Your curriculum is designed to prepare you for a professional career. No matter what that career may be, you’ll need the ability to follow specific directions, research information, write effectively, convey factual information and ideas to others, maintain ethical standards, think critically, and produce focused, informative documents free of errors. To help you develop and perfect these skills, Penn Foster Schools requires you to complete research projects and writing assignments in many of the courses throughout your curriculum. These projects are related to the specific subject matter you’re studying.
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper should not express the opinion of its writer. It should be a factbased, informative project that’s supported by verifiable information gathered from recognized authoritative sources. Therefore, as you work on a research project, you must gather and evaluate information from various sources to gain enough information to thoroughly understand the concepts and questions asked in the paper. Then, once you understand the concepts, you should write the paper in your own words to inform the reader.
Organization of a Research Project
Your research project may consist of either a topic that you must research and develop into a paper or a series of questions that you must answer. If your project involves a research paper, your paper should have three parts: 1. Introduction. The introduction should be a short paragraph of around three to five sentences in which you clearly state the purpose of your paper. 2. Body. The body should consist of a number of paragraphs in which you develop the purpose you included in the introduction. In the body, you should clearly and completely explain the purpose. To do this, add facts, details, and examples from your research. To write a clear and complete explanation, you should research more than just one Web site or article. Remember: you’re not writing your...
Citations: are not at the end of the paper, but appear within the sentences of the document or as footnotes. If you do not give credit (cite the source) when using someone else’s information or ideas, you’re plagiarizing that person’s work. Plagiarism is unethical behavior and is subject to a grade of -0- and/or disciplinary action. The academic world recognizes several different citation and reference styles. Penn Foster has chosen to use the styles of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA) for research projects. You may choose either style for your project.
The Penn Foster Student Library includes extensive information on research papers in general and citation and references in particular, including the APA and MLA style guides. You can access the library from your Personal Homepage.
The directions for each research project include six sections: Background, Procedure, Goal, Writing Guidelines, Grading Criteria, and Submission. These directions tell you what you are to do to successfully complete your project, as well as how you’ll be graded. Your project will be graded for content, written communication, and format. The value of each element, which varies from project to project, will appear in the project assignment. You must complete the project as directed. Failure to do so will be reflected in your grade. Consider this situation. Suppose you went to a restaurant and ordered a meal of beef steak and potatoes, but the waiter brought you a tuna steak and rice instead. Would you accept that as your order? I imagine you would tell the waiter that it was unacceptable as it was not what you ordered. It might be a very nice meal: well-prepared and presented with high-quality food. However, it was not what you ordered and as such is unacceptable. A research project is similar. It can be very well written, but if it’s not what was assigned, it’s unacceptable. You may now continue with your assignment and/or go to the Penn Foster Library, Guidebooks and Tips section to read the information provided there on Writing a Research Paper, Basics of Citation, MLA and/or APA style. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR PROJECT!
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