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How to Write an Academic Paper?

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❶Scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles from academic journals are usually acceptable sources, as well as articles from reputable news organizations. In many essays, you can.

Academic Papers




Sources that contradict what you have to say are important as well because you must present arguments for why you believe that contradictory arguments are incorrect or incomplete. If you found a source that argued that the history of the USSR teaches us nothing about the feasibility of economic planning, then you would have to try to refute it or explain its incompleteness. If the defendant has an alibi, you have to show that he is lying or that even the alibi cannot get him off the hook.

Introductions are just that. They allow you to introduce your argument to your reader and vice versa. They also try to convince the reader why he should care about what you have to say. Start with something interesting and sufficiently general, and then draw your reader in by applying that general idea to the topic at hand. Introductions should be general but not too general. A bad introductory sentence is:. You want your intro to say something reasonably specific about your subject, like:. See how that really addresses something of substance?

You could go on from there to talk about the nature of exploitation, how he defines capitalism and then conclude it with a thesis that explains why he thought capitalism causes exploitation. Conclusions are also just that: Would a prosecuting attorney end a closing statement this way: Conclude by telling your reader what conclusions one could draw from your paper. Provide her with a moral of the story. The idea behind citation is simple: As a writer, you have the right to articulate your own ideas and opinions, as well as the right to draw upon the work of those who have come before you.

With those rights comes the responsibility to both inform your reader of which ideas are yours and which are not and to give credit to others when you make use of their work. This is your way of showing others that you have both done your research and understand the importance of your sources in developing your own arguments.

My preference on style is that you use in-text citations with a bibliography at the end, i. To give a citation, use the name s of the author s , the date of the specific text and page number s. Unless you are citing the argument of a whole book or article, you must indicate the pages where the specific thing you mention is discussed.

It also shows your reader and me that you actually read the text in question. If you are using an idea that pervades the whole source, then you can leave it without a page number.

Just make sure there are no exact quotes or close paraphrases of specific pages. You must provide an in-text not just a listing in the bibliography citation, including a page number, when you paraphrase or quote an author word for word. You must provide an in-text citation when you use statistics that you obtained from a source. These are the unbreakable rules. If you break them you are guilty of plagiarism. I take academic dishonesty very seriously.

You should always introduce a quote, rather than just sticking it in the middle of a paragraph identified only by the citation. Also, quotes should never be placed back-to-back without any text in between.

To write either of the previous sentences and not give a citation is not acceptable. Again you have the right to use whatever sources you see fit, but with that right comes the responsibility to inform your reader where and how you obtained your information. That is the purpose of a citation. When you use ideas or information or statistics, giving an in-text citation is just like calling specific witnesses.

You need to do this to make your case. This is equally true if you try to use the ideas more generally:. To leave that sentence without citation is also not acceptable. Therefore you must indicate where it came from. In reality, knowing when to cite is as much an acquired skill as anything else.

There are a few unbreakable rules, such as citing a direct quote or a paraphrase or statistics. Beyond that, use your judgment. It is always better to cite too much than too little. To continue the metaphor: And witnesses for the other side must be cross-examined! In choosing to use this citation style, you are required to create a bibliography at the end of the paper which includes all of the material you have cited within the text.

If you got ideas from it then you better cite it. If you are familiar with official APA citation style, please use it. At the very least, bibliographic style should look like the following examples:. University of Notre Dame Press, However, do be careful how you cite articles in edited volumes. The editor s of the book i. Usually the editor s have only one or two of them at most. You must cite each article separately by the name of the author s of each article.

Check to make sure you are clear on whose article or chapter is whose. Also make sure you underline or italicize pick one and stick with it the book title and put the article or chapter title in quotes. For more examples of bibliography formatting, and the relevant information on the course readings, consult the syllabus. All of that information is there for you. A word of advice about Internet sources: Be familiar with the journal literature and the popular sources that are also available on paper.

Learn how to use EconLit and other scholarly and popular indexes. Then, and only then, should you Google. Net sources are on average much less reliable than printed ones because even though scholarly material is available via Google, a much larger percentage of what you find is, in one way or another, self-published and therefore less reliable.

The best way to determine whether a Net source is a legitimate one is having read lots of printed material and having a sense for what kinds of arguments are considered reasonable. However, if you do find a usable Net source, you should cite it like any other work. Note that there must be an author and a title of the page or paper in question. Then you can provide the complete URL and either a date listed on the page, or the date that you accessed the information.

The hardest part about making use of sources is not finding them or learning how manipulate the mechanics of citation. The hard part is evaluating whether a source is reliable or not. This is especially true on the Net, but is also true for printed material. The best way to become a good judge of sources is to read them. For example, papers that keep being cited by other authors are probably important. But the only way to know that is to have done a fair amount of reading and research including the reference lists of the sources you find and entering the ongoing conversation.

And that requires making the time and doing the work. Nothing is more disappointing and annoying than a sloppy looking paper. Show some pride in what you do and take the time to make it at least look like you care. Make the title fit really closely with what you find out or announce as your conclusions.

Put the story in the title. Check out the following example:. Aim to divide the text relatively evenly into same-size main sections. First, almost all the text is in one section, 4. Second, the first-order headings confusingly signal sections of radically disparate lengths and significance.

Third, two of the headings Introduction and Conclusion are purely formal ones, with no substantive content. The structure is set outside you. Actually this approach often works OK at whole-thesis or book length, despite the heavy fact load it demands.

This approach can work well with robust categories, because it. Focuses on controversy and conflicting schools of thought. Generate more complex structures by combining two of the previous approaches. There are three main variants. Over-writing can make work un-publishable. You need to realistically identify what the core is, in other words what the value added is.

Every piece in your writing does one of these three. Writing that builds moves things forward. Waffle or unclear or un-necessary writing needs to be corrected or deleted. Corrosive writing needs to be deleted.

If you have too many headings without text in between, your structure is probably to complex. Do not say argument in drips and drabs. Group similar points in one place. Make it easy to understand. How new are the latest references? How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation.

The impact of social sciences. This post comes from notes of a presentation by Patrick Dunleavy at the University of Canberra on 22 March on structuring academic papers. The original notes are here. Sign in Get started. He suggests A paper should have 40 paragraphs, arranged in eight even-length sections:


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Academic writing is devoted to topics and questions that are of interest to the academic community. When you write an academic paper, you must first try to find a topic or a question that is relevant and appropriate - not only to you, but to the academic community of which you are now a part.

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Use Times New Roman 12 point font or something else easily readable like Garamond and do not use the templates in Word or for writing papers. Just plain black text on a white page please. Just plain black text on a white page please.

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Academic Papers. Academic papers also known as, research papers or refers to those papers which reach a particular objective or analysis through arguments and analysis, provided by past inferences or factual data.. Methods of study for conducting academic research and writing an academic paper might differ according to the subject and level of study but the basic structure of academic papers. Writing an Academic Paper Listed below are the steps required to write an academic paper. These steps do not have to be done in the order listed; in fact, they may be repeated many times during the process. Repeating steps most often happens during the research, reading, and first draft stage of writing. Writing and learning is a fluid.

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The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and . 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.