Essays are a part of the educational system, especially when you get up to the higher forms of education. With essays, you will need resources and citations to fill in the blanks. This is an area where many students struggle with. They have no idea how to cite things, when to cite things, and when to properly use a distribution of resources to their own information. How does one cite and use researches in a term paper?
The most important thing to realize is that you should pick a topic if you are allowed to about something that you have some knowledge on. The research is meant to enhance the topic that you are presenting, not be the topic that you are presented. So keep that in mind as you prepare to start writing and research the topic that you are presenting in your essay.
Citations come in many different methods. There is the standard (author, year) or (author, year, page number) format that has been used in some circles of education. Then there are individual numerical citations pointing towards foot notes at the bottom of the page in your document. Likely the instructor will indicate which style of writing that they want you to use, so familiarize yourself with the proper method to do citations with that style.
Can you have too many resources for a topic? Yes, you can as it tends to muddle the writing if you use more sources than are needed. The teacher will give a minimum number of sources that they want you to utilize. For the lighter essays, they may be someone like about three to five. For the term paper written hundreds and hundreds of pages, the resources will be around the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty. If a teacher gives a maximum, do not exceed it.
How often should you use information for your research? Most paragraphs tend in general in essays go around four to seven sentences. If they go much more, then you should consider splitting it up. Therefore the twenty percent rule, or the one in every five sentences in a paragraph can contain a cited fact, with the rest being your own knowledge. If the paragraph goes to the seven sentence side, you may get away with using two cited facts in the same paragraph. Providing if it fits and it can be spread out properly.
Do not be afraid to utilize your own knowledge on the subject. Eighty percent of the topic should be written in your own words. Just be prepared to defend anything that you write, on the off chance you get called in on not properly citing something. The chance is small but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Anything that you use, double check to make sure it is properly cited and written in your own words for the most part. If you do use a direct quote word for word, ensure that it is in quotations marks and properly cited. Many schools used plagiarism software such as found on turn it in to check to see if your work is on the straight and narrow. While not perfect, it may raise red flags that would give the instructors and administration a chance to call your paper on the carpet. When this happens, you are guilty until proven innocent. Just make sure everything is done by the letter and you should be mostly fine.
While the Internet can be a valuable treasure trove of resources, many instructors caution you about to be careful of what you use, as anyone can put any information. It may be written in an intelligent manner and have some facts, but it contains mistruths. The same might be said for other publications, but there is a wider volume on the Internet. Textbooks, magazines, newspapers, and scholarly papers are encouraged, with some instructors putting a limit on the number of Internet resources. You may have to defend it. Resources without author names visible or publication years to be used for citation are frowned upon as well.
Writing essays is a huge part of any education and you cannot avoid it, no matter what your intended field might be. Familiarizing yourself with how to use resources you find in your research and how to cite them in whatever style of writing is used is something that should become second nature.
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