Brick by Brick III:
Live Free or Write
The Research Paper:
A presentation by Instructor Aaron Roston
Tennessee State University
The College-Level Research
What is it?
A method of proving a thesis
factually, using outside
sources instead of personal
So, how does one pick a topic?
Write down a general topic and under it list
everything you can associate with this topic.
Use a graphic organizer to help you visualize
Go to outside sources for information you need.
You need to narrow the topic as much as
Initial research: Search on the web –
search by subject on both Google and
Browse the online catalog at the TSU
library link – search by subject
Browse the periodicals you like to read.
Now: What are you going to
compare/contrast? Soul and gangsta rap.
How? Use a Venn Diagram.
• Generate 3 points of comparison.
Soul Gangsta rap
Compare/Contrast Thesis Statement
• Your thesis statement should indicate that a contrast
of two things or ideas is to follow.
• These types of transitional expressions should be
used: although, be that as it may, however, in
contrast, nevertheless, on the contrary, on the other
hand, whereas, yet, but, conversely, unlike
• Ex: Although I took classes on campus at the same
college last year, my experiences in the traditional
classroom and in the virtual classroom have been
USE AN OUTLINE!
• This is located under the “Research Paper” tab.
• It is in the A – B, A - B format.
• Provide 3 sources you plan on using for your specific
support (NOT Wikipedia or Google). They cannot all
be websites; you must have at least one periodical.
• Now you can write your abstract.
Abstract: A 1 paragraph essay that
describes your paper.
• Brief motivator
• 3 methods of comparison, 1 piece of
support for each (does not need to
be cited yet)
• Conclusion: What did this comparison
Abstract Sample: First Draft
• First, your MLA header, with page number
As a musician, I love both soul and gangsta rap, but
they are very different musical expressions. The
influences of soul are gospel and R&B, and therefore
soul is much more upbeat and joyful, with harmonious
singing. The influences of gangsta rap are hard rock,
funk, and techno. The rapper doesn’t sing: he chants
angrily against a driving wall of samples. The themes of
soul music are much more optimistic, dealing with the
hope of change in the Civil Rights era; hip-hop deals
with gang and drug violence. The subjects of soul are
positive, such as love and affirmation of the spirit;
gangsta rap deals with the crime and seemingly hopeless
poverty of the inner-city. While I love both forms of
music, and both of them “tell it like it is,” gangsta
rap is far more negative. I find that I prefer soul
music, because it is more of a reflection of who I am.
STAGE I IS DUE ONE WEEK FROM TODAY:
IT MUST BE TYPED IN MLA FORMAT (EXCEPT FOR
THE OUTLINE AND VENN DIAGRAM, WHICH CAN BE
DONE IN PEN).
Staple in this order: ABstracT, outline, venn
This stage is worth points and is not
optional! You cannot write the research
paper without topic and thesis approval!