Organizing a Research Paper

ORGANIZING A RESEARCH PAPER

Begin by asking a question.

  • Your research paper is a long, complicated answer to the question.
  • If you are writing about what caused something, each paragraph will make a different point about the causes.
  • If you are writing about the results of something, each paragraph will make a different point about results.
  • If you are writing about how something happens, each paragraph will describe a different step or aspect of the process.

Each paragraph has a topic sentence and then evidence to support it. (Evidence =Information that supports the truth of your statement.)

What can you use for evidence?

In a research paper. the main evidence for each point must come from research—from something that you read.

You can also use information from your own experience, BUT not as the main support for a point. You must first give support from your research, and then add your own experience.

Your own experience or your friend’s experience = “anecdotal experience.” An anecdote is a little, interesting story.

There are two good places to use anecdotal evidence:

1)                In the introduction. Explain why you got interested in the topic, or tell a personal story that is a “hook” for the reader.

2)                OR you can support a point with research and then say something like “My own experience also supports this …” and then explain what your own experience was.

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE  is optional, not required.

RESEARCH evidence from reading is required for every major point in your paper.

MOST of your evidence must come from your reading.

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