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Exercise 51. Read the text and give a summary of it. Ask 10 questions to the text.



Writing a research paper takes a lot of time and effort. It demands a thorough knowledge not only of the subject you are writing about, but also of the strategies for generating, verifying, substantiating and prosing ideas. It is necessary to follow the structure, style, format and layout of the paper. The following guidelines will help you by providing a step-by-step explanation of the research-writing process.

Most papers in various scientific disciplines have a similar organi­zation pattern – Introduction, Body and Conclusion (especially papers on theoretical issues). Research papers based on experiments would include Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion / Conclusions.

When you write a research paper observe the following instructions:

Introduction: identify the subject of your research and narrow it to a specific topic, provide background information, state the problem and the hypothesis of research, provide theoretical basics of the study, formulate the thesis statement/sentence.

Method: describe the subjects/participants of your study, the ap­paratus and equipment used, the procedure followed.

Results: report on your findings, support them with statistical data, diagrams, graphs, tables and figures, etc., note whether your findings are consistent with the advanced hypothesis.

Discussion/Conclusions: evaluate and interpret the results obtained, make inferences from the results, discuss the implications of your findings. You can end your paper with some reflections about the topic discussed, some suggestions for further research.

A research paper has physical and structural characteristics.

The physical characteristics consist of the title, the introduction, the main body parts and the conclusion, which you write in indented paragraphs.

THE TITLE

When you start reading a research paper, its title is perhaps the most important part, because the key words in the title help you make decision whether the paper is of interest for you or not. Thus the title should not be very long and general, but rather specific.

INTRODUCTION

When you write the introduction, you begin with a broad state­ment relating to the subject of research and narrow it down to specifics, namely the thesis statement/sentence of the whole paper, it is usually a single declarative sentence, the assertion you make about the main points of your study.

BODY

The body of the paper should provide evidence in support of the thesis sentence, each paragraph explaining one and only one aspect of the thesis. Begin each paragraph with a statement of the key idea in one sentence, which is called the topic sentence, and explain or support it with details and evidence. There are several ways of supporting the key idea and developing paragraphs – by describing, classifying, providingstatistical data and scientific evidence, analyzing causes and effects, comparing and contrasting, etc.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion can be a summary of the introduction and the developmental paragraphs of the body parts, which is usually done from specific to general – this study to larger implications. But more importantly it should express your judgment on the research performed and the results obtained, explain the findings and/or make suggestions for further investigation.

Structurally, a paper should have unity and coherence. Unity gives the writing single vision, and coherence connects the parts. Your paper has unity when it talks about one topic, step by step exploring it in depth. Your paper is coherent if all its parts fit together, talk about the same topic, are connected logically and flow smoothly from one to the other. To obtain this affect use cohesive devices (pronoun references, same-word repetition, sentence-structure repetition).

Nowadays in scientific publications there is a strong tendency to use definite verb tenses in certain types of papers. When you write a paper in natural sciences, use past tense or present perfect tense to cite an author’s work and/or show what has been accomplished: (e.g., “Landau created”or “the experiment of Lakes and Paul has proven...”). Use present tense when you discuss the results or when you mention established knowledge (e.g., “water boils at 100 degrees Centigrade”). Write your paper with a third-person voice that avoids “Ibelieve” or “It is my opinion.

Acknowledging sources: Acknowledge your sources either by reference to the author/ work or by direct quota­tion. This can be done either within the text or in footnotes, for which you should use a numbering system in the text and give the source at the bottom of the page or at the end of the chapter. Add a bibliography at the end, listing all works used or quoted from.

REFERENCES

All the sources that have been referred to in text must be listed in the list of references. The list must be clear and precise, so that each source can be easily found. The list can be called (List of) References or Bibliography.

You should format the reference section using the following style:

A book with two authors:

Parker, C. and Riches, C.R., 1993. Parasitic weeds of the world: Biology and control. CAB International, Wallingford, United Kingdom, 332 pp.

A book with three or more authors:

Penning de Vries, F.W.T., Jansen, D.M., ten Berge, H.F.M. and Bakema, A., 1989. Simulation of ecophysiological processes of growth in several annual crops. Pudoc Wageningen, the Netherlands, 271 pp.

Journal article:

Stützel, H., 1995. A simple model for simulation of growth and development in faba beans (Vicia faba L.), 1. Model description. European Journal of Agronomy 4(2), 175-185.

Note that the issue number is given in parentheses.

Internet Source

Altieri, M.A., 2000. Multifunctional Dimensions of Ecologically-based Agriculture in Latin America [On-line]. Available: http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/.html. Access date: 2.11.2011 [when you visited and downloaded the website]

Citations in the Text

Quotation: Many species in forest hotspots are endangered and “in a nightmare scenario, battalions of loggers armed with bulldozers and chainsaws could wipe these habitats off the face of the Earth in a few months – and with them large parts of the world’s biodiversity” (Wilson, 2002).

Paraphrasing and summing up in your own words: Many forest hotspots are endangered by logging activities which induce a serious threat on the earth’s species diversity (Wilson, 2002).

You can as well cite the author and the year of the publication at the end of the sentence or use the name of the author as a part of the sentence.

Citation as a part of the sentence: Wilson (2002) considers logging activities in forest hotspots as a serious threat to the earth’s species diversity.

Citation in the end of the sentence: Logging activities are considered to be a serious threat to species diversity in forest hotspots (Wilson, 2002).

Attribution and Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when students attempt to pass off someone else’s work as their own. Typically, sections of text are taken verbatim from another person’s work without proper attribution being given.

When the work of others is used, a direct quotation, a figure or a general idea, it must be acknowledged in the text and list of references. Quotation marks should always be used to indicate direct quotations. If students are in any doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism they are advised to consult their dissertation advisor.

 

Exercise 52. Discuss with your partner the requirements of master thesis summary using the information below.

Use A4 white bond paper.

Your typewriters or printer’s ribbon or cartridge should produce a dark impression.

Margins and spacing

Use standard margins on all sides of each page. (The top margin will contain the page numbers).

Indent the first line of every paragraph (1 tab) and double-space throughout.

Paging

Begin numbering your paper in upper right of the first text page, and number consecutively through the end.

Title and identification

Centre the title, and capitalize words in it.

Double-space all this opening material.

The body of abstract

Introduction

Subject of investigation

Topicality of the problem

Purpose of investigation

The main body

Methods of investigation

Theoretical and experimental parts

Results and recommendations

 





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