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Writing a Research Paper

This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper.

Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.

  1. Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic
  2. Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
  3. Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information
  4. Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
  5. Writing the Introduction
  6. Writing the Body
  7. Writing the Conclusion
  8. Revising the Final Draft

 

Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic

  • Try to find a topic that truly interests you
  • Try writing your way to a topic
  • Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic
  • Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved

Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources

You will need to look at the following types of sources:

  • library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
  • primary vs. secondary sources
  • journals, books, other documents

Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information

The following systems will help keep you organized:

  • a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
  • a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
  • a system for taking notes

Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself

Consider the following questions:

  • What is the topic?
  • Why is it significant?
  • What background material is relevant?
  • What is my thesis or purpose statement?
  • What organizational plan will best support my purpose?

top

Writing the Introduction

In the introduction you will need to do the following things:

  • present relevant background or contextual material
  • define terms or concepts when necessary
  • explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
  • reveal your plan of organization

Writing the Body

  • Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
  • Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
  • Integrate your sources into your discussion
  • Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
  • Move up and down the "ladder of abstraction" from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization

top

Writing the Conclusion

  • If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
  • Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.

Revising the Final Draft

  • Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
  • Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
  • Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
  • Documentation : consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.

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Research Paper Example

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To fully understand what information particular parts of the paper should discuss, here’s another example of a research paper .

It includes some key parts of the paper such as the Abstract , Introduction , Discussion and References :

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Title Page

Text center-aligned and placed at the middle of the page, stating the title of the paper, name of author and affiliation.

A Study on the Factors Affecting the Infant Feeding Practices

Of Mothers in Las Piñas City

By [Author], University of the Philippines

2009
 

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Abstract

The abstract starts on the next page, page 2. The text starts at the top, left flushed, double-spaced.

Abstract
[Abstract here]

Body Text

The body text starts on the next page, page 3. The text starts at the top, left flushed, double-spaced.

