Doing it right,
the first time.
The best researchers keep an open mind going into their
research process. They do NOT begin researching with a set-
in-stone, predetermined outcome in mind.
They choose their subject and the slant they think they
want to take, and then begin looking for information, both
on the Internet and in print resources.
Once they have a hefty stack of resources laid out on
index cards (minimum 10 per required typed page), they
then begin organizing and a Thesis appears from the
1) Research and collect data from many sources, then create an outline.
2) Separate information into stacks as you go based on type. Use color to
identify on index cards – only add ONE idea, definition, statistic, quote, or
paraphrase per card.
3) Lay out cards in the order you think they will go into the paper. Read and
shuffle them until you get a good flow.
4) Create a Thesis Statement based on your layout and the conclusions to which
5) Readjust your outline and fill in the blanks with more research.
6) Lastly, write the paper.
When you begin to research, have your index cards ready to go.
Collect each piece of information on the cards and color code them based on
what TYPE of information it is, not where it came from.
CATAGORY OF INFO: STATISTICS, QUOTES, DATES, PARAPHRASING, ETC.
MLA CITATION ON BOOK, ARTICLE, OR SITE ON 1ST CARD
(PARENTHETICAL DOCCUMENTATION ON ALL OTHERS FROM THAT SOURCE)
Only ONE thought per card.
Begin looking for ANYTHING that goes with the subject you have
Balance your research by using one printed source (i.e., book, article)
for every internet source.
Collect web pages, copy pages from books, print or copy articles and
pull out the highlighters!
Highlight ANYTHING that you find interesting: statistics, quotes,
sentences you want to paraphrase, names, dates, ideas, themes, etc.
BUT read everything so that you have a good overall knowledge of your
subject from many different points of view.
Fill out at as many cards as you need from each source after you have
gone through it with your highlighter. Remember, only ONE thought
per card – this is VERY important.
Commit yourself to collecting the MLA citation
information WHILE you are researching. This will save
time and headaches later – TRUST ME!
This is a big, scary word that means “cite your sources in-text”.
In-text citation is easy. You need 2 things: the author’s last name
(if no author, an original abbreviation of the title) and the page number
(or paragraph number if from an article or website)
AS you are writing, put the information INTO the line of text where it
applies. Here is an example:
The Chinese government claims that its stringent birth-control
policy had succeeded in avoiding a population explosion that would
have endangered China's ability to feed its people. It says that the "one
child" policy was responsible for preventing 250 million births in the
past 20 years (Bezlova 14), but unfortunately, the methods by which
these numbers have been achieved are at best questionable, and at
First Page: begin at the top
Center the Title
Center your name
Skip one space, then begin opening paragraph.
ALL formal writing should be double spaced.
Indent all paragraphs.
Double Space, 1” margins, 12 point font.
(Times New Roman or Regular Ariel only)
NO extra space between paragraphs
Do NOT use contractions in formal writing.
Vary the beginnings of sentences.
ONLY use short sentences to punctuate a point..
Do NOT refer to authors by just their first name; either
use their first AND last names, or just their last name.
Use persuasive techniques in your writing, such as
ex. “They always write, always draw, and always sing.”
Works Cited Page:
A separate page
Center “Works Cited” at top
double space whole page
do NOT skip spaces between citations
indent all BUT the first line of each citation
Bezlova, Antoaneta. "China to formalize one-child policy." Asia Times Online. 24 May 2001. 11 March
Brookes, Adam. "China’s Unwanted Girls." BBC News. 23 August 2001. 11 March 2003. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Cook, Thomas. "Unfair burdens: impact of the population control policies on the human rights of
women and girls.” Human Rights in China. 30 June 1995. 10 March 2003. <http://hrichina.org/
Croll, Elizabeth, Karen Kinnear, and Lai Ching Leung. “One Child Policy: A Quick Fact Sheet.” China
Family Planning Policies. 10 March 2001. 10 March 2003. <http://www.zenkei.com/sarah/subj_
"Twenty-Years After Chinese "One-Child" Policy, Abuses Run Rampant." French Press Agency. 2
January 2001. 10 March 2003. <http://www.ifrl-pac.com/e-mail_nwsltr/010104/>.
