Writing help: Planning a research paper (i Citations)

Posted on April 23, 2013 by Ginny Gaylor


The odds are pretty slim that you will make it through four years of college without having to write a research paper. But don’t be frightened by the prospect. Planning a research paper doesn’t have to be scary; in fact, we often make it more difficult than it needs to be. Questia, the Internet’s top research and paper-writing tool for students, is a great place to find writing help.

Research can be rewarding

When you first learned about a research paper requirement for a class, you probably felt anxious. Maybe you haven’t had a lot of experience planning a research paper. But don’t let yourself be derailed by inexperience and anxiety. According to the post on February 21, 2013 by Jack Raymond Baker and Allen Brizee titled “Writing a Research Paper” for Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), “the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics.”

But like anything new, planning and writing a research paper takes practice. As the OWL post says, “There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally.” They suggest starting the process by thinking about:

  • Genre: Learning the difference between the two types of research papers—analytical and argumentative.
  • Choosing a Topic: A guide on how to pick the best topic.

Planning makes a difference

Questia’s tutorial on Planning a Paper offers five steps to get you on the right track to creating a research paper that will not only impress your professor but earn you the best grade. The tutorial takes you through each step with help from quizzes and videos.

Step 1—Selecting a topic

You want to pick something you will enjoy writing about, which will help you put the necessary time into the work.
Step 2—Considering what your readers know about the topic

After you’ve picked your topic, it’s time to think about who your reader is going to be. Who your reader is and what they expect will influence what sources and evidence you need to use to persuade them of your argument or give them clear information on the topic.

Step 3—Developing an objective stance

Part of the purpose of a research paper is thinking critically. When planning a research paper, be sure to be aware of how you use your sources so that they strengthen your paper’s purpose.

Step 4—Composing a thesis

Now you’re ready to write your thesis statement—the representation and summation of your paper’s purpose. What do you think your research will show in the end? Your thesis statement should focus on that idea.

Step 5—Organizing your ideas

During this final stage of the planning process, determine how you want to structure your research to prove your thesis statement. This outline will provide the framework for your research paper.

Start now and stay focused

While you might be tempted to procrastinate, it’s easy to see why getting started on a research paper as soon as possible can be a big help in the end. The Writing Center at the American University advises students that beginning in advance can reduce stress, in their blog post from January 31, 2013, “Research Papers: the When and How” by Meridian Ganz-Ratzat.

The structure Ganz-Ratzat suggests starts several months out:

  • 2-3 months away—Think about what your topic is going to be
  • 1 month away—Start researching your chosen topic
  • 3 weeks away—Begin organizing your essay
  • 2 weeks away—Write a first draft
  • 1 week away—Edit for big problems with your thesis or organization
  • 2 days away—Read through for a final proofreading and polish

Even if you develop your own schedule for planning a research paper, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. Writing a research paper is a new thing for many college students, putting it off won’t make it any easier. In fact, procrastinating is likely to make the challenge of a paper that much more difficult.

8 college tips for handing in a high-quality term paper (i Citations)

I came across this great article for students who are in their first two years of college and just learning to write papers on a collegiate level. The original article is below.

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Lorraine Savage

My term paper sucked! It came back covered in red. What happened?! I thought it was awesome. How can I tell if the term papers I’m handing in are of high enough quality to get me a good grade? Some simple advice, such as using an outline, visiting the student resource center and following term paper format will help you go a long way. By taking time to review some college tips for writing successful term papers, you could achieve a student advantage over others who just put words on paper.

Here’s a checklist of things to do before handing in your term paper:

1) Don’t write a high school paper.

This is college now. The tricks you learned in high school to write a paper won’t cut it in the more academic world of college. “Old formulae, such as the five-paragraph theme, aren’t sophisticated or flexible enough to provide a sound structure for a college paper. And many of the old tricks — such as using elevated language or repeating yourself — will fail you now,” noted Karen Gocsik in “What is an academic paper?” on the Dartmouth Writing Program site at Dartmouth.edu.

2) Make an outline and follow it.

