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Research Papers               Format, Evaluation, & Suggested Topics

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  1. Important Dates
Event Date
-List of suggested research topics, incl. information on format & structure available on Blackboard (‘BB’) Jan. 28: Bring a copy of this doc to class
-Registration of research paper’s topic Feb. 18: See further below
-Due date of research paper   April 14: Electronic copy emailed  +  printed copy submitted in class
   
  • General Words of Advice

A good research paper is the result of proper planning and continuous effort. This means that you should approach your paper in the same way that you would approach a project in the role of a project manager. A research paper of a high standard is most certainly not written within a week, or even worse, the weekend prior to the due date.  So how does an effective and efficient project manager go about to ensure that the project (your research paper) is successful?

From the onset, keep your sentences short and choose straight-forward, simple words to get your ideas across. Continually ask yourself two questions. First, what am I trying to say? Secondly, what words am I using to express it? Long sentences and complex words often demonstrate poor language skills. Even experienced writers choose words carefully. Consider the following observation of C.S. Lewis:

‘[T]o say the very thing of what you really mean, the whole if it, nothing more

and nothing less, or other what you really mean;

that is the whole art and the real joy of words[1].

So make sure that every word that you choose to include in your research paper is functional, as opposed to merely descriptive. So limit adverbs and adjectives (descriptive words) as much as possible.

Consider to employ the steps that I have suggested below. You are likely to find that these steps will assist you to approach your research paper in a structured and organized way.

3. Suggested Steps to Writing an Excellent Research Paper

  • Choose a topic on elder care that really interests you.
  • Familiarize yourself with information on your chosen topic – read, read, read as much as possible before deciding on a topic.
  • Map out a workable time schedule and keep to it.
  • Identify all the related tasks associated with your project, e.g., reading-up on your topic, allocating sources via FDU’s library, printing materials, highlighting applicable paragraphs, summarizing paragraphs, deciding on the headings of your paper, etc..
  • Open a folder with at least three files for your project: 1=draft, 2=full list of references, 3=any additional info that you might need.
  • Design the basic structure of project research paper (Table of Contents) and a time line, e.g. Week 1 (read to select a topic), Week 2 (register topic and do primary research), Week 3 (finalise basic table of contents and type out structure of paper in Word), Week 4 –Week 6 (conduct research and start summarizing key aspects in Word doc under relevant headings), Week 7(finalize research, complete first draft of paper), Week 8 etc.
  • Hold yourself accountable by checking whether you are still on track time-wise.
  • Always plan your time in such a way that if push comes to shove, you have additional time to finalize your paper, even if unforeseen circumstances arise unexpectedly.
  • Your research paper should not exceed 10 typed pages, including your bibliography (see also below).
  • You must consult at least 10 resources. List only references that you personally allocated and referred to in your paper. Do not bolster your paper by listing sources that you have not consulted yourself.
  • Make sure that the structure of your paper complies with the requirements that follow below.  
  • You must demonstrate that you are able to use the APA method of referencing correctly.
  • Hint: APA = 3 letters = 3 steps:
    • 1. Surname of author;
    • 2. Year of publication, and
    • 3. Page of publication where info appears.
      • Example: Steinway (2009) 6 or Steinway 2009: 6.

4.   Structure

A well-planned research paper is the product of proper planning. The most important aspect of an acceptable research paper’s structure is that the contents follow logically and correctly.

Consequently, a logical structure is an essential component of a good research paper.

Aside from evidencing appropriate use of language and a proper list of references, a well-written research paper on a topic of law, reflects a logical structure, accurate and consequent referencing to sources, excellent research skills, sufficient insight in the topic, and original work.

Please remember: It is unacceptable to submit plagiarised contents. A research paper that demonstrates any unoriginal ideas or sources that you did not personally consulted, along with copied contents, and so on, will be graded 0%.

5. Format and minimum technical presentation requirements

Re: Registering your topic/title (see Example 1 below)

You must register the title (topic) of your research paper on Feb. 18. This means that you are obliged to submit a single A-4 size paper to me in class with the following information neatly typed:

(i) your name; (ii) student number, and (iii) topic.

In addition, keep in mind that although you may reformulate your title (longer/shorter, etc.), the contents of your research paper must be based on/deal with your registered topic.

  • Consider the following two examples:

(1)        Registered topic/title @ Feb. 18:                    Elder Abuse

Research paper submitted @ April 14:                       Elder Abuse – Preventative Strategies

(2)        Registered topic/title @ Feb. 18:                    Depression and the Elderly

Topic of research paper submitted @ April 14:          Mental Illness and the Elderly

Re: Format of your term/research paper

The contents of your paper must be accompanied by numbered headings. An example of the outline of an acceptable research paper on a topic of law is included on the next page.

