com150_manual_research

com150_manual_research - Research This part of A Pocket...

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Unformatted text preview: Research This part of A Pocket Style Manual offers advice on the first steps in writing a research paper: posing a research question, finding appropriate sources, and evaluating those sources. For help writing the actual paperfrom forming a thesis to documenting your sourcesconsult one of the following color-coded sections, depending on the type of paper you have been assigned: MLA papers (red), APA papers (teal), or Chicago- style papers (blue). 25 Posing a research question Working within the guidelines of your assignment, pose a few questions that seem worth researching.As you for- mulate possible questions, make sure that they are ap- propriate lines of inquiry for a research paper. Choose questions that are narrow (not too broad), challenging (not too bland), and grounded (not too speculative). 25a Choosing a narrow question If your initial question is too broad, given the length of the paper you plan to write, look for ways to restrict your focus. Here, for example, is how two students nar- rowed their initial questions. TOO BROAD What are the hazards of fad diets? What causes homelessness? NARROWER What are the hazards of liquid diets? How has deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill contributed to the problem of homelessness? 25b Choosing a challenging question Your research paper will be more interesting to both you and your audience if you base it on an intellec- tually challenging line of inquiry. Avoid bland ques- tions that fail to provoke thought or engage readers in a debate. 101 TOO BLAND What is obsessive-compulsive disorder? Where is wind energy being used? CHALLENGING What treatments for obsessive-compulsive disor- der show the most promise? Does investing in wind energy make economic sense? You may need to address a bland question in the course of answering a more challenging one, but it would be a mistake to use the bland question as the focus for the whole paper. 25c Choosing a grounded question Finally, you will want to make sure that your research question is grounded, not too speculative. Although speculative questionssuch as those that address philo- sophical, ethical, or religious issuesare worth asking and may receive some attention in a research paper, they are inappropriate central questions. The central argu- ment of a research paper should be grounded in facts; it should not be based entirely on beliefs. TOO SPECULATIVE Is capital punishment moral? What is the difference between a just and an un- just law? GROUNDED Does capital punishment deter crime? Should we adjust federal laws so that penalties for possession of powdered cocaine and crack co- caine are comparable? res 25c 102 Posing a research question 26 Finding appropriate sources Depending on your research question, some sources will prove more useful than others. For example, if your research question addresses a historical issue, you might look at reference works, books, scholarly articles, and primary sources such as speeches. If your researchand primary sources such as speeches....
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com150_manual_research - Research This part of A Pocket...

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