Drafting Your Research Paper
Drawing Readers In
As you begin to write the rough draft of your paper, think critically about how you might draw your readers into your argument in a compelling way. Consider how to create a rapport with the audience; for example, what areas of agreement may already exist between you and your readers? Revisit the audience analysis and purpose you wrote in the beginning. Is your audience still the same? What do your audience members need for you to draw them into your topic?
If you decide to write about a topic, but surveys show the majority of people do not agree with your point of view, you must introduce your topic diplomatically. That way, you do not immediately create negative emotions in your audience members that might prevent them from reading your paper.
Types of Introductions
One way to draw in the audience is to first compel your readers’ attention with the introduction. Consider opening your paper in one of the following ways:
•Tell a story or an anecdote. If you have personal experience in this area, you could tell a story about yourself or someone you know.
Example:Last year, approximately 3,400 adult non-smokers died from lung cancer due to secondhand smoke.
•Provide a short, famous quotation.
Example: “Do not smoke without asking permission or sit so near (as in a train) that the smoke might annoy.” — Amy Vanderbilt (1908–1974)
•Write as if your position will argue the other side of the topic.
Example: Smoking is not illegal and is still a right for Americans to exercise.
•Ask a question.
Example:Are you aware that secondhand smoke is now a known cause of cancer in humans?
•Share an interesting point about the subject.
Example:Smoke from cigarettes can linger in the air for hours, even after a smoker extinguishes the cigarette.
Do not make your case too forcefully, especially in the beginning, or too emotionally, because these approaches may alienate readers. On the other hand, if you present ideas in a fair, balanced, and logical way, your readers may be more inclined to read your paper even if they do not agree with your position.
Besides attracting a reader’s attention, an introduction might serve one or more of the following purposes:
• Provide background information
• Define unfamiliar terms
• Introduce the purpose of the paper
• Present a thesis statement or argument about the paper’s topic
• Preview the main points of the thesis
• Provide a brief summary of the topics the paper discusses
Note. Make sure the word introduction does not appear above your introductory paragraph(s).
Drafting the Body of Your Paper
As you draft your paper, place the outline next to you as a guide. Write the paper and add your sources, but do not stop to correct mistakes at this point. Keep in mind the following:
•Vocabulary. You want to write in a mature and professional manner. You do not want to use language that is too difficult for your readers, but you also want to sound intelligent and confident about your argument. Practice using higher-level vocabulary by consulting a thesaurus, and use a variety of sentences to make your writing fresh and interesting to read.
•Details. Include descriptive, concrete details as opposed to abstract language that is vague and unclear.
Vague: Data shows…
Detailed: A study by the American Heart Institute revealed . . . .
Vague: Some researchers think…
Detailed: Researcher Jan Smith (2005) pointed out . . . .
Vague: There are contaminants in the water that can cause diseases . . . .
Detailed: The water contains minerals, such as mercury and lead, which can cause diseases.
•White space. A paragraph should be at least three to five sentences long. Divide extremely long paragraphs into shorter paragraphs.
•Positive language. Be positive in your statements. Sometimes, it is easy to become negative or to write overly opinionated or emotional statements, rather than logical statements supported by evidence, when discussing controversial issues. Consider the following examples:
Too emotional: How would you feel if someone stripped your rights away and did not offer you a choice? You would be offended, of course.
Improved: The gay community deserves the same rights as heterosexuals because American rights are guaranteed to citizens of all races, colors, religions, or sexual orientation.
Too negative: Many Americans are angry because the war in Afghanistan has been going on for years, and many soldiers are continuing to die.
Improved: The American government should focus on a solution and timely plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan before any more lives are lost.
• Transitions. Use words or phrases that connect one point to the next, one sentence to the next, or one paragraph to the next; include transitions to make your information flow so the reader can follow your arguments and examples more easily. Consider the following paragraph:
It is becoming more difficult to secure a job with a middle-income salary without having a degree. More companies require at least a bachelor’s degree. Companies want some experience in the field to accompany the degree. Attending college is challenging, costly, and time consuming. More Americans are opting to attend. They realize most companies require a college degree.
The sentences in that paragraph are not connected very effectively. Notice, however, in the following paragraph, how the bolded transitional words and phrases make the ideas flow more smoothly:
It is becoming more difficult to secure a job with a middle-income salary without having a degree because more companies require at least a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, companies want some experience in the field to accompany the degree. Although attending college is challenging, costly, and time consuming, more Americans are opting to attend because they realize most companies require a college degree.
The following list identifies relationships between words, sentences, or paragraphs and also provides examples of transitions for those relationships:
Relationship Example of Transitions
To show similarity between two ideas • Additionally
• In the same way
To show exception or contrast • Although
• On the other hand
To show sequence or order • First
To detail time • After
• In the future
To show an example • For example
• For instance
• To illustrate
To show emphasis • Even
• In fact
• Of course
To identify a place or position • Above
• In back
• In front
To show cause and effect • Accordingly
To provide additional support or evidence • Additionally
• As well
• Equally important
To conclude or summarize • Finally
• In conclusion
• To conclude
• In summary
Concluding Your Research Paper
You do not want to stop writing abruptly after making your last argument. The paper’s conclusion should wrap up your points smoothly and make a good final impression on the readers.
Different Types of Conclusions
You can conclude your paper in a number of ways:
• Restate the thesis.
Example: Secondhand smoke is dangerous to the human body and should be banned in public places.
• Summarize the main points of the essay.
Example: Banning secondhand smoke in restaurants and public places would not only save lives but also decrease air pollution.
• Ask a question.
Example: Do you want to contract lung cancer only because you inhaled smoke from someone else’s cigarette?
• Offer a quotation.
Example: “Private research conducted by cigarette company Philip Morris in the 1980s showed that secondhand smoke was highly toxic, yet the company suppressed the finding during the next two decades” (American Lung Association, para. 13).
• Provide an ironic twist, a surprising observation, or a clever ending.
Example: This writer is a former smoker who now actively works to pass laws banning secondhand smoke in public places.
• Throw out a personal challenge.
Example: If you smoke, consider quitting and becoming part of the movement to stop secondhand smoke in public places.
• Make a prediction or recommend actions for the readers to take.
Example: Next time your state’s ballot contains legislation banning secondhand smoke in public places, please vote yes.
Whichever type of conclusion you choose, you want to say something powerful and memorable so your readers walk away thinking about what you wrote.
Note. Make sure the word conclusion does not appear above your concluding paragraph.
If you took plentiful notes, organized your sources, and wrote a detailed outline, as recommended, you should not have much trouble writing your rough draft. After you have finished your rough draft, you are ready to format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.
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- Submitted On 23 Dec, 2014 10:42:29