Instructor: Mrs. Bedoor Al-Abdul Mohsen

Choosing a Strong Research Topic: Preliminary Research

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3. Choosing a Strong Research Topic: Preliminary Research

What is a Strong Topic?

You’ll be spending a lot of time on a research paper, so it is particularly important to select a topic that you really enjoy working with. But alas, it’s not that simple! To make your project a success, you’ll have to ensure that the topic is strong, as well as enjoyable. What does this mean? Unfortunately, you might find a topic that you like a lot, and go on to develop a strong thesis with no trouble at all. Then, you find yourself spending an afternoon at the library and discovering one or two problems.

What You Can Handle:

Some topics are hard to handle because they are too large, or broad. “The American Revolution” is an example of such a topic. Choosing a topic that is too narrow is hard to do. (Most topics— even very narrow ones—seem to get bigger as you start finding out more about them.) However, some topics can be too limiting. Therefore, you could find that very little research is available on your subject. This is a common hazard that wastes time and disrupts your mental flow and confidence. As much as you may like your topic, you may want to give it up at the start if you know you’re going to run into trouble finding information for your paper.

Another problem that you may face is that you may find that the research doesn’t support your thesis. Oops! This is a common frustration for professors who publish a lot. They often come up with intriguing and exciting new ideas, only to find that all the research points in a different direction. Don’t stick with an idea if you see lots of evidence that refutes it!
To avoid those pitfalls, it is important to select more than one topic from the start. Find three or four topics that interest you, then, go to the library or an Internet-connected computer at home and conduct a preliminary search of each topic.
Preliminary Research

Determine which project idea can be supported with plenty of published material. This way, you will be able to select a final topic that is both interesting and feasible. Preliminary searches can be done pretty quickly; there is no need to spend hours in the library.

Choose a topic and do a basic computer search. Take note of the types of sources that appear for each topic. For instance, you may come up with fifty web pages that concern your topic, but no books or articles! This is not a good result! Your teacher will be looking for (and perhaps requiring) a variety of sources, to include articles, books, and encyclopedia references. Don’t select a topic that doesn’t appear in books and articles, as well as on web sites.
If you find a topic that’s widely researched and seems to be available in a number of books and journals, make sure those are books and journals that you can use. For instance, you may find several articles—but then you realize later that they're all published in another country or maybe you have to pay for the full text of that article (i.e. the complete article).You could also find books or articles representing your topic, but they’re all published in Spanish! This is absolutely great if you are fluent in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s a big problem!
In short, always, take a few steps in the beginning to make sure that your topic will be relatively easy to research over the days and weeks to come. You don’t want to invest too much time and emotion in a project that will only lead to frustration in the end.
The first step of any research paper is for the student to understand the assignment. If this is not done, the student will often travel down many dead-end roads, wasting a great deal of time along the way. Do not hesitate to approach the instructor with questions if there is any confusion. Choosing the topic that is right for you is crucial. By following these steps for finding a topic, you will be able to find one on which you can gather plenty of information, that you find interesting, and that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
3rd Assignment (1 pt.)

to get your instructor’s approval.

4. Sources of Information

The Library Catalog:

You could start with a library catalog (found in a library or online) which includes a list of all the books in your library. You can search the library catalog in three ways: by subject, title, or author. A subject search shows the titles of books on your topic. To do a subject search, type in your topic. Then click on “subject.” You will get a list of all the books in the library on your topic, including the title, author, and call number for each book. Then the catalog shows the name of the publisher, the place and date the book was published, whether or not the book is available, the call number, and where in the library it is located. KSU Online catalog:

The Periodical Index:

A periodical is a magazine. It’s called a periodical because it is published periodically—every week or every month, for example. You can find a lot of useful information in periodicals. Information in periodicals is often more up-to-date than what you find in many books. To locate articles on your topic, do a subject search in a printed index (in the library) called the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, or you can use an online database like EBSCOHost to find full-text articles:

More Sources:

Other sources can add up-to-the-minute information to your research, including news-paper articles, articles on the Internet, and a variety of non-print sources. You can also use the Internet to find newspaper articles. To get to major newspaper Web sites, type in the name of the newspaper—The New York Times, for example—instead of a keyword. Follow the instructions on the site for accessing the newspaper’s archives, which are a collection of articles from past issues. For example:

MagPortal A search engine that will allow you to search for free online magazine articles on a wide range of topics:
TV and Radio:

Check television and radio listings for programs about your topic. Educational stations, such as the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), are your best bet. If you listen to some programs as part of your research, make a note of the name of the program, the station, and the date and time of the broadcast.

Personal Interviews:

Perhaps you know someone who is an expert on your topic. Let’s say your topic is “Dog Communication,” your vet or your dog’s obedience-school teacher may very well be an expert. If you plan to do an interview, save it for last. Before you’ve completed your research, you may not know what questions to ask. When you have all the information you can find from print and non-print sources, you can use the interview to answer questions you still have. You also can ask your expert to express an opinion about information you’ve found in other sources.

Searching with a Search Engine:

Search engines maintain an incredibly large number of sites in their archives, so you must limit your search terms in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by an unmanageable number of responses.

Search engines are good for finding sources for well-defined topics. Typing in a general term such as "education" or "Shakespeare" will bring back far too many results, but by narrowing your topic, you can get the kind (and amount) of information that you need. Example:

Go to Google (a search engine)  Type in a general term ("education")  Add modifiers to further define and narrow your topic ("rural education Indiana")  Be as specific as you can ("rural education Indiana elementary school")  Submit your search.

Search Engine and Web Directory List (Note: This list is to be read, but not memorized for the exam)

The following is a list of some of the most powerful search and metasearch engines and most comprehensive web directories.

Clusty: Clusty provides clustered results (hence the name “Clusty”). Clusty is a metasearch engine; meaning it grabs results from a variety of different search engines and search directories. Type in any subject into the Clusty search bar and you’ll be returned not only the standard search engine results, but clustered search results as well – these are related “suggestions” that build upon your original query. Clusty is not only a great way to search for general information, but it’s also a superb way to find a topic to research. is in part powered by Amazon and Microsoft’s Windows Live, and has a lot of interesting features - more clustered results here, much like Clusty’s, except from different types of sources. It’s a super idea generator.

Kartoo: Kartoo is a “metasearch engine with visual display interfaces.” In other words, your search results are represented visually rather than in textual list form.

Infomine: Infomine is like a virtual library of information: “a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.” Just start browsing through the thousands of topics they have covered here, and there’s just no way you won’t be able to come up with a good research topic. Ask has a fantastic feature that allows you to narrow or expand any topic you might want to type in. For example, I typed in the word “web”, and under the heading “Narrow Your Results”, I received these suggestions: live Web cams, spider web, world wide web, spider web, etc. For “Expand Your Results”, I got Internet Webshots, Webcrawler, etc., you get the picture. Basically, is helping you to start broad and circle in for more details; this is helpful not only when you’re not sure what to research, but also obviously useful when you’re looking for more detailed information and need help finding it. Need even more ideas for research topics? Here's a few sites you might want to try:

  • All4one: One of the first metasearch engines, All4One allows simultaneous searching of 10 major search engines.

  • Alta Vista: Allows you to search for websites, audio, video, and news. It also allows searches by location and language.

  • Dogpile: A metasearch engine that will search Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask.

  • Environment Web Directory: A web directory that focuses on environmental and health issues.

  • Excite: A search engine that lets you search by language, for video, audio, and mp3, and by relevant date.

  • Google: Includes a new type of search, "Google Scholar," which allows you to search for more academically-oriented searches.

  • Lycos: A search engine that allows for news searches but does not have many advanced search features.

  • Metacrawler: A metasearch engine and will search other search engines.

  • The Open Directory Project: One of the largest and most comprehensive human-edited directories in the world. Only higher quality websites will be listed here as each site submitted must be approved by a

  • directory editor.

  • People Search: People Search has online white-page directories for telephone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, etc.

  • WebCrawler: Another search engine that allows searching by location, domain name, and for multimedia.

  • Librarians' Internet Index: Provides librarian-reviewed websites and material on a host of different topics. While this site is not exhaustive, it will provide you quality information on a large variety of topics. Some of this material is invisible-web material.

  • Provides practical information on a large variety of topics written by trained professionals.

  • Wikipedia: The largest free and open access encyclopedia on the internet.

  • Refdesk: A site that provides reviews and a search feature for free reference materials online.

Resources to Search the Invisible Web

  • The invisible web includes many types of online resources that normally cannot be found using regular search engines. The listings below can help you access these resources:

  • Alexa: A website that archives older websites that are no longer available on the Internet. For example, Alexa has about 87 million websites from the 2000 election that are for the most part no longer available on the Internet.

  • Complete Planet: Provides an extensive listing of databases that cannot be searched by conventional search engine technology. It provides access to lists of databases which you can then search individually.

  • The Directory of Open Access Journals: Another full-text journal searchable database.

  • FindArticles: Indexes over 10 million articles from a variety of different publications.

  • Find Law: A comprehnsive site that provides information on legal issues organized by category.

  • HighWire: Brought to you by Stanford University, HighWire press provides access to one of the largest databases of free, full-text, scholarly content.

  • Infomine: A research database created by librarians for use at the university level. It includes both a browsable catalogue and searching capabilities.

  • Invisible Web Database: A database maintained by Chris Sherman and Gary Price, authors of the book Invisible Web, that provides a host of links to invisible web resources in a variety of categories.

Evaluating Sources:

The world is full of information to be found--however, not all of it is valid, useful, or accurate. Evaluating sources of information that you are considering using in your writing is an important step in any research activity. Not only is there a huge quantity available but a very uneven level of quality. You don't want to rely on the news in the headlines of sensational tabloids near supermarket checkout counters, and it's just as hard to know how much to accept of what's in all the books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, brochures, web sites, and various media reports that are available. People want to convince you to buy their products, agree with their opinions, rely on their data, vote for their candidate, consider their perspective, or accept them as experts. In short, you have to sift and make decisions all the time, and you want to make responsible choices that you won't regret.

