Writing Research Papers Spiral Tabbed Ed

For courses in Research Writing.


Celebrating 50 years of delivering current, detailed guidance on academic research and writing

The definitive research paper guide, Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide combines a traditional but practical approach to the research process with the latest information on electronic research and presentation. Written by the original author’s son, this text remains the foremost handbook for current, detailed guidance about academic research, writing, and documentation.


Over the last two decades, the world of academic research has changed dramatically. Most research is now done online, which has not only put an almost unimaginable wealth of new sources at our fingertips, but has also brought challenges in evaluating source credibility and usefulness. Marking the 50th anniversary of Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, the 16th Edition confronts these new challenges and offers clear, detailed guidance to assist researchers as they struggle to keep pace with online research, electronic publishing, and new documentation formats.

Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, 16th Edition is also available via Revel™, an interactive learning environment that enables students to read, practice, and study in one continuous experience. Learn more.

1. Writing from Research

2. Finding a Topic

3. Organizing Ideas and Setting Goals

4. Gathering Sources Online

5. Gathering Sources in the Library

6. Conducting Field Research

7. Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism

8. Reading and Evaluating Sources

9. Writing Effective Notes and Creating Outlines

10. Drafting the Paper in an Academic Style

11. Blending Reference Material into Your Writing

12. Writing the Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

13. Revising, Proofreading, and Formatting the Rough Draft

14. Works Cited: MLA Style

15. Writing in APA Style

16. The Footnote System: CMS Style

17. CSE Style for the Natural and Applied Sciences

18. Creating Electronic and Multimedia Research Projects

Howard, Writing Matters, Second Edition

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Tabbed Edition)

TAB 1 - Writing Responsibly Tools for the Information Age

1 Writing Today

a. The Expanding Definition of Literacy

b. Multiliteracies and Print Literacy

2 The Writer’s Responsibilities

a. Understanding Your Responsibilities to Your Audience

b. Understanding Your Responsibilities to Your Topic

c. Understanding Your Responsibilities to Other Writers

Writing Responsibly: Your College’s Plagiarism Policy

d. Understanding Your Responsibilities to Yourself

Writing Responsibly: Taking Yourself Seriously as a Writer

TAB 2 - Writing Matters Planning, Writing, Editing

3 Reading Critically

a. Comprehending the Text

b. Reflecting on the Text

Writing Responsibly: Engaging with What You Read

c. Preparing to Write about the Text

Writing Responsibly: Drawing Conclusions

Writing Responsibly: Understanding Criticism

Student Model Critique of an Advertisement

d. Writing Responsibly: Understanding and Representing the Entire Source

4 Planning and Drafting Your Project

a. Analyzing Your Writing Situation

Writing Responsibly: Seeing and Showing the Whole Picture

Writing Responsibly Choosing an Engaging Topic

b. Analyzing the Assignment and Setting a Schedule

Writing Responsibly: Plagiarism and Time Management

c. Generating Topics and Ideas

d. Narrowing Your Topic and Drafting an Effective Thesis

e. Organizing Your Ideas

f. Drafting Your Writing Project

Student Model First Draft

5 Crafting and Connecting Paragraphs

a. Writing Relevant Paragraphs

b. Writing Unified Paragraphs

c. Writing Coherent Paragraphs

Writing Responsibly: Guiding the Reader

d. Developing Paragraphs Using Patterns of Organization

e. Writing Introductory Paragraphs

f. Writing Concluding Paragraphs

g. Connecting Paragraphs

6 Revising, Editing, and Proofreading

a. Revising Globally by Analyzing Your Own Work

Writing Responsibly: The Big Picture

b. Reconsidering Your Title

c. Gaining Insight from Peers

d. Revising Locally: Editing Your Words and Sentences

e. Proofreading Your Project Carefully

Writing Responsibly: Beware the Spelling Checker!

Student Model Final Draft

f. Writing Responsibly: Explaining Your Choice of Sources

TAB 3 - Design Matters

Designing in Multiple Media

7 Designing Printed and Electronic Documents

a. Planning Your Design Project

b. Laying Out and Formatting Your Document

Writing Responsibly: Selecting Fonts with Readers in Mind

Writing Responsibly: Establishing a Consistent Font

c. Adding Visuals

8 Designing in Context: Academic and Business Documents

a. Formatting (and Writing) Academic Texts

b. Formatting (and Writing) Business Texts

Writing Responsibly: Maintaining Confidentiality in Email

c. Creating Websites and Web Pages

Writing Responsibly: Flaming

d. Writing Responsibly in Interactive Media

9 Designing a Multimedia Presentation

a. Identifying Your Writing Situation

b. Devising a Topic and Thesis

c. Organizing the Presentation

d. Rehearsing the Presentation

Writing Responsibly The Speaker’s Responsibilities

e. Connecting with the Audience

TAB 4 - Genre Matters

Writing in College

10 Writing in College: Comparing the Disciplines

a. Adopting an Academic Approach

Writing Responsibly: Writing Responsibly across the Disciplines

b. Using the Sources of the Discipline

c. Using the Language of the Discipline

d. Citing and Documenting Information Borrowed from Sources

e. Using Visuals in the Disciplines

f. Preparing for and Taking Examinations

Student Model Effective Answer on an Essay Exam

11 Analyzing and Crafting Arguments

a. Persuading and Exploring

b. Making Claims

Writing Responsibly: The Well-Tempered Tone

c. Choosing Evidence Rhetorically

Writing Responsibly: Preparing Oral Arguments

Writing Responsibly: Establishing Yourself as a Responsible Writer

d. Considering Alternative Viewpoints

e. Discovering Assumptions and Common Ground

f. Organizing Arguments: Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin Models

g. Avoiding Logical Fallacies

Writing Responsibly: Visual Claims and Visual Fallacies

Student Project Argument Essay

12 Writing about Literature

a. Reading and Analyzing Works of Literature (Novels, Poetry, Plays)

Writing Responsibly: Reading with Study Guides

b. Devising a Literary Thesis

c. Supporting Your Claims with Reasons and Evidence from the Text

d. Using the Tense (Past, Present), the Point of View, and the Voice Appropriate for Literary Studies

e. Citing and Documenting Sources in MLA Style

Student Project Explication

TAB 5 - Research Matters

Finding, Evaluating, Citing Sources

13 Planning a Research Project

a. Analyzing the Research Assignment and Setting a Schedule

Writing Responsibly Using Printed Sources

b. Choosing and Narrowing a Research Topic

c. Drafting the Thesis with Research Questions

d. Choosing Research Sources

d. Building and Annotating a Working Bibliography

Writing Responsibly Avoiding Accidental Plagiarism

14 Finding Information

a. Finding Reference Works

Writing Responsibly Using Wikipedia Responsibly

Writing Responsibly Going Beyond Reference Sources

b. Finding Information on the Web

c. Finding Reliable Interactive Media

d. Finding Articles in Journals and Other Periodicals

Using Databases and Indexes

Writing Responsibly Really Reading Real Sources

e. Finding Books for In-Depth Information Using Your Library’s Catalog

f. Finding Government Information

g. Finding Multimedia Sources

h. Conducting and Reporting Field Research

Writing Responsibly Reporting Results Fairly

15 Evaluating Information

a. Evaluating the Relevance of Potential Sources

b. Evaluating the Reliability of Potential Sources

Writing Responsibly Keeping an Open Mind

c. Evaluating Online Texts: Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Forums

Writing Responsibly Online Plagiarism

Writing Responsibly Choosing and Unpacking Complex Sources

16 Using Information Responsibly: Taking Notes and Avoiding Plagiarism

a. Learning What You Do and Do Not Have to Acknowledge

b. Making Notes that Help You Avoid Plagiarizing

Writing Responsibly Using Illustrations and Avoiding Plagiarism

Writing Responsibly Highlighting versus Making Notes

c. Summarizing and Paraphrase Sources without Patchwriting

d. Capturing Quotations in Your Notes

e. Including Analysis, Interpretation, Synthesis, and Critique in Your Notes

17 Writing the Research Project

a. Drafting a Thesis Statement Based on Your Research Question

Writing Responsibly Acknowledging Counterevidence

b. Organizing Your Notes, and Outlining Your Project

c. Supporting Your Claims with Analysis, Interpretation, Synthesis, and Critique of Sources

d. Supporting Your Claims with Summaries, Paraphrases, and a Few Apt Quotations from Sources

e. Revising, Editing, Proofreading, and Formatting Your Project

Writing Responsibly Owning the Proofreading Process

18 Citing Expertly

a. Integrating Source Material Responsibly

b. Showing Source Boundaries

c. Emphasizing Your Voice

d. Providing Context

e. Integrating Altered Quotations

TAB 6 - Documentation Matters MLA Style

Foldout: Documentation Matters: MLA Style

19 Creating MLA-Style In-Text Citations

Writing Responsibly Citing and Documenting Sources

a. Using a Signal Phrase and Page Reference or a Parenthetical Citation to Alert Readers to Borrowed

Material in Your Research Project

b. Including Enough Information to Lead Readers to the Source in Your List of Works Cited

c. Placing In-Text Citations to Avoid Distracting Readers and to Show Them Where Borrowed Material Starts and Stops

