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Chapter 01: Introduction
Chapter 1 introduces the purpose of the book. A brief introduction to the characteristics of a research paper is also provided, along with an explanation of the differences between a research paper and an essay. The chapter also discusses the importance of recognizing other peoples’ perspectives, applying critical thinking, and recognizing the audience of papers. The chapter also includes a guide to the format of the chapters, the companion website, and key terminology.
Chapter 02: Critical Thinking
Chapter 2 examines critical thinking, explaining its meaning, and its relevance in our lives and our writing. The chapter shows how and why ‘critical thinking’ is the act of asking difficult questions and answering those questions with uncomfortable honesty. The chapter explains that the on-going process of critical thinking is important throughout the writing process. Because of its importance, this chapter emphasizes the fact that critical thinking will be a feature of every chapter of the book.
Chapter 03: The Research Paper
Chapter 3 looks at the research paper. It explains what the purpose of the research paper is, and shows how a research paper is a development in the reader’s perspective, a development in the field in general, and a development in the writer’s own knowledge and skills. The chapter explains the importance of the primary audience for a research paper, the quality of an argument, and the evidence that generate and supports the position of the paper. The chapter shows how the method through which we create a research paper requires us to engage in the practices of critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and presentation. It also shows how and why it is a natural process for a research paper to evolve over time.
Chapter 04: Themes and Topics
Chapter 4 addresses themes and topics and the differences between them. The chapter goes on to show how assessing the viability of a topic requires writers to consider issues of interest, source availability, and flexibility. It further explains the preliminary research stage of project investigation and how that research allows writers to distinguish what they already know from what they need to know. The chapter also shows the importance of argumentative papers and their ultimate reliance on the collection of quality evidence.
Chapter 05: The Thesis
Chapter 5 addresses the thesis, with particular focus of the structure of the short thesis. The chapter also discusses the relationship between the thesis, the research question, and the counter thesis. It explains their differences and similarities through a variety of examples. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of having a clear idea of a thesis, a research question, and a counter-thesis so that they can act as a guide for students as they embark on focused research.
Chapter 06: Focused Research
Chapter 6 addresses the issue of focused research. It discusses both in-text and full text citations. The chapter also presents quantitative and qualitative sources, showing how each can include useful data to support arguments. The chapter goes on to present students with important information on ranking sources, searching databases, and how this stage of the research process requires a considerable amount of time and careful planning.
Chapter 07: Paraphrasing, Summarizing, Quoting, and Plagiarizing
Chapter 07 looks at the three critical skills of paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting. It explains the differences between these three skills and discusses the skills that students need when incorporating paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting into their research papers. The chapter integrates the discussion of these skills with examples of plagiarism, emphasizing the often nuanced and troublesome difference between these factors.
Chapter 08: Arguments and Evidence
Chapter 8 discusses arguments and evidence, showing how an argumentative research paper is composed of layers of arguments and evidence. It further breaks down arguments and evidence into ‘supporting-arguments,’ ‘supporting-evidence,’ ‘counter-arguments,’ and ‘counter-evidence.’ The chapter also shows how the long thesis (or ‘thesis statement’) can be formed from a combination of the short thesis, counter-argument, and a summary of the supporting-arguments.
Chapter 09: Plans and Proposals
Chapter 9 looks at plans and proposals. It explains how the planning stage is a critical part of the writing process, and how a plan must be flexible. The chapter shows how planning allows students to identify what they understand and guides them to what the need to do. It looks at the nine elements of plans and proposals: Theme/Topic, Introduction, Research Method, Annotated Bibliography, Scheduling, Concerns, Outline, Writing Style, and the Reference Section. As this chapter explains, planning allows instructors to provide students with the vital feedback that they will use for their forthcoming draft.
Chapter 10: The Drafting Process
Chapter 10 presents the drafting process. It shows how the drafting process includes any and all drafts of the paper up and until the final submission of the final document. The chapter looks at the three major sections of a research paper: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. It also shows how any draft will need to follow the five key ingredients: The structure of the presentation, the coherence of the writing, the content of the paper, the tone of the paper, and the persuasiveness of the argument. The chapter further includes a discussion of peer-reviewing, explaining its usefulness and necessity.
Chapter 11: The Writer’s Introduction
Chapter 11 looks at the Writer’s Introduction. It explains how the Writer’s Introduction includes all the information needed to move forward with the paper. The chapter introduces the differences between Writer’s Introduction and the Reader’s Introduction, and the purposes of each at engaging the audience with the topic and the issues. The chapter also explains why and how frozen expressions and In-text citations should be included in an introduction.
Chapter 12: The Body
Chapter 12 looks at the body of the paper. It explains the importance of considering the audience, and how this consideration determines the order of presentation for the arguments and evidence that comprise the body section. The chapter presents several common patterns that can be considered for organizing a paper. It also offers a guide to formatting for headers and sections.
Chapter 13: The Paragraph
Chapter 13 looks at the function of paragraphs and useful ways of thinking about what paragraphs are and how they can be presented. The chapter shows how many paragraphs can often be formed by beginning with a topic opener, developing with supporting sentences, and ending with a topic closer. The chapter also shows how critical thinking is needed to assess how a paragraph’s structure best serves the purpose of the paper.
Chapter 14: Cohesion
Chapter 14 addresses cohesion. It explains how cohesion issues often stem from the “curse of knowledge”: meaning that the writer has wrongly assumed that the reader already has critical information. The chapter explains how writing cohesively requires students to generate questions after each sentence, and then answer those questions in the subsequent sentence. The chapter also shows the need for explicit bridges that guide readers from one sentence to the next. It further shows how recycling key terms, employing transitionals, or using this + noun constructions often helps to close cohesion gaps.
Chapter 15: The Conclusion
Chapter 15 looks at the conclusion section of the research paper. It explains how the conclusion serves the purpose of providing the audience with the take-home message of a paper. The chapter goes on to discuss what conclusion sections typically should and should not include. This chapter shows how organizing conclusion components depend on honest answers to critical thinking questions and how the selection of a sign-off strategy will depend on the writer’s critical evaluation as to which strategy will best serves the purpose of the paper.
Chapter 16: The Reader’s Introduction
Chapter 16 looks at the Reader’s Introduction. It explains how the Reader’s Introduction needs to contain all the elements of the Writer’s Introduction but that it may also include a hook and a background section. The chapter presents different types of hook, and shows how the writer needs to identify the approach that best serves the purpose of the paper. The chapter explains how a background section can be a useful addition to the introduction; however, it also cautions that its content, focus, and length depend on the writer’s evaluation of the contribution it makes to the persuasiveness of the paper.