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Step 7: Research Paper Thesis

❶Be careful to consider all of these rather than simply pushing your favorite one.




Hutner, editor , Academic Press, New York, Bonani A high altitude continental paleotemperature record derived from noble gases dissolved in groundwater from the San Juan Basin, New Mexico. Tables where more than pages. Calculations where more than pages. You may include a key article as appendix. If you consulted a large number of references but did not cite all of them, you might want to include a list of additional resource material, etc.

List of equipment used for an experiment or details of complicated procedures. Figures and tables, including captions, should be embedded in the text and not in an appendix, unless they are more than pages and are not critical to your argument. Order of Writing Your thesis is not written in the same order as it is presented in.

The following gives you one idea how to proceed. Here is another approach. Write up a preliminary version of the background section first. This will serve as the basis for the introduction in your final paper. As you collect data, write up the methods section. It is much easier to do this right after you have collected the data. Be sure to include a description of the research equipment and relevant calibration plots. When you have some data, start making plots and tables of the data.

These will help you to visualize the data and to see gaps in your data collection. If time permits, you should go back and fill in the gaps. You are finished when you have a set of plots that show a definite trend or lack of a trend. Be sure to make adequate statistical tests of your results. Once you have a complete set of plots and statistical tests, arrange the plots and tables in a logical order. Write figure captions for the plots and tables. As much as possible, the captions should stand alone in explaining the plots and tables.

Many scientists read only the abstract, figures, figure captions, tables, table captions, and conclusions of a paper. Be sure that your figures, tables and captions are well labeled and well documented.

Once your plots and tables are complete, write the results section. Writing this section requires extreme discipline. You must describe your results, but you must NOT interpret them.

If good ideas occur to you at this time, save them at the bottom of the page for the discussion section. Be factual and orderly in this section, but try not to be too dry. Once you have written the results section, you can move on to the discussion section. This is usually fun to write, because now you can talk about your ideas about the data. Many papers are cited in the literature because they have a good cartoon that subsequent authors would like to use or modify.

In writing the discussion session, be sure to adequately discuss the work of other authors who collected data on the same or related scientific questions. Be sure to discuss how their work is relevant to your work. If there were flaws in their methodology, this is the place to discuss it. After you have discussed the data, you can write the conclusions section.

In this section, you take the ideas that were mentioned in the discussion section and try to come to some closure.

If some hypothesis can be ruled out as a result of your work, say so. If more work is needed for a definitive answer, say that. The final section in the paper is a recommendation section. This is really the end of the conclusion section in a scientific paper. Make recommendations for further research or policy actions in this section. If you can make predictions about what will be found if X is true, then do so. You will get credit from later researchers for this. After you have finished the recommendation section, look back at your original introduction.

Your introduction should set the stage for the conclusions of the paper by laying out the ideas that you will test in the paper. Now that you know where the paper is leading, you will probably need to rewrite the introduction. You must write your abstract last. All figures and tables should be numbered and cited consecutively in the text as figure 1, figure 2, table 1, table 2, etc.

Include a caption for each figure and table, citing how it was constructed reference citations, data sources, etc. Include an index figure map showing and naming all locations discussed in paper. You are encouraged to make your own figures, including cartoons, schematics or sketches that illustrate the processes that you discuss.

Examine your figures with these questions in mind: Is the figure self-explanatory? Are your axes labeled and are the units indicated? Show the uncertainty in your data with error bars. If the data are fit by a curve, indicate the goodness of fit. Could chart junk be eliminated? Could non-data ink be eliminated? Could redundant data ink be eliminated?

Could data density be increased by eliminating non-data bearing space? Is this a sparse data set that could better be expressed as a table? Does the figure distort the data in any way?

Are the data presented in context? Does the figure caption guide the reader's eye to the "take-home lesson" of the figure? Figures should be oriented vertically, in portrait mode, wherever possible. If you must orient them horizontally, in landscape mode, orient them so that you can read them from the right, not from the left, where the binding will be. If there are no data provided to support a given statement of result or observation, consider adding more data, or deleting the unsupported "observation.

Final Thesis Make 3 final copies: Final thesis should be bound. Printed cleanly on white paper. Double-spaced using point font. Resources The Barnard Writing Room provides assistance on writing senior theses. Look at other theses on file in the Environmental Science department, they will give you an idea of what we are looking for.

