Lebanon High School Research Paper Guidelines
This pamphlet is designed as a quick reference guide for students completing research. It is not a comprehensive manual, but simply an introduction to the research standards at Lebanon High School. What is a research paper? A research paper is an organized investigation of a subject. To write a research paper you will need to develop a thesis statement, read other people’s theories or opinions, take notes in your own words, form your own opinions or ideas about the subject, and present it all in an organized, understandable format. In addition to the text, you will need to include documentation, i.e., notes telling the reader where you found the information and a list of citations identifying the sources you used.
Why document your sources? It is important to document (identify) sources, because if you do not credit the source of your information you are indirectly claiming that the information, opinions or theories in the paper are your own. This is PLAGIARISM. Another reason to give credit to a source is so that your readers can find and read that source themselves. You may refer to the author and title of the source directly in the text of the paper, or you may cite the source with a note in parentheses directly at the end of the sentence. This is called parenthetical documentation and refers the reader to a list of source citations at the end of the paper.
When should you document? One of the most difficult tasks in completing research is deciding when you need to document information, that is, when to give credit to other people for the information or ideas you include in your paper. You must always document a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary to assure that you give credit to the opinions and ideas of others. Facts which are not generally known and illustrations copied from sources must also be documented. General information which is commonly known does not need to be documented unless it is quoted directly. How should you document your sources? Lebanon High School expects that all students use the parenthetical documentation and the list of works cited format to document sources. When using parenthetical documentation, the research paper writer places the author's last name, and the page number of the material cited, in parentheses at the end of sentence. The writer then must include a list of Works Cited at the end of the paper, providing complete information about the sources which are cited in the pape
What is parenthetical documentation ? Parenthetical documentation for a source is the author's name and the number of the page on which the information appears, enclosed in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the ending punctuation.
"A research paper is a form of written communication. Like other kinds of nonfiction writing, it should present information and ideas clearly and effectively" (Gibaldi 4).
The parenthetical documentation (Gibaldi 4) tells the reader that the quoted passage appeared on page 4 of a book by Gibaldi. The reader may then check the list of Works Cited at the end of the paper to find the full publication information for that source. All Works Cited entries should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name or the first word of the entry, excluding A, An, and The.
The correct works cited entry for the book by Gibaldi is: Gibaldi, Joseph. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Sixth edition. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003.
For complete information about writing a research paper and using proper documentation please refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth ed., or to the research worksheets which are available in the LHS Library Media Center or online at: http://www.lebanon.k12.nh.us/lhs/library.