  • Type setting -12 font; citations – 10 font + properly indented.
  • Length: 10 typed pages (including your sources), 1.0 or 1.5 line spacing not double line spacing (2.0).
  • Style: Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana (choose a style and apply throughout your paper).
  • Headings: Main= bold not cap; sub-headings= italics.
  • Name of court decisions and titles of journals and textbooks =italics.

6.       Basic Outline (see Example 2 below)

  • Title page:      Topic’s heading, student’s name & student number
  • Page 2:            Include a signed copy of document titled: Confirmation – Compliance with Academic Honesty Rules (see copy at the end of this document and on BB)
  • Page 3:   Repeat heading in 12 font
  • Followed by brief summary of contents (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Followed by at least 10 key words
  • Remember: a Table of Contents is not required (research paper = too short)
  • Followed by 1st heading: 1. Introduction [bold]

-Content of Introduction: Inform the reader (me) what you are writing about, why you have selected the topic, how the paper is structured.

-Introduction should be no longer than half a page and 2-5 sub-paragraphs

  • Subsequent headings: if 2., 3., 4. Etc.= [bold]
  • If 2.1. 2.2, 2.3, and 3.2. 3.3, 3.4, etc.=  italics
  • Each statement of fact that is not your own thought (a  submission/opinion, as opposed to a fact), must be accompanied by a reference(s) to sources(s) in a footnote in accordance with the APA method
    • See ‘APA Referencing’ document on Blackboard for examples
  • Last heading: (e.g.) 5. Conclusion: final remarks/summary of your content, never include new facts/sources.

-Conclusion should be one to two paragraphs, no longer than a quarter of a page

  • Separate Bibliography & Case Register & Legislation & Internet Sources
    • Include all the sources you referred to in proper format alphabetically listed separately under these headings [see example below]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

EXAMPLE 1   (Registration of research paper’s topic)

Name:                                                 Jenny McMillan

Student number:                               982-786-1

Research paper’s title:                      Exploitation of the Elderly: Preventative Strategies

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

                                                EXAMPLE 2   (Structure/outline of research paper)

Page 1: Title page

The Right To Die – The Canadian Experience [12 font + bold]

                                                By

Sara McKenzie [12 font + bold]

            154-876-22          [student no. included]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Next Page = Page 2: Include – Confirmation – Compliance with Academic Honesty Rules

(Remember to sign it!)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Next page = Page 3: Contents starts

The Right To Die – The Canadian Experience

Abstract

[Summarise the contents of your paper in about 5-10 lines to familiarize your reader with the ‘what & the why’ of your research, along with your main conclusions]

Key Words

Right to die, legislation, life-sustaining support, injury, vegetative state, feeding tubes, artificial nutrition, hydration [10-15 key words/concepts mentioned in your research paper] 

                                     …………………………………………………..

[Short line to divide above from start of your headings, not separate page]

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal Position in Canada prior to 2015 [bold]
    1. Background
  • Arguments against Physician-assisted Death
    • Arguments for Right to Die
    • The Judicial Path to Legalization
  • Comparative Law: The State of Washington
    • General
    • A legal definition
    • Decision-makers

AND SO ON

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

8.         Conclusion                 [Last heading]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

[Always start listing your references on a new page: simply add a page break after your last sentence]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A.        Case Register                                     [If you referred to court decisions in your paper]

  1. A v B      (2008) SCC 30.           [List decisions per name (italics) alphabetically and accurately]
  2. B v Carson (2005) 1st Cir SC Texas 50.  [Always add a full-stop after each reference]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

B.        Legislation

  1. The Patient Self-Determination Act of 1991. [Always add a full-stop after each reference]
  2. Age Discrimination Act 42 U.S.C. § [Insert symbol; Latin-1 supplement] 6102.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

C.        Bibliography  [Incl. textbooks and journal articles]

[Listed alphabetically: surname, initials of author, name of book/journal in italics, if book = include year of publication, publishers, city & country. If referring to a journal article, also include the author’s surname & initials, year of publication, volume & edition & season, journal’s name in italics, and pages from start to end of article]    

  1. Anno, P.Q.      1998 (2)1 McLean Law Journal Summer 1-20.  [Always add a full-stop]
  2. Binnie, A.B      The Right To Die (2008) Cardwell Publications, Toronto, Ontario

Canada. [Full-stop after each reference]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

D.        Internet Sources

  1. Denny, P.A ‘The Right To Die’, available at http://www.life.com, accessed on May 10, 2013. [Full-stop after each reference]
  2. Peterson, A. ‘No Choice’, available at http://www.citizensforchange.com, accessed on May 10, 2013. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

7.   Suggested topics

7.1     General

Please remember: these topics are merely suggestions. You are welcome to submit a research paper on any topic related to or bearing on elder care. You must submit a printed copy of your paper at the beginning of the seminar on the due date, namely April 14 AND you are obliged to email an electronic copy of your paper to me on/before April 14.

