Research today is easier, more exciting and more rewarding than ever. With access to electronic encyclopedias, the Internet, and services like ProQuest and LexisNexis, you have an enormous world of information at your command. Not only is finding that information easier, but communicating with others about your research is also easier than ever - whether using email to ask experts questions, sitting in on electronic discussion lists or sending drafts out as attachments for others to review.
But researchers using the Web or other computerized sources can quickly find themselves overwhelmed by too much information, much of it dubious. So with more information come more responsibilities:
to sort carefully
to focus tightly
to evaluate critically
to credit your sources honestly
to create an effective report
We'll discuss these issues and more in this chapter.
The general approach for writing research papers, whether for a course, a magazine, an employer or a client includes three basic steps.
Those three basic steps are :
1. Selecting a topic
Pick a good topic
2. Researching your topic
Define your purpose
Identify your audience
Formulate a research question
Set up a general search strategy
3. Writing your paper
Use primary and secondary sources
Do original research
Make a research outline for using the library and the Web
Find things out for yourself
Be open to serendipity
Manage sources and quotations
Manage and evaluate electronic sources
A SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER :
Choose a plan of organization
Write a draft
Finish your paper
On the following pages is the final version of Artemisia Gentileschi : Artist against the Grain
the research paper referred to throughout this page. It was originally written at the University of Texas for a women's studies course on women in Europe from 1400 to 1800. Since this paper was written, Gentileschi has received new critical attention, with a major exhibit opening in 2002 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.