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3.1: Introduction

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    What will we learn in this chapter?

    In this chapter, we will learn what a research paper is and why students (and others) do research. We will learn how to think about research and how to start your research with a questioning mind. Then, we will look at the actual steps of research paper writing: developing a research question, finding sources online and in databases, and choosing which sources are best for the project. Lastly, we will look at how to cite (show where you got the information from) and why that is important.

    Why do we need to do this?

    How will this make your reading, writing, and thinking more effective and clear? When you set out to do research, you start with a research question, and through your research you are trying to find the answer to your question, or you want to find out why something happens. Well-researched papers can persuade people to your point of view. In addition, research can help you organize your own thoughts on a topic, you can learn more about your topic, and it can help you explain your ideas.

    What topic will this chapter focus on?

    In the 2021 US presidential debates, future Vice President Kamala Harris cited a statistic that Black children who have a Black teacher in elementary school are more likely to go to college. Clearly, having a teacher of the same ethnicity can have a huge impact on young children of different races, and the same is true for college students. In your education, were your teachers of the same race or background as you in your home country? How about in the United States? How did that affect your learning? (See a Black teacher working with students in Figure 3.1.1). We will take a closer look at this question in this chapter, as you follow one student’s research journey.

    Black teacher helping a student at a computer
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): "Teacher Helping Students Working At Computers In Classroom" by City of Seattle Community Tech is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Learning objectives

    In this chapter, you will learn to

    • explain the reasons for writing a research paper.
    • develop a research mindset.
    • choose a research topic and develop a strong research question.
    • compare research methods and strategies and choose an effective research strategy for your paper.
    • evaluate different kinds of sources and select sources that will work for your paper.

    Licenses and Attributions

    CC Licensed Content: Original

    Authored by Elizabeth Wadell, Laney College. License: CC BY NC.

    This page titled 3.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gabriel Winer & Elizabeth Wadell (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .

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