When writing research papers, you will also be evaluating sources as you search for information. You will need to make decisions about what to search for, where to look, and once you've found material on your topic, if it is a valid or useful source for your writing. One way to judge a Web site is to look at its address. For example, an address ending in “.edu” means the site is connected to a college, university, or other school. (The letters edu stand for “education.”) Such addresses often contain good information, but not always. Of course, useful sources can end in “.gov,”“.com,” or something else. If you have doubts about the accuracy of a site or want help finding more reliable sources, consult your librarian, teacher, or parent.
4th Assignment (2 pts)

Collect your information from different online or printed sources. Also copy/paste all publication info (i.e. author’s name, title, date of publication, etc.) Download the sample from your instructor’s site and create something similar to it.

Online Sources: You need at least…

  • 1 online encyclopedia article

  • 2 online books

  • 3 websites

  • 1 online magazine article

  • 1 online journal article from EBSCOHost

  • 1 online newspaper article

5. Google Book Search + EBSCOHost Tutorials

Google Books lets you search and view entire volumes of scanned fiction and non-fiction texts.

How to Search Google Books:
Step 1 Open the Google Books homepage. From the main Google website, click on the "More" drop-down menu near the top of the page and choose "Books" from the options that appear.
Step 2 Browse through the collection by selecting one of the genre links to the left of the page. Google offers full-text books from a variety of genres, including literature, poetry, science fiction and political science.
Step 3 Do a basic book search by entering a title or author into the blank field on the main page. Click "Search books". When you're ready to go and Google will turn up the matching results.
Step 4 Scan through the search results and see if your book is listed. Many of the books in the database are only available to preview. You'll need to buy them through traditional booksellers like Borders and Barnes and Noble to access the full text.
Step 5 Conduct a more thorough inquiry by clicking on the "Advanced Book Search" link next to the main search field. This allows you to search the database not only by authors and titles, but also by their publication dates, languages, publishers and ISBNs.
Using ScreenHunter to save any part you need (as an image):
(1) Download and install the program from the following site:

(2) After double clicking the icon on your desktop , press “Stand by” in the widow that opens up:

(3) When you’re ready to cut something out, you press (F6) or (F6 + CTRL), finally press once and drag to capture the image of the area that you need. The image is automatically saved on your desktop.

6. Introduction to MLA Formatting and Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. (Note: The full MLA guide can be downloaded from your instructor’s site)

General Format:

MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.
If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site.
Paper Format:

Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style. General Guidelines…

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman or Arial).

  • The font size should be 12 pt.

  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).

  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.

  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.

  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner plus your last name.

  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.

  • When a quotation is longer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse, set it off from the text by indenting the entire quotation one inch from the left margin. Double-space the indented quotation, and don't add extra space above or below it. Quotation marks are not needed when a quotation has been set off from the text by indenting.

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper:

  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.

  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.

  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"

  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.

  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.).

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

7. Citing Your Sources: MLA Style In-text Citations

MLA in-text citations are made with a combination of signal phrases and parenthetical references. A signal phrase indicates that something taken from a source (a quotation, summary, paraphrase, or fact) is about to be used; usually the signal phrase includes the author's name. The parenthetical reference, which comes after the cited material, normally includes at least a page number.

5th Assignment (1 pt.)
Type correct in-text citations for all sources

One driver, Peter Cohen, says that after he was rear-ended, the guilty party emerged from his vehicle still talking on the phone (127).
Readers can look up the author's last name in the alphabetized list of works cited, where they will learn the work's title and other publication information. If readers decide to consult the source, the page number will take them straight to the passage that has been cited.
Basic Rules for Print and Electronic Sources:

The MLA system of in-text citations, which depends heavily on authors' names and page numbers, was created in the early 1980s with print sources in mind. Because some of today's electronic sources have unclear authorship and lack page numbers, they present a special challenge. Nevertheless, the basic rules are the same for both print and electronic sources.

1. AUTHOR NAMED IN A SIGNAL PHRASE: Ordinarily, introduce the material being cited with a signal phrase that includes the author's name. In addition to preparing readers for the source, the signal phrase allows you to keep the parenthetical citation brief.
Christine Haughney reports that shortly after Japan made it illegal to use a handheld phone while driving, "accidents caused by using the phones dropped by 75 percent" (A8).
The signal phrase — Christine Haughney reports that — names the author; the parenthetical citation gives the page number where the quoted words may be found.
Notice that the period follows the parenthetical citation. When a quotation ends with a question mark or an exclamation point, leave the end punctuation inside the quotation mark and add a period after the parentheses: " . . . ?" (8).
2. AUTHOR NAMED IN PARENTHESES: If a signal phrase does not name the author, put the author's last name in parentheses along with the page number.
Most states do not keep adequate records on the number of times cell phones are a factor in accidents; as of December 2000, only ten states were trying to keep such records (Sundeen 2).
Use no punctuation between the name and the page number.
3. AUTHOR UNKNOWN: Either use the complete title in a signal phrase or use a short form of the title in parentheses. Titles of books are italicized; titles of articles are put in quotation marks.
As of 2001, at least three hundred towns and municipalities had considered legislation regulating use of cell phones while driving ("Lawmakers" 2).
TIP: Before assuming that a Web source has no author, do some detective work. Often the author's name is available but is not easy to find. For example, it may appear at the end of the source, in tiny print. Or it may appear on another page of the site, such as the home page.

NOTE: If a source has no author and is sponsored by a corporate entity, such as an organization or a government agency, name the corporate entity as the author (see item 9).

4. PAGE NUMBER UNKNOWN: You may omit the page number if a work lacks page numbers, as is the case with many Web sources. Although printouts from Web sites usually show page numbers, printers don't always provide the same page breaks; for this reason, MLA recommends treating such sources as unpaginated.
The California Highway Patrol opposes restrictions on the use of phones while driving, claiming that distracted drivers can already be prosecuted (Jacobs).
According to Jacobs, the California Highway Patrol opposes restrictions on the use of phones while driving, claiming that distracted drivers can already be prosecuted.
When the pages of a Web source are stable (as in PDF files), however, supply a page number in your in-text citation.
NOTE: If a Web source numbers its paragraphs or screens, give the abbreviation "par." or "pars." or the word "screen" or "screens" in the parentheses: (Smith, par. 4).
5. ONE-PAGE SOURCE: If the source is one page long, MLA allows (but does not require) you to omit the page number. Many instructors will want you to supply the page number because without it readers may not know where your citation ends or, worse, may not realize that you have provided a citation at all.
No page number given
Milo Ippolito reports that the driver who struck and killed a two-year-old while using her cell phone got off with a light sentence even though she left the scene of the accident and failed to call 911 for help. In this and in similar cases, traffic offenders distracted by cell phones have not been sufficiently punished under laws on reckless driving.
Page number given
Milo Ippolito reports that the driver who struck and killed a two-year-old while using her cell phone got off with a light sentence even though she left the scene of the accident and failed to call 911 for help (J1). In this and in similar cases, traffic offenders distracted by cell phones have not been sufficiently punished under laws on reckless driving.
Variations on the Basic Rules:

This section describes the MLA guidelines for handling a variety of situations not covered by the basic rules just given. Again, these rules on in-text citations are the same for both traditional print sources and electronic sources.

6. TWO OR MORE WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR: If your list of works cited includes two or more works by the same author, mention the title of the work in the signal phrase or include a short version of the title in the parentheses.
On December 6, 2000, reporter Jamie Stockwell wrote that distracted driver Jason Jones had been charged with "two counts of vehicular manslaughter . . . in the deaths of John and Carole Hall" ("Phone" B1). The next day Stockwell reported the judge's ruling: Jones "was convicted of negligent driving and fined $500, the maximum penalty allowed" ("Man" B4).
Titles of articles and other short works are placed in quotation marks, as in the example just given. Titles of books are italicized.
In the rare case when both the author's name and a short title must be given in parentheses, separate them with a comma.
According to police reports, there were no skid marks indicating that the distracted driver who killed John and Carole Hall had even tried to stop (Stockwell, "Man" B4).

7. TWO OR THREE AUTHORS: Name the authors in a signal phrase, as in the following example, or include their last names in the parenthetical reference:

(Redelmeier and Tibshirani 453).

Redelmeier and Tibshirani found that "the risk of a collision when using a cellular telephone was four times higher than the risk when a cellular telephone was not being used" (453).
When three authors are named in the parentheses, separate the names with commas:

(Alton, Davies, and Rice 56).

8. FOUR OR MORE AUTHORS: Name all of the authors or include only the first author's name followed by "et al." (Latin for "and others"). Make sure that your citation matches the entry in the list of works cited.
The study was extended for two years, and only after results were reviewed by an independent panel did the researchers publish their findings (Blaine et al. 35).
9. CORPORATE AUTHOR: When the author is a corporation, an organization, or a government agency, name the corporate author either in the signal phrase or in the parentheses.
Researchers at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis claim that the risks of driving while phoning are small compared with other driving risks (3-4).
In the list of works cited, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis is treated as the author and alphabetized under H.
10. AUTHORS WITH THE SAME LAST NAME: Include the author's first name in the signal phrase or first initial in the parentheses.
Estimates of the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers vary because little evidence is being collected (D. Smith 7).

11. INDIRECT SOURCE (SOURCE QUOTED IN ANOTHER SOURCE): When a writer's or a speaker's quoted words appear in a source written by someone else, begin the parenthetical citation with the abbreviation "qtd. in."
According to Richard Retting, "As the comforts of home and the efficiency of the office creep into the automobile, it is becoming increasingly attractive as a work space" (qtd. In Kilgannon A23).

12. ENCYCLOPEDIA OR DICTIONARY: Unless an encyclopedia or a dictionary has an author, it will be alphabetized in the list of works cited under the word or entry that you consulted — not under the title of the reference work itself. Either in your text or in your parenthetical reference, mention the word or the entry. No page number is required, since readers can easily look up the word or entry.
The word crocodile has a surprisingly complex etymology ("Crocodile").

13. TWO OR MORE WORKS: To cite more than one source in the parentheses, give the citations in alphabetical order and separate them with a semicolon.
The effects of sleep deprivation have been well documented (Cahill 42; Leduc 114; Vasquez 73).
14. AN ENTIRE WORK: Use the author's name in a signal phrase or a parenthetical reference.
Robinson succinctly describes the status of the mountain lion controversy in California.
15. SACRED TEXTS: For a sacred text such as the Bible or the Qur'an, name the book, chapter, and verse (or their equivalent), separated with periods.
Consider the words of Solomon: "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink" (Oxford Annotated Bible, Prov. 25.21).

8. Citing Your Sources: MLA Style Full Citations

An alphabetized list of works cited, which appears at the end of your research paper, gives publication information for each of the sources you have cited in the paper. Sample:

* Begin the list of works cited on a new page at the end of the paper. Center the title Works Cited about one inch from the top of the page. Double-space throughout.

* Alphabetize the list by the last names of the authors (or editors); if a work has no author or editor, alphabetize by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.

* If your list includes two or more works by the same author, use the author's name for the first entry only. For subsequent entries use three hyphens followed by a period. List the titles in alphabetical order.

* Do not indent the first line of each works cited entry, but indent any additional lines one-half inch. This technique highlights the names of the authors, making it easy for readers to scan the alphabetized list.

* Omit sources not actually cited in the paper, even if you read them.
* MLA requires the medium of publication in all works cited entries, usually at the end of the entry: for example, "Print," "Web," "Television," "Film," "Lecture."

General Rules for Citing All Sources:

(1st) [name of author(s)] or [name of org.] or [title of book or site] or [title of article] – followed by a period

(2nd) [title of book or site] or [title of article then title of main work or site]- followed by a period

(3rd) [place of publication: publisher] for books - followed by a comma

(4th) [date of publication using this format, e.g. 24 Jan. 2005] or [n.d.] – followed by a period

(5th) [medium, e.g. Print , Web, Television, etc.] – followed by a period

(6th) [date of access using this format, e.g. 24 Jan. 2005] for online sources – followed by a period

García, Cristina. The Agüero Sisters. New York: Ballantine, 1998. Print.

"Media Giants." PBS Online, 2001. Web. 7 Feb. 2005.
Shiva, Vandana. "Bioethics: A Third World Issue." NativeWeb. n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2004.

General Rules For Citing Names of Authors

1. SINGLE AUTHOR: Tannen, Deborah.
Walker, Janice R., and Todd Taylor. Wilmut, Ian, Keith Campbell, and Colin Tudge.
For a work with four or more authors…
Sloan, Frank A., Emily M. Stout, Kat Whetten-Goldstein, and Lan Liang. Sloan, Frank A., et al.
3. Organization AUTHOR: When the author of a print document or Web site is a corporation, a government agency, or some other organization, begin your entry with the name of the group.
First Union. United States. Bureau of the Census. American Automobile Association.

Article or other short work: "Media Giants."

Book, entire Web site, or other long work: Atlas of the World.
Examples of Full Citations of Online sources

Peterson, Susan Lynn. The Life of Martin Luther. 2005. Web. 24 Jan. 2009.
Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Modern History Sourcebook. Fordham U, 22 Sept. 2001. Web. 19 Jan.
United States. Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking Water Standards. EPA, 8 July 2004.
Web. 24 Jan. 2005.
Margaret Sanger Papers Project. History Dept., New York U, 18 Oct. 2000. Web. 6 Jan. 2009.
Online Book:
Milton, John. Paradise Lost: Book I. Google Book Search, 2008. Web. 14 Dec. 2008.

Online Article from a Journal found in a Database (e.g. EBSCOHost):

Barrera, Rebeca María. "A Case for Bilingual Education." Scholastic Parent and Child Nov.-Dec. 2004: 72-73. EBSCOHost. Web. 1 Feb. 2009.

Online Article from a Journal:
Belau, Linda. "Trauma and the Material Signifier." Postmodern Culture 11.2 (2001): n. pag. Web.
20 Feb. 2009.

Article from an Online Magazine:
Paulson, Steve. "Buddha on the Brain." Salon Media Group, 27 Nov. 2006. Web. 18
Jan. 2009.
Article from an Online Newspaper:
Rubin, Joel. "Report Faults Charter School." Los Angeles Times. 22 Jan. 2005. Web. 24 Jan. 2009.

Image from an Online Source:

van Gogh, Vincent. The Starry Night. 1889. Museum of Mod. Art, New York. Web. 14 Jan. 2009.

Examples of Full Citations of Printed sources
Book (by the author):
Tan, Amy. The Bonesetter's Daughter. New York: Putnam, 2001. Print.
Book (by an editor):
Craig, Patricia, ed. The Oxford Book of Travel Stories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.
Encyclopedia (author is known):
Posner, Rebecca. "Romance Languages." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 15th
ed. 1987. Print.
Encyclopedia (author is unknown):
"Sonata." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th ed. 2000. Print.
Sacred Text:
The Qur'an: Translation. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Elmhurst: Tahrike, 2000. Print.
Article in a Magazine:
Lord, Lewis. "There's Something about Mary Todd." US News and World Report 19 Feb. 2001: 53.
Article in a Newspaper:
Brummitt, Chris. "Indonesia's Food Needs Expected to Soar." Boston Globe 1 Feb. 2005: A7. Print.

