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Death and How it Differs Globally in Varying Cultures

Death and How it Differs Globally in Varying Cultures.


Writing a Research Paper
This information has been adjusted by the professor from a program at Southern Utah University. These are helpful suggestions for writing undergraduate classes taught by Dr. Ric Caric.
What is involved in writing research papers?

  1. There is a research paper assignment for this class. These are the requirements for the paper.
    a. Title Page: Including your name, the title of the paper, a one paragraph abstract,
    b. Body of Paper: at least 10-12 pages,
    Including Introduction that informs readers of topic, research question, and hypothesis
    Analysis of at least 8 sources (primary and secondary) in relation to hypothesis
    c. List of References (primary sources or published works directly cited in your paper)
    d. Bibliography (works you used but did not cite).
  2. Reminders About Hypothesis and Research:
  3. You also need to propose your own idea which can involve:
    a. developing an original hypothesis
    b. agreeing or disagreeing with an idea in the literature on your topic.
  4. A Problem
    a. Many of the research proposals had overly broad hypotheses that would take five or six books to examine with any plausibility.
    b. The books we read for this class are models of hypotheses about phenomena on the local, national, and regional level. Obviously, there’s no time to engage in primary research on a topic like hip hop in Mali, but I recommend that students define their projects in ways that can be completed in 10-12 pages.
  5. General Instructions.
    Students need to identify a body of research materials, hopefully primary source materials such as videos, interviews, online archives, or quantitative data bases. Journal articles and books can also provide the basis for a research paper. As an advanced student you are expected to have your own ideas about your research materials, be able to relate your ideas to other writing on the topic, and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the material than would be the case for introductory students.

Practical Tips for Getting Started

When preparing to write your paper first discuss the topic with your faculty member and seek clarification on any questions you might have. Do NOT start the paper until you are sure you know what you are doing.

  1. Show Initiative. If you know you will write a paper for the course then show initiative early in starting your research and study of the subject matter. The worst thing you can do is wait to start your research.
  2. Show Imagination. College education is about learning, but it is also about exploration of subject. Use your imagination and thinking skills to explore and expand both your understanding and the topic itself.
  3. Draft a skeleton and then more detailed outline of the paper. Think of it as your table of contents. Outlining your paper or writing a journal about your research project can be very helpful in clarifying what you’re doing. The professor engages in extensive outlining and journaling himself and recommends it to students
  4. As you begin to work on your paper and collect more information/ideas, adjust the outline so that it better reflects the knowledge and understanding of the subject. The outline should help you stay “on topic” and ensure a logical organization for the paper, but do not be afraid to explore and expand a paper as your knowledge or understanding grows.
  5. Please feel free to submit an early draft to the professor (me!) for evaluation and suggestions.
    Some General Requirements for Writing
  6. Be sure to identify your assumptions and beliefs. By identifying your own beliefs or ideals you can better understand how the ideas of others affect you. An important part of the paper is being to show you have grown in that understanding. A good paper may not change your ideas in each instance, but it should expand you understanding of a topic.
  7. Define all your terms to ensure reader and writer will understand each other. Do NOT assume your reader will completely understand in each instance. The professor has knowledge of several types of literature but may not have specialist knowledge of your topic. A good rule of thumb is to write the paper as if you were educating a generally knowledgeable person who has not done research on this topic.
  8. Support ALL assertions with evidence and proof. This is where both your sources (research) and your application collide. If you make a statement of fact or truth then be able to prove it.
  9. Use your introduction to inform readers of the general nature of your topic, the research question that you’re going to address and the nature of your hypothesis concerning that question.
  10. Don’t depend on headings to make transitions between ideas.
  11. Use good writing skills and practices.
  12. In your comments on the secondary literature, be sure to judiciously employ direct quotations or references to other works. Likewise, the body of your paper should discuss the relation between your ideas and those in the research literature. Students are encouraged to challenge established ideas but also need to show that they know such ideas.
  13. When you use quotations be sure to a) introduce the writer and establish his/her credibility, b) explain or interpret what has been said, and c) analyze the value of the other person’s contribution to the discussion at hand.
  14. To avoid plagiarism, first read your source book (or other material), then close it and make notes on what you think is important. (Be sure to take down all details — author, title, publisher, date of publication, page numbers of direct quotations and/or interesting ideas.)
  15. The vast majority of the paper should be your own words and ideas.
  16. Pay close attention to the dates of your reference materials. Including references to some classic articles or books is good, but you should be extremely cautious about building your whole paper on dated materials. Similarly, you must be careful not to rely on only one or two sources.
    Some Things to Avoid
  17. Statements that do not logically follow from each other.
  18. Unfounded and unsupportable generalizations
  19. Circular arguments. (eg., Communication is important because organizations need leaders who can communicate effectively.)
  20. Arguments based on the idea that everyone does or knows something. (eg., Bureaucracy is bad because everyone thinks it is.)
  21. Attacks on perfunctory rather than central ideas. (i.e, getting sidetracked)

Sample Solution

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Death and How it Differs Globally in Varying Cultures


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