

    3. Use the most recent date that appears on the title page or on the back of the title page.

    Evaluating Web Pages

    Not all web pages are valid and reliable sources. Use these questions as a guide to determine validity.

    1. What can the URL tell you?

    A. Is it somebody‟s personal page?

    (Since personal pages are not necessarily reliable, investigate the author very carefully.)

     B. From what type of domain does it come?

    Educational - .edu

    Government - .gov

    Nonprofit organizations - .org

    Commercial - .com

    Network - .net

    Note: If the word essay appears anywhere in the URL, exercise caution because it may be an unacceptable resource.

2. What can the home page tell you?

     A. Who published or sponsored the page?

    (Look for links that say “About us,” “Philosophy,” “Background,” “Biography.”)

    B. Why was the site created: to argue a position? to sell a product? to inform readers?

    C. What are the author‟s credentials?

    D. When was the page last updated? The information may be outdated or irrelevant.

    3. Are there links to other resources on the topic? Do they work?

    Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a brief summary and evaluation of sources. It informs the reader of the location, accuracy, quality, and relevance of sources.

    The purposes of compiling an annotated bibliography are to enable the writer to

    ; learn about the topic.

    ; focus more critically on secondary sources.

    ; refine the thesis.

    ; guide other researchers.

    There are four parts to the annotated bibliography. These parts may be changed or modified according to the teacher‟s preferences.

    1. Bibliography

    ; Write the bibliographic entry according to MLA guidelines.

    ; Do not annotate primary source(s); only annotate secondary sources.

    2. Summary

    ; Provide a brief yet thorough summary of the main points, particularly the ones

    relating to your topic.

    3. Assessment

    ; State why the source is reliable. Consider the following:

    1. Is the author a recognized expert?

    2. Is the author unbiased?

    3. Does it appear in a credible source? (E-library, Galileo, Galenet)

    4. Is it in a reputable collection of criticisms, such as Contemporary Literary

     Criticism or Opposing Viewpoints?

    5. Is it found in the reference section of the school or public library?

    6. Has it been recommended by the teacher?

    7. Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic?

    8. Is the information well-documented or referenced?

    4. Reflection

    ; How does the book or article fit into this research?

    ; Was the source helpful to you? Does the source relate to your topic?

    ; How and where can you use this source in your research project?

    Sample Graphic Organizer of an Annotated Bibliography

    Ciccarelli, Sheryl, and Marie Rose Napierkowski, eds. A Tale of Two Cities.”

    Novels for Students. Vol. 15. Detroit: Gale, 1999.

    Source /

    Bibliography

    The book contains different discussions of various novels. The section on A Tale

    of Two Cities focuses on historical background, themes, characters, and settings.

    At the end of each section, various critics discuss the novel. Summary

    The book is published by Gale Research Group, a company with a reputation for

    using professors and academic writers. The collection of books is also credible

    because my teacher recommended it, and it is found in the reference section of

    the school library.

    Assessment

    (Why is it credible?) I will use the explanations and examples of the themes of death and resurrection

    in my research paper; however, I will support this information by using quotes

    from my primary source. I also found one critic at the end of the section who

    gave good information for my introductory paragraph.

     Reflection

     (How will you use it?)

    Sample Annotated Bibliography

    Jane Doe

    Use Times New Roman, 12 point font

    Mrs. Waters

    Title is NOT bold, underlined, or a different font or type size. It

    is the same as the rest of the bibliography. World Literature

    August 31, 2006 Title: Double-Spaced and Centered

    Heading: Double-spaced Annotated Bibliography

    Bibliographic Symbolism in Lord of the Flies Information

    Griffith, George V. “William Golding.” Novels for Students. Eds. Sheryl Ciccarelli and Marie

    Rose Napierkowski. Vol. 13. Detroit: Gale, 1999. summary assessment

    This article discusses the many symbols of Lord of the Flies. It names the conch shell as

    well as the beast as two evident symbols. The article also discusses themes of the novel

    and gives background information regarding how the author developed the idea of the

    novel. The article is from Novels for Students, a credible source since Gale, a reputable line of entry is left stjustified; all others are indented five spaces

    Use hanging indents: 1

    publisher, publishes it. The book is also found in the school library and is recommended

    by my teacher. The article was originally printed in an academic journal which also

    shows its credibility. The discussion of symbols in the novel pertains to my general topic,

    but the discussion centered on democracy and the conch. Therefore, I need more

    information on the specific symbol of the eyeglasses.

