The keys to effective papers are good organization and presentation of ideas and error-free technical skills. There are a number of sources that you can access to help you both organize and write your paper. Some are: (Biddle & Holland, 1987); (1993); "The Write Stuff" (Cronin, 1986); (Elbow, 1981); (Strunk & White, 1979); and (Turabian, 1987). Our comments on writing a paper that follow may prove helpful to you, but they are not substitutes for the fuller discussions you will find in these writing guides.
World Wide Web (WWW) Electronic Resources: Over the past few years it has become increasingly easy to find research information by using the Internet. Until recently the Gopher system of data archives was the dominant form of Internet information access, but now most governmental and nongovernmental organizations, universities, and even many businesses have developed access to their research resources over the graphic environment on the World Wide Web. The following are a number of Web sites that will get you started in searching for information you may need in writing your research paper. Although some of the Uniform Resource Locators (URL) listed below are for specific information sources, most provide you with "hot-linked" lists that will get you to where you might want to look for information.
A r style uses the author's name and the year of publication of the work, which are placed in parentheses and inserted at the appropriate place in the text. A page number is also included for direct quotes and in some other cases. Then at the end of the paper or book there is a "References" or "Works Cited" section that contains the full documentation for all the sources cited throughout the body of the work. These sources are listed alphabetically by author. Reference-in-text styles are increasingly the norm in social science, and most are some variant of the style developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). For details of how to use such styles, see the APA's (1983); (Biddle & Holland, 1987); or use this book as an illustration. Whatever citation style you choose, use it correctly and be consistent.
involves the use of numbers to indicate each citation. Each number's corresponding note may be at the bottom of the page as a footnote or at the end of the paper as an endnote. In either case, you should provide comprehensive information on each source the first time it appears as a footnote or an endnote, with shortened versions appearing in later footnotes or endnotes. At the end of the paper, a bibliography repeats the full documentation of these sources, listing them alphabetically by author. Bibliographies have their own formatting styles. A number of works demonstrate both citation and bibliography format styles, including (Turabian, 1980) and (1993).
2. A rule of thumb is that if you did not know the information before you started the paper, then you should use a citation to show where you found the information. Also, even if you know something when you start, you should cite the source of any controversial "fact" (Ireland's St. Brenden and the Vikings came to the New World before Columbus).
Just by considering the section headings in the above examples, we can begin to see the fundamental structures and directions of the essays, because both sets of headings break the paper topic into its natural parts and suggest some sort of a movement forward through a topic. Note how these headings—as all section headings should—tell us the story of the paper and are worded just as carefully as any title should be.
13. Carefullyre-read your draft. Once again, it is very important to check for any writingerrors in grammar, spelling and even structure. Check your paragraphs usingwriting tools and software and make certain that your paper is an “easy read”.
Never simply label the middle bulk of the paper as "Body" and then lump a bunch of information into one big section. Instead, organize the body of your paper into sections by using an overarching principle that supports your thesis, even if that simply means presenting four different methods for solving some problem one method at a time. Normally you are allowed and encouraged to use section headings to help both yourself and the reader follow the flow of the paper. Always word your section headings clearly, and do not stray from the subject that you have identified within a section.
2. Search under a variety of subject headings when looking for sources in the physical or computerized card catalog, in an index, or any other finding aid. If, for example, you are doing a paper on Vietnam, do not limit yourself to looking under "V" for Vietnam. Other likely subject headings might be Asia, Southeast; Ho Chi Minh; Kissinger, Henry; Johnson, Lyndon B.; Nixon, Richard M.; U.S.-Foreign Relations; or U.S.-History.
12. Write the introduction and conclusion. Invitethe reader to read about the topic by showing why it is interesting orimportant. Leave the reader satisfied by providing useful and thoughtful ideas.
As this paper will show, the fundamental problem behind the Arab-Israeli conflict is the lack of a workable solution to the third stage of partition, which greatly hinders the current negotiations for peace.
Most papers use "Conclusion" as a heading for the final section of the text, although there are times when headings such as "Future Trends" will serve equally well for a paper’s closing section. When you are stuck for a conclusion, look back at your introduction; see if you can freshly reemphasize your objectives by outlining how they were met, or even revisit an opening scenario from the introduction in a new light to illustrate how the paper has brought about change. Your conclusion should not be a summary of the paper or a simple tacked-on ending, but a significant and logical realization of the paper’s goals.
For all of these issues, here and throughout this writing guide is if there is any doubt in your mind. Indeed, it is a very good idea to write a paragraph on what you intend to analyze, show it to the professor, and get his or her reaction.