Introduction
The melamine controversy that erupted during the last quarter of year 2008 brought people’s attention back to the debates between breastfeeding and the use of breast milk substitutes like commercial infant formula. This wasn’t the first time that infant formula had caused illnesses and even deaths to infants worldwide – hence the continuous campaign of World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF along with other breastfeeding advocates, for mothers to breastfeed their children at least until 6 months of age.
Infant feeding practices refer generally to meet the nutritional and immunological needs of the baby. A study of infant feeding practices was carried out on a sample of 100 mother and infant pairs. The results revealed that only 20% of mothers in the study currently exclusively breastfeed their babies. It also shows that socio-economic factors like mother’s work status, marital status and educational attainment had direct bearing on these practices. Employed mothers tend to cease from breastfeeding their babies and eventually stop and just resort to formula feeding as they go back to work. The study also showed that mothers who are married and living with their partners are more likely to breastfeed their infants than single mothers. Those with higher educational attainment resort more to formula feeding and mixed feeding than those with lower educational attainment. Health care professionals influence mothers the most when it comes to infant feeding decisions.
Methodology
Type of Research
The type of research that will be used in this study is qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The discipline investigates the “why” and “how” of decision making. Besides this, the researcher will also examine the phenomenon through observations in numerical representations and through statistical analysis. Along with questionnaires that will be given out to respondents for the statistical representation of the findings in the study, interviews with the respondents and a few experts in this field will also be conducted.
Sampling Method
The research sampling method that will be used in this study is random sampling to obtain a more scientific result that could be used to represent the entirety of the population. A list of all health care facilities (maternity and lying-in clinics, public and private hospitals, health centers) was acquired from the Las Piñas City Hall.
From 20 barangays, 3 will be picked through random sampling. The health care facilities and institutions in these three barangays will then be the target sources of respondents of the researcher. The health care facilities and institutions will be contacted to obtain a verbal consent to administer the questionnaire to mothers at their places. A letter of consent will also be sent to them along with a sample copy of the questionnaire that will be used, as well as the protocol of the researcher. A letter was also addressed to the City Health Officer to obtain endorsement and consent to conduct a research in selected barangays and distribute questionnaires to the mothers in the vicinity.
Data collection was conducted throughout the facilities‟ and health centers‟ operating hours from Mondays through Sundays in order to include both working and non-working mothers.
Respondents
The respondents in this research will all be coming from one single location – Las Piñas City, specifically the randomly selected barangays of Pamplona I, CAA/BF International and Pamplona III. The researcher chose Las Piñas City because of the socio-economic conditions present in the area that is relevant to the study and also as it fits the time frame and resources of the researcher. The randomly sampled respondents will be asked by the researcher for consent and approval to answer the questionnaire until the desired number of respondents which is 100 is reached. The opinion of experts will also be sought in this research to provide explanations regarding the respondents‟ infant feeding behaviors and practices.
Questionnaire
The questionnaire requires information about the socio-economic and demographic background of the mother. It also has questions related to previous infant feeding practices and the birth of her youngest infant and also regarding the baby’s general health and age.
Statements that are perceived to be factors that influence mothers‟ infant feeding decisions were presented. The description of the type of infant formula given by formula and mixed feeding mothers will also be asked in the material.
Conclusion
Majority of the mothers formula feed their child and only a minority exclusively breastfeeds their children, especially as per recommendation of the World Health Organization. While majority of the mothers in this study showed a positive attitude towards breastfeeding, most of them decided only to formula feed due to the reasons of insufficient milk supply and work.
Based on the results of the study, the educational attainment, work status, marital status, and seminars in the barangay the respondents are part of, about breastfeeding, are the significant factors that affect the infant feeding decision of mothers in Las Piñas City.
Majority of the mothers that served as respondents in this study fall under the age range of 17-30 years old. More than half of them were also college graduates while a significant number are undergraduates and have only reached until high school. Most of the mothers are housewives and the others remaining have full-time jobs, part-time jobs and self-employed. A few of them are still students. While majority of them were married, a lot were still in a status of live-in and are single. More than half of the mothers did not have previous children before the current one. Majority of the respondents also have an annual gross household income that does not exceed P50,000.
Among the several information sources namely, media through televisions/radios and printed/published materials, the social support system comprised of the mother’s family, friends and other relatives and health institutions, the mothers who give their babies infant formula are influenced the most by health care institutions through health professionals and other health care personnel. They influence the mothers in deciding to feed the baby with formula and in choosing, as well, which brand of formula is best for their babies. Mothers trust their baby’s doctor because of their expertise in the said field hence this kind of relation is achieved.
Mothers were overall not concerned about the possible side effects of breastfeeding as a few were only worried as shown in the data presented.
      It can be concluded that numerous internal as well as external factors influence a mother in making infant feeding decisions, and a greater fraction of these is socio-economic in nature.

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This article is a part of the guide:

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Don’t miss these related articles:
  • 1 Outline Examples
  • 2 Write a Hypothesis
  • 3 Example of a Paper
  • 4 Introduction
  • 5 Title

Browse Full Outline

  • 1 Write a Research Paper
  • 2 Writing a Paper
  • 3 Outline

    • 3.1 Write an Outline
    • 3.2 Outline Examples
  • 4 Research Question

    • 4.1 Thesis Statement
    • 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
  • 5 Parts of a Paper

    • 5.1 Title
    • 5.2 Abstract
    • 5.3 Introduction
    • 5.4 Methods
    • 5.5 Results
    • 5.6 Discussion
    • 5.7 Conclusion
    • 5.8 Bibliography
  • 6 Optional Parts

    • 6.1 Table of Contents
    • 6.2 Acknowledgements
    • 6.3 Appendix
  • 7 Formatting

    • 7.1 In Text Citations
    • 7.2 Footnotes
    • 7.3 Format of a Table

      • 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
    • 7.4 Example of a Paper
    • 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
    • 7.6 MLA Writing Format

      • 7.6.1 Citations
    • 7.7 APA Writing Format

      • 7.7.1 Writing Style
      • 7.7.2 Citations
  • 8 Academic Journals

    • 8.1 Peer Reviews

      • 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
      • 8.1.2 Advantages
      • 8.1.3 Disadvantages
    • 8.2 Publication Bias
    • 8.3 Journal Submission

      • 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
  • 9 Tips

    • 9.1 Article Writing
    • 9.2 Ideas for Topics

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