6th Assignment (1 pt.)
Type correct full citations for all sources

9. Avoiding Plagiarism: Summarizing, Quoting, and Paraphrasing
What is plagiarism, and why should writers worry about it?
Deliberate plagiarism is cheating. Deliberate plagiarism is copying the work of others and turning it as your own. Whether you copy from a published essay, an encyclopedia article, or website, you are plagiarizing. If you do so, you run a terrible risk. You could be punished, suspended, or even expelled. But there is also another kind of plagiarism--accidental plagiarism. This happens when a writer does not intend to plagiarize, but fails to cite his or her sources completely and correctly. Careful notetaking and a clear understanding of the rules for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing sources can help prevent this.
Some tips for avoiding accidental plagiarism when you use sources:
Cite every piece of information that is not a) the result of your own research, or b) common knowledge. This includes opinions, arguments, and speculations as well as facts, details, figures, and statistics.

Use quotation marks every time you use the author's words. (For longer quotes, indenting the whole quotation has the same effect as quotation marks.)

At the beginning of the first sentence in which you quote, paraphrase, or summarize, make it clear that what comes next is someone else's idea:
According to Smith... Jones says... In his 1987 study, Robinson proved... Or…
At the end of the last sentence containing quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material, insert a in-text citation to show where the material came from:
The St. Martin's Handbook defines plagiarism as "the use of someone else's words or ideas as [the writer's] own without crediting the other person" (Lunsford and Connors 602).
(Notice the use of brackets to mark a change in the wording of the original.)
To avoid plagiarism you should start documenting the sources as early as you start doing your research.

In your draft mark the ideas that are your own and those which are drawn from other sources. Underline, italicize someone else’s words in your notes. As you are paraphrasing, try not to peep into the primary source, write form memory. Then you will check and correct the possible inaccuracies.

Limit the general number of direct quotations to the most powerful ones. Your writing will lose its own voice and identity when stuffed with too many direct quotes.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing:

- Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author. There are several ways to integrate quotations into your text. Often, a short quotation works well when integrated into a sentence. Longer quotations can stand alone (called Block Quotations). Remember that quoting should be done not too often; be sure that you have a good reason to include a direct quotation when you decide to do so.
- Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
- Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.
 Writers frequently intertwine summaries, paraphrases, and quotations. As part of a summary of an article, a chapter, or a book, a writer might include paraphrases of various key points blended with quotations of striking or suggestive phrases as in the following example:
In his famous and influential work On the Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud argues that dreams are the "royal road to the unconscious" (16), expressing in coded imagery the dreamer's unfulfilled wishes through a process known as the "dream work" (35). According to Freud, actual but unacceptable desires are censored internally and subjected to coding through layers of condensation and displacement before emerging in a kind of rebus puzzle in the dream itself (25).
How to use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries:
Practice summarizing the following essay, using paraphrases and quotations as you go along. It might be helpful to follow these steps:

  • Read the entire text, noting the key points and main ideas.

  • Summarize in your own words what the single main idea of the essay is.

  • Paraphrase important supporting points that come up in the essay.

  • Consider any words, phrases, or brief passages that you believe should be quoted directly.

There are several ways to integrate quotations into your text. Often, a short quotation works well when integrated into a sentence. Longer quotations can stand alone. Remember that quoting should be done only sparingly; be sure that you have a good reason to include a direct quotation when you decide to do so.

7 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing:

  • Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

  • Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase.

  • Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material.

  • Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.

  • Make sure however that you not only have not used the author's words, but that you have not presented the same information in the same order.

  • Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

  • Record the source (including the page) so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.

Some examples to compare:
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.
Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).
A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
A plagiarized version (due to a misplaced in-text citation):
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level (Lester 46-47). Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim.

10. Organizing Your Research Paper

All papers that highlight controversial issues should comprise of…
Introduction: Beginning your paper with an introductory paragraph serves two purposes. It grabs your readers’ attention, and it contains your thesis statement—the main idea of your entire paper. How you do that depends on your topic, but here are some general suggestions that may help:

_ Relate your topic to your readers’ own experiences. For example: Do you know anyone who is strong, brave, loyal, honest, fair, and always has good manners? Meet a knight from the Middle Ages.

_ Begin with a fascinating or surprising fact. For example: If you thought Columbus was the first European explorer to cross the Atlantic Ocean, think again. Long before Columbus’s voyages to the New World, bold explorers from the north were sailing the seas.

_ Let readers know they are going to learn information they will find useful. For example: If you are interested in a career in space exploration, you can start preparing now.

