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Learning Resource Center (LRC), Fall2020: Writing/Research Guides

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Executive Director: Kathleen Smith MLIS

Phone: (562) 947-8755 x 367

Email: scuhslibrary@scuhs.edu

 

 

APA Guidelines

APA is the standard set forth by the American Psychological Association. Their mission is to create clear cohesive communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives. APA style manual is the chosen standard for writers, editors, students, and educators in social and behavioral sciences because of the authoritative and easy to use reference and citation system.  

This Research Guide is intended to provide basic rules and tools for utilizing APA Style. 

APA Style has three main parts: 

  • Research Paper Format 
  • In-Text Citation 
  • Reference List 

Helpful Hint! APA Style format is just as important as citations.


Additional Tools 

Take a look at the LRC Writing Guide for more information and tools to assist you in presenting your research. 

Writing Guide 

APA Official Online Resources 


Additional APA Resources 

General Format 

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing). 


Level Headings 

There are five distinct level headings for research papers. 

  1. Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading 
  2. Flush left, Boldface, Upper and Lowercase Heading 
  3. Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period. 
  4. Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period. 
  5. Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading with a period. 

Refer to Table 3.1. p. 62. 
Publican manual of the American Psychological Association. (2016). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Preparing Research Paper for Submission

Typeface: Times New Roman  

Font size: 12 point 

Line Spacing: Double-space

Margins: 1 inch at the top, bottom, left, and right of the page

Line length and alignment: Do not adjust lines

Paragraphs and indentations: Every first line of a paragraph and first line in footnotes, if footnotes are included should be a five to seven space or 1/2 inch (tab). Remaining the lines should be uninformed to the left-hand margin.
   - Exceptions to indentation rule:

  • Abstract
  • Block quotations
  • Titles and headings
  • Table titles and notes
  • Figure captions 

Journal Article Reporting Standards 

Order of Research Document 

Title and Title Page
  • Title 
  • Running head (an abbreviation of the title, no more than 50 characters including letters, punctuation, and spaces)
  • Author/Authors 
  • Institution affiliation 
  • Page number 

Table of Contents (separate page numbered 2)

Abstract (separate page numbered 3) 

  • A single paragraph 120 to 250 words 
  • No indentation 
  • Double spaced 
  • Keywords (information that you want your audience to know, ex. type of research method you used, where the research was conducted, or any information you that will be referenced frequently) 

Introduction (separate page numbered 3)

Method 
Results 
Analysis/ Discussion 
Conclusion 
References (separate page) 

If included: 

  • Tables (Each on a separate page with captions) 
  • Figures (separate page)
  • Appendices (separate page for each)  

**Note, not all professors require all of the pieces of a research paper that is listed here. Requirements set forth by your professor will always supersede instructions provided in these general guidelines. 

Common Misconceptions About Citations

One of the most common problems with citations is what should be cited and how to cite sources. A good rule of thumb is to always cite any idea that is not your own.  

This guide will provide basic information and tools on APA citation rules.


Citation Rules

This section will review APA guidelines for in-text citations and reference format for books, articles, and dissertations.  
  • One Author General Format 
    • In-text citation (paraphrase) 
      • (author surname, year)
  • In-text citation (quotation) 
    • (author surname, year, page number) 

Reference 

  • Author surname, First initial, Second initial. (year). Book title: Subtitle. Place of Publication: Publisher.
    • Example: 
      • In-text citation (paraphrase): 
        • (Halpern, 2011)
  • In-text citation (quotation): 
    • (Halpern, 2011, p. 37)
  • Reference
    • Halpern, M. (2011). Healing Your Life: Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press. 

Edited Book with No Author

The Editors will be used in the text with the date. For reference, the editors will be used in addition to adding Eds in parentheses after the name and before the year published. 

Example 
  • In-text citation 
    • (Dobbs & Sittler, 2016)

Reference 

Dobbs, A. W., & Sittler, R. L. (Eds.). (2016). Integrating LibGuides into Library Websites. 

Lanham, WA: Rowman & Littlefield. 


