Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Timeline of Research Paper

Creating an Outline

Inspiration helps to organize ideas using a cluster diagram which is great for the visual learner who can use shapes and colors to arrange and categorize information. The students have used the cluster diagram for organizing their thoughts for their research paper. They began by using the center circle for their thesis and from there, they linked it to their three supporting details. With each support, any specific examples were linked accordingly. Each section of the cluster contained only words and phrases (not complete thoughts) since they would eventually convert it to outline form. Once they arranged all of their ideas, the simple click of a button turned their graphic organizer into an outline with Roman Numerals, letters, and numbers.

Once the outline was checked for needed revisions and edits, it was then transfered to a word document with another simple click of a button. The ideas from the outline were then used to compose sentences for their research paper.

Reliable Source?

After reading the following information about how to search for reliable internet sources, use this cool technology tool to help you analyze just how reliable your source is.

The Internet is a great resource for research, but you have to remember that it is a public place where anyone can post information. When you want to find a trustworthy source, you need to first take the time to make sure it is reliable. The following are the steps to take to make sure that you have a valid site:

1. Always check to make sure that the source has an author. You can check the author's background to help validate the information.

2. Check the sites URL (http://...) If the site ends in .edu, it is probably an educational site, and you should still be aware of personal opinions. If the site ends in .gov it is probably a reliable government website. You will most likely find factual information here. Sites that end in .org are usually non-profit organization sites and can be reliable and unreliable, so make sure that you are careful not to take someone's opinion as the truth. You can find information on this site that will give you facts, but you may also run across political opinions that might slant one way or the other.

3. You can also follow research suggestions from which suggests that the CARS (credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, and support) method is great for evaluating sources.


Parenthetical Citations

As you research and find information to support your thesis, you will need to give credit to that source within the context of your paper.  This can be done with parenthetical citations which is an alternative to using footnotes.  Throughout your writing, you will need to reference someone else's ideas to support your own and you will accomplish this through paraphrasing or quotations;  you will need to provide the author’s name and the page number of the work in the text of your paper. The following are examples of parenthetical citations found from Mr. McLaughlin's Classes:

Even today, many children are born outside the safety of hospitals (Kasserman 182).

This indicates that you are using information found in a book by somebody named Kasserman (last name) and it was found on page 182.

You may also give the same information in another way, if you want to name the author in your sentence. You might want to do this to add variety to your paper:

According to Laura Kasserman, “many children today do not benefit from the sanitary conditions which are available in modern facilities” (182). Many children are born outside the safety of hospitals.

Be sure to use quotation marks when quoting someone directly.


The following information came from *

Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
2. to use (another's production) without crediting the source
3. to commit literary theft
4. to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.
But can words and ideas really be stolen?

According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).
All of the following are considered plagiarism:

* turning in someone else's work as your own
* copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
* failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
* giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
* changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
* copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our section on citation for more information on how to cite sources properly.

Example for using quotations

Example for using paraphrasing

*What is Plagiarism? (n.d.) Retrieved May 4th, 2009

Using KWL for Brainstorming & Inquiry


Complete the provided word document titled Thesis and KWL. Make sure you place it in the research paper folder on your desktop.  At the top of your word document, write your thesis that will serve as the focus of your paper.  The following is an example of a topic: "Why FedEx is the top Shipping company in the world" The following is the topic that has been changed to thesis form:  Though there are many fantastic shipping companies in the world, Frederick W. Smith’s FedEx company tops all.

Your prior knowledge needs to be recorded so that you can distinguish between what information belongs to you and the new information that you will gather through your research. Using a KWL thinking routine, record everything that you can recall about your thesis. Allow that thesis to be the focus of your research.

K= "What I already know about my topic."  You should already know something about your topic to form an opinion about it.  Make sure that you are very detailed and thorough in providing this information.

W="What I want to Learn about my topic."  This will help guide your research if they are thoughtful, meaningful questions.  Use the following questions from the inquiry process below (yellow) to help you brainstorm ideas. There are no right or wrong answers, so answer the questions accordingly.  You might have several responses to the first question of, "What do I want to learn about this topic."  You will write it in question form; for example, if you wanted to learn about FedEx's logistics that make the company so successful, you could ask, "How many airports, planes, etc. does FedEx have globally?" 

L= "What I have learned."  This part of the KWL thinking routine will not be completed until after you have finished researching and organizing your thoughts in your research paper which is not due until the middle of May.

I found the following from that will help you with inquiry.

Title Page

The following are the requirements for your research paper:

*Font size 16

*Font style must be something traditional such as Times New Roman, Geneva, Ariel, Helvetica, etc.

*The First page is the title page that should have your approved topic centered in the middle of the page. Double space and center your first and last name. Double space again and center the due date May 13, 2011.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brainstorming Research Topics

This information has been moved and updated on my new website, Here is the direct page to the brainstorming and topic list

On Friday, April 15th, you should turn in the following:

1. A page of notes that shows you have brainstormed as you have answered the questions below. 

2. Three possible topics in order of preference.

Brainstorm topic ideas. If you have trouble thinking up creative topics to write about, here are some questions you might ask yourself:

* What am I interested in?
* What do I like to do for fun that might translate into an interesting paper topic?
* What do I feel strongly about?
* What do I know a lot about?
* What would I like to know more about?

* What are some issues or topics that are in the news right now that I find interesting and important?
* What are some issues or topics at my school that I find interesting and important?
* Can my friends or family members offer me suggestions for topics that I find interesting and important?

