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10.10: Key Takeaways
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- Research writing is a conversation, and your job is to find your place in that conversation and go into it with an open mind, without a pre-decided point of view.
- Research is a process, and you may need to even go find more information after you've already begun writing.
- Research is a skill used commonly at work and requires project management skills.
- Anticipate problems and plan for alternate ways to get your work done.
- When drafting, work on one topic at a time.
- A writer’s use of primary and secondary sources is determined by the topic and purpose of the research. Sources used may include print sources, such as books and journals; electronic sources, such as websites and articles retrieved from databases; and human sources of information, such as interviews.
- Strategies that help writers locate sources efficiently include conducting effective keyword searches, understanding how to use online catalogs and databases, using strategies to narrow web search results, and consulting reference librarians.
- In their notes, effective writers record organized, complete, accurate information. This includes bibliographic information about each source as well as summarized, paraphrased, or quoted information from the source.
- It's a good idea to summarize each source, write down relevant paraphrases for ideas that can be expressed in your own words, and write down quotations for those ideas where the exact words of the author really matter.
- Annotate your sources and record your thoughts and reactions to ideas or sentences you find particularly engaging.
- It is important for writers to revisit their research questions and working thesis as they transition from the research phase to the writing phase of a project. Usually, the working thesis will need at least minor adjustments. The research question may occasionally need to be revised as well.
- To organize a research paper, writers choose a structure that is appropriate for the topic and purpose. Longer papers may make use of more than one structure.
- Direct quotations should be used sparingly. Ellipses and brackets must be used to indicate words that were omitted or changed/added for conciseness or grammatical correctness.
- Plagiarism has serious academic and professional consequences. To avoid accidental plagiarism, keep research materials organized, understand guidelines for fair use and appropriate citation of sources, and review the paper to make sure these guidelines are followed.
- In a cohesive research paper, the elements of the paper work together smoothly and naturally. When revising a research paper, evaluate its cohesion. In particular, check that information from research is smoothly integrated with your ideas.
- An effective research paper uses a style and tone that are appropriately academic and serious. When revising a research paper, check that the style and tone are consistent throughout.