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Research Paper – Tips First – the topic …. Remember that your topic must have a connection to US Government, this can be National, State or Local government. So a topic of “the plight of women in Afghanistan” would not be appropriate. Also, the paper requires a controversial topic – one that a researcher can find articles on both sides of the issue, so “child abuse” would not be a good topic since there is a low likelihood of finding articles that state “child abuse is good” Once a topic is chosen, then start the research. You can to research from your computer using the LBCC website and your personal login. Once on the homepage, click on Academic, then down the menu to Library. Click on red button “Search for Articles.” From here you can choose from a variety of databases. I recommend two – CQ Research and Proquest. In Databases, there are a couple of great help. First is Proquest, once in Proquest, click on Advanced search. It is best to not try to use the basic search as your efforts will likely yield a high number of results. In advanced search, type your topic on the first line and then the publication you want to search in on the second line. On this second line, use the pull down menu on the right side, opposite your publication to then click on Publication Title so you are narrowing your search to the specific publication you need. (the required titles are in your syllabus). The system will also offer similar search parameters to aid in your search for pertinent articles. A second search engine of interest under DataBases is the CQ Researcher. This offers issue searches as well as Pro/Con papers on a variety of topics. Once in CQ, click on browse reports to then use the Issue Tracker or Pro/Con section. This will yield a full list of the topics for which CQ offers papers. CQ may be used as your Interest group or Government Publication. The list of topics on CQ may also help with finding a topic if that is a struggle. Using Proquest and the CQ Researcher will yield all the required sources for your paper. Both these will allow you to email the articles so you may keep an archive and both offer an option for citations for an individual article. Writing your paper – Be sure to follow the outline listed in the syllabus. You must have one page of pros, one page of cons and two pages of analysis. Being shorter than these requirements will yield large point deductions. Introduction – tell me here what you are writing about. This is the section where you would include – if you feel it is necessary – history, or stats, or dates, or general information that you feel is important to the reader that is not one of the pros or cons. Pros/Cons – All the information for these sections comes from your research so be sure to cite what you use in your paper. As you read your articles chosen from your research, highlight those that are pros or cons; and then that is what you will use to “piece together” this section. Citing of your research may be done in-text, as endnote, or footnote. Please be consistent with your manner of citation. When writing the pro and con section, the reader should not know the writer’s opinions, i.e., when reading the pro section it should appear the writer is pro, AND when writing the con section, the reader should believe the writer is con. Each section should be definitively written. In the analysis section – again re-read your syllabus and use a few of the areas listed. Most important is the source analysis. Please be sure to write at least a one page analysis of the sources you used. This means indicating to the reader the positives and negatives of your own research. For example: Article X provided good examples of situations, but lacked any proof, or statistical data, so while it was cited in the paper, the author acknowledges that this source was somewhat flawed. You do not need to analyze every source you use, choose a couple, do a good analysis of those sources, then focus on topic analysis such as ideology, and the media. Discussing liberal or conservative is an analysis of how these two ideologies treat or view the topic. Conclusion – In the conclusion you should discuss what you learned, where you stood at the outset and where you stand on the topic at the conclusion of the paper and why. You may also include a suggestion of what you would do if you were in a position to change policy or government regarding the topic. Writing Tips – Do not use contractions in an academic paper (don’t, can’t, we’re) Write out each word. When writing a short paper, you will need to make decisions about what to include and exclude. These are important decisions and a writer should take the time to craft a paper than has good flow within each section and from one section to another. It is obvious to the reader when a writer simply puts together a paper to complete the assignment rather than insuring that the paper makes sense and makes a point. When writing a short paper – be sure to edit, edit, edit. It should take four times as long to edit a paper than it does to write it initially. Watch that you include things that are pertinent, and that you exclude extraneous, superfluous writings. The reader sees this as an obvious attempt to make a paper longer to meet a length requirement rather than a substantive addition to the argument or debate. Read and re-read the syllabus to insure that the parameters of the assignment are being followed. If you want to do a deviation of the assignment, check with the professor in advance. Finally, PROOFREAD, you always need to spellcheck your paper. Use the tools provided in a word processing program to check for spelling, grammar and sentence structure issues. As always, email the professor with specific questions or assistance.

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