THE RESEARCH PAPER PROCESS|
||1. Know the information exists
||2. Know the indexes and tools to access the information|
---Have a search plan
---Know MLA or APA style
|3. Is the info. useful, relevant?|
---Is the info. reliable, valid?
---Is the info. quality high?
Statistics; INFO 1371
English; INFO 1371
|4. Take notes|
---Keep bibliographic record
|5. Keep track of the process
||6. Synthesize the information|
---Write the paper
---Create the WORKS CITED
The process in the library...
Here is the process, step by step:
whichlib.txt or .doc -- Once you have a bigpile.txt list of citations you wish to find, you should get online to the electronic catalogs of the various libraries to which you have access. Discover which books and journals are at what libraries. Sort the list by library. This will make you MUCH more efficient when you arrive at each library. Be sure to note the call number for each library and where the material is located.
If you are NOT able to get online to all the libraries you may use, then divide this list of citations into books and articles. Put the books in alphabetical order by author. Sort the articles by the journals in which they are to be found. This will expedite searching when you arrive at each library. If a particular library has subscribed for some lengthy period of time to one journal, you have at your fingertips ALL the articles listed which you want to locate in that journal.
rejects.txt or .doc -- Every time you locate a source and it is not applicable, not relevant, not high quality, not legible, etc., you need to move the citation to this list. Every time you prepare another .LIB list for a "run" at the libraries, you will want to check this list and eliminate any duplicate titles which will have cropped up.
In fact, as you accumulate citations from indexes, ends of articles, etc, you will want to keep this list, as well as the above two, handy. Far better it is to altogether avoid writing down a duplicate citation than to have to eliminate it.
SUBJ-BIG.txt or .doc -- BIG stands for "BBIIIIGG!" This is where all your notes go, and if you are diligent, it will be BBIIIIGG! At the end of these notes will reside the unedited "Works Cited" (MLA) or "References" (APA) -- the list of books and articles which you have read, taken notes from, and hope to use in your paper. SUBJ-DFT.txt or .doc -- DFT stands for "DraFT." This list will not be created during the research process. It is created EITHER as you move notes and information from your .BIG file to the fill in the outline of your paper, OR it will be created once your paper is finished and you go back to create the Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) section at the end of your paper.
The first approach has the advantage of making sure you don't leave any references out. The second approach avoids having to edit down the references once your paper is put through your last editing process.
Other files and processes which will be needed:
SUBJ-MAP.txt or .doc You need to keep track of what you are doing. Otherwise, at some point, you will become lost, you will waste amazing amounts of time, or you will fail to capture critical information due to confusion, and the phrase "Huh?" will escape your lips, or even worse, the dread "Oh NO!" will be heard.
You will need to include, and constantly update, 5 areas in this list/file:
SUBJ-BIG.txt or .doc --This is your notes, and (at the end of the file) the list of citations which you have found and which are complete and ready to use as references. This file is exremely important for three reasons. (1) This is a record of your "soaking in the literature." It can be reviewed. Such soaking should result at some point in your gaining a clear enough picture of the subject to be able to create a cogent outline for a paper. (2) Once an outline is created, material from this .BIG file can be "copied and pasted" (a computer term) into your outline, "filling in" the frame of the outline. Each section of the outline can then be "worked," bridges and explanations added. This is a fast and relatively simple way to write a secondary research paper or literature review. (3) This file represents an extensive amount of research on a subject. It has quotes, it has references. It is an outstanding source for material for papers which you will subsequently create. Save it and treasure it.
SUBJ-OUT.txt or .doc -- OUT stands for "OUTline." This will probably be the FIRST file you create. It should certainly be the last file you read before turning in the finished paper. This file should contain every word your professor has said about the paper, and a summary or outline of every syllabus and handout concerning the paper which has issued from the professor. At the end of these materials should be your initial notes and thoughts on the creation of your paper's outline. This file should be the beginning of your DFT file.
Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS