How to Start Writing a Research Paper
Use the reference sources below to:
- help define a topic
- place a topic in context
- get an overview of scholarly thought on a topic
- help you focus and develop a thesis for your paper
Articles in reference sources often list articles, books, and websites for further reading, in sections entitled Bibliography, Suggested Reading, Further Information, etc.
How to integrate quotes
Regardless of what citation style you use (eg. APA, MLA, Chicago Style) you will rely on the use of quotes. You will be staking a claim in your paper, and quoting from the published works of others will allow you to back up your claim.
It is generally advisible to introduce your quotes with a little information about the background, education, or expertise of the person being quoted. This information is called a signal phrase. By explaining more about that person's expertise, you are setting the scene for the reader to understand why your information is accurate and valid. Quotes need to be followed by citation information (title or author or page number) must direct the reader to how to find the information in your works-cited list and from there, how to locate the information regardless of where you found it.
There are no hard and fast rules for how much of your paper should be quoted material. It might be advisible to aim for 20% of your work to be quoted material, while the remaining 80% of the material is your own words.