Comparing and Contrasting
the Baby Boomers and Generation X
English 401 Spring 2003
February 13, 2003
The Baby Boomers, generally thought to have been born between 1946 and
1964, and Generation X, generally thought to have been born between 1965
and 1980 (Amoruso 1), would to all outward appearances, seem to be the
closest two generations in history. In actuality though, they have created what
is thought to be the biggest ever generation gap. In fact, the only things that
they share are a slight overlap in age and the surge in technology that they
have both incorporated into their lives. The characteristics of their childhoods
and core values are so vastly different that a huge rift of misunderstanding has
formed between the two groups.
Baby Boomers grew up in a time when the streets were safe and parents
were happily married or at least stayed together for the kids. Boomer mothers
stayed home with their children, read Dr. Spock and expected their offspring to
be the saving grace of America. Boomers were brought up in child-focused
homes when the Beaver Cleaver middle class was touted as the ideal. Then
the Boomers became “yuppies” (Young Upwardly-Mobile Professionals 5),
created the two-income household and overspent to the point that
overwhelming debt drove many of them into personal bankruptcy and divorce.
Interestingly, Boomers considered their careers better, personal freedoms
greater and lives more meaningful than their parents (Howe & Strauss 3).
In contrast, Researchers Howe & Strauss describe the birth years of
Generation Xers as the "most virulently anti-child period in modern American
history.” Gen Xers were the first generation born to a society that took The Pill
to escape parenthood. Gen X kids were the first “latch-key” generation and
grew up in day-care centers and malls with friends and gangs as their true
families. Typically both parents of Gen Xers wanted to work, which we now
realize was a direct cause of what some have called the “divorce epidemic.”
Gen X kids tried to learn New Math in the chaos of “open concept” classrooms
and watched the collapse of ideals as Watergate unfolded in their living rooms.
They were intellectually arrogant, socially immature and became thirty-
something just as the television show Thirty-Something got canceled (Howe &
The Boomers, on the other hand, had parents that touted a good work ethic,
loyalty to your family and employer, and honesty. During the Boomer rise to
Corporate America’s highest towers the economy flourished, disposable
income became more abundant, and extravagance became the norm. The age
of indulgence allowed Boomers to provide their children, without much
sacrifice, everything advertised in name-brand commercials. Decades of luxury
and indulgence have had an adverse effect on the children of the Boomers,
what could be called “Generation ADD,” but the consequences of the
lavishness have not yet taken their toll because the oldest ADDers are just
reaching drinking age (Amoruso 11).
As a generation, Generation X has married late, is more interested in function than
comfort, and don’t cook because their mothers were never home to teach them how.
Xers grew to maturity right along with computers and embraced the Internet where
they could be a part of a society which does not require them to have real relationships
with real people. Gen Xers are just now coming into the home and auto buying market
with a vengeance. Companies are scrambling to switch gears from Boomer desires
because Gen X is more interested in getting back to the Beaver Cleaver neighborhood,
recycling, and in buying vehicles that they don’t have to replace every few years (Howe
& Strauss 5).
They expect better quality for their dollars and are not upwardly mobile if it requires
taking time away from their families. They also do not see any security in loyalty to a
single employer which has caused the employment market to make drastic
adjustments (Amoruso 2). Gen Xers do not believe it is worth their time to rise the
Corporate ladder, and even if they wanted to, and are pessimistic about long term
Boomers on the other hand have refused to give way to the Xers and are
working harder to stay at the top and, as a general trend, are putting off
Boomers still see themselves as the personification of righteousness and
judgment, just as they did in the 1960's, and now have thrown their hat, as they
did when they burned their draft cards and bras, wholeheartedly into the political
arena. Boomers as a generation want to redirect the nation toward what they
consider worthy purposes. They are prodding the nation to address social issues
such as crime, health, homelessness, and education by voting for politicians such
as Pat Robertson, Jesse Jackson and Pat Buchanan (Howe & Strauss 4).
Gen Xers realize that their parentless childhoods have made them
street smart and they are beginning to suspect, according to researchers
Howe & Strauss, “that they are a necessary generation for a society in dire
need of survival lessons” (Howe & Strass, 4). They accept that they are the clean
up crew and will have to shoulder more economic, political and ecological
burdens than any previous generation if America is to stay strong. Gen X does not
expect to ever see a cent of Social Security and it shakes its collective head in
shame at the rising National Debt (Krotz 11).
They see themselves as the generation that will be sacrificed to save the nation
and world but they do it willingly for their children.
Each generation looks at the developments in the world and their own
Entrance and exit from the world stage from different points of view. Currently
these two groups make up the most influential generational powers in the
marketplace and workforce and impact each other in ways that neither of them
Realizes (Krotz, 11). They are bonded by technology and history, but separated by
Gen Xers accept that the size of the Baby Boom generation has reduced the
number of jobs available, and they have acclimated. They are individualistic
businesspeople and entrepreneurs that find Dot Com dollars an attractive
option because they fuel the pseudo-society with which Gen X is comfortable
(Krotz 13). Boomers, regardless of how nervous these nomadic and quirky
workers make them, have had to admit that the problem solving and goal
reaching skills the Gen X worker exhibits are a benefit to business and are
beginning to take advantage of what Gen X has to offer (Krotz 9).
Hopefully, with time and understanding , these two powerful and influential
groups will drop their arrogant self-centered attitudes and find common ground
for the good of the nation and the world.
Amoruso, Dena. “Generation X Powers New Home Design Trends.”
Reality Times. 2001. Lycos News. 11 February 2003.
Howe, Neil and William Strauss. “The New Generation Gap.”
Generation X Papers. 1991. Reaching Generation X for Jesus. 10
February 2003. <http://tomorrowtoday.biz.>
Krotz, Joanna L. “Why Can’t Boomers and Gen X Just Get Along?”.
Marketing Intelligence. 2003. Microsoft bCentral. 12 February 2003.
Support the main points with examples and statistics,
and with logical and ethical proofs.
Do not stoop to name-calling, character attacks, and truth-
stretching to make your point – research is not emotional.
Stick to the subject – do not stray off on tangents, no
matter how interesting you think they may be.
Eliminate all topics in your brainstorming that do not
directly apply to the subject at hand.
Focus on your goal and do not confuse readers with
random factoids and thoughts.
Do NOT use Personal pronouns, such as:
You, I, We, My, Our, Mine, Yours, etc.
Always use wording such as “the reader”, “Americans”, etc.
ALWAYS transition from one topic to another with
transitional phrases such as:
“Furthermore . . .”
“As well . . .”
“In Addition . . .”
ALWAYS use author introductions such as,
“According to Dr. Smith, veterinarian, . . .”
Congressman Jones, representative of Wisconsin, stated in his
rebuttle . . .”
“Joan Levy, aeronautical engineer for NASA, proved in her research
that . . .”
“Researchers Howard and Strauss . . .”
Do not go in depth on one section and gloss over another,
but give all equal time and say what you say in an efficient
Remember: Thumb, Finger, Finger, Finger, Pinky =
Intro, Body, Body, Body, Conclusion.
Narrow your subject and coverage down to manageable
proportions and analyze them.
Expand on your thesis by asking strategically placed
questions and internal summaries, when appropriate,
to keep your audience on track.
Use wording that is clear, appropriate, vivid, and personal,
and say the same thing in different ways: use a variety of
definitions, look at it from different points of view.