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The Five Commandments of Writing Research Papers

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Teaching Yourself

That is the theory, at least. But how do you go about doing it all? This brief guide provides some answers. Teaching Yourself From the outset, keep in mind one important point: Writing a research paper is in part about learning how to teach yourself.

Long after you leave college, you will continue learning about the world and its vast complexities. There is no better way to hone the skills of life-long learning than by writing individual research papers. The process forces you to ask good questions, find the sources to answer them, present your answers to an audience, and defend your answers against detractors. Those are skills that you will use in any profession you might eventually pursue.

Thou shalt do some background reading, think hard, and speak with the professor in order to identify a topic. At the beginning of a course, you will probably not know enough about the major scholarly topics that are of most importance in the field, the topics that are most well-covered in the secondary literature or the topics that have already had the life beaten out of them by successive generations of writers. You should begin by doing some general reading in the field.

If nothing else, begin with the Encyclopaedia Britannica , a wonderful but sadly neglected resource. Read a few books or articles on topics you find of interest.

Follow up the suggested reading on the course syllabus or the footnotes or bibliographies of the texts you are reading for the course. After that, speak with the professor about some of your general ideas and the possible research directions you are thinking about pursuing. And you should do all this as early in the course as possible. Thou shalt have a clear research question.

Why did a particular political or social event turn out as it did and not some other way? Why does a particular pattern exist in social life? Why does a specific aspect of politics work as it does? How has a social or political phenomenon changed from one period to another? The question can be general or particular. Why have some countries been more successful in the transition from Communism than others? Why did the Labour Party win the last British general election? How have conceptions of race changed in the US since the s?

How do different electoral systems affect the behavior of political parties? The point is that you should attempt to identify either: Research questions that do not require an argument are just bad questions. Thou shalt do real research.

Real research means using primary sources. What counts as a primary source, though, depends on what kind of question you are trying to answer. You would begin by reading some general secondary sources on the collapse of Communism, from which you might surmise that two factors were predominant: Primary sources in this case might include economic statistics, memoirs of politicians from the period or reportage in east European newspapers available in English or other languages.

Bring all your skills to bear on the topic. Use works in foreign languages. Business Cheap labor U. Is it unethical to pay cheap wages or are companies doing those workers a favor? Mining What safety measures made the recent Canadian mining accident a noncasualty event, while recent U.

Workaholics Do Americans work too hard? Does working more actually reduce productivity? Is a hour workweek too much? Should there be a mandatory cap on the number of hours a person can work? Should there be changes in employment laws to give Americans more relaxation time?

Athletes in high schools Should shoe companies be able to give away free shoes and equipment to high school athletes? Censorship Should parents censor textbooks and other literature for children in schools? Electronic information preservation Does the Information Age mean we are losing important historical information? Should exams be outlawed in favor of another form of assessment?

Gap year Should teens in the U. Is there grade inflation in the U. School lunches Should government impose restrictions on what kinds of foods can be served in school cafeterias? Single-sex schools Do children learn better in boys-only and girls-only schools? Coal Should the use of coal be subjected to stricter environmental regulations than other fuels?

Airport security Should the government use invasive pat-downs and body scans to ensure passenger safety or are there better methods? Will it get better or worse? Health care crisis Most developed nations have universal health coverage. Internet regulation Should the federal government be allowed to regulate information on the Internet? Iraq War Is America winning or losing the war? What is the measurement of success? Have the benefits outweighed the costs?

Marijuana legalization Should the federal government legalize the use of marijuana? Obesity and weight loss Should thin people have to pay Medicare and other health costs for the health problems of obese people?

Should obese people have higher premiums? Prescription medicines Should there be a national database to track controlled substances i. Sex offenders Once they leave prison, are laws about where they may live and be employed unfair?

Smoking bans Should the federal government pass a nationwide indoor smoking ban? Fast food Are we taking it too far by blaming fast-food restaurants for obesity? When is it individual responsibility and when is it appropriate to place blame?

Malpractice How can we balance the need to lower the cost of malpractice insurance with the fact that physician malpractice is one of the leading causes of death? Noise pollution How much is too much noise? What, if anything, should we do to curb it? Social media Can excessive use of social media contribute to addictive behaviors drugs, tobacco, alcohol or mental health issues? Nonverbal communication How do men and women communicate differently using body language, and why does it matter in dating, the workplace, social circles?

Social anxiety How is it different from shyness? And, are we a society of anxiety? Airplane accidents Who is responsible? Should families of victims be entitled to compensation? Bullying laws Should the state or federal government put laws into place to prevent bullying? Infidelity In some states, it is illegal to cheat on a spouse. Should we prosecute cheaters? Statutory rape Recently, a year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl.

Are statutory rape laws patronizing to girls and discriminatory to boys? Art A few years ago, an artist was criticized for depicting the Virgin Mary with elephant dung. When is art not really art? Media Does the media, both print and broadcast, report fairly? Does it ever cross the line between reporting the news and creating the news? Pornography Parental filters on the Internet. Does censorship actually increase curiosity and use of pornography?

Campus sexual assault Are sexual assault incidences on college campuses on the rise or has awareness just increased? Gay marriage Should there be a constitutional amendment that allows gays and lesbians to legally marry? Internet and children Are children smarter or more socialized because of the Internet?

Muslim Americans What is life for them like in the U. Privacy What medical information should be confidential? Who, if anybody, should have access to medical records?

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Good Research Paper Topics Writing a research paper is among the most challenging aspects of student life. During the latter part of high school and throughout college, you will be required to write several of these types of papers.

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Find good example essays, free examples of research papers, online term papers, dissertation samples and thesis examples. Good Example Papers is a great collection of academic papers for college, high school and university on any topics and subjects. Jun 28,  · Research Paper Topics By definition a research paper requires the writer to learn a great deal about their subject, so it is always a good practice to select a topic that truly interests you before you begin gathering sources.

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Custom Research Papers Writing Site Online. Custom research paper writing is on the top of the trend among high school, college and university students today. How to write a good discussion for a research paper? you work to agree or disagree with other work based on good discussion. publishes full .