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Selecting Your Topic

What follows is a hypothetical example of a research paper based on an experiment. Say you have just conducted the Milgram Study. Now you want to write the research paper for it. Milgram actually waited two years before writing about his study.

This article is not written by Stanley Milgram, but is intended as an example of a psychology research paper that someone might have written after conducting the first Milgram-study. It's presented here for educational purposes. Normally you would use double spacing in the paper. Most theories suggest that only very disturbed people are capable of administering pain to an ordinary citizen if they are ordered to do so. Our experiment tested people's obedience to authority.

The results showed that most obey all orders given by the authority-figure, despite their unwillingness. The conclusion is that, contrary to common belief, personal ethics mean little when pitted against authority. Current theories focus on personal characteristics to explain wrong-doing and how someone can intentionally harm others. The author wanted to test this claim.

Can people harm others because they are merely obeying orders? Can people be ordered to act against their moral convictions? The experiment will test whether a person can keep administering painful electric shocks to another person just because they are ordered to do so.

The expectation is that very few will keep giving shocks, and that most participants will disobey the order. Participants There were 30 male participants. Instruments A "shock generator" was used to trick the participants into thinking that they were giving an electric shock to another person in another room. The shock generator had switches labeled with different voltages, starting at 30 volts and increasing in volt increments all the way up to volts.

The switches were also labeled with terms which reminded the participant of how dangerous the shocks were. Procedures The participant met another "participant" in the waiting room before the experiment.

The other "participant" was an actor. Each participant got the role as a "teacher" who would then deliver a shock to the actor "learner" every time an incorrect answer to a question was produced. The participant believed that he was delivering real shocks to the learner.

The learner would pretend to be shocked. As the experiment progressed, the teacher would hear the learner plead to be released and complain about a heart condition.

Once the volt level had been reached, the learner banged on the wall and demanded to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions.

The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock. When asking the experimenter if they should stop, they were instructed to continue. Of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks.

All 40 participants continued to give shocks up to volts. Written and oral communications skills are probably the most universal qualities sought by graduate and professional schools as well as by employers. You alone are responsible for developing such skills to a high level.

Before you begin your first writing assignment, please consult all of the following resources, in order to gain the most benefit from the experience. For Biosciences majors the general guidelines apply to future course work, as can be seen by examining the guidelines for the advanced experimental sciences research paper Bioc An objective of organizing a research paper is to allow people to read your work selectively. When I research a topic, I may be interested in just the methods, a specific result, the interpretation, or perhaps I just want to see a summary of the paper to determine if it is relevant to my study.

To this end, many journals require the following sections, submitted in the order listed, each section to start on a new page. There are variations of course. Some journals call for a combined results and discussion, for example, or include materials and methods after the body of the paper. The well known journal Science does away with separate sections altogether, except for the abstract.

Your papers are to adhere to the form and style required for the Journal of Biological Chemistry, requirements that are shared by many journals in the life sciences. Specific editorial requirements for submission of a manuscript will always supercede instructions in these general guidelines. Select an informative title as illustrated in the examples in your writing portfolio example package. Include the name s and address es of all authors, and date submitted. An abstract is a concise single paragraph summary of completed work or work in progress.

In a minute or less a reader can learn the rationale behind the study, general approach to the problem, pertinent results, and important conclusions or new questions.

Write your summary after the rest of the paper is completed. After all, how can you summarize something that is not yet written? Economy of words is important throughout any paper, but especially in an abstract.

However, use complete sentences and do not sacrifice readability for brevity. You can keep it concise by wording sentences so that they serve more than one purpose. For example, "In order to learn the role of protein synthesis in early development of the sea urchin, newly fertilized embryos were pulse-labeled with tritiated leucine, to provide a time course of changes in synthetic rate, as measured by total counts per minute cpm.

The writer can now go directly to summarizing the results. Summarize the study, including the following elements in any abstract. Try to keep the first two items to no more than one sentence each. The purpose of an introduction is to aquaint the reader with the rationale behind the work, with the intention of defending it. It places your work in a theoretical context, and enables the reader to understand and appreciate your objectives.

The abstract is the only text in a research paper to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points. Approaches vary widely, however for our studies the following approach can produce an effective introduction. This should be the easiest section to write, but many students misunderstand the purpose.

The objective is to document all specialized materials and general procedures, so that another individual may use some or all of the methods in another study or judge the scientific merit of your work.

It is not to be a step by step description of everything you did, nor is a methods section a set of instructions. In particular, it is not supposed to tell a story. By the way, your notebook should contain all of the information that you need for this section.