Any of these approaches can help you get your paper off to a good start—with your readers on board!
A thesis: A statement that serves as the premise in the argument. Once you have come up with the topic, the thesis should reveal your point of view on the subject and the problem. Your point of view should be supported with reliable evidence. In the process of developing the thesis, timing is one of the most crucial factors- so develop your thesis at the very beginning of the essay writing process. The thesis should guide in the course of writing; certainly you will acquire new information and ideas as you go along but the thesis should serve you as one of the starting points.
Concentrate on the central issue. The thesis is your answer to the main question. Once you have formulated the thesis, convert it into a brief statement. The thesis statement is put into the introduction and it should reveal your point of view on the matter, or position you intend to support in your paper. A well-formulated thesis is vital for your assignment - it is the central part of your paper - all other parts of the paper are built on the basis of a strong thesis. When you write your first draft, try to present that statement in the most interesting and inviting way possible. A good thesis should neither be very long nor too short. For example: The topic: "The Basic healthcare for cats".
The oversimplification of the thesis:

"Basic healthcare for cats is vital for these animals".

The thesis that is too broad:

"Basic health care for cats should comprise several services". (The writer might wind up with the enumeration of the health care services that should be provided, thus making the paper boring to read).

More perfected thesis:

"There is controversy as to whether human medicines are effective in treatment of cats".

Body Paragraphs: These are the main part of your writing where you present your thoughts and evidence. Each body paragraph introduces a new idea. You may begin by writing down one of your main ideas in the form of a sentence. Consider you start research on the following topic: "The Current Political Situation in Canada" you may start with the sentence: "The coming elections will undoubtedly come up with the new faces". Your paragraph should include relevant supporting evidence to back up your ideas. In the body of your essay you should show that you have examined, researched your topic and that your arguments are reasonable and reliable. Organize your ideas in a logical order—one that makes sense—and provide enough details—facts and examples— to support the points you want to make.
Each paragraph should have an identical structure:

  • Open it with a topic sentence bringing in the main idea of the paragraph.

  • Write down the supporting points for the idea. They will make your thoughts and assertions as much convincing as possible.

  • You may include some conclusive or summary sentence, though it is not obligatory.

Organizing your information in the research paper:
Experts have named six basic types of order. One—or a combination of these—may work for you.

  • Chronological, or Time, Order covers events in the order in which they happened. This kind of order works best for papers that discuss historical events or tell about a person’s life.

  • Spatial Order organizes your information by its place or position. This kind of order can work for papers about geography or about how to design something—a garden, for example.

  • Cause and Effect discusses how one event or action leads to another. This kind of organization works well if your paper explains a scientific process or events in history.

  • Problem/Solution explains a problem and one or more ways in which it can be solved. You might use this type of organization for a paper about an environmental issue, such as global warming.

  • Compare and Contrast discusses similarities and differences between people, things, events, or ideas.

  • Order of Importance explains an idea, starting with its most important aspects first and ending with the least important aspects—or the other way around.

Conclusion: The conclusion is the final part that summarizes your main points. It is the final part that summarizes your main points. It should emphasize the issue of your discourse and convince your reader that you have made true and right assertions. One of the best ways to present the effective conclusion is to explain how people can apply your solution to the bigger picture. The conclusion imbedded with platitudes and generalities may weaken the final part of your essay. If you want to make your paper even better, try helping your readers answer the question “So what?” In other words, tell them what they can do with the information you’ve given them. You might even end with a question that will keep readers thinking about your paper after they’ve finished reading it. For a conclusion to the dog communication paper, you might write, “Dogs communicate a wide range of feelings, from fear to friendliness, by using sounds, facial expressions, and body language.” That pretty much sums up your paper. In answer to the “So What?” question, you might add, “Knowing about dog communication can be very useful.” Then you’ll need a few examples to prove how useful it can be to understand dogs. If you want to leave readers with a question, you might write something like, “Look and listen to the next dog you meet. What is the dog trying to say?”
Throughout your paper, pay attention to the following:

You presented the main idea of your paper in the thesis statement. In the body, every single paragraph must support that main idea. If any paragraph in your paper does not, in some way, back up the main idea expressed in your thesis statement, it is not relevant, which means it doesn’t have a purpose and shouldn’t be there. Each paragraph also has a main idea of its own. That main idea is stated in a topic sentence, either at the beginning or somewhere else in the paragraph. Just as every paragraph in your paper supports your thesis statement, every sentence in each paragraph supports the main idea of that paragraph by providing facts or examples that back up that main idea. If a sentence does not support the main idea of the paragraph, it is not relevant and should be left out.


A paper that makes claims or states ideas without backing them up with facts or clarifying them with examples won’t mean much to readers. Make sure you provide enough supporting details for all your ideas. And remember that a paragraph can’t contain just one sentence. A paragraph needs at least two or more sentences to be complete. If a paragraph has only one or two sentences, you probably haven’t provided enough support for your main idea. Or, if you have trouble finding the main idea, maybe you don’t have one. In that case, you can make the sentences part of another paragraph or leave them out.

Logical order

Arrange the parags. in the body of your paper in an order that makes sense, so that each main idea follows logically from the previous one. Likewise, arrange the sentences in each paragraph in a logical order.


In addition to keeping your ideas in logical order, transitions are another way to guide readers from one idea to another. Transitions are words such as therefore, however, in addition, and on the other hand.