More Than One Author 

Example

In-text citation 

  • Two authors 
    • (Smith & Jackson, 2017)
  • Three to five authors 
    • The first citation you would list all of the surnames of the authors with the date
    • (Smith, Jackson, Carter, Nixon, & Regan, 2017) 
      • In subsequent citations use the first author's last name followed by "et al.")
      • (Smith et al., 2017)

Reference

  • List all authors by name and initials in the reference list. 
  • Smith, M., Jackson, W., Carter, N., Nixon, J. R., & Regan, R. (2017). The State of the Union. Whittier, CA: University Press. 

Databases 

When citing sources that you find from a Point-of-Care Database (e.g. Dynamed, UptoDate) treat the record as if it was a website. You may need to include a retrieval date if the information you viewed is likely to change over time.   

  • Authors: If the entry does not list the author(s) names, you should use the corporate author (i.e. Dynamed).
  • Dates: Look for the last updated or last revised date usually posted at the top or bottom of the record
  • Retrieved: Include the date you accessed the information

General Format 

  • In-Text Citation
    • (Author Surname, Year/last updated) 
  • References: 
    • Personal or Corporate Author. (Last update if not known, put n.d.). 
      • Title of a specific document. Publisher. Retrieved date from URL database homepage.

DynaMed Plus

 

  • Citing a specific record: 
    • DynMed. (2018). Homeopathy for Asthma. Ipswich, MA): EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved 
  • In-text citation: 
    • (DynaMed, 2018). 

Website

General Format 
  • In-Text Citation 
    • (World Health Organization, 2017)
Reference
  • World Health Organization. (2017). Unsung heroes on World Polio Day. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/2017/world-polio-day/en/. 

Journal Citation 

Print Journal 
  • In-text citation
    • (Author/Authors, year)
  • Example
    • (Loprinzi, 2015)
Reference
  • Author. (year). Title of the article. Title of the periodical. volume number(issue), pages. 
    • Loprinzi, P. D. (2015). Yoga participation and all-cause mortality: National prospective cohort study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 23(6), 757-58. 

Electronic Journal 

  • Author. (year). Title of the article. Title of the periodical. volume number(issue), pages. doi number 

A doi number is a digital object identifier (DOI) this provides a  stable, long-lasting link for online articles. They are unique to the document and consist of a long alphanumeric code. 

  • Example 
    • Rao, R. M., Amritanshu, R., Vinutha, H. T., Vaishnaruby, S., Deepashree, S., Megha, M., & ... Ajaikumar, B. S. (2017). Role of Yoga in Cancer Patients: Expectations, Benefits, and Risks: A Review. Indian Journal Of Palliative Care23(3), 225-230. doi:10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_107_17

Audio-Visual Media 

The basic format for citing video: 

Example:

Author or Producer Last Name, First Name Initial, Director Last Name, First Name Initial. (Date of publication).Title of the video/ movie. Country of Origin: Studio or distributor.

Online video (ex. Youtube): 

Author or Producer Last Name, First Name Initial. (Year, Month Date). Title of the video. Retrieved from URL. 


Figures and Images 

Figures and images need to be cited to avoid plagiarism. This includes any images and figures that retrieved online (ex. websites, databases, image searches).

Citation guidelines for figures/ images in a research paper

Example: 

 Figure#. Caption (A brief explanation of the figure and how it connects to the paper. The caption information should allow the image to stand alone). Title of the work. (Date of last update{Year, Month Day}). Retrieved from URL. 

Online Image

Example: 

Artist's last name, artist's initials. (Year) Title of Work. Retrieved from URL.  

                     

The purpose of tables and figures in documents is to enhance your readers' understanding of the information in the document. However, before  tables  or figures are included in research one must address

  • the necessity for visual material (a table of two or fewer columns and rows should be presented in text format)
  •  relationship of tables or figures and text
  •  documentation, integrity, and independence
  •  lastly organization, consistency, and coherence

This guide will provide basic APA standards on tables and figures in research.