The purpose of a results section is to present and illustrate your findings. Make this section a completely objective report of the results, and save all interpretation for the discussion. You must clearly distinguish material that would normally be included in a research article from any raw data or other appendix material that would not be published. In fact, such material should not be submitted at all unless requested by the instructor.

The objective here is to provide an interpretation of your results and support for all of your conclusions, using evidence from your experiment and generally accepted knowledge, if appropriate. The significance of findings should be clearly described.

Interpret your data in the discussion in appropriate depth. This means that when you explain a phenomenon you must describe mechanisms that may account for the observation. If your results differ from your expectations, explain why that may have happened. If your results agree, then describe the theory that the evidence supported. It is never appropriate to simply state that the data agreed with expectations, and let it drop at that.

The biggest mistake that students make in discussions is to present a superficial interpretation that more or less re-states the results. It is necessary to suggest why results came out as they did, focusing on the mechanisms behind the observations. Please note that in the introductory laboratory course, you will not be required to properly document sources of all of your information.

One reason is that your major source of information is this website, and websites are inappropriate as primary sources. Second, it is problematic to provide a hundred students with equal access to potential reference materials.

You may nevertheless find outside sources, and you should cite any articles that the instructor provides or that you find for yourself. Copyright and Intended Use Visitors: Resources for learning technical writing Before you begin your first writing assignment, please consult all of the following resources, in order to gain the most benefit from the experience.

General form of a typical research article Specific guidelines if any for the assignment — see the writeups on individual lab studies McMillan, VE. ISBN REQUIRED for Bioc , , recommended for other science courses that include writing Writing portfolio examples pdf As you polish up your writing skills please make use of the following resources Instructor feedback on previous assignments Common errors in student research papers Selected writing rules somewhat less serious than the other resources For Biosciences majors the general guidelines apply to future course work, as can be seen by examining the guidelines for the advanced experimental sciences research paper Bioc General form of a research paper An objective of organizing a research paper is to allow people to read your work selectively.

General style Specific editorial requirements for submission of a manuscript will always supercede instructions in these general guidelines. To make a paper readable Print or type using a 12 point standard font, such as Times, Geneva, Bookman, Helvetica, etc. Stay focused on the research topic of the paper Use paragraphs to separate each important point except for the abstract Indent the first line of each paragraph Present your points in logical order Use present tense to report well accepted facts - for example, 'the grass is green' Use past tense to describe specific results - for example, 'When weed killer was applied, the grass was brown' Avoid informal wording, don't address the reader directly, and don't use jargon, slang terms, or superlatives Avoid use of superfluous pictures - include only those figures necessary to presenting results Title Page Select an informative title as illustrated in the examples in your writing portfolio example package.

Abstract The summary should be two hundred words or less. See the examples in the writing portfolio package. General intent An abstract is a concise single paragraph summary of completed work or work in progress. Writing an abstract Write your summary after the rest of the paper is completed. Purpose of the study - hypothesis, overall question, objective Model organism or system and brief description of the experiment Results, including specific data - if the results are quantitative in nature, report quantitative data; results of any statistical analysis shoud be reported Important conclusions or questions that follow from the experiment s Style: Single paragraph, and concise As a summary of work done, it is always written in past tense An abstract should stand on its own, and not refer to any other part of the paper such as a figure or table Focus on summarizing results - limit background information to a sentence or two, if absolutely necessary What you report in an abstract must be consistent with what you reported in the paper Corrrect spelling, clarity of sentences and phrases, and proper reporting of quantities proper units, significant figures are just as important in an abstract as they are anywhere else Introduction Your introductions should not exceed two pages double spaced, typed.

General intent The purpose of an introduction is to aquaint the reader with the rationale behind the work, with the intention of defending it. Writing an introduction The abstract is the only text in a research paper to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points. Describe the importance significance of the study - why was this worth doing in the first place? Provide a broad context. Defend the model - why did you use this particular organism or system?

What are its advantages? You might comment on its suitability from a theoretical point of view as well as indicate practical reasons for using it. State your specific hypothesis es or objective s , and describe the reasoning that led you to select them. Very briefy describe the experimental design and how it accomplished the stated objectives. Use past tense except when referring to established facts.

After all, the paper will be submitted after all of the work is completed. Organize your ideas, making one major point with each paragraph. If you make the four points listed above, you will need a minimum of four paragraphs.

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What is a Research Paper? "Research paper." What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the "treasure" of others' thoughts?

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Writing Research Papers. Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Gene Fowler.

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Writing a Research Paper. This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper. Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide. HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE RESEARCH PAPER • Getting ready with data • First draft • Structure of a scientific paper • Selecting a journal • Submission.

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Custom Research Papers Writing Site Online. Custom research paper writing is on the top of the trend among high school, college and university students today. What follows is a hypothetical example of a research paper based on an experiment.