Writing Responsibly Using Signal Phrases to Demonstrate Your Relationship with Sources

d. Adjusting In-Text Citations to Match Your Source

20 Preparing an MLA-Style List of Works Cited

Books—Printed and Electronic

Periodicals—Printed and Electronic

Other Electronic Sources

Audio and Visual Sources

Miscellaneous Sources—Printed and Electronic

21 Using MLA Style for Informational Notes

22 Formatting a Paper in MLA Style

a. Margins and Spacing

b. Typeface

c. Header

d. Identifying Information

e. Title

f. Long Quotations

g. Tables and Figures

h. Printing and Binding

Writing Responsibly Of Deadlines and Paperclips

i. Portfolios

Student Model Research Project: MLA Style

TAB 7 - Documentation Matters

APA Style

Foldout: Documentation Matters: APA Style

23 Creating APA-Style In-Text Citations

Writing Responsibly Citing and Documenting Sources

a. Placing In-Text Citations So That Readers Know Where Borrowed Material Starts and Stops

b. Adjusting In-Text Citations to Match Your Source

24 Preparing an APA-Style Reference List

Books—Printed and Electronic

Periodicals—Printed and Electronic

Other Electronic Sources

Audio and Visual Sources

Miscellaneous Sources—Printed and Electronic

25 Using APA Style for Informational Notes

26 Formatting a Paper in APA Style

a. Margins and Spacing

b. Typeface, Header, and Page Number

c. Title Page

d. Abstract

e. Tables and Figures

f. Reference List

Writing Responsibly Of Deadlines and Paperclips

g. Printing, Paper, and Binding

Student Model Research Project: APA Style

TAB 8 - Documentation Matters

Chicago Style and CSE Style

27 Documenting Sources: Chicago Style

a. Creating Chicago-Style Notes and Bibliography Entries

Writing Responsibly Citing and Documenting Sources

Books—Printed and Electronic

Periodicals—Printed and Electronic

Other Electronic Sources

Audio and Visual Sources

Miscellaneous Sources—Printed and Electronic

b. Using Chicago Style for Tables and Figures

c. Formatting a Chicago-Style Research Project

Writing Responsibly Of Deadlines and Paper Clips

Student Model Research Project: Chicago Style

28 Documenting Sources: CSE Style

a. Creating CSE-Style In-Text Citations

Writing Responsibly Citing and Documenting Sources

b. Preparing a CSE-Style Reference List

Books—Printed and Electronic

Periodicals—Printed and Electronic

Miscellaneous Sources—Printed and Electronic

c. Formatting a CSE-Style Research Project

Writing Responsibly Of Deadlines and Paper Clips

Student Model CSE-Style Reference List

TAB 9 - Style Matters

29 Writing Concisely

a. Eliminate wordy expressions

Writing Responsibly Conciseness versus the Too-short Paper

b. Eliminate ineffective repetition

c. Avoid wordy sentence patterns

d. Consolidate phrases, clauses, and sentences

30 Using Parallelism

a. Express paired items and items in a series in parallel form

b. Maintain parallelism in comparisons

c. Include all words needed to maintain parallelism

Writing Responsibly Using Parallelism to Clarify Relationships among Ideas

d. Use parallelism for emphasis

31 Engaging Readers with Variety and Emphasis

a. Vary sentence length and structure

b. Use coordination to link or contrast equally important ideas

c. Distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas with subordination

d. Vary sentence openings

e. Put important information where readers are most likely to notice it

f. Use strategic repetition

g. Create emphasis with emphatic verbs

h. Distinguish the active from the passive voice

Writing Responsibly Voice and Responsibility

Writing Responsibly Blending Voices in Your Text

32 Choosing Appropriate Language

a. Match your language to the context

Writing Responsibly Online Shortcuts

b. Avoid biased or hurtful language

Writing Responsibly Euphemisms and Doublespeak

33 Choosing Effective Words

a. Denotation and connotation: Find the right word

Writing Responsibly Word Choice and Credibility

b. Choose compelling words and figures

c. Master idioms

d. Avoid clichés

34 Using the Dictionary and Thesaurus

a. Choose a general-purpose or a specialized dictionary

Writing Responsibly Choosing Accurate Synonyms

b. Consult a thesaurus

c. Learn to read a dictionary entry

35 Glossary of Usage

TAB 10 - Sentence Matters

Foldout: Sentence Matters: Common Sentence Problems

36 Understanding Grammar

Writing Responsibly Why Grammar Matters


a. Nouns

b. Pronouns

c. Verbs

d. Adjectives

e. Adverbs

f. Prepositions

g. Conjunctions

h. Interjections


i. Subjects

j. Predicates

k. Verb Types and Sentence Patterns

l. Phrases

m. Clauses

n. Sentence Types

37 Avoiding Sentence Fragments

a. Recognize fragments

b. Edit fragments

Writing Responsibly Sentence Fragments and Context

c. Think carefully before using an intentional fragment

38 Avoiding Comma Splices and Fused Sentences

a. Join independent clauses correctly

b. Comma splices and fused sentences are improperly joined independent clauses

Writing Responsibly Clarifying Boundaries

c. Recognize when comma splices and fused sentences tend to occur

d. Edit comma splices and fused sentences

Writing Responsibly Is a Comma Splice Ever Acceptable?

39 Maintaining Agreement


a. Understand how subjects and verbs agree

b. Ignore words that intervene between the subject and the verb

Writing Responsibly Dialect Variation in Subject-Verb Agreement

c. Distinguish plural from singular compound subjects

d. Distinguish singular and plural indefinite pronouns

e. Find agreement with collective-noun and number subjects

f. Recognize nouns like measles and economics that are singular even though they end in -s

g. Treat titles, words as words, and gerund phrases as singular

h. Match a relative pronoun (who, which, or that) to its antecedent when the pronoun is the subject of a subordinate clause

i. Find agreement when the subject follows the verb

j. Match a linking verb with its subject, not its subject complement


k. Match pronouns appropriately with indefinite pronoun and generic noun antecedents

Writing Responsibly Using a Plural Pronoun with a Singular Antecedent

l. Match pronouns with collective noun antecedents

m. Match pronouns with compound antecedents

40 Using Verbs


a. Understand the basic forms of verbs

b. Use regular and irregular verb forms correctly

c. Combine main verbs with helping verbs to form complete verbs

d. Include -s or -es, -d or -ed endings when required

e. Distinguish rise from raise, sit from set, lie from lay


f. Use appropriate verb tenses

g. Follow conventions for the use of the present tense

h. Use tense sequence to clarify time relationships


i. Understanding verb mood

j. Use the subjunctive mood correctly

Writing Responsibly Using the Subjunctive in Formal


41 Understanding Pronoun Case and Reference


a. Use the subjective case for subject complements

b. She and I or her and me? Keep track of case in compounds

c. Keep track of case in appositives

d. Decide between we and us before nouns

e. Use the objective case both before and after an infinitive

f. Decide on case with -ing words

g. Clarify case in comparisons with than or as

h. Distinguish who, whom, whoever, and whomever

Writing Responsibly Case and Tone


i. Revise for clear reference

j. Revise for specific reference

with it, this, that, and which

k. Avoid implied reference

l. Avoid the indefinite use of they, it, and you

42 Using Adjectives and Adverbs

a. Learn the difference between adjectives and adverbs

b. Use adjectives, not adverbs, as subject complements after linking verbs

c. Is it bad or badly, good or well?

d. Use negatives correctly

e. Use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs correctly

43 Avoiding Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

a. Place modifiers close to the words they modify

b. Avoid squinting modifiers and ambiguously placed limiting modifiers

c. Avoid disruptively placed modifiers

Writing Responsibly Misplaced Modifiers in the Real World

d. Avoid awkwardly split infinitives

e. Identify and correct dangling modifiers

44 Avoiding Confusing Shifts

a. Avoid awkward shifts in tense

b. Avoid awkward shifts in mood and voice

c. Avoid shifts in person and number

d. Avoid shifts from direct to indirect quotations and questions

45 Avoiding Mixed and Incomplete Constructions

a. Recognize and correct mixed constructions

b. Recognize and correct mismatched subjects and predicates

c. Add essential words to compound and other constructions

d. Avoid incomplete or ambiguous comparisons

TAB 11 - Language Matters

Issues for Multilingual Writers

46 Understanding English Word Order and Sentence Structure

a. Observe normal word order

b. Include a stated subject

c. Manage there and it sentences

d. Eliminate redundant subject and object pronouns

e. Observe standard word order with direct objects, indirect objects, and object complements

f. Observe word-order patterns in questions

g. Observe inverted word order when certain conjunctions or adverbs begin a clause

47 Using Noun and Noun Determiners

a. Identify different types of nouns

b. Use nouns with articles (a, an, the) and other determiners

Writing Responsibly Less versus Fewer, or “Do as I say, not as I do”

