UB Databases

use one of the topics below or choose your own

As much as possible, all of the information for your research paper should come from the UB Databases. There are two reasons for this requirement. The first is that using the UB databases avoids information written by special interest groups that often is not objective. The second is that knowledge of UB databases or library databases are skills you will use in other courses.

Your research paper must be four to six pages long followed by a Works Cited page. It must have a scholarly topic, be written in Standard English, and follow the form and format of MLA standards. “Setup Microsoft Word in MLA Format” explains how.

Here are minimum standards for your paper’s format.
• Your paper should be double-spaced with one inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
• Your paper should have a header that appears on every page.
• A name block should appear at the top of the first page only.
• Your paper must have a title that is properly capitalized.
• Quotations longer than four lines should be indented.
• Every quotation, summary, or paraphrase should be introduced using signal phrases and/or followed by in-text citations.
• Your Works Cited page should start on a separate page. It should be alphabetized by the authors’ last names and properly indented. The works cited page at the end should only contain the citations for work named in an in-text citation.

The title of your research paper should name your topic or thesis in a few words. Your introductory paragraph should include four pieces of information.
• It must name your topic
• State your research question.
• State your thesis, which is a specific answer to your research question.
Explain the importance or relevance of your topic to the reader.

A second and perhaps third paragraph of your paper should present background information that your reader may not know. Background information should provide
• the history,
• context,
• definitions,
• And/or examples that your reader must have to understand your paper.

After you have written the introductory paragraph and paragraphs to present background and define terms, every other paragraph in your paper should substantiate your thesis. You can substantiate your thesis by
• Presenting information that supports your thesis
• Presenting information that refutes alternative theses.
• Your paper should do both.
• A final paragraph should summarize the evidence you have provided to substantiate your thesis.

Every paragraph in your paper must have a topic sentence, although the topic sentence might not be the first sentence in the paragraph. All of the other sentences in a paragraph must concern the topic sentence. If the reader reads the first paragraph of your paper and reads each of your topic sentences, your argument will become clear. Be sure that every topic sentence supports your thesis. If a topic sentence does not support your thesis, the entire paragraph should be left out of your paper.

The body paragraphs of your research paper should consist of the points you intend to make to convince your readers to agree with your argument about the topic. All statements should be backed up with quotes, paraphrases or scenarios from research in order to strengthen them.

Paragraphs should be introduced using transitional phrases that move the writing along from one point to the next. You can download a list of transitional phrases to help you with this important task.

• The ARC on the 5th Fl of Wahlstrom Library Bldg provides tutoring help as does etutoring.org when you upload your paper to etutoring.org

Write an evaluative or definitional research paper of at least 1000 words.
Research opinions on one of the following topics; you may write either the evaluative or definitional essay. Describe the stances or positions supported by at least two different, interested parties. Then, use the information that you gather to assert your own evaluative or definitional argument; your outside resources should supply support for your criteria. Use scholarly resources, not just the Internet. You should have a minimum of at least 3 unique sources.

Evaluative Argument
An evaluative argument takes the form:

X is/is not good/bad because it meets/fails to meet criteria A, B, C, etc.

Topic: Measuring Intelligence
I’ll bet you can guess that some groups of people perform better on the THEA, TAKS, ACT, SAT, and IQ tests. Scientists have long recognized gender and racial disparities in intelligence and standardized test scores. The cause for that disparity—genetic, environmental, or a combination of both—is a matter of great debate. Research to learn about various means of measuring intelligence. Then evaluate current methods to determine which method makes the best measure of human intelligence.

Topic: “More Religion, but Not the Old-Time Kind,” by Laurie Goodstein (Handout)
Goodstein is the religion editor for the New York Times. Her contention is that fundamentalism in any religion is not on the rise because it is associated with violence and extremism and that evangelicalism which is open to sharing with others is growing in popularity globally; in fact, she says the largest growing religion is the Pentecostal wing of Christianity with its spirit-filled worship and miracle healing. Evaluate this argument to find out if her claim is true that fundamentalism (both Christian and non-Christian) is being replaced globally and in America with a rise in the evangelical and pentecostal wings of Christianity. Use research to agree with or refute her argument. You may use her essay as part of your research of this topic.

Definitional Argument.

A definitional argument takes the form:
X is/is not a Y because it meets/fails to meet criteria A, B, C, etc.

Topic: Immature, Naughty, or Mentally ill Kids?
Over the last 15 years, doctors have been prescribing drugs for many behavioral problems, such as ADHD and bipolar disorder. But, recently, scientists have found that many children with ADHD have brains that develop more slowly—this suggests that these kids will simply outgrow ADHD. For many children prescription drugs offer tremendous help with school and social skills while for others, medication may be unnecessary. Some people argue that we simply medicate children rather than use more traditional means of discipline (such as leaving children back in school or using corporal punishment). What defines a normal child’s behavior as opposed to the behavior of a child with a psychological problem? You may limit your research to one or two behavioral concerns.

Topic: What is a Man or a Woman?
In the Teena Brandon movie starring Hilary Swank, a transgender teenager tries to live as a boy although she was born with a female body, and dies at the hands of a teenage gang. How do people like Teena fit into definitions of male and female and how should society relate to them?

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