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Your assignment

  • 6-7 pages (2400-2800)
  • Minimum three (3) scholarly references within the last 10 years
    • Can be scholarly articles, book chapters, books
    • Include more than three references

Writing a Research Paper

Defining the Research Paper

Narrow your topic:

  • Start with a broad topic: Increasing motivation in the classroom
  • Narrow to an age group: young children, teenagers, elementary, secondary
  • Narrow to one or several aspects of the topic: academic achievement, grades
  • Search databases and scan the literature for a topic of interest
  • Focused question: How do grades influence motivation in elementary school? 

Evaluate your research question using the following (adapted from George Mason University's Writing Centre  Guide - How to Write a Research Question):

  • Is your research question clear? With so much research available on any given topic, research questions must be as clear as possible in order to be effective in helping the writer direct his or her research.
  • Is your research question focused? Research questions must be specific enough to be well covered in the space available.
  • Is your research question complex? Research questions should not be answerable with a simple “yes” or “no” or by easily-found facts.  They should, instead, require both research and analysis on the part of the writer. They often begin with “How” or “Why.”
  • Is your question unbiased? Questions should be open to exploration without an embedded or biased answer.

Your research should result in more questions

Phrase your topic in the form of a research question:

Add your question to the Jamboard on a sticky note.

Use key words from your question to develop a search strategy

Search Strategies

Search different spellings and plural/singular

An asterisk (*) or truncation symbols means I don't care how it ends  e.g. behav*

  • In this example, the database would search "behavior" and "behaviour" in both their singular and plural forms

Search phrases

Use quotation marks " " to search for a particular phrase  e.g. "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder"

LibrarySearch

Recommended databases

ERIC (Educational Resource Information Centre)

Education Research Complete

Google Scholar  Google Scholar provides searching of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources. This MRU specific link connects users to items available full text via MRU.

Types of Literature

Types of literature to include
Scholarly Grey literature Professional or trade journals

Scholarly  journal articles:

  • published by experts in the field
  • evidence of original research
  • includes a literature review
  • possibly peer-reviewed

Scholarly books and book chapters

  • published by a scholarly/university press
  • well researched
  • authors are affiliated with a university or relevant organization

Grey literature:

  • Government reports and data
  • Datasets
  • Reports from not-for-profits and NGOs
  • Academic and non-academic conference presentations
  • Theses and dissertations
  • White papers
  • Blogs and newsletters

Professional or trade journals:

  • Written by practitioners or professionals
  • Unlike scholarly journals, trade publications do not contain original research and are meant to be practical in nature. Their focus is on current practices and issues.

Search for these in library databases or Google Scholar

Search for these in Google, Google Scholar or ERIC Search for these resources using Library databases or  Google 
sample search:  "early childhood" caregiver* "trauma-informed care"

 sample search: 

"mature students" parents site:alberta.ca

"early childhood" educator salary type:pdf

sample search:

"student well-being" (practicum OR "field work") "early childhood"

 

APA Citation

APA Guide

In all academic assignments:

  • You must properly cite all ideas and work that are not your own
  • Citations ensure the integrity of your work
  • Citations strengthen your work because they reflect the effort you have put into doing research
  • Citations strengthen and add context to your argument.
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Pearl Herscovitch
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Contact:
Email: pherscovitch@mtroyal.ca
Phone: 403.440.6022
Office: EL4423B

MR Library citation help