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Tips on Research Writing
Topic 6

Outline and Flow

 

  1. Read Chapter 10 in Badke

  2. Developing outline is important

    1. Readers interpret information sequentially

    2. Logical order; natural orderable of Contents

    3. Direction

    4. Example - building a house

      • Foundation

      • Structure

    5. Outline - group similar ideas together

  3. Logical order within a paper

    1. Historical paper - chronological order

    2. Analysis paper - climatic order

      • Look at small factors first

      • Buildup your arguments

      • Bam! The climax is your strongest argument

      • Building tension

      • Example - old movies with plots

    3. Compare and contrast two viewpoints

      • Longitudinal method - go in sequence

        • Discuss all viewpoints of A

        • Then discuss all viewpoints of B

        • Works for simple arguments

      • Cross-sectional method

        • Discuss one viewpoint and then compare/contrast with opposing viewpoint

        • Works for complex arguments

        • Why? People are limited in memory

 

Tips for Writing

 

  1. Introduction has two purposes

    1. Provides working knowledge of your topic

    2. State the research question

      • Historical paper - include an anecdote about that time period period or historical figure

      • Anecdote - short cute story

      • Proposing a new law - an anecdote is a short story how a criminal did something and why we need this new law

  2. Include all relevant points

    1. If opposing arguments are ignored, then paper is weak

    2. Easy to criticized

  3. Be focused!

    1. Include only issues relevant to the research question

    2. Do not include extraneous information

    3. Avoid the bulge

    4. Bulge - information within the paper that has no relevance to the research question

    5. Example - If your research is about steroid use among athletes, then do not throw in lifestyles, etc.

  4. Avoid ridicule

    • Do not use insults

    • Children do this!

  5. Be explicit!

    • Some information is common knowledge; no need to provide details

    • If it is not common knowledge, then provide details

    • Readers cannot read the writer's mind

    • Example - President Bush versus President Putin

  6. Clear writing

    • Communicate in clear, plain language

    • My saying - short and sweet

    • Some scholars write in complex, ambiguous language; can be confusing to read

  7. Avoid misrepresenting sources and quotes

    • Your reader will lose credibility in your conclusions

    • Example - news reporters slant or misrepresent the news; reporters have little trust or credibility

  8. Transition - the flow of writing

  9. Quotes - adds to paper if quote is catchy or memorable

    1. Helps to quote a scholar if he supports your view

    2. Quotes are used to back your work and not vice versa

    3. Avoid filling the paper with quotes; copy and paste

    4. The paper is your work and not someone else's

  10. Avoid citing a paper within another paper

    1. Example - (Johnston et al. 2007 cited in McCarl 2005)

    2. Means you cited Johnston et al. 2007 that came from the McCarl article

    3. Try to find the original source

 

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