Of course do not hesitate to ask us, or your research advisor for help. The Barnard Environmental Science Department has many books on scientific writing, ask the departmental administrator for assistance in locating them. Also see additional books listed as Resources. Copy Editing Proof read your thesis a few times.

Make sure that you use complete sentences Check your grammar: Give it to others to read and comment. Content Editing logic repetition, relevance style. Avoiding ambiguity Do not allow run-on sentences to sneak into your writing; try semicolons. Avoid clauses or phrases with more than two ideas in them. Do not use double negatives.

Do not use dangling participles i. Make sure that the antecedent for every pronoun it, these, those, that, this, one is crystal clear. If in doubt, use the noun rather than the pronoun, even if the resulting sentence seems a little bit redundant. Ensure that subject and verb agree in number singular versus plural. Be especially careful with compound subjects.

Avoid qualitative adjectives when describing concepts that are quantifiable "The water is deep. Do not use unexplained acronyms. Spell out all acronyms the first time that you use them.

Thesis length Write for brevity rather than length. The goal is the shortest possible paper that contains all information necessary to describe the work and support the interpretation. Avoid unnecessary repetition and irrelevant tangents. It is then developed in the main body of the paper, and mentioned again in the discussion section and, of course, in the abstract and conclusions.

Some suggestions on how to shorten your paper: Use tables for repetitive information. Include only sufficient background material to permit the reader to understand your story, not every paper ever written on the subject.

Use figure captions effectively. Instead, use the text to point out the most significant patterns, items or trends in the figures and tables. Delete "observations" or "results" that are mentioned in the text for which you have not shown data. Delete "conclusions" that are not directly supported by your observations or results. Delete "interpretation" or "discussion" sections that are inconclusive. Delete "interpretation" or "discussion" sections that are only peripherally related to your new results or observations.

Although it varies considerably from project to project, average thesis length is about 40 pages of text plus figures. This total page count includes all your text as well as the list of references, but it does not include any appendices. These generalizations should not be taken too seriously, especially if you are working on a labor-intensive lab project.

If you have any questions about whether your project is of sufficient scope, consult one of us early on. Writing for an International Audience Put as much information as possible into figures and tables.

In particular, try to find a way to put your conclusions into a figure, perhaps a flowchart or a cartoon. Don't assume that readers are familiar with the geography or the stratigraphy of your field area. Every single place-name mentioned in the text should be shown on a map. Consider including a location map, either as a separate figure or as an inset to another figure.

If your paper involves stratigraphy, consider including a summary stratigraphic column--in effect, a location map in time. Avoid nested clauses or phrases. Main ideas can be spread out over as many paragraphs as you deem necessary.

Depending on your paper rubric, class guidelines, or formatting guidelines, you may have to organize your paper in a specific way. For example, when writing in APA format you must organize your paper by headings including the introduction, methods, results, and discussion. These guidelines will alter the way you craft your outline and final paper. With the aforementioned tips taken into consideration, organize your entire outline.

Justify main points to the left, and indent subsections and notes from your research below each. The outline should be an overview of your entire paper in bullet points. Write your body paragraphs. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, writing your introduction first may be more difficult to accomplish than starting with the meat of your paper. Starting by writing the main points focusing on supporting your thesis allows you to slightly change and manipulate your ideas and commentary.

Support every statement you make with evidence. Supply ample explanations for your research. The opposite of stating opinions without facts is stating facts with no commentary. Although you certainly want to present plenty of evidence, make sure that your paper is uniquely your own by adding commentary in whenever possible.

Avoid using many long, direct quotes. Although your paper is based on research, the point is for you to present your own ideas. Unless the quote you intend on using is absolutely necessary, try paraphrasing and analyzing it in your own words instead. Use clear segues into adjacent points in your paper. Your essay should flow well, rather than stopping and starting in a blunt fashion.

Make sure that each of your body paragraphs flows nicely into the one after it. Now that you have carefully worked through your evidence, write a conclusion that briefly summarizes your findings for the reader and provides a sense of closure. Start by briefly restating the thesis statement, then remind the reader of the points you covered over the course of the paper.

Slowly zoom out of the topic as you write, ending on a broad note by emphasizing the larger implication of your findings. First of all, the conclusion is easier to write when the evidence is still fresh in your mind. The introduction is, in many respects, the conclusion written in reverse: Avoid repeating exact phrases that you already used in the conclusion.