Table Structure

Numbers 
  • Number all tables in the order they are mentioned in the text. 
  • Do not use suffix letters (ex. 1a, 1b, 1c). 
  • Do not write "table above" or "table below"
Titles 
  • Italicize table title 
  • Each table must have a clear and concise title
  • The title can be used to explain a parenthetical (ex. Comparison of Flow Charts (FC) v. Bar Graphs (BG))
Headings 
  • Headings should be clear and brief. 
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the heading 
  • Headings should not be wider than the entry column
  • All columns must have headings, even sub column 
Body 
  • Consistency is key 
  • Be consistent in formatting and vocabulary 
  • Double space entire table 

Notes are placed below the table 
If the table is from another source include that information below the table in notes. 


General Table Structure APA 

Table 1 

Title  

Header

Subhead                                    Colum Head                            Column Head                         Column Head

Row 1                                             100                                              275                                      16.6

Row 2                                             400                                              350                                      15.4    

Row 3                                             800                                              900                                      51.3

Row 4                                            1399                                            1600


Preparing Figures 

  • Do not use special effects 
  • Figures with one column must be between 2 and 3.25 inches wide (5 to 8.45 cm) 
  • Two-columns must be between 4.25 and 6.875 inches wide (10.6 to 17.5 cm)
  • The height should not exceed the top and bottom margins 
  • Text should be san serif font (ex. Helvetica, Arial, or Futura)

Font size must be between eight and fourteen point


Caption and Legends 

Captions and legends appear below the figure. 

  • Include figure number 
    • Example: Figure 1
  • Title 
    • How to create Figures in APA style 
  • Legend 
    • Legend explains symbols 
  • Caption 
    • Captions serve as a brief, but complete explanation

Academic Integrity Code 

According to SCU Policy 5.5.3 Academic Integrity Code The academic community, like all communities, functions best when all its members treat one another with honesty, fairness, respect, and trust. Southern California University of Health Sciences expects high standards of scholarship and integrity from all members of its community. To accomplish its mission of providing an optimal educational environment and developing leaders of society, the University promotes the assumption of personal responsibility and integrity and prohibits all forms of academic dishonesty.
The most common form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism.


Plagiarism 

According to SCU Policy 5.53.1, Plagiarism is defined as failing to acknowledge adequately the source of words or ideas which are not one’s own. When a student submits academic work that includes another’s words, ideas, or data, whether published or unpublished, the source of that information must be acknowledged with complete and accurate references and if verbatim statements are included, with quotation marks as well. Simply put, students should document quotes of others through quotation marks and footnotes or other citation methods. By submitting work as one’s own, a student certifies the originality of all material not otherwise acknowledged. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:
1. The quotation or other use of another person’s words, ideas, opinions, thoughts, or theories (even if paraphrased into one’s own words) without acknowledgment of the source;
202
2. The quotation or other use of facts, statistics, or other data or materials that are not clearly common knowledge without acknowledgment of the source;
3. Copying or buying of all or any portion of another’s academic, research, or creative work — even with the author’s or creator’s knowledge and permission — and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one’s own. This includes material available through the Internet or other electronic sources and any material which has been copyrighted. Students are hereby advised that when such material has been copyrighted, its unauthorized use constitutes not only a breach of academic integrity, but a violation of the law and may incur civil or criminal penalties.


Copyright

Copyright: Legal monopoly that protects published or unpublished original work (for the duration of its author's life plus 50 years) from unauthorized duplication without due credit and compensation. Copyright covers not only books but also advertisements, articles, graphic designs, labels, letters (including emails), lyrics, maps, musical compositions, product designs, etc. According to the major international intellectual-property protection treaties (Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and WIPO Copyright Treaty), five rights are associated with copyright: the right to (1) Reproduce the work in any form, language, or medium. (2) Adopt derive more works from it. (3) Make and distribute its copies. (4) Perform it in public. (5) Display or exhibit it in public. To acquire valid copyright, a work must have originality and some modicum of creativity. However, what is protected under copyright is the 'expression' or 'embodiment' of an idea, and not the idea itself. A copyright is not equivalent of legal-prohibition of plagiarism (which is an unethical and unprofessional conduct, but not an offense), and does not apply to factual information.

