Most research papers will follow a similar format:
A thesis statement is the main idea of your research paper. It is the point around which your entire argument will support/prove/return to. Here are some hints and tips for writing a thesis statement (and sticking to it!):
The body of your research paper will include your main topics, typically one main topic per paragraph and supporting information and examples.
The body is where you will include your sources. There are a few ways to use sources in a paper.
Paraphrasing or summarizing a source quotations can be a good alternative to overusing direct quotations in a research assignment. It is also a useful skill when synthesizing information to demonstrate understanding of the material. Paraphrasing or summarizing a source means to explain the idea of the source quote without using the exact language of the source or to explain it in simpler terms.
Paraphrased or summarized sources still need to be cited.
Direct quotations of sources should be used sparingly, especially long, block quotations and only when they contribute to the scholarly aspect of your research paper in a greater way than summarizing the source can. Directly quoting a source means to use the exact language of a source.
When using a short direct quote, less than four lines of text, the quote can be incorporated into the paragraph, bracketed by quotation marks followed by the in-text citation appropriate to the source.
For direct quotes longer than four lines of text the quote should be separated from the prior paragraph in the form of a block of text, formatted according to the citation style your instructor prefers and followed by the correct in-text citation.
A conclusion should not repeat everything you wrote in the body of your essay.
Synthesize don't summarize the content of your essay for your conclusion.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary's (2018) English Language Learner definition, synthesize is a verb which means to combine (things) in order to make something new.
You can also use the conclusion to ask questions that you weren't able to answer or that need further consideration. This allows future researchers who read your essay to build on, respond to, or correct your thesis.
Outlining can help organize ideas/arguments for a research assignment.
Our assignment requires three MAIN TOPICS to support our research question: "What are the mental health effects of the collapse of the coal mining industry in southeastern Kentucky counties?"
I. Main Topic 1: Coal industry has significantly declined in southeastern Kentucky counties in recent decades.
II. Main Topic 2: As a result of the industry decline, unemployment has risen.
III. Main Topic 3: Unemployed coal miners, and the families they support, struggle with negative mental health effects.
Each main topic needs supporting information/examples (at least one source).