Fact or Fiction? Don't be fooled!
If you are going to use the web, you will have to evaluate what you find by using the CRAAP test criteria. The CRAAP test is a list of questions to assist you in evaluating the information that you find.
Currency: the timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
RESEARCH PAPER SUGGESTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
NOTE: Follow MLA documentation style for all papers, posters, and Power point presentations unless instructed to use another style of documentation. Each slide or page where borrowed material is used requires internal citations. A Works Cited slide at the end will not suffice.
You should have a mix of scholarly books and articles for most research papers. Some professors will require that sources not be more than 5 years old, 10 years, etc.
DO NOT use Wikipedia.
Use only specialized, discipline-specific encyclopedias, not general ones such as Britannica or Gale Reference Library.
Use discipline-appropriate indexes! This is the key to good results.
Be very wary of unsigned websites.
Remember that a research paper must be an original contribution to knowledge. Do not simply rehash things other people have said. Interviews may help you add original insights. If you use a survey, you may need to get it cleared by a University committee.
Use the note card method to take notes and record the data for your internal citations and Works Cited. (See Dr. Laws for further explanation.)There are also electronic ‘note cards’ you can use.
As a general rule, introduce all direct quotations in your paper and, OF COURSE, cite them properly. Use quotation marks carefully. If a quote is more than 4 lines long, then use block quotation. When you block quote, you remove the quotation marks because the blocking itself indicates that you’re quoting.
Never run direct quotations back to back. If this occurs, you’re doing something wrong.
When you paraphrase, you should also introduce your sources.You must, of course, also document (cite) paraphrased materials!
Good paraphrasing means getting someone else’s idea into your own words. Don’t just change things a little bit or shift the word order. Digest the idea and make it your own. Then paraphrase it entirely. If you need to retain key words or phrases, then quote those smaller bits directly. Poor paraphrasing can lead to plagiarism. Be careful! Defend your honor as a scholar!
As a rule, you should only use direct quotation for highly distinctive material. Most of the time, you should be summarizing and paraphrasing.
Comment extensively on all quoted material. The longer the quotation, the more analysis and commentary are needed.
Remember to always document (cite) statistics or numbers of any kind.
If you use a photo, graph or figure, you must document that, as well.
The quotation marks go before the parenthetical citation. The period goes after the parenthetical citation.No comma is needed in between the author’s name and the page number in MLA style.
Do not use first person unless absolutely necessary (e.g. to recount a portion of an interview or to relate a relevant anecdote).
Turn in everything on time.
Realize that ALL WRITING ERRORS will negatively impact your grade. Be particularly wary of the following common errors: fragments, comma splices, fused (=run-on) sentences; subject/ verb agreement errors; shifts in person, number, tense, etc.; errors with possessives.
Dr. Page Laws