Writing an effective research paper starts with knowing what type of paper you are writing.
The goal of a research paper is not to inform the reader what others have to say about a topic, but to draw on what others have to say about a topic and engage the sources in order to thoughtfully offer a unique perspective on the issue at hand. This is accomplished through two major types of research papers.
The argumentative research paper consists of an introduction in which the writer clearly introduces the topic and informs his audience exactly which stance he intends to take; this stance is often identified as the thesis statement. An important goal of the argumentative research paper is persuasion, which means the topic chosen should be debatable or controversial.
The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a research question) on which he has taken no stance. Such a paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation.
Regardless of where you are getting your information, you need to be aware of a few simple attributes about whatever information you are using.
When evaluating information, here are five helpful considerations:
Currency: timeliness of the information.
Relevance: importance of the information for your need.
Authority: source of the information.
Accuracy: reliability, truthfulness, correctness.
Purpose: reason that the information exists.
The terms Academic, Scholarly or Peer Reviewed are frequently used interchangably. In nearly all cases they mean the same thing. They are used to indicated a scholarly (adheres to a common 4-6 part format to report research findings) article that has been peer reviewed (by others with knowledge of research in the field) that appears in an academic or research publication (few or no advertisements).
Characteristics of a Scholarly Resource:
Trade Publications ( or sometimes referred to as Trade Magazines ) are publications intended for people working in a specific industry.
There are trade publications for nearly every business type, industry segment or not-for-profit that you could imagine.
Trade publications typically have many of the following characteristics:
Examples of Trade Publications:
Caterer & Hotelkeeper
A weekly publication intended for the catering and hotel & restaurant industry in the United Kingdom.
Fuel Oil News
Covering all aspects of the fuel-oil industry, including technical articles, news, and directory of suppliers to the industry and relevant associations.
Monthly publication for programmers, software developers and marketers covering critical aspects of game development.
A monthly publication intended for managers, executives and engineers on large, regional and short line railroads in North America. Also covers some light rail and transit news.
WWD : Women's Wear Daily
Covering the business, fashion trends, retailing developments and ready-to-wear news for retailers and manufacturers of women's apparel, accessories, fibers and textiles (inclusive of shoes).
General business publications that aren't focused on a specific industry are typically either a magazine or a newspaper that report on business generally. These are publications that you can typically find at a newstand, sometimes in a drugstore or a large supermarket.
Wall Street Journal
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