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Week 2: Research Proposal
Background/introduction: In this section, you will present your research topic and explain its significance. Why is it an important topic to research? Be sure to include any background information your instructor may need.
Description: Identify the main concern about your topic; include your research question and any relative secondary questions. You must include your working thesis statement, identifying it with the phrase: “My working thesis is….” You must also include the expected results of your research. Remember that a thesis statement is typically one complete sentence that is not a question.
Plans, Methods, and Procedures: Explain how you plan to research your topic. Will you be conducting primary research (such as surveys or interviews) or relying mainly on library research (databases, department portals, specific search engines)? What note taking methods will you employ? How will you keep track of your sources? Include the documentation style you will be using and a working bibliography, formatted in that style, following the guidelines found at APUS Citation Guides. This web site is the citation standard for the class and must be followed for all citation formats.
Schedule: Include all course deadlines and any additional deadlines you have set for yourself. Decide when you will take notes and when you will compose the paper. (Some people do one and then the other; others alternate.)
Approval Request: Ask your instructor for feedback and approval.
Instructor/Professor____________, please approve my plan and include any needed feedback to improve my research essay.
Analyzing Your Rhetorical Situation – Week 3
The purpose of this assignment is to try to force you to see writing as it is—an important means of communication. To accomplish this, I am asking you to analyze your research topic more fully by carefully considering your rhetorical situation with the understanding that your challenge in the research paper is to communicate your purpose clearly to your reader.
Place your thesis statement (or a revised version) from last week’s assignment at the top of the page, below the required heading, and answer the questions below. Be sure that the questions are copied to your assignment; each question should be followed by a one to two paragraph answer. The purpose of this assignment is to help direct your research and organize your thinking on the topic.
1. What is my goal in this paper? [Passing the course is not the goal here.]
2. What do I already know about my topic?
3. What do my readers already know?
4. What do my readers need to know to understand my point?
5. What information do I need to research and add to my paper?
Begin by explaining your purpose. Your thesis statement is a good place to start, but you need to go a bit further. Consider the “audience take-away”—what do you want your readers to know, feel, or believe when they finish reading your research paper? A clear understanding of your purpose will help you decide what information to include in your paper and how to organize your paper.
Next, consider your audience; in this case, your audience is your classmates. Consider how much they know about your topic and what they need to know to understand your purpose. Will you need to explain complex terminology? Will graphs help your audience? If your topic is a controversial one, think about the best way to present it to your audience. For example, think about your tone and word choice here.
Once you have an understanding of your purpose and audience, consider your subject. How much information do you already know about the topic? What information do you need to research and present to your audience in order to fulfill your purpose? Careful consideration here will help direct your research.
Evaluating Your Sources – Week 4
This assignment will give you an opportunity to analyze the strength of your sources and to practice citing two of your sources in the documentation style you have chosen for your paper. Remember, your final paper must include a minimum of 7 sources with at least 4 sources coming from peer-reviewed journals taken from the APUS library database.
Source Evaluations: After completing this week’s required readings, select 2 of the sources you will use in your paper and compose a minimum one page evaluation of each source. Be sure to include your documentation style in your heading. After formatting the source information according to your documentation style, use the headings below to create your evaluation.
Credible Author: Explain how/why the author should be considered an expert on your chosen topic.
Reliable Publisher: Who is the publisher? What is the publisher’s reputation? Has this source been published by a scholarly or peer-reviewed press? Is this source available in trusted archives, such as subscription databases? If this is from a website, how stable is that website?
Accuracy: Does the information seem to be accurate? Does the information correspond with or contradict information found in sources known to be reliable? Has the information been peer-reviewed? Is there a reference list available so you can verify the information? Are there any factual errors, statistical flaws, or faulty conclusions?
Current Information: Is the material up to date? If it is from a website, when was it last updated?
Objectivity (Bias): Are all sides of the issue/topic treated fairly? Do you detect any bias? (For instance, is the author connected to any institution or foundation that might be paying him, which could suggest bias?)
Instructions: Using the information from this week’s reading material, submit an Annotated Bibliography of 5 sources from your working bibliography. First, put the source in the correct citation format for your particular curricular division, and then write a brief annotation of that source. The annotation should describe the main ideas covered in the source as well as an evaluation by you for the source’s usefulness for your project.
Follow the student example included below. You will use your sources, but you will build your citation based on the model that matches your source in the APUS Citation Guides. In other words, if you are using MLA citation style and you are citing a book with a single author, you will go to the APUS MLA Style Guide. You will find an example for citing a book with one author; that will be your model to follow for that entry. You will continue, finding the model that fits each source you are using.
Remember, your final paper must include a minimum of 7 sources with at least 4 sources coming from peer-reviewed journals taken from the APUS library. Please note that you are encouraged to include all 4 of your sources coming from peer-reviewed journals taken from the APUS library in this annotated bibliography.
Submit your assignment as a Word document attached to the assignment link so it can be processed on Turnitin.
Sample Annotation. Each of your entries should follow the format below. (You will find a sample annotated bibliography showing this format attached here.)
Annotated Bibliography- MLA
Model from APUS Citation Guide (MLA)
Author last name, first name. Book title. City: publisher, year. Medium.
Calkins, Lucy. Raising Lifelong Learners: A Parent’s Guide. Reading: Addison-Wesley
Longman. 1997. Print.
Lucy Calkins is a noted teacher and researcher in reading and writing. Her book is a guide for parents, helping them to work with their children’s schools to create a positive learning environment and a lifelong love of learning in their children. Topics covered include fostering learning and curiosity in mathematics, science, social studies, reading, and writing. Calkins’ work also offers advice on school curriculum and testing. By providing specific examples of parental involvement, this book will help support my assertion that parents need to play a strong role in their children’s education.
Assignment is due by midnight Sunday of week 6.
Instructions: Using the information in this week’s required readings, compose an abstract which summarizes your topic problem, highlights key research sources, and offers a solution. The abstract should be one page in length. Note: The student sample is formatted according to APA requirements and includes key words. If you are using APA format, you will need to include key words as well.
Please submit your abstract here as a Word file. It will then be processed by Turnitin.
DISCLAIMER: Originality of attachments will be verified by Turnitin. Both you and your instructor will receive the results.
Abstract is due by midnight Sunday of week 7.
Instructions: Using a minimum of 7 credible sources, with at least 4 sources coming from peer-reviewed journals taken from the APUS library, write a research paper about a topic related to your major or intended career, which follows the problem solution strategy. The paper must be original to this course–no recycling, please!
Format your paper according to the guidelines that are given for your particular curricular division, that is, the curricular division in which the subject for your paper is located. You must choose one of the following documentation styles: APA, MLA, or Chicago.
Length: The research paper should be 9 to 10 pages in length. The page count does not include the Works Cited, Reference, or Bibliography page, or the title page or abstract if required by your documentation style. The page count refers only to the text of the paper itself. You will lose points on your final research project if you go over the 10 page limit by more than 250 words. Part of effective writing is being able to complete the assignment within the designated limits set.
Sources: Your final source page should contain at least 7 sources; you will lose points if you have fewer. Points will also be deducted if you do not consistently follow the format rules for the style you are using in your paper. Use the APUS Citation Guides for determining proper citation format here; automatic citation programs are not always correct.
Important step: Please be sure that your research paper is submitted here as a Word file. It will then be processed in Turnitin.
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