Resource: 
copyright (©). BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved August 14, 2017, from BusinessDictionary.com website: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/copyright.html. 

Copyright Policy and Resources 

Copyright Guide

The Seabury Learning Resource Center's copyright page is intended to provide policies, procedures, and guidelines governing the reproduction of copyrighted materials and patrons' responsibility with regard to copyright. All patrons who use LRC materials and resources are expected to comply with applicable copyright laws. For assistance or questions, please contact Kathleen Smith or email scuhslibrary@scuhs.edu.

Campus Copyright Rights and Responsibilities

A Basic Guide to Policy Considerations 

This document was developed by representatives of the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American University Presses, and the Association of American Publishers. These organizations represent sectors which play central roles within higher education in the creation, use, and management of copyrighted works. The principal objective of this project was to bring together these groups, which have different perspectives and often conflicting views on the appropriate use of copyrighted works, to produce a document that conveys their common understanding regarding the basic meaning and practical significance of copyright for the higher education community.
Copyright 2005

Faculty: if there are articles you would like to distribute to your class or use as required reading, please fill out the handout to provide us with complete citations. Submit the form to Kathleen Smith at kathleensmith@scuhs.edu and allow 48 hours for a response.

Writing Guide

Objective

The process of compiling research and writing a paper can cause anxiety, however, with adequate preparation and the right tools apprehension will diminish. This Research Guide is full of resources. From understanding what your professor is asking for, to polish up your final draft, this section includes instructions and tips on all stages of the writing process. Click on the side navigation to find written explanations and a few short videos. 

*This guide is intended to help students organize and write quality research papers for classes taught in the natural sciences. Note, if you have specific questions about a writing assignment, you should seek advice from your professor before you begin. Requirements set forth by your professor will always supersede instructions provided in these general guidelines. 


Need Additional Help?

LRC offers one-on-one research assistance (by appointment)

  • Topic identification 
  • Review of assignment requirements
  • Establish project plans with due dates 
  • One-on-one research training (how to locate articles) 
  • APA formatting 
  • Copyright/ plagiarism check 
  • Presentation and Poster critiques  

Understanding Your Assignment

Key Points

Read your assignment carefully.

Ask for help from your instructor, classmates, or librarian.

Critically Assess The Assignment

  • What am I being asked to do? (provide information, create an argument, analyze a work)
  • Who is the audience? (instructor, classmates, online group)
  • What are the technical details? (due date, length, format, citation style)
  • What research is required, what sources can I use? (books, journals, primary or secondary sources, websites, personal opinions)

Helpful link from UNC-Chapel Hill with the exercise below!


Working Out Your Ideas

  • Do you have any initial responses to the question? What could a possible answer (or answers) be?
  • Do you have any opinions at all about the topic(s)? Write them down, no matter how ‘creative’ or non-academic they may be.
  • What do you already know about the topic(s)? Do you have knowledge that can be built on, such as familiarity with related areas, sources, or frameworks for thinking about similar topics? Write everything down—you may know more than you think.

Further your thinking by ‘questioning the question’. This helps you focus by drawing out sub-questions about the question and topic.

  • Question the terms – Is there a generally agreed-upon response to the question or approach to take?
  • If not, how do different approaches/ theories/ arguments differ? Which ones could/ should you use?
  • What are the key concepts? How do they relate to each other?

Generate ideas through brainstorming. Come up with as many ideas as you can as quickly as you can. Don’t evaluate or discard anything – you can do that later – just jot them down. Use mindmaps, drawings, and lists; whatever comes to mind and stimulates your thinking. Look at what you’ve noted down. Pull out the points that are relevant to the question and discard the rest.


Creating a Project Plan

A good research plan (roughly ten pages) should include the following information: topic, background, objectives, methods, data, and execution. It should also demonstrate that the author is familiar with his/her topic and related research.

  1. Include two parts in your research plan: an abstract (150 words max) and the actual research plan (about ten pages).
  2. In the introduction, introduce readers to the topic, state your reasons for selecting that topic and specify the objectives of the study. Present your topic and state clearly why it is important to study it. Good reasons include a lack of previous research, social significance, practical need, etc. Please bear in mind that an idea is not the same as a topic; to formulate your topic, you must define your subject area, select an approach, familiarize yourself with previous research and place your study in that context. What is already known about the topic?
  3. Introduce the key theoretical premises and main concepts of your study.
  4. Formulate your research problem and related research questions in as much detail as possible. What are you actually studying? Formulate your research questions in such a way that you can answer them
  5. Tell readers how you will answer your research questions. If your study is empirical, your research plan should specify your research data and methods. You can describe them in more detail later, but try to be as specific as possible. How will you access or produce your data? How will you acquire your research subjects? How will you analyze your data?
  6. Consider possible ethical matters. If you are not sure whether your study has any ethical considerations, refer to the guidelines of the Southern California University of Health Sciences Institutional Review https://my.scuhs.edu/ICS/Campus_
    ‚Äč
    Groups/Institutional_Review_Board/.
  7. Outline what new information your study will produce. How and where can this information be used?
  8. Draw up a schedule describing when and how you will conduct your study and when you plan to publish your findings.
  9. Enclose references and a cover sheet stating your name and the title of your study with your research plan.

Strategies for Narrowing the Research Topic 

A common challenge when beginning to write a research paper is determining how to narrow down your topic. Even if your professor gives you a specific topic to study, it will almost never be so specific that you won’t have to narrow it down at least to some degree [besides, grading fifty papers that are all about the exact same thing is very boring!].

A topic is too broad to be manageable when you find that you have too many different, and oftentimes conflicting or only remotely related, ideas about how to investigate the research problem. Although you will want to start the writing process by considering a variety of different approaches to studying the research problem, you will need to narrow the focus of your investigation at some point early in the writing process. This way, you don't attempt to do too much in one paper.

Here are some strategies to help narrow your topic into something more manageable:

  • Aspect -- choose one lens through which to view the research problem, or look at just one facet of it [e.g., rather than studying the role of food in Eastern religious rituals, study the role of food in Hindu ceremonies, or, the role of one particular type of food among several religions].
  • Components -- determine if your initial variable or unit of analysis can be broken into smaller parts, which can then be analyzed more precisely [e.g., a study of tobacco use among adolescents can focus on just chewing tobacco rather than all forms of usage or, rather than adolescents in general, focus on female adolescents in a certain age range who choose to use tobacco].
  • Methodology -- the way in which you gather information can reduce the domain of interpretive analysis needed to address the research problem [e.g., a single case study can be designed to generate data that does not require as extensive an explanation as using multiple cases].
  • Place -- generally, the smaller the geographic unit of analysis, the more narrow the focus [e.g., rather than study trade relations in West Africa, study trade relations between Niger and Cameroon as a case study that helps to explain problems in the region].
  • Relationship -- ask yourself how do two or more different perspectives or variables relate to one another. Designing a study around the relationships between specific variables can help constrict the scope of analysis [e.g., cause/effect, compare/contrast, contemporary/historical, group/individual, male/female, opinion/reason, problem/solution].
  • Time -- the shorter the time period of the study, the more narrow the focus [e.g., the study of trade relations between Niger and Cameroon during the period of 2010 - 2016].
  • Type -- focus your topic in terms of a specific type or class of people, places, or phenomena [e.g., a study of developing safer traffic patterns near schools can focus on SUVs, or just student drivers, or just the timing of stoplights in the area].
  • Combination -- use two or more of the above strategies to focus your topic very narrowly.

NOTE: Apply one of the above strategies first to determine if that gives you a manageable research problem to investigate. You will know if the problem is manageable by reviewing the literature on this more specific problem and assessing whether prior research on the narrower topic is sufficient to move forward in your study [i.e., not too much, not too little]. Be careful, however, because combining multiple strategies risks creating the opposite problem--your problem becomes too narrowly defined and you can't locate enough research or data to support your study.

