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Stony Brook University

WSE 201: Society and Gender in STEM

Writing Research Papers

Purdue OWL Writing Lab provides helpful information on Genre and Research Paper.

Research Process

  • Select a topic that interests you.
    • Brainstorm ideas: use concept maps and identify keywords and synonyms
    • Define and refine your topic: not too narrow or not too broad
  • Formulate your research questions.
    • Factual questions - You may need to investigate some factual questions before you begin your research.  For instance:  What does hydraulic fracturing mean?  
    • Research questions - What do you want to know about your topic?  Is your question researchable and answerable?
  • Develop a focused thesis statement.
    • State the purpose of your paper
    • Present your arguments
  • Identify type of resources that you need for your paper.
    • Journal articles, books, encyclopedias, World Wide Web
      • Primary sources vs. Secondary sources
        • Primary sources - original works or first-hand information recorded at the time of an event
        • Secondary sources - discussions or reviewed materials after the event took place
      • Academic vs. Non-academic
        • Academic - peer-reviewed articles or reviewed articles
        • Non-academic - newspaper articles, editorials or letters to the editors
  • Find information on your topic using library resources.
    • Subscription databases
    • Catalogs
    • EDS (EBSCO Discovery Service)
  • Conduct the search.
    • Keyword
    • Subject Heading: Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH)
    • Boolean Operators: to limit or broaden your search
      • AND, OR, NOT
    • Quotes " " - search for an exact phrase
    • Parentheses ( ) -  combine multiple search terms
    • Asterisk * - add to the root of a search term
  • Evaluate and identify materials that support your paper (CRAAP Model).
    • Currency
    • Relevance
    • Authority
    • Accuracy
    • Purpose
  • Cite your sources.
    • Properly quote, summarize, or paraphrase the original sources that you use in your paper.
      • In-text citations
      • List of references

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