7.2        Suggestions

  • Adult Children – Obliged to Support Their Parents?
  • Age as a Consideration for Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment in the Elderly
  • Alzheimer’s Disease – Causes and Preventative Strategies
  • Assisted Living – An Alternative to Care in a Nursing Home?  
  • Caregiving: Challenges and Assistance
  • Caring for Destitute Older Persons: Preserving Dignity in the Face of Hardship
  • Challenges Facing the Elderly in Canada
  • Combatting Age-Related Illnesses
  • Consumer Scams and Older Persons
  • Dealing with an Aging Population (compare approaches in different countries)
  • Defining Death and the Impact of Religious Considerations
  • Decision-Making Capacity of the Elderly
  • Physician-Assisted Death in Canada 
  • Depression Amongst The Elderly
  • Directives to Withdraw Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment
  • Elder Abuse: Causes and Solutions 
  • Elder Neglect in Nursing Homes
  • Estate Planning for Older Persons
  • Forgoing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration
  • Funeral Arrangements and Related Exploitive Practices in Canada
  • Guardianship and Older Persons
  • Home Care – Benefits and Challenges
  • Hoarding: Causes and Solutions
  • Informed Consent: Right to Withhold Permission for Medical Treatment
  • Informed Consent: Influencing an Elderly Patient’s Decision Concerning Treatment
  • Involuntary Transfers from Nursing Homes
  • Living Wills: Objectives and Requirements
  • Living with Dementia – Causes & Preventative Strategies
  • Litigation and End-of-Life Directives
  • Long-Term Care: Available Options for the Elderly
  • Medical Decision-Making in Nursing Homes
  • Moral Dilemmas and Surrogate Decision-Makers  
  • Nursing Homes’ Dilemmas in Honouring End-of-Life Directives
  • Palliative Care – Preserving Dignity in Terminally Ill Elderly Patients
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Causes and Prevention
  • Preventing the Spread of Contagious Disease in Care Facilities
  • Protecting Older People against Scams
  • Right to Refuse Artificial Nutrition and Hydration
  • Religious Beliefs and Forgoing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration
  • Testamentary Provisions: Protecting Vulnerable Older Persons  
  • Respecting Older Persons’ Choices at End of Life
  • The Impact of Religious Beliefs on DNR Orders
  • The Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes
  • Wandering Off: Causes & Preventative Strategies
  • Loneliness and the Elderly

 ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

8.         Evaluation Criteria (20% out of 100 %) – See Matrix in Course Outline

I shall use the following criteria to evaluate your research paper:

(i)         Technical presentation

Paper complies with all the necessary structural requirements listed above, e.g., correct cover page, table of contents, keywords, synopsis, introduction, conclusion, bibliography, page and paragraph numbering, and so on.  

(ii)        Standard of research and content

The contents make sense, the paragraphs follow logically, research on the topic reflects an accurate understanding of the materials used, and the level of research is on graduate-level standard.

(iii)       Sources and referencing

All the materials referred to in the research paper are correctly referenced by using the APA method, the information is correct, and complete references of all the materials are listed correctly in the bibliography.

(iv)       Use of language and grammar

Use of language is acceptable: no obvious spelling mistakes, uniform format is consistently used in the paper, and all the sentences follow logically (not haphazard/illogical).

(v)        General impression

Research paper does not reflect sloppy and careless work, it is easy to follow, ability to undertake research on a topic is evident, contents are correct, structural requirements are met, ability to use APA method correctly has been illustrated, and overall, the research paper makes a positive impression.

REMEMBER – ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR RESEARCH PAPER:

  1. Is this my own work in my own words?
  2. Did I spell-check my paper?
  3. Did I attribute all my sources both in the text (in footnotes / brackets) AND list my sources in the bibliography?
  4. Did I complete and include a copy of the Academic Honesty Declaration?
  5. Did I include a cover page?
  6. Did I number the pages of my research paper?
  7. Did I explain all quotations after the quote in my own words?
  8. Did I analyse the content of each paragraph in a couple of sentences before moving on to the next paragraph?
  9. Do I have an ‘Introduction’ (stating what the research paper will be discussing) and a clear, succinct ‘Conclusion’ (explaining my research and listing some suggestions – i.e. why does my research matter / what contribution does my research make to the topic?)
  10. Did I email a copy of this paper to my professor()?

Good luck and enjoy to have fun whilst researching and writing your research paper!

****************   The End   *******************


C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces (1956) at 20.