Evaluate each appropriate topic for ease and quality.
How difficult will this topic be to research and write about?
Is the topic too broad?
Is the topic too narrow?
Remember to get help from the teacher to find out if your topic is manageable. You also might need to do some library and computer research to find out how much information is available about your considered topic.

Pick the topic on your list that you find most interesting and important. Remember, it's much easier to write a paper that you find interesting than one you do not, so take the time to pick out a topic you truly care about. The topic can NOT be something that you already know a great deal about.  It defeats the purpose of needing to research to learn more about it.

Get permission from the teacher to make sure that your topic is appropriate and not controversial. Then, let the fun begin as the research process unfolds during English class! Follow my blog posts as I take you through the steps of researching and writing a paper on your approved topic.

The following topics are from the past years that you can get ideas from as well:

Why Lacrosse is a challenging sport
Why the Vietnam War was One of the Worst of All Time
How Nuclear Missiles Cause Devastation
Why Steve Nash is the Best NBA Player
How Pirates have evolved Over Time
How Aircraft Carriers Can Improve
Autistic Savants: Drawbacks and Advantages
Why Jamar Chaney is the Best Rookie Linebacker in the NFL
The Challenges of Conquering Mt. Everest
Why Gil Stovall is One of the Best Swimmers in America
The Reasons for Butterfly Migration
Why High Fructose Corn Syrup is Unhealthy
UFO's: Myth or Reality
Why Golf is One of the Most Challenging Sports
Why the Octopus is One of the Most Exotic Animals Ever

The Causes and Effects of Sun Exposure
Why Mt. Everest is the Hardest Mountain to Climb
The Causes and Effects of Arthritis
The Cruelty of Using Animals for Entertainment in the Circus
Why Black Hawk Down Went so Bad
Why Beagles are Unique Dogs
The Importance of Recycling
What Makes America's Armed Forces the Most Advanced in the World
Why the Swine Flu is such a Perilous Disease
Why the University of Alabama is the Best College
The Negative Effects of Cigarettes
Why Alcatraz is World Famous
The Reasons Why Pet Snakes Should be Prohibited

The Devastating Effects of World War II
Why the Red Birds is the Best AAA Baseball Team
How the Zulu Tribe of Africa lives a Unique Life
The Effects of Steroids
How Shoes Affect Your Running Form
The Yeti: Myth or Reality
The Causes and Effects of Tornadoes in Tornado Alley
Why Al Capone is the Most Notorious Gangster of all time
Why 9/11 was the Most Tragic Attack on America
How the Traditions of the Masters Were Created
The Causes and Effects of Snake Venom
Why Hurricanes are the Most Devastating Natural Disasters
The Causes and Effects of Dreams
UFO's: Myth or Reality

The Benefits of Boy Scouts
Why Exotic Cars are the Fastest Cars Ever Made
The Likes and Differences of Native American and American Lacrosse
Lochness Monster: Myth or Reality
Why It's Essential for Kids to Play Sports
How the Mayans Created Amazing Architecture
Why the Beatles Are the Best Rock Group of all Time
The Benefits of Modern Day Warfare

King Louis 16th and the Fall of the French Monarchy
Why Hershey is such a Great Company
Why Pixar is the Best Animation Studio
Why Being on Ski Patrol is so Challenging
Why Yellowstone National Park is World Famous
Why Modern Day Zoos Are Better Than Zoos of the Past
Why the Masters is One of the Best Tournaments in Professional Golf
The Effects of Autism
The Importance of Going Green With Solar Energy
How the Dust Bowl was Caused by the Average Farmer and Not by the Forces of Nature
Hurricanes: Causes and Effects

Why Performance Enhancing Drugs Should Not Be Allowed
How Antartica is Being Affected By Global Warming
Why Street Racing is an Intense Pass Time
The Causes and Effects of Global Warming
How Pancreatic Cancer Affects Lives
Why the Credit Crash Affects America
How Brain Tumors Affect People
How Space Travel Has Improved Over the Years
How Going Green Can Affect the U.S.
How F-16's and A-300's are Alike and Different
Obesity: An American Epidemic
How Navy Seals are Trained for Sea Hijacking
How the Stock Market Affects the United States

How Smoking Can Affect the Lives of Ordinary People
How the Technology of World War II Affected Its Outcome
Why the Velociraptor is the Deadliest Animal of All Living Creatures
The Affects of Smallpox: Then and Now
How the Armenian Genocide Was the Worst of ALL Time
Why the Deep Sea is Rarely Explored by Humans
Why Mount Everest is the Hardest Feat for Climbers to Conquer
What Happened for the Fight for Fallujah to Unfold
Why O.C.D. is Very Challenging
Why Slam ball is the Next Up and Coming Sport
How Smoking is Ruining American Lives
How the Beatles are the Best Rock-N-Roll Band of All Time
How Lives are Affected by Dwarfism
The Causes and Effects of Diabetes
Leo Frank Murder Case: Innocent or Guilty?

The Curse of the Great Bambino
Bigfoot: Legend or Reality
How the X-43 is the Fastest Jet on Earth
How Knowing God Improves One's Quality of Life
Why the Cuttlefish is the Most Amazing Animal Known
How Aspirin is Beneficial
Why the Traditions of the Masters Make it the Best Tournament of All Time
Why the Who was one of the Greatest Rock Bands of all Time
How Modern Day Pirates are an Immense Threat to Every Docking Point in Samalia
UFOs: Fact or Fiction