Black Women in America
Guidelines for Writing Research Papers
There are two basic types of research papers; argumentative and analytical. You will more than likely write an argumentative paper that takes a side on a debatable issue that will, inform, persuade, explain or describe. An argumentative paper answers a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œyes/noÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â research question. The argumentative paper argues for your own position using strong arguments that are supported by logic and evidence from your research findings. An analytical paper also argues for your opinion, but it answers a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œwhy/howÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â question. Your research paper involves your researching and finding out facts to a specific question about the person you are writing about.
Thesis Statement: This statement says what you are going to convince the reader about in your paper. Each of the topic sentences in your paper (the first sentence of each paragraph), then needs to relate back to your thesis statement.
Introduction: Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction catches the readersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ attention, provides background information, and lets the reader know what to expect. It usually has a thesis statement (one idea, the entire paper is based on this statement), which clearly states the main idea of the paper (the answer to the research question and your point of view). From the thesis statement, it should be clear what the paper will do; inform, persuade, explain, describe or analyze something.
An introduction often gains the immediate attention of the audience by:
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Using short anecdotes that lead to your topic
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Surprising statement/facts that lead to your topic
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Quotation from a famous person
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Brief and interesting historical review of your topic
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Statement which stresses the importance of your topic
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Contradiction ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ someone elseÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s opinion (opposite of yours) about your topic
Briefly introduce your reader to your main points in a few sentences
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Make sure the purpose and point of view of your paper are clear
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ DO NOT announce your intentions (ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis paper will proveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â or ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI am going to write aboutÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ DO NOT write a long, wordy, confusing thesis statement
Body Paragraph: The body supports the thesis statement. It stays focused on answering the research question. The development follows your own ideas, not the sources, and your ideas are organized clearly and logically.
Body Paragraph Continued:
Each paragraph has one point, which is supported by your own ideas and by your research material(s). Make sure each paragraph connects to the next one as your paper unfolds to tell your story.
How do I decide what to put in a paragraph?
Before you can begin to determine what the composition of your paragraphs will be, you must first understand what the thesis statement in your specific piece of writing is. What is the main point or expression that you are trying to convey to your reader? The information that comprises your paragraphs should always have a relationship to your thesis statement. In other words, your paragraphs should remind your reader, at every possible point, that there is a recurrent relationship between your thesis statement and the information in each paragraph. The thesis statement functions like a seed through which your paper, and your ideas, will grow. The whole process is an organic oneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âa natural progression from a seed to a full-blown paper where there are direct, familial relationships between all of the ideas in your paper. Once you have decided what your thesis statement will be, then you should choose information that will help to support and perpetuate that idea throughout the entire paper. That information takes the form of the sentences that comprise each paragraph of your paper.
Every paragraph in a paper should be:
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ UnifiedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ÂAll of the sentences in a single paragraph should be related to a single main idea.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Clearly related to the thesis statement ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ÂThe sentences should all refer to the thesis statement (controlling or main idea), of the paper.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Coherent ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ÂThe sentences should be arranged in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan for development.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Well-developedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ÂEvery idea discussed in the paragraph should be adequately explained and supported through evidence and details that work together to explain the paragraph’s controlling idea.
Paragraph development is more than just writing a few sentences that occupy the same space in a paper. It is an organic process that makes intricate links between various ideas. These links ultimately connect to form one single idea that runs throughout the entire paper. All of your paragraphs should have one main idea. Awareness and use of all of these components will help to make your paragraphs more unified, more coherent, and most importantly, better developed. Your paragraphs(s) should mostly be YOUR ideas.
Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the paper and show the reader the significance of the paperÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s findings; it is strong and memorable. Remember, every sentence should logically connect to the sentences before and after it; and the whole paragraph should support your thesis statement. A conclusion usually does these things:
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Connect to the last sentence of the previous paragraph
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Summarize the findings of your paper
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Shows the significance of your findings
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Ends with a strong, memorable concluding statement
Do not end the paragraph with a source citation; end with your own idea. Think about the historical importance of the person you have written about.
Bibliography: A Bibliography is a reference page that lists all the sources used in the paper. Books are underlined or in italics; articles are quoted. The first time you refer to an author, use their first and last name. After that, you only need to use the last name, (out of respect, you never use only and authorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s first name). The authorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s name is generally followed by the title of the book, publisher, city and state and the year the book was published. Do not list encyclopedias or websites as a source.
Articles must be scholarly and derive from a scholarly journal. Scholarly articles are ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpeer-reviewedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â by other experts in the field. They are sometimes called ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œRefereed articles.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Scholarly articles usually report on original research or experimentation and usually list references in footnotes or endnotes. Non-scholarly articles are meant to inform or entertain readers rather than provide an in-depth analysis. Educational films on the subject can also be used as a research source.
Research Sources (books and scholarly articles): Look for evidence in reading your books, scholarly articles and periodicals that will help you prove your thesis statement. Think about what kinds of information you need to support your ideas, facts, examples, first-hand accounts, expert opinions, etc.
In addition to books and scholarly journals, check the following sources:
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Reference Librarian: Check with HowardÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Reference Librarians ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Founders Library ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Second Floor and ask them about researching cultural and Black women databases
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Interview an expert on your topic from the African-American Studies, History, Women Studies or Sociology Departments at Howard and local universities
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Check the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard in Founders Library
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Check other lending libraries, GW, Uni of Maryland, Georgetown, King Library, Library of Congress, or other DC neighborhood libraries.
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Google e-mail address)
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801 (212) 491-2200
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Check with Dr. Miller ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Afro-American Resource Center ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Founders Library- Room 300 for folders or books on research topic
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Educational Films on an Individual
Organization of Resources: Your research findings (information) should have a logical order, chronological, general to specific, cause to effect, least to most important, process, problem to solution, etc. Make it easy for the reader to understand the why or how of supporting details that helps prove your thesis statement. It is essential to fully cite any quote you incorporate (including the page number). Direct quotes are not the only ideas that need to be cited. If you refer to a key idea directly from a book you need to cite that reference. Try to use your own ideas rather than quoting someone elseÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s thoughts.
Paper Requirements: All research paper should consult a minimum of six (6) outside sources (three books and 3 scholarly articles/A film may be substituted for a book), and include the following:
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Title Page to include: StudentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s name, Course Name, Title of Paper, Date of Submission, ProfessorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Name
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Eight to ten (8 to 10) full pages in length (NOT including the title page or bibliography)
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ 12ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Font Size
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Times New Roman
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ 1-inch margins on all sides
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ All quotes must be footnoted
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Number All Pages
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Proofread, Spell and Grammar check
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Print clean copy on white paper
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Staple Paper
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Style and Usage: Strunk, William and E.B. White, Elements of Style
ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â§ Format and Documentation: MLA or APA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers