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Writing/Research Paper Terminology

Audience: The person or persons to whom an argument is directed

Authorities: An accepted source of experts on a given topic

Background Statement: Information provided to create a context for the paper. You can use a basic definition of the topic, an illustration, an anecdote, or a presentation of the opinion opposite of the one taken in the paper to introduce your subject.

Body: The bulk of the paper; contains the facts/research and argument that will support the thesis. Be sure to include analysis/interpretation when needed.

Cite: To use and document actual text or original ideas from one of your sources

Claim: The statement that asserts a belief or truth generally requiring supporting evidence

Conclusion: Final paragraph of paper; concludes paper by showing validity of thesis

Evidence: Material offered to support an argument

Essay: A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the writer

Graphic organizer: A preliminary visual organization of the research paper

Interpretation (Analysis): the action of explaining the meaning of something—in writing this is where the writer connects the evidence to his/her claim or thesis

Introduction: The first paragraph of paper; introduces the topic and contains the thesis and the structural statement

Online Sources: Any online resource from which you gather information for your research paper

Opinion: A belief held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof

Outline: A preliminary sketch of what the research paper will look like

Pagination: The numbering of each page of your research paper. There are specific rules for this.

Paraphrase: rewriting of research in your own words. This still must be cited.

Parenthetical reference/citation: Device by which you document the source of research. This is an in-text citation that directly follows a quote or summarized/paraphrased information you have used from an outside source

Periodical: Magazines, newspapers, and journals

Plagiarism: Use of material without the required Documentation

Propaganda: An argument advancing a point without regard to reason, fairness, or truth

Quotations: The exact words from a source. Must be put in quotation marks and parenthetically referenced and cited (on the works cited page)

Report: A formal statement of facts on a given subject

Research Paper: A formal, cited paper that presents the results of investigation on a selected topic

Sound Argument: A valid argument supported by facts and common knowledge

Sources: Where a researcher finds information

Structural Statement: This sentence or group of sentences lists the major arguments of the paper in the order in which they will appear.

Support: To furnish evidence for a particular belief or conclusion

Thesis: A sentence/argument that focuses the research paper and states the opinion or point of view to be developed in the paper; a sentence that succinctly states a writer’s main point

Topic: The general subject of the research paper

Working Thesis (or tentative thesis): A thesis that sometimes changes as results occur

Works Cited Page: The last page of a research paper or essay that lists all the sources cited in the paper (the parenthetical references). This page must be set up according to very specific rules and is generally listed in alphabetical order and includes the author, title, publication dates/place, and page numbers of a source.