Research is the process of going up alleys
to see if they are blind.
Marston Bates, 1906-74
Elements of a Research Paper
Set the stage; state the problem (introduction)
Topic: generally describe the topic and how it
fits into your field of study
Set the scene Describe the environment and its
conditions Get permission before using personal information
Introduce and describe the problem Describe what
you intend to show/argue and why
What is its significance? Illustrate the problem with an
interesting example (Remember you are writing for an audience
and want to capture their interest)
Begin to define terms, concepts, vocabulary If
possible, use one authoritative source or combine definitions
and footnote your sources Later in the development of your
paper, be conscious of using new terms and their definitions
Since tasks begun well, likely have good finishes
review the topic, scene, and problem with your teacher or
supervisor to verify if you are on the right path
Review the Literature
What research is relevant? How is it organized?
Develop your Hypotheses
Your hypothesis is your proposed explanation that you will
test to determine whether it is true or false It will contain
measurable variables (those that change or can be manipulated)
with results that can be compared with each other. Avoid
over-generalizing, and reference the research findings of others
to support why you think this will work C.F. National Health
Writing Hypotheses: a student lesson
Give enough information so that others can follow your
and can replicate it (and hopefully come up with the same
findings and conclusions as you did!)
Describe your procedure as completely as possible so
that someone can duplicate it completely
Define your sample and its characteristics These
should be consistent throughout the test
List the variables used These are what change, or
that you manipulate, throughout the test
Try to anticipate criticism that affects either your
internal or external validity These might be considered
This is descriptive and numeric data
Develop your argument based upon your findings.
While the data may read for itself, you will need to interpret
how it validates your hypothesis
what falls outside of validity
how it impacts the literature you cited
where further research is needed
Restate and summarize your findings and discussion either in
order to simply complexity or to provide a summary for those who
skip to it!
Verify with your teacher the proper format
A research paper is not an essay, an editorial, or a story.
All assertions of fact must be documented.
Be careful of any generalizations that you make.
Strive to be value-free in your inquiry. Review our
Guide on the Scientific Method
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