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Paper #4: Research Paper

The last paper that you will write this semester will be an extended research paper. This paper will be seven to ten pages in length (more successful and fully developed papers tend to be at least eight pages) and it will present an explanatory discussion and related argumentative analysis on a topic of your choice from your general field of inquiry for this semester. In order to develop your topic fully, this paper will require you to engage in analytical, explanatory, and argumentative writing, each of which you have engaged in at various points in this class. This is an admittedly and purposefully broad and vague description of the assignment; an important part of this assignment is to be able to establish one’s own topic, perspective, and scope. At all points in the writing process for this task, you are also encouraged to review appropriate sections in The St. Martin’s Handbook that can serve as models for your writing strategies.

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In addition, you will be required to use at least four outside sources to develop your discussion, and the use of up to eight sources is acceptable, depending on how they are used. These sources should be from established, reputable academic and high-end journalistic media, but in some cases, mass-media journalism and more informal web-based sources may be acceptable (subject to approval by Dr Carlson). While in rare situations the use of more than eight sources can be effective, in a paper of this length the use of more than eight sources will often diminish your voice as an author, so use them carefully. How you use these sources is up to you, but keep in mind the following strategies:

• Use outside sources as supporting information for your own claims in the paper.

• Use outside sources to establish background information and/or the necessity for exploring a certain topic. Use sources to introduce a problem or a concept that you feel warrants discussion or argumentation.

• Use outside sources to inform your audience of current scholarship on an issue or topic.

• Use outside sources to introduce counterarguments and/or alternative perspectives regarding your topic. Likewise, outside sources can be used to deal with or refute counterarguments and alternative perspectives.

Also, note that you do not need to use all outside sources with equal weight. Some sources may serve to provide you with a great deal of information regarding your topic, and naturally, you will draw upon such sources more. Other sources may only provide you with more minor points of information, and perhaps you would use them sparingly at only one or two points in your discussion. The point that you must keep in mind is that sources must be used appropriately given the nature of your discussion.

In your paper, you must provide a proper in-text citation of sources according to the standards of your major field of study. (If your discipline uses APA style, for example, then use APA for your research paper.) This includes situations in which you quote your sources directly, paraphrase them, or make use of the general ideas of another author. You must also include on a separate page (not part of the seven-page minimum) your works cited, also formatted according to the standards of your major field of study. It is likely that your professor will be checking sources, both print and online, as part of your grade, so make every effort to include all necessary information regarding your sources on your works cited page. If you have questions regarding citation of sources and works cited, consult The St. Martin’s Handbook. Conscious failure to cite sources, both in your text and works cited, is tantamount to plagiarism and can result in severe penalties, as were described earlier in the semester.

The draft of this paper will be due on Monday, November 16, and the finalized version will be due on Thursday, December 3. For more information on Social Media check on this:

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