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A good thesis should be debatable, specific, and concise. The following is not a good thesis:. While it is concise and somewhat specific, this thesis is not really debatable. This thesis is debatable, it is specific, and it is reasonably concise. It takes one side of a possibly refutable argument.

One can imagine someone arguing that the history of the USSR indicates the problems of political totalitarianism and says nothing about economic planning. The basis for your supporting arguments should be the material that has been covered in class and in the readings, and, if required, from outside sources.

The whole reason to take a course is to discover a framework for analyzing new phenomena whether natural, social, literary, or artistic , and formal papers are an opportunity to demonstrate that you have learned enough to do such an analysis. It is also crucial to remember to put your thesis up front. This is what you should be doing during the entire paper. The purpose of course papers is to give the instructor your informed opinion on your topic.

Your thesis is a guide to the view you will present in the rest of the paper. Put it up front and stick to it. Think of yourself as a lawyer and think of defending a thesis as being like trying to convict a defendant, and think of the professor as the judge, not the jury.

This means thinking of your sources as evidence. This works in both directions. Sources that back up your argument are great because you can quote or cite them to build up your evidence, like eyewitnesses to a crime. 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. You should start your first reads earlier than gathering all the sources. This will save time.

After short-listing the selected sources, form a thesis statement. A thesis statement can be either a single sentence or a combination of about three to four sentences that will specify points that your academic paper will comprise. Now, reread your selected sources in details to look for quotable things that support or relate to your thesis statement.

Then type in your selected quotes, each with a typed-in comment to yourself of how it speaks about to your thesis statement. In the next stage, bring together your logical argument systematically and creatively. You can check out for additional details on assembling your paper.

Now write the pages that prologue your central part. Now, closely edit your, almost complete academic paper. Make corrections, adjustments, edits and recheck for any grammar and spelling blunders. Next, you need to write your conclusion. Follow our for your academic paper. Try to make your conclusion precise. In this section, briefly restate the major elements of your academic paper. Also, show what you have proven with your facts and quotes. It is ideal to write your opening statement also known as at this point because now you have a complete idea of what your academic paper is all about.

Creatively develop a good opening statement that would enhance the clarity of your academic paper. How to Write an Academic Paper?

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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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In academic publishing, a paper is an academic work that is usually published in an academic journal. It contains original research results or reviews existing results. It contains original research results or reviews existing results. research papers and topic papers Most non-fiction class papers fall into one of two categories: research papers or topic papers. For research papers, you are expected to pick a topic and engage in independent research (usually in the library or online) to find information and sources.