Academic Research and Writing

Linda Bergmann  
Februar 2010
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Academic Research and Writing
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Guiding students through the research process and helping them build the skills they need for effective research, Academic Research and Writing: Inquiry and Argument in College presents a highly accessible look at the complex issues that typically come up in reading and constructing research projects.


Academic Research and Writing: Inquiry and Argument in College shows students that research is important beyond the classroom and is a necessary component in any career. Beginning with coverage of skills and techniques, this comprehensive text then moves into specific kinds of academic research tasks, showing the generic features and constraints of academic writing. The main issues necessary for understanding how to read and construct research projects are discussed, including plagiarism, copyright and patents, conventions used by different discourse communities, and how writers use sources in different ways. The result is that students are drawn into the thinking process involved in research.



  • Beginning chapters cover broad skills/techniques while later chapters cover specific research tasks and show the generic features and constraints of academic writing.
  • Important problems/issues researchers face in reading and constructing research projects are discussed, including judging the reliability of sources (particularly online sources and intellectual property), copyright and patents, and conventions used by different discourse communities. Coverage of plagiarism is extremely complete and teaches students how to break out of “inadvertently” plagiarizing.
  • A combination of long and short Assignments throughout contain a mix of individual and group work to help students build skills as they learn how to go about the research process. Assignments are clearly explained, give students practice in reading and writing from sources, and support students moving through the development of a set of writings.
  • Located throughout each chapter, Readings challenge students, pique their interests, and offer discussions of pertinent points. Readings are accessible, varied, and support the surrounding discussion in the text.
  • Material on oral presentations, punctuating quotations, and MLA style is located in three appendices, giving more flexibility in constructing their syllabus and in responding to needs as they arise in classroom discussions or in student writing.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 Argument in Academic Writing: Some Essential Concepts

Three Appeals in Argument: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Consensus and Controversy

Paradigms and Warrants

The Structure of an Academic Argument

            Focus Points Understanding Arguments

            Example 1.1 An Argument In Biological Ethics

            Example 1.2 An Argument In Sociology

            Example 1.3 An Argument In Educational Administration

            Example 1.4 An Argument In English Studies

Visual Elements in Academic Arguments

Argument and Persuasion


            Focus Points Common Logical Fallacies

            Focus Points Emotional Fallacies

Visual Fallacies



CHAPTER 2 Reading, Evaluating, and Responding to Arguments

Reading for Cues to Audience, Purpose, and Significance

Cues to Audience: (Who Are “We”?)

Cues to Purpose

Cues to Significance

Annotating Readings

        Focus Points Reading Arguments

Reading for the Argument in a Sample Opinion Piece

Evaluating Sources

Arguments and Expertise: Peer Review

        Focus Points Evaluating Sources

Evaluating the Relevance of Sources

Evaluating Online Sources

        Focus Points Evaluating Materials on the Web

Finding the Most Reliable, Relevant, and Useful Sources for Academic Research

Additional Sources for Evaluating Materials

Responding to (and in) Academic Writing

        Focus Points Shaping Your Responses



CHAPTER 3 Using Academic Sources Responsibly: Understanding Plagiarism

Plagiarism and Professional Ethics

Faculty and Plagiarism

Students and Plagiarism

Some Reasons Students Plagiarize

Avoiding Plagiarism

Using Sources to Establish Trust and Community

Broader Issues of Intellectual Property: Who Owns Ideas?

        Focus Points Original Ideas and Common Knowledge

Plagiarism and Imitation

Plagiarism and Copyright

Plagiarism, Collaboration, and Trust

Using Sources to Enter the Conversation in a Field



CHAPTER 4 Moving from Inquiry to Argument

Making Choices About Topics

The Ethics of Recycling Your Own Writing

Finding a Topic for Inquiry

Step 1: Decide on an Area of Interest

Step 2: List Preliminary Questions

Step 3: Talk It Over

Step 4: Browse and Skim

Step 5: Choose Relevant Sources

Taking Effective Notes

        Focus Points Taking Research Notes from Text

Collecting Reference Information

Example 4.1 Sample Preliminary Notes For Paper On Plagiarism

Example 4.2 Sample Preliminary Notes For Paper On International Teaching Assistants