So it doesn’t sound like you’re rambling through 10-15 pages, do some research first, get a good idea of what you want to write about, make an outline and stick to it. This will make your paper sound professional.

3) Ask your teacher.

Pay attention to directions if your teacher or professor tells you exactly what he/she wants: How many pages, on what topic, how many sources needed.

4) Go with your research.

Research today is easier than ever with electronic resources. In addition to Google and Bing (stay away from Wikipedia), there are Worldcat.org, InfoTrac, OneFile, LexisNexis Academic, EBSCOHost and ProQuest. You can also find professional journals and international books and periodicals. Consult your school librarian or city librarian.

5) Evaluate the credibility of scientific information.

If your paper is for a science, medical, health or engineering class, make sure your science and math are correct. No one likes sloppy science. Get your information from a credible source, not from a place that has an agenda or passes off personal experiences or public relations as real science. “Unethical lobbying groups who have particular political or business interests can take advantage of this, and work to perpetuate the disconnect between scientific and public understandings,” reported Kristen St. John in “The Need to Teach about Ethics and Science, and the Credibility of Sources,” in Journal of Geoscience Education, February 2013, found in Questia.com.

6) Don’t plagiarize.

Yes, you’ve heard it before. But it’s really true. Plagiarism gets you nowhere. You need to learn to write your own ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. And, professors are on to you — they know how to scan your paper into plagiarism detection software. Matt Petronzio’s August 29, 2012, article “How to Detect Plagiarism Online” in Mashable.com highlights ten online services that check text for plagiarism, including TurnItIn, Viper and PlagiarismChecker.com, all geared toward college term papers.

7) Check spelling and grammar.

Don’t forget to spell check. But also don’t forget to proofread your paper. Your spell checker doesn’t know the difference between synonyms and homonyms. If your grammar is a bit fuzzy or English is not your first language, ask a friend to read over your paper for good measure. A second set of eyes never hurts.

8) Use term paper format.

In addition to grammar and spelling, presentation is important. For easy reading and so the teacher has room to make comments, format your paper with:

  • an easy-to-read serif font, such as Times New Roman
  • one-inch margins, double-spaced text
  • a header or footer on each page with your name, paper title, page number and course name
  • on plain standard white 8 ½ x 11 paper (no onion skin, pink paper with hearts or resume paper).


Massive 16th Century Sculpture of a Guardian Colossus (mymodernmet.com)

Posted by Pinar on March 26, 2013 at 10:00am

image via Unusual Places.

Shrouded within the park of Villa Demidoff (just north of Florence, Italy), there sits a gigantic 16th century sculpture known as Colosso dell’Appennino, or the Appennine Colossus. The brooding structure was first erected in 1580 by Italian sculptor Giambologna. Like a guardian of the pond in front of him, the giant is in an endless watchful pose, perched atop his earthy seat.

At one point, the colossal figure stood amidst a number of other bronze statues, many of which have now gone lost or stolen. The massive brick and stone structure withstood centuries in the same spot, managing to maintain its figurative composition in all that time. The park that the colossus is situated in, once built as an estate for the mistress of an Italian duke, serves as the perfect setting for the gentle giant. His presence demonstrates a connection between man and nature. The massive size of the structure also echoes the relationship that is greater than reality. The colossus presents a surreal bond to nature.

Image by SamuDP

Image by SamuDP

Image via Provincia di Firenze

Image via Provincia di Firenze

Image by lapsy

Image by Raymundo Jiménez

Works by artist Basquiat to appear at NYC exhibit (Associated Press)


Associated Press – Thu, Apr 18, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 30 works by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (zhahn mee-SHEHL’ BAH’-skee-aht) will appear at a New York City exhibit before a private sale.

The exhibit at Sotheby’s galleries runs May 2 through June 9. Most will be available for sale.

They include works on paper in marker and crayon from 1979 and monumental canvases from 1987.

The Brooklyn-born Basquiat was 27 when he died of a drug overdose in 1988.

Among the highlights is “Punch Bag” from 1983 depicting a black boxer. It’s been owned by a European collector since the late 1990s.

