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College English II (Writing) aims to draw on students’ understanding of the structure and characteristics of paragraph-level academic writing and to write a paragraph of two different types of academic writing each, depending on the instructor’s selection. Students are further required to write a five to seven paragraph long, fully developed academic essay.
A descriptive paragraph describes something or someone by providing details about how it looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels. It can also describe what something (e.g., event) is and how it happens. Appealing to the reader’s five senses, an effective descriptive paragraph must remind the reader of a picturesque or snapshot like image of the subject. A descriptive paragraph must not be confused with a narrative paragraph, which tells a story about something with plot, setting, and characters.
A narrative paragraph tells a story about the event with the plot, setting, and characters. A story usually consists of a series of events that happened, happen, and will happen.
A comparison paragraph discusses similarities between two or more things, places, events, ideas, etc. A contrast paragraph discusses differences between them.
cause/ effect, problem/ solution, argumentative, process, definition, etc. The detailed information and samples may be added in the near future.
College English II (Writing for Science and Engineering majors) aims to help Science and Engineering majors understand the components and structure of the research paper and present their ideas in the research paper format. Students in the course are required to write one formal email, one paragraph, and one fully developed research paper or two paragraphs and a one research paper. Across instructors, writing a fully developed research paper is a common requirement. The research paper is a final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition. It is neither a simple summary of research nor a simple review of other sources, but analytical and argumentative writing about a specific topic. In the research paper, the author must present what s/he has explored, interpreted, and evaluated related to the research topic in neat and clear language with the well-formed structures. There are two distinct but not contradictory goals of the research paper. From the author’s point of view, the research paper helps him/ her to find and understand the information from raw data, to report findings to the reader and to the community of interest, and to build on the knowledge on the topic. From the reader’s point of view, the research paper helps him/ her to learn from the paper, to build on their understanding, and to use the paper as references for the research. In a broader term, the author communicates with the reader and further to the field of the topic through the research paper. The research paper consists of the following parts: Abstract, Introduction/ Background, Methodology/ Materials and procedures, Results, Discussions, Conclusions, and References. This conventional structure of the research paper is symmetrical in a way that the paper begins with the general information (Introduction) about the topic, narrows down to the specific information about the current research (Methodology and results), and again broadens to the general discussions and conclusions. In the following, the major characteristics of each part are discussed in detail.
Titling is often a neglected task by many authors. The title of the research paper, however, is read the most and often read first and therefore the author must write an effective title for the research paper, taking into account the following objectives of the title. First of all, the title must describe the content of the paper. At the same time, however, the title must make the paper distinct from the others’. The title must also be catchy and draw the reader’s attention. Finally, the title must cue for the reader’s search. The effective title of the paper must be neither too lengthy nor too short and describe the content, purpose, methods of the research. The title of the research paper is usually in the form of the phrase, not of the full sentence. Yet, different from the other sentence forms, the question form can also serve as an effective title.
The abstract in the research paper is a concise summary of the research, which is often called as the miniature of the research paper. It precedes the other parts of the research paper, which is often read by the reader before reading the full paper, and is also often used for the selection for scholarly conferences. The well-written abstract can promote the reader’s access to the research paper and increase chances to be invited for scholarly conferences. Therefore, the abstract must be short so that the reader takes one minute or less to make a decision to further read the full paper. The abstract introduces the purpose of the research, its methods and results, and the conclusions and further implications. Although the abstract precedes the rest of the paper, it is written after the completion of the rest of the paper.
The introduction of the research paper serves as the warm-up for the full research paper. The main goal of the introduction of the research paper is to enable the reader to be ready to understand the research. The well-written introduction, therefore, includes the following components. First, it must state the rationale behind the research and introduce the research topic and purposes. Second, it must describe the importance of the research – how the current work stands out from other work. Third, the introduction must succeed in providing the research background by delineating the theoretical contexts of the research and relating the current research to other prior studies. Fourth, the good introduction must include the experimental design and the structure of the research.
The methodology section must describe what materials and methods are used in order to obtain the data discussed in the paper. Discussing how to collect data in the research paper has two major purposes. First, the validity of data collection methods must be discussed. In other words, the author must present how the data collection was made in order to show the reader whether the methods are acceptable in the field and appropriate for the research question. Second, the information in the methodology will serve to aid other researchers who are interested in the same or similar research question to design their research. Writing methodology in the research paper is different from writing methodology in the laboratory report. When writing the research paper, materials and methods are written in the full sentence format with the regular paragraph format, whereas writing materials and methods in the laboratory report prefers to listing materials and introducing the methods with numbered sentences each step. The methodology does not include too much or too little information. The information given in the methodology section must be enough for reproduction of the similar data. The methodological limitations, if any, must be reported in the methodology section.
The result section reports simple findings from the research. When presenting the results, the author must reserve the further analysis and interpretations of the results for the discussion section. This means that the author must not be biased but be objective when looking at the data and results in the result section. However, the author must report neither raw data nor intermediate calculations. Like the other parts of the research paper, the result section must also be concise and not too wordy. The author can report the results more effectively if employing non-textual elements such as tables and figures, as needed. When using non-textual elements, the author must provide the full information about them in captions and in legends so that tables and figures can be used independent of the main body text and discuss each of them in the body text as well. In the result section, the author must not hesitate to report any negative results. Admitting the limitations of the research may increase the credibility of the research.
This section is often considered the most important in the research paper because the author can demonstrate his/ her ability of critical thinking about the topic and profound interpretations of the results and findings when discussing the results. In discussion, the author must present the importance of the research by providing the interpretations of the results. The discussion section should lead to the conclusion section of the research by providing support for the author’s intended conclusions. In the discussion section, the author should reintroduce the research questions and provide a brief summary of the results before discussing the results so that the reader does not have to go back and forth each section of the paper. When discussing, the author should think about the possible explanations or the underlying mechanisms of the results, compare and/ or connect results from the current research to the other previous ones, consider alternative explanations or interpretations of findings, and provide with suggestions or implications for future research. It is also important that the author must acknowledge limitations in any parts of the current research. Tense in the discussion section is notable. The most parts of the research paper can be written in past tense but the discussion section is mostly written in present tense unless the results in the previous work are presented for comparisons.
This is the summary of the whole research paper. This section is often written as one combined section (discussion and conclusion) in many academic journals and papers. The length of the conclusion section does not need to be long; one well-developed paragraph is more than enough. The conclusion section should highlight key findings and points, try to synthesize the implications of the findings, and discuss their contributions to other research or the field. In addition, the conclusion may invite further research by isolating limitations of the research.
At the end of the research paper, the full information about all the references cited in the text must be provided. All the references listed in the reference section must be cited in the body text. There are many different referencing systems in many academic fields and in many journals. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) system is often used in many social studies and education majors. In the APA format, the author’s last name and the year of publication of the references are written in the text; the full information of the references is provided in the reference section by the alphabetic order of the author’s last name. In many science fields, references are introduced following the numbering system. In other words, the first reference cited in the text is numbered as one and the second as two. In the reference section, the full information of the references is provided in the order that they appear in the text. Following the right format correctly is very important to make the research paper professional and complete.
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