Deciding on an Appropriate Level of Detail

Real-Time Note-Taking

        Focus Points Real-Time Note-Taking

Moving from Notes and Responses to Argument: Finding a Preliminary Thesis

Example 4.3 Revised Thesis Question For A Paper On Plagiarism

Example 4.4 Revised Thesis Question For A Paper On International Teaching Assistants

Example 4.5 Preliminary Thesis For Paper On Plagiarism

Example 4.6 Preliminary Thesis For Paper On International Teaching Assistants

Using Your Notes and Responses: Moving from Thinking to Proposing

Proposing Research

Drafting a Research Project Proposal

        Focus Points Proposal Questions

        Focus Points Drafting an Effective Project Proposal

        Example 4.7 Sample Proposal For An Inquiry About Plagiarism

        Example 4.8 Sample Proposal For An Inquiry About International Teaching Assistants

Revising a Proposal

        Focus Points Self-Evaluation for Revising the Proposal



CHAPTER 5 Using the Library and Its Databases Effectively

Learning to Navigate the Library

Research Tools on the Library Site

        Focus Points Effective Searching Practices

Search Engines and Databases

Popular Sources Online

Web Sites and Blogs

Unreliable Web Sites

Resources for Researchers on the Web

Indexes and Databases

Starting Online Library Research

Searching by Author

Searching by Key Words

        Focus Points Searching by Key Words

Keeping Track of Sources

Constructing a Working Bibliography

MLA and APA Styles

Formatting References

        Example 5.1 A Working Bibliography In Mla Style For A Paper On Plagiarism



CHAPTER 6 Using Sources Effectively

Skills for Academic Inquiry: Quotation, Paraphrase, Summary, and Synthesis


        Focus Points Using Quotations

        Focus Points Punctuating Quotations

Authors' Names

Short Quotations

Long Quotations

Punctuating Introductions to Quotations

Quotes within Quotes

Sentence-Ending Punctuation

Paraphrasing Effectively

Summarizing Appropriately

Focus Points Effective Summarizing

A Simple Format for Learning to Summarize

        Example 6.1 Building The Summary

        Example 6.2 A More Detailed Summary

How Purpose Affects Summary

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

        Focus Points Strategies for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

        Example 6.3 Sample Annotated Bibliography For A Paper On Plagiarism

Moving from Summary to Synthesis: Establishing Relationships

        Focus Points Sample Topic Sentences for Syntheses

        Example 6.4 Synthesizing Warrants

Reviewing the Literature

        Focus Points Working with the Literature

Writing a Literature Review

        Focus Points Writing a Literature Review

        Focus Points Revising a Literature Review

Reviewing the History of Knowledge within a Field

        Focus Points Synthesizing the History of a Field

Distinguishing Voices

Maintaining a Point of View



CHAPTER 7 Revising and Editing to Meet Audience Expectations

        Focus Points Revising for Coherence

Making Effective Transitions

        Focus Points Revising to Improve Transitions

        Example 7.1 Building Coherence With Transitions

Setting Priorities for Editing

Editing For Clarity

        Focus Points Editing for Wordiness and Choppiness

Editing for Correctness

        Focus Points Five Common Sentence Errors

Final Editing: Sentences, Sources, and Proofreading

        Focus Points Final Editing Strategies


        Focus Points Effective Proofreading

Disciplinary Conventions and Document Design

        Focus Points Determining Discipline-Specific Conventions

        Example 7.2 Making Professional Decisions About Document Design



CHAPTER 8 Adapting Writing for Professional Audiences

        Example 8.1 Conventions Discovered

Professional Knowledge and Professional Voice

Adapting Language to the Audience and Occasion

Audience, Performance, and Writing

Violating Conventions

        Example 8.2 Conventions At Work In “'Indians': Textualism, Morality, And The Problem Of History”