Colorful canvas “Love Dub for A” from 1987 has been offered for sale only once before.

The auction record for a Basquiat is “Untitled,” a painting of a black fisherman that sold for $26.4 million in November.

Matisse in Norwegian museum was once Nazi loot (Associated Press)

Matisse - Blue Dress in a Yellow Armchair

By SALEHA MOHSIN and TOBY STERLING | Associated Press – Sat, Apr 6, 2013

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The family of a prominent Parisian art dealer is demanding that a Norwegian museum return an Henri Matisse painting seized by Nazis under the direction of Hermann Goering, in the latest dispute over art stolen from Jews during World War II.

The painting at the center of the dispute, Matisse’s 1937 “Blue Dress in a Yellow Armchair,” depicts a woman sitting in a living room. It has been among the highlights of the Henie Onstad Art Center near Oslo since the museum was established in 1968 through a donation by wealthy art collector Niels Onstad and his wife, Olympic figure-skating champion Sonja Henie.

Museum Director Tone Hansen said it had been unaware the painting was stolen by the Nazis until it was notified in 2012 by the London-based Art Loss Register, which tracks lost and stolen paintings.

She said Onstad bought the painting in “good faith” from the Galerie Henri Benezit in Paris in 1950. The Benezit gallery “has no record of collaborating with the Nazis, as many galleries did,” she said in an interview.

Although the war ended almost 70 years ago, disputes over looted art have become increasingly common in recent years, in part because many records were lost, and in part because an international accord on returning such art was only struck in 1998.

But the case of the Matisse is somewhat different in that its former owner, Paul Rosenberg, was one of the most prominent art dealers in Paris before the war, which he survived by fleeing to New York. Art Loss Register Director Chris Marinello said the records in this case are unusually clear.

According to a biography published by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Rosenberg was one of the preeminent modern art dealers of his day, and personal friends with Picasso and Matisse, among others.

Art Registry documents show he purchased “Blue Dress” directly from the painter, having noted the purchase in 1937 and put it on display in the same year, Marinello said. After the war, Rosenberg re-established his business and sought to recover more than 400 works that had been taken by the Nazis.

Marinello showed The Associated Press documents that name the piece now on display in Norway as among those missing after the war.

He slammed the Henie Onstad art museum for “stonewalling.”

“The evidence is overwhelming. They just don’t want to resolve this,” he said.

Paul Rosenberg died in 1959. His family has remained prominent, as his son Alexandre was a war hero and later began his own art dealership.

Among surviving family descendants are Anne Sinclair, the French journalist and ex-wife of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss Kahn.

Another granddaughter, American lawyer Marianne Rosenberg, said Friday she didn’t wish to antagonize the museum, but hoped that it would come to realize that it is wrong in every sense of the term.

The paintings seized from Paul Rosenberg and other Jewish victims of Nazi aggression were taken “under difficult conditions, in a cruel and unfair situation,” she said in a telephone interview from her office in New York. “We honor my grandfather Paul’s memory … by doing what he would have done: we wish to recover that which we consider ours.”

The lawyer representing the museum, Kyre Eggen, said it was significant that Onstad didn’t know where the painting came from.

Under Norwegian law, if a person has had an item in good faith for more than 10 years, that person becomes the rightful owner, he said.

That argument runs against the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, to which Norway is a party. The principles say that owners of looted art should take into account the difficulty that Jewish war survivors faced in reclaiming lost property after the Holocaust, and that owners of looted art should in all cases seek a fast and fair solution.

The Seattle Art Museum returned a Matisse to the Rosenberg family in 1999, after initially making similar arguments.

Eggen also argued that it is possible Rosenberg sold the painting himself between 1946 and 1950.

But Marianne Rosenberg rejected that possibility. Art Loss Register documents show Paul Rosenberg notifying French authorities the piece was missing in 1946, and his family again listing it as among missing pieces it was seeking in 1958.

“The Rosenberg family has since the end of the war assiduously and continuously sought the recovery of the paintings it lost,” she said. “We have never sought to recover paintings not lost.”


Associated Press reporter Karl Ritter contributed to this story from Stockholm.