All research essays must be documented in certain ways in order to avoid plagiarism. Depending on the topic of your research and your field of study, you will have to use different styles of formatting. MLA, APA, and Chicago are the three most common citation formats and determine the way in-text citations or footnotes should be used, as well as the order of information in your paper.

This format requires in-text citations. APA format is used by researchers in the social sciences field, and requires in-text citations as well. Chicago formatting is used mainly for historical research papers and uses footnotes at the bottom of each page rather than in-text citations and works cited or references page. Edit your rough draft. Although it is tempting to simply read over your essay and use the spell-check tool, editing your paper should be a bit more in-depth.

Have them edit for basic grammatical and spelling errors as well as the persuasiveness of your essay and the flow and form of your paper. If you edit your own paper, wait at least three days before returning to it. Studies show that your writing is still fresh in your mind for days after finishing, and so you are more likely to skim over basic mistakes that you would otherwise catch.

If they suggest that you rewrite a section of your paper, there is probably a valid reason for their request. Take the time to edit your paper thoroughly. Create the final draft. When you have edited and re-edited your paper, formatted your work according to the subject matter, and finalized all the main points, you are ready to create the final draft. Go through your paper and fix all mistakes, rearranging information if necessary. Adjust the font, line spacing, and margins to meet the requirements set by your professor or profession.

If necessary, create an introduction page and a works cited or references page to bookend your paper. The completion of these tasks finalizes your paper! Make sure to save the paper in multiple places, for extra security and print out your final draft.

Sample Environmental Research Paper. Sample Research Paper Outline. Does making a research paper require me to invent something new or it is just about gathering information? It can be for the both, whether you invent something new to implement or you gather some sort of data based valuable information and synthesize it. Not Helpful 11 Helpful The introduction should set out what you intend to discuss and prove in the research paper, and outline the approaches per topic or heading section.

It is also nice to open the topic and lead into it in an interesting way that helps the reader to want to read on.

Not Helpful 18 Helpful To be honest there is no rule book or a set of formulas which will give you the best or better topic. Once you have a number of topics in hand you need to evaluate as to which topic interests you and your audience more. Not Helpful 10 Helpful See Make a Questionnaire for the method needed. Not Helpful 15 Helpful You can publish a research paper through established journals or you can use open source online publishing sites, such as SSRN or Researchgate.

If your research paper is long enough, you could also publish it as a small book or an ebook, and disseminate it via book sales sites and stores. Not Helpful 16 Helpful If you are numbering the pages, then yes, the second and third pages should be numbered.

Yes, but it is best to write a research paper without contractions. If you must use them, make sure they are spelled correctly and used in the right places. Not Helpful 9 Helpful I believe that the questionnaires are attached in the appendix section of the paper with the survey forms, raw data, documentations and other tables. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Long enough to strongly answer your thesis.

If you can cover it in 10 pages wonderful. If you need to utilize 50 pages that is great too. If you are forcing a specific number of pages than your work may come off as too repetitive or poorly written. You don't want to over exhaust the topics or include unless information just to get a page count. Not Helpful 12 Helpful How can I write correct English words for other languages such as Thai? There should be a standardized way of writing Thai words in English. If there is more than one convention, you can choose one and state which one you're going to use in the preface to your paper.

Not Helpful 7 Helpful 9. Does doing research need to have a site visit or questionnaire? Can i just refer to the rules or classification society? Answer this question Flag as Can I write a paper based on a hypothetical condition?

The condition may never come true but it is interesting. My research paper is on a specific animal species and I need to answer given areas. Should I use a headline above the paragraphs when I address these? How is essay writing used in the academic setting? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.

Quick Summary To write a research paper, start by researching your topic at the library, online, or using an academic database. Did this summary help you? Tips Be sure to get your assignments done on time. Do not wait until the last minute to do so.

Look for the important themes, questions and key issues when researching.


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The thesis focuses your ideas and information for the research paper. Remember that word "focus." Student writers often make the mistake of forgetting the focus and making the research thesis far too broad in order to include a lot of research.

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A research paper thesis statement is one of the key elements to a good research paper. Instructors usually have a separate grading category for the research paper thesis, so it is important to spend time and effort developing a quality thesis.

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This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Introduction Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers .

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The process of selecting a research paper thesis could partially be determined by the guidelines of your assignment. For instance, if your professor asks you to write about a very specific topic, such as the endangered status of rhinoceroses, the possibilities for your thesis will be readily clear as you do your initial research. How to write a good thesis abstract? An abstract is a small window opening into the full content of your research/thesis. It is a type .