Developing Your Professional Voice

        Focus Points Finding Cues to Professional Voice in Various Fields

        Example 8.3 Conventions And Argument In Science And Social Science Writing

Directly Stating the Significance of an Inquiry



CHAPTER 9 Writing a Personal Research Narrative

Planning a Longer Paper

Initial Planning

        Focus Points Reviewing and Organizing Information

The Personal Research (“I-Search”) Paper

Writing an Effective I-Search Paper

        Focus Points Keeping Sources Under Control

        Example 9.1 The I-Search Paper (Plagiarism Inquiry)

        Focus Points Rethinking and Revising the Personal Research Paper

        Focus Points Peer Evaluation of the Personal Research Paper

        Focus Points Editing Citations and References



CHAPTER 10 Writing an Argumentative Research Paper

Reassessing the Thesis

        Example 10.1 From Working Thesis To Final Thesis

Planning the Paper

Constructing an Outline

        Example 10.2 Topic Outline

        Example 10.3 Sentence Outline

Informal Paper Planning

        Focus Points Creating an Informal Paper Plan

        Example 10.4 Informal Paper Plan

Reviewing the Outline or Plan

        Focus Points Peer Evaluation of the Plan

Moving from Planning to Drafting

        Focus Points Strategies for Drafting

        Example 10.5 Drafting Into An Outline

        Example 10.6 Early Draft Of An Argumentative Research Paper (With Instructor's Comments)

        Focus Points Strategies for Reviewing the Argument

        Focus Points Questions for Peer Review

        Example 10.7 Final Draft Of The Argumentative Research Paper



A Quick Guide to Documentation

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style


        Parenthetical Citations

        Creating the Works Cited List

        For More Information

American Psychological Association (APA) Style


        Assembling Information

        Parenthetical Citations

        Creating the References Page

        Citing Electronic Sources

        For More Information

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) Notes and Bibliography Manuscript Style





        Motoko Rich, “Digital Publishing Is Scrambling the Industry's Rules”

        Katharine Q. Seelye, “Rewriting History: Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar”


        David Brooks, “Virtues and Victims”

        Daniel C. Dennett, “Show Me the Science”

        Charles McGrath, “Outsourcing Homework: At $9.95 a Page, You Expected Poetry?”

        Tom Moore, “Classroom Distinctions”

        Lisa Randall, “Dangling Particles”

        Robert Rivard, “What Every Student Knows: Thou Shall Not Copy”

        Ed Tenner, “Rise of the Plagiosphere”


        Rebecca Moore Howard, “Forget about Policing Plagiarism. Just Teach.

        Alfie Kohn, “The Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation”

        Robert Macfarlane, “The Burning Question”

        Henry Petroski, “Sometimes Design Must Fail to Succeed”


        Doris Kearns Goodwin, “A Historian Explains Why Someone

        Else's Writing Wound Up in Her Book”

        Patricia J. Williams, “The 600 Faces of Eve”

        Abigail Witherspoon, “This Pen for Hire: Grinding Out Papers for College Students”


        Mike Rose, Excerpt from Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America

        Jane Tompkins, “'Indians': Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History”

        Edward Tufte, Excerpt from “Graphical Integrity,” The Visual Display of Quantitative Information


APPENDIX A Fundamentals of Oral Presentations



Transitional Cues in Oral Presentations


Panel Presentations

Question and Answer Periods

Using Visuals in Oral Presentations

Designing Visuals for Oral Presentations

        Focus Points Planning Visuals


        Focus Points Layout of Slides

        Focus Points Fonts and Color

        Focus Points Charts and Graphs


        Focus Points Using Handouts


APPENDIX B Fundamentals of Visual Design

Making Research Visible

        Focus Points When to Use Visuals

        Graphs, Charts, and Tables

Choosing the Right Type of Visual Element

        Focus Points Incorporating Visuals

The Ethics of Visual Design

Intellectual Property and Visuals from the Web

Resources and Links

        Presentation Design Resources

        Creating Effective Slide Presentations

        Visual and Print Design Resources


APPENDIX C Databases

General Databases (Including News)

Arts and Humanities (Including History)

Business, Management, and Economics

Health and Medicine

Science, Technology, and Engineering

Social Sciences (Including Communication and Education)







Companion Website