Basic GuidelinesThe purpose of the term paper in ECS 15 is for you to learn how to do effective research on a subject and then write it up clearly, showing where you got your information.
You may be required to use slightly different formats for other papers, such as papers submitted for publication to refereed journals, each of which typically have their own styles.
For example, in a paper reporting on an experiment involving dosing mice with the sex hormone estrogen and watching for a certain kind of courtship behavior,
In general, if you wish to cite an electronic file, you should include either the term "[Online]" or the term "[CDROM]" (enclosed in square brackets) before the closing period terminating the title of the work cited.
When citing the name of a journal, magazine or newspaper, write the name in italics, with all words capitalized except for articles, prepositions and conjunctions.
The length of your Abstract should be kept to about 200-300 words maximum (a typical standard length for journals.) Limit your statements concerning each segment of the paper (i.e.
For example, give the year of publication for a book, the year and month of publication for a monthly magazine or journal, and the year, month, and day for a newspaper or daily periodical.
In the mouse behavior paper, for example, you would begin the Introduction at the level of mating behavior in general, then quickly focus to mouse mating behaviors and then hormonal regulation of behavior.
Even though is often a verb, it can also be a noun. The of the potato chips, for example, is a thing, a sound that we can hear. You therefore need to analyze the function that a word provides in a sentence before you determine what grammatical name to give that word.
The design of the CO2 injection system included features to prevent unsafe CO2 concentrations from developing in the event of a failure in the CO2 injection system or human error. The CO2 cylinder was outdoors so that any leaks would be to outdoors. A pressure relief valve located downstream of the pressure regulator was also located outdoors and set to prevent pressures from exceeding our target pressure at the inlet of the mass flow controller by > 50%. Valves would automatically stop CO2 injection if the outdoor air ventilation to the chamber or the ventilation fan failed. A flow limiter prevented CO2 concentrations from exceeding 5,000 ppm if the mass flow controller failed in the fully open position, and a second CO2 analyzer with control system would automatically stop CO2 injection if the concentration exceeded 5,000 ppm. Also, a research associate monitored CO2 concentrations in the chamber using a real-time instrument. Given the purity level of the carbon dioxide in the gas cylinder (99.9999%) and the rate of outdoor air supply to the chamber, the maximum possible chamber air concentration of impurities originating from the cylinder of CO2 was only 2 ppb. The impurity of highest concentration was likely to be water vapor, and at a concentration ≤ 2 ppb, short-term health risks from exposures to impurities would have been far less than risks associated with exposures to many normal indoor or outdoor pollutants. Finally, before participants entered the chamber we added CO2 from the cylinder to the chamber air, and collected an air sample on a sorbent tube for analysis by thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry. There was no evidence that the CO2 injection process increased indoor concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs at low concentrations, typical of indoor and outdoor air concentrations, were detected.
The computer calculates SMS performance measures as raw scores, based on the actions taken by the participants, their stated future plans, their responses to incoming information, and their use of prior actions and outcomes. The validated measures of task performance vary from relatively simple competencies such as speed of response, activity, and task orientation, through intermediate level capabilities such as initiative, emergency responsiveness, and use of information, to highly complex thought and action processes such as breadth of approach to problems, planning capacity, and strategy. The nine primary factors and factor combinations that have predicted real-world success are basic activity level (number of actions taken), applied activity (opportunistic actions), focused activity (strategic actions in a narrow endeavor), task orientation (focus on concurrent task demands), initiative (development of new/creative activities), information search (openness to and search for information), information usage (ability to use information effectively), breadth of approach (flexibility in approach to the task), and basic strategy (number of strategic actions).
Writing is one of the most difficult and most rewarding of all scholarly activities. Few of us, students or professors, find it easy to do. The pain of writing comes largely as a result of bad writing habits. No one can write a good paper in one draft on the night before the paper is due. The following steps will not guarantee a good paper, but they will eliminate the most common problems encountered in bad papers.
1. Select a topic early. Start thinking about topics as soon as the paper is assigned and get approval of your topic choice from the professor before starting the research on the paper. When choosing a topic, think critically. Remember that writing a good sociology paper starts with asking a good sociological question.
2. Give yourself adequate time to do the research. You will need time to think through the things you read or to explore the data you analyze. Also, things will go wrong and you will need time to recover. The one book or article which will help make your paper the best one you've ever done will be unavailable in the library and you have to wait for it to be recalled or to be found through interlibrary loan. Or perhaps the computer will crash and destroy a whole afternoon's work. These things happen to all writers. Allow enough time to finish your paper even if such things happen.
3. Work from an outline. Making an outline breaks the task down into smaller bits which do not seem as daunting. This allows you to keep an image of the whole in mind even while you work on the parts. You can show the outline to your professor and get advice you are writing a paper rather than after you turn it in for a final grade.
4. Stick to the point. Each paper should contain one key idea which you can state in a sentence or paragraph. The paper will provide the argument and evidence to support that point. Papers should be compact with a strong thesis and a clear line of argument. Avoid digressions and padding.
5. Make more than one draft. First drafts are plagued with confusion, bad writing, omissions, and other errors. So are second drafts, but not to the same extent. Get someone else to read it. Even your roommate who has never had a sociology course may be able to point out unclear parts or mistakes you have missed. The best papers have been rewritten, in part or in whole, several times. Few first draft papers will receive high grades.
6. Proofread the final copy, correcting any typographical errors. A sloppily written, uncorrected paper sends a message that the writer does not care about his or her work. If the writer does not care about the paper, why should the reader?
Such rules may seem demanding and constricting, but they provide the liberation of self discipline. By choosing a topic, doing the research, and writing the paper you take control over a vital part of your own education. What you learn in the process, if you do it conscientiously, is far greater that what shows up in the paper or what is reflected in the grade.
EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PAPERS
Some papers have an empirical content that needs to be handled differently than a library research paper. Empirical papers report some original research. It may be based on participant observation, on secondary analysis of social surveys, or some other source. The outline below presents a general form that most articles published in sociology journals follow. You should get specific instructions from professors who assign empirical research papers.
1. Introduction and statement of the research question.
2. Review of previous research and theory.
3. Description of data collection including sample characteristics and the reliability and validity of techniques employed.
4. Presentation of the results of data analysis including explicit reference to the implications the data have for the research question.
5. Conclusion which ties the loose ends of the analysis back to the research question.
6. End notes (if any).
7. References cited in the paper.
Tables and displays of quantitative information should follow the rules set down by Tufte in the work listed below.
Tufte, Edward. 1983. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. (lib QA 90 T93 1983)