They help readers see the relationships between your ideas. Without transitions, writing is hard to follow, and it sounds choppy. Here is an example of a passage that needs a transition:

When a dog wags its tail, it may be expressing happiness. It may be showing aggression.

Here is the same passage with a transition:

When a dog wags its tail, it may be expressing happiness. On the other hand, it may be showing aggression.

To show addition:

again, and, also, besides, equally important, first (second, etc.), further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, moreover, next, too

To give examples:

for example, for instance, in fact, specifically, that is, to illustrate

To compare:

also, in the same manner, likewise, similarly

To contrast:

although, and yet, at the same time, but, despite, even though, however, in contrast, in spite of, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, still, though, yet

To summarize or conclude:

all in all, in conclusion, in other words, in short, in summary, on the whole, that is, therefore, to sum up

To show time:

after, afterward, as, as long as, as soon as, at last, before, during, earlier, finally, formerly, immediately, later, meanwhile, next, since, shortly, subsequently, then, thereafter, until, when, while

To show place or direction:

above, below, beyond, close, elsewhere, farther on, here, nearby, opposite, to the left (north, etc.)

To indicate logical relationship:

accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, for this reason, hence, if, otherwise, since, so, then

To Cite or Not to Cite

When you appropriately cite your sources, you show your readers that you are knowledgeable about your topic. How do you know when to cite a certain source? After all, you don’t want to document information that everyone already knows. For example, if you mention in your paper that Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States, you don’t need to cite a source. The way to know if you need to cite a source is to ask yourself this question: “If I don’t cite a source for this fact or idea, will readers think that I came up with it myself?” If you still aren’t sure of the answer, then follow this basic rule: When in doubt, cite.

Choose a Title

The title is the first thing readers see when they look at your paper. So why bring up titles after going over drafting the introduction, body, and conclusion of the paper? The reason is simple:

Drafting your paper may give you ideas for a title. Here are two rules for choosing a title:

1. Keep it short. 2. Make sure it lets readers know what your paper is about.
The title for the paper on dog communication, for example, could simply be “Dog Communication.” If you want to tell a little more, you can add a subtitle, separated from the main title by a colon. For example, your title could be “Dog Communication: Understanding What Dogs Have to Say.” Some students put lots of effort into coming up with a clever title. It’s a bonus if your title can capture your readers’ attention, but it’s a mistake—and a waste of time—to use a title that’s too cute. “Woofs and Wags: Dog Language Made Easy” is not a good title because it creates confusion.

Avoid Repetition:

If you find that in your paper you have used the same word over and over, replace the repeated word with another one that has a similar meaning. Too much repetition makes writing sound boring.

Another kind of repetition to avoid is using the same type of sentence too many times in a row. This can make writing sound boring, too. Varying your sentences makes your writing livelier and more interesting to readers.
Use Your Electronic Thesaurus:

One way to liven up your writing is to avoid repeating the same word too many times. If you’re writing on a computer, your word processing program probably has its own thesaurus. Use it to find a synonym for a word you’ve been using too often.

Break Up Paragraphs That Are Too Long:

If you’ve written a paragraph that seems to go on forever or that is much longer than the other paragraphs in your paper, consider breaking it up into two shorter ones. Overly long paragraphs can lose readers’ attention. If you do break a long paragraphs into two shorter ones, be sure each one has its own main idea and topic sentence.

Editing and Proofreading:

The first step in the revising and editing process is to start reading your draft from the beginning and make sure that each part—the introduction, body, and conclusion—does the job it’s supposed to do. For each part of your draft, ask yourself the questions on the following checklist. If your answer to any question is “no,” make the revisions necessary to change your answer to “yes.”

Check Your Introduction

_ Does your introduction capture your readers’ attention?

_ Does your introduction contain a thesis statement that clearly states the main idea of your paper?
Check the Body of Your Paper

_ Does every paragraph in the body of your paper support your thesis statement?

_ Does every paragraph state a main idea in a topic sentence?

_ Does every sentence in each paragraph support the main idea of the paragraph?

_ Have you taken out any information that is irrelevant, or beside the point?

_ Do your paragraphs provide enough support for the main idea of your paper as it appears in your thesis statement?

_ In every paragraph, do you provide enough support for the main idea expressed in its topic sentence?

_ Do your paragraphs flow in a logical order?

_ Do the sentences in each paragraph flow in a logical order?

_ Have you used transitions?

Check Your Conclusion

_ Does your conclusion sum up the main points in your paper?

_ Does your conclusion help readers answer the question, “So what?”
Take Pride in Your Works Cited List:

Your Works Cited list is a list of all the sources you used for your research paper. Creating your Works Cited list is simple because you have all the information you need. You recorded it on the source cards you made when you were just beginning your research. In your Works Cited list, list only those sources that you actually used in your paper. A Works Cited list usually appears at the end of a paper on its own separate page. All Works Cited list entries—books, periodicals, Web sites, and non-text sources such radio broadcasts—are listed together in alphabetical order. Books and articles are alphabetized by the author’s last name. Take pride in your Works Cited list. It represents some of the most important work you’ve done for your research paper—and using proper form shows that you are a serious and careful researcher.

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