Resources

  •  Booth, W. C. (2016). The Craft of Research (4th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Coming Up With Your Topic. (n.d.). Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College.
  • Labaree, R. V. (n.d.). Research Guides: Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Narrowing a Topic Idea. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/narrowtopic.
  • Narrowing a Topic. (n.d.).  Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas.
  • Narrowing a Topic. Writing @CSU. (n.d.). Colorado: Colorado State University. 
  • Strategies for Narrowing a Topic. University Libraries.Information Modules. (n.d.). Blacksburg, Virginia: Virginia Tech University. 
  • The Process of Writing a Research Paper. Department of History. (n.d.). Peterborough, Ontario: Trent University. 
  • Ways to Narrow Down a Topic. OpenCourseWare. (n.d.).  Logan, Utah: Utah State. 

Research Planning

Research Design is a detailed outline of how an investigation will take place. A research design typically includes how data will be collected, what instruments will be employed, how the instruments will be used and the intended means for analyzed data collected. 

With this in mind, the length and complexity of describing research designs in your paper can vary considerably, however, a well-developed design will achieve the following:  

  • Identify the research problem clearly and justify its selection, particularly in relation to any valid alternative designs that could have been used,
  • Review and synthesize previously published literature associated with the research problem,
  • Clearly and explicitly specify hypotheses [i.e., research questions] central to the problem,
  • Effectively describe the data which will be necessary for adequate testing of the hypotheses and explain how such data will be obtained, and
  • Describe the methods of analysis to be applied to the data in determining whether or not the hypotheses are true or false.

Research Methods 

Empirical Studies 

Literature Review 

  • Includes research syntheses and meta-analysis, critical evaluations of material that has already been published. 
  • Literature Review 

Theoretical Articles 

Methodological Articles 

  • Authors present new methodological approaches, modifications of existing methods, or discussions of quantitative and data analytics approaches to the community of researchers. 
  • Methodology 

Case Studies 

Resources 

research design. BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from BusinessDictionary.com website: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/research-design.html. 

Online Grammar Tools

The RADAR Framework can help you remember what kinds of questions you should be asking about an information source as you evaluate it for quality and usefulness in your research.

 
The rationale is important because books, articles, and web pages are made to serve a purpose. They can educate, entertain, or sell a product or point of view. Some sources may be frivolous or commercial in nature, providing inaccurate, false, or biased information. Other sources are more ambiguous about any potential partiality. Varied points of view can be valid as long as they are based on good reasoning and careful use of evidence.
  1. Why did the author or publisher make this information available? Is there a sponsor or advertising?  Who pays to help make this information available?
  2. Are alternative points of view presented?
  3. Does the author omit any important facts or data that might disprove their claim?
  4. Does the author use strong emotional language?  Are there other emotional clues such as all caps?
Authority is important in judging the credibility of the author's assertions. In a trial regarding DNA evidence, a jury would find a genetics specialist's testimony far more authoritative compared to testimony from a random person off the street.
  1. What are the author's credentials?
  2. Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or a prominent organization?
  3. Can you find information about the author in reference books or on the Internet?
  4. Do other books or articles on the same research topic cite the author?
  5. Is the publisher of the information source reputable? Search by publisher name (peer-reviewed journal or reputable publisher)
  6. If it's on the Internet, is it fabricated or intended as satire?  Check the "About" page and google it with the word "fake" to make sure it's legit.

 

Date, or currency, is important to note because information can quickly become obsolete. Supporting your research with facts that have been superseded by new research or recent events weakens your argument. Not all assignments require the most current information; older materials can provide valuable information such as a historical overview of your topic. In some disciplines, the date of the source is less important, while in others it is very important.

 

  1. When was the information published or last updated?
  2. Have newer articles been published on your topic?
  3. Are links or references to other sources up-to-date?
  4. Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology or science?
  5. Is the information obsolete?
Accuracy is important because errors and untruths distort a line of reasoning. When you present inaccurate information, you undermine your own credibility.
  1. Are there statements you know to be false?  Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable outlet reporting the same thing.
  2. Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?  Was it fact-checked?  How do you know?
  3. Do the citations and references support the author's claim? Are the references correctly cited?  Follow the links.  If there are no references or bad references, this could be a red flag.
  4. What do other people have to say on the topic? Is there general agreement among subject experts?
  5. If applicable, is there a description of the research method used? Does the method seem appropriate and well-executed?
  6. Was item published by a peer-reviewed journal, academic press, or other reliable publishers?
  7. If there are pictures, were they photo-shopped in?  Use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see where an image really comes from.
  8. For trusted websites, what is the domain?  Fake sites often add ".co" to trusted brands (e.g. absnews.com.co)

 

Relevance is important because you are expected to support your ideas with pertinent information. A source detailing Einstein's marriage would not be very relevant to a paper about his scientific theories.

 

  1. Does the information answer your research question?
  2. Does the information meet the stated requirements for the assignment?
  3. Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
  4. Who is the intended audience?
  5. Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?
  6. Is the information focused on the geographical location you are interested in?

 

Adapted from:

Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal Of Information Science, 39, 470-478. doi:10.1177/0165551513478889

Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. (2010, September 17). Evaluating information-Applying the CRAAP test. Retrieved from http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf

After viewing the guide, attempt the Writing Activity below for further practice and then do the RADAR CHALLENGE, an exercise for analyzing an academic source in depth.  

Abstract 

A brief summary of the research contents 
Provides quick information about the topic including problem, methodology, participants (if any),  findings, and conclusion.  
Qualities of a good abstract:

  • Accurate 
  • Non-evaluative 
  • Coherent and readable 
    • Active Voice 
    • The present verb tense to describe conclusions 
    • Past verb tense to describe specific variables manipulates or outcomes measures
  • Concise 

Annotated Bibliography 

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.). An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/ or evaluation of each other sources. Depending on the assignment, your annotation may do one or more of the following:

  • Summarize
  • Assess 
  • Reflect

Annotated bibliographies are useful when organizing sources for research projects. 


Additional Resources 

Abstract Annotated Bibliography 

Tips That Will Make Your Abstract a Success! 

  • Wordvice is your one-stop shop for English proofreading and editing services.

Abstract Tips and Tools 

  • The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill constructed an Abstracts: Tips and Tools handout.

How to Write an Abstract

  • Verywell mind is your source for reliable, understandable information on hundreds of health and wellness topics that always keeps the reasons you come to us in mind. 

Annotated Bibliography Samples 

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab 

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography     

  • A video tutorial from the University of Maryland, University College Library                                                                                                                                                  

Thesis Formulation 

A thesis statement is the main idea, central message, or point of your paper/ research. A thesis statement focuses your idea in one or two sentences. It should present the topic of discussion, a brief comment about your position on the topic, and what the paper/ research is about. The thesis statement also provides a guide for your writing to keep your argument focused.   

Preparing for Research Paper Submission 

Typeface: Times New Roman  

Font size: 12 point 

Line Spacing: Double-space

Margins: 1 inch at the top, bottom, left, and right of the page

Line length and alignment: Do not adjust lines

Paragraphs and indentations: Every first line of a paragraph and first line in footnotes, if footnotes are included should be a five to seven space or 1/2 inch (tab). Remaining the lines should be uninformed to the left-hand margin.
   

Exceptions to indentation rule:

  • Abstract
  • Block quotations
  • Titles and headings
  • Table titles and notes 
  • Figure captions 

Additional Tools

Why Revisions are Necessary 

Revising a paper means to take another look at it. This is more than a simple proofread, this is an opportunity for you to look at your paper critically: reconsidering your arguments, reviewing your evidence, refining your purpose, reorganizing your presentation, fix any grammatical errors, and address any APA  formatting issues. 


Working as a Team

Group projects are assigned to deepen your understanding of the course material, in addition to expanding personal and teamwork skills. 

Project Planning

Project planning is the establishment of the research scope and defining the objective. For best results, the team should create a shared project plan, also known as a project management plan, that contains the scope, objective, and the task needed to accomplish the objective. 

Since project plans are essential for the group to reference the look and content will vary.