    Telgen, Diane. “Symbolism in Lord of the Flies.” Twentieth Century Interpretations of Lord of

    the Flies. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Harper, 1997. 38-42.

    To identify a normally underlined title when it appears within an underlined title, the title within is Entry neither underlined nor enclosed in quotation marks. nd2

     Begin your second annotation here.

    Taking Notes

    Now that a preliminary outline has been prepared and specific areas of consideration have been established, read intensively those sources that contain information relative to the working outline and begin taking notes.

    ; Be selective.

    ; Be accurate

    ; Read critically. Do not assume that everything you read is truthful or valid.

    There are several ways to record and compile notes when conducting research, including handwritten note cards, photocopying, highlighting, downloading, and cutting and pasting. An explanation of note taking using note cards is provided in this guide. Use the note taking

    system prescribed by the teacher.

    Using Direct Quotations and Paraphrasing

Direct Quotations: According to the MLA, “When you believe that some sentence or passage

    in its original wording might make an effective addition to your paper, transcribe that material exactly as it appears, word for word, comma for comma” (46).

    ; Enclose all direct quotations in quotation marks, even on your note cards.

    ; Copy the quotation exactly as it appears in the original source, including spelling,

    internal punctuation, and capitalization.

    ; If you are certain the original contains an error, use the word sic (from the Latin for thus

    or so) to let the reader know that the error is accurately reproduced. Refer to the section

    on Alteration of Quoted Material on page 13 for information on how to use sic.

Paraphrasing: To paraphrase a passage, restate the material in your own words. Read the

    material carefully, absorb the idea, close the book, and write the idea in your own words. Check your version against the original to make sure you have accurately and completely conveyed the author‟s ideas.

    ; Do not use more than three words in succession from the original source.

    ; Do not follow the identical structure/sentence pattern(s) of the original passage or simply

    change the order of the words in the sentence.

    ; Do not distort the meaning of the original passage.

    ; Do use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology retained in the

    paraphrase.

    Note Cards

    While writing note cards from sources, keep these guidelines in mind:

    ; Write only on the front of cards.

    ; Address only one idea per card.

    ; Write the appropriate slug from the working outline at the top of the index card to

    indicate the subject.

    ; Write the first item given on your bibliography card (author‟s name, editor‟s name, or

    article title) on the bottom of the card.

    ; Use quotation marks for exact quotations.

    ; Give exact page number(s) for print sources.

Note: The teacher may require you to write n. pag. to indicate “no pagination” for sources that do not

    have pages (e.g., the Internet).

Generic Example of a Note Card:

     Slug from Working Outline (Main idea of the card) Quote or paraphrase from the source is written on the body of the card. Be sure to use quotation marks for direct quotations, and quote the original exactly as it appears, using exact spelling and punctuation.

     Author‟s last name and page number

     (no comma)

Actual Note Card Example 1: Direct Quotations 1

    Anglo-Saxon Life “Illness and disease remained in constant 2 3residence. Tuberculosis was endemic, and so were scabrous skin diseases of every kind: 1 abscesses, cankers, and scrofula. . . . Lepers. . . [lived] on the outskirts of villages and cities.” 4 Chua-Eoan 47 5

    1. Use a slug from the preliminary outline to describe the content of the note card.

    2. Use quotation marks to indicate a direct quotation.

    3. Use ellipsis points* to indicate that words have been omitted.

    4. Use square brackets or interpolation* to indicate that a word has been changed from the

    original.

    5. Write the author‟s last name and the exact page with no comma. If there is no author,

    use the first item on your bibliography card (editor, article title, book title). *Note: See the section on the Alteration of Quoted Material on page 13.

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