48 Managing English Verbs

a. Understand phrasal verbs

b. Learn when to use gerunds and infinitives after verbs and prepositions

c. Understand the use of participles as adjectives

d. Use helping verbs for verb formation

49 Managing Adjectives and Adverbs

a. Place adjectives in the proper order

b. Choose the correct prepositions with adjectives

Writing Responsibly Too Many Adjectives before a Noun

c. Place adverbs correctly

d. Distinguish between confusing adverbs

50 Using Prepositions

a. Recognize prepositions

b. Learn the functions of prepositions

c. Use prepositions correctly

d. Learn when prepositions are needed

TAB 12 - Detail Matters

Punctuation and Mechanics

51 Using Commas

a. Use commas with and, but, or, nor, for, so, or yet in compound sentences

Writing Responsibly Commas and Clarity

b. Use a comma after introductory elements

c. Use commas to set off conjunctive adverbs and other transitional phrases

d. Insert commas to set off interjections, contrasting information, expressions of direct address, parenthetical and conversational expressions, and tag questions

e. Use commas to separate items in a series

f. Use commas to separate coordinate, not cumulative, adjectives

g. Use commas to set off nonessential appositives, phrases, and clauses

h. Use commas with quotations

i. Use commas with numbers, names and titles, place names and addresses, and dates

j. Use commas to avoid ambiguity

k. Avoid commas between subjects and verbs, verbs and objects

52 Using Semicolons

a. Use a semicolon to link closely related independent clauses

b. Use a semicolon with a conjunctive adverb or a transitional phrase to link two independent clauses

Writing Responsibly Sending a Signal with Semicolons

c. Use a semicolon to separate items in a series when the items have internal punctuation

d. Use a semicolon to repair a comma splice or a fused sentence

e. Avoid misusing semicolons

53 Using Apostrophes

a. Use an apostrophe to indicate possession

Writing Responsibly Contractions in Formal Writing

b. Use apostrophes in contractions and abbreviated years

c. In general, do not use apostrophes to form plurals of abbreviations, dates, numbers, and words or letters used as words

54 Using Quotation Marks

a. Set off direct quotations with quotation marks

Writing Responsibly Using Quotations Fairly

b. Indicate the titles of short works with quotation marks

c. Use quotation marks to indicate words used in a special sense

d. Do not misuse quotation marks

e. Position quotation marks correctly with punctuation

f. Introduce and identify quotations

Writing Responsibly Acknowledging Indirect Sources

55 Using End Punctuation: Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points

a. Use periods to end statements and mild commands

b. Use question marks to end direct (not indirect) questions

c. Use exclamation points with strong commands or to express excitement or surprise

56 Using Other Punctuation: Dashes, Parentheses, Brackets, Colons, Ellipses, and Slashes

a. Use dashes to set off and emphasize information

b. Enclose supplementary information in parentheses

c. Use brackets in quotations and within parentheses

Writing Responsibly Using [Sic]

d. Use colons to introduce elaborating material and quotations

e. Use ellipses to indicate deletions in quotations and dramatic pauses in dialogue

f. Use slashes in verse, fractions, and URLs

57 Capitalizing

a. Capitalize the first word of a sentence

b. Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives

c. Capitalize titles and subtitles

Writing Responsibly Capitalizing in Email and IM

d. Capitalize the first-person pronoun I

e. Capitalize abbreviations and acronyms

58 Italics and Underlining

a. Italicize titles of long works

b. Italicize for emphasis sparingly

Writing Responsibly Using Italics for Emphasis

d. Italicize words, letters, or numbers used as words

e. Italicize unfamiliar non-English words and Latin genus and species names

f. Underline hyperlinks

59 Using Abbreviations

a. Abbreviate titles before and after names

Writing Responsibly Using Online Abbreviations Appropriately

b. Use acronyms and initialisms appropriately

c. Use abbreviations with specific years (BC, BCE, AD, CE), hours (a.m., p.m.), numbers (no.), and dollars ($)

d. In prose, avoid abbreviating names, words, courses, parts of books, states and countries, days and months, holidays, and units of measurement

e. Replace Latin abbreviations with English equivalents in formal prose

60 Using Numbers

a. Spell out numbers when they can be expressed in one or two words

Writing Responsibly Ethos and Convention

b. Follow conventions for dates, times, addresses, specific amounts of money and other quantitative

information, and divisions of literary works

61 Mastering Spelling and the Hyphen

a. Distinguish homonyms and other problem words

b. Remember spelling rules

Writing Responsibly Spelling Errors

c. Form plurals correctly

d. Use hyphens to form compounds

e. Use hyphens to break words at the ends of lines

Glossary of Key Terms



ESL Index

Editing and Proofreading Symbols and Abbreviations

Contents (Detailed)

Quick Reference: A Menu of Resources [inside flap]

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