Now that you have gathered sources for your paper, it's time to start reading what you've found. Here are a few tips that may be helpful.
Think about the structure of your research paper, including any subtopics you will be addressing. If you are required to follow a specific format, be sure to include all the components. Will you need an abstract or a literature review, for instance?
OWL at Purdue Why and how to create a useful outline.
Creating an Outline for a Research Paper video by Heather Zink, online instructor at Rasmussen College.
How to Read a Scholarly Article video from Western University Libraries
Developing a Thesis Statement from the Writer's Handbook at the University of Wisconsin Madison Writing Center
Creating a Good Thesis Statement video from The Center for Academic Achievement at East Tennessee State University.
How to Read a Scholarly Science and Technology Article PowerPoint tutorial by Lloyd Wedes, MLS, Library Director, Devry University, Houston Metro
The Thesis Statement:
A Strong Thesis Statement:
Three Parts to a Thesis Statement:
Evolution of a thesis statement:
You might begin with a statement that is too broad and does not make a claim, like the fragment below -
Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.
The statement below is better, as it expresses a claim, but it continues to be vague. The reader does not have a clear idea of what the paper will be about.
More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.
The next statement can not be considered a thesis statement, as it merely reports a statistic without making a claim.
Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.
Of the four statements, the one below is the better thesis statement, as it provides the reader with a clear and specific topic, states the writer's assertion, and supports the claim with evidence
Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.
Is the author an expert in this area of study? Is the article writen in a neutral tone, without evidence of bias? Is the author's motivation for writing this article one of sharing new information with others in the field? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may have reason to be sceptical of the author's claims.
What is the author contributing to the scholarship? Scholars conduct research and write up their research in scholarly journals in order to advance their profession. Scholarly articles contribute something original, correct past misunderstandings, include a new variable or apply a theory in a new way. Pinpoint the author's claim. Be sure this claim works within the context of your paper.
Most scientific articles follow this structure: