Writing a Research Paper: Conducting Focused Research, keeping meticulous notes

  • periodical indexes and articles
  • texts and other sources
  • interviews/questionnaires;observation
  • further computer searches
  • the MUN Libraries online Research Help resources (Doing Research from a Distance may be especially helpful)

As you engage in your focused research you should be taking systematic notes, ideally on index cards because these can be arranged and rearranged as you identify possible connections between pieces of your evidence. Indeed, your index cards, when you have finally organized them into a useable arrangement, can greatly assist you in creating a formal outline for your paper!

Let us assume that you were successful in locating published work on these facets of your topic:

  • Newspaper coverage of the Ebonics issue that portrays Ebonics as slang.
  • Newspaper coverage of the Ebonics issue that associates African-Americans with dialect, poverty, poor school performance and crime.
  • Scholarly articles analyzing African-American dialect - as well as other American variants of "standard" English - in terms of linguistic, social, historical, cultural and geographical influences.

Now, once you have carefully considered the evidence you have gathered through focused research, you should be ready to turn your research question into a working thesis statement.