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A research paper is a written discussion based on an analytical thesis supported by a collection of ideas and information This information is gathered from materials that others have written In one paper you will be presenting the information you have found from many different sources Your personal creativity will be shown by the strength of the thesis you develop the organization of your materials your presentation of the paper and how you use your sources A research paper presents ideas and facts you have found through the reading of various materials to support your thesis This information is presented according to a prescribed method and covers a limited topic Remember presenting the words ideas or opinions of someone else as ones own is plagiarism This is illegal When quoting directly from a source use quotation marks and repeat the source exactly including punctuation Be sure to give credit to the source by citing it in the text of your paper and in your work cited page bibliography Give credit also when paraphrasing Unless your instructor assigns the topic the best procedure to follow is to select several possible topics and determine the amount of information that is available on each You may be limited in your topic choice by the resources available that support a single idea The best research paper is one that is based on many sources To find material for your paper you will be expected to make use of all the reference materials in the library and through electronic sources After considering several topics determining the material available and deciding the length of your paper narrow your topic to a specific subject of a general topic 1 Examples of non-literary topics reached by narrowing the broad topic of The Presidency a The changing role of the president in relation to the Congress over the past fifty years b How John
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