Please carefully read the instructions that are in the attachment. The grading rubric is down below in order for you to make sure you have all of the requirements Signatures of two people that have listened to the report = 10 pointsOutline = 8 points possibleReport (well-written, error-free with 4 to 6 double-spaced pages) = 30 points possibleIn-text documentation = 20 points possibleWorks Cited page = 7 points possibleSource Cards (at least 4—one from each area of research) = 10 points possibleNote Cards (at least 6) = 15 points possibleResearch Report: Choosing a Topic
Your writing assignment for this course is to create a problem-solution research report.
You are to choose a topic that is of concern to you. This may be a local, state, national, or
international problem. What do you care about? Jot down problems that you are aware of that
really concern you. You are to have a personal interest in this problem because you will be expected
to explain why you have chosen the subject that you have. Do you have personal problems that you
want to find out more about? Do you know of someone who has a problem/condition/challenge
that you would like to understand better? Do you get particularly upset by any issues that are in the
In this report, you will explain why you are interested in this particular problem. You will then
explain the problem and discuss all you have learned about it. Then, you will write of what is being
done to correct the problem, or what could be done to make the situation better.
It is important that you choose a subject that can be researched, but also choose a subject narrow
enough that the problem/solution can be presented in just 4 to 6 pages. Let me give you an
example: You can’t just say, “I’ll do my research on drug abuse because I know some kids that are
using drugs.” That topic is much too broad. Are you talking about illegal drug abuse? Marijuana?
Heroin? Prescription drug abuse? Do you want to discuss all types of drug abuse? Do you want to
explore why people choose to use drugs? Do you want to focus on only teen-age drug abuse? Do
you think the real problem is that there is not effective treatment for drug users?
As you can see, choosing a subject is a very small first step. You must narrow your area of concern
because you are not going to write a book.You will not use your own ideas or opinions. Instead, you
will present the facts and/or ideas that you discover while you are researching your topic.
In a word-processing document, write the topic you have chosen at the top of the page. Then,
under the topic you have chosen, write down four or five questions or ideas you have about the
topic.If you can’t think of four or five questions, you don’t know enough about the subject to
consider it for this assignment. Go back, choose another topic that you care about and that you
know a little about, and then generate four or five questions.
After you have written the four or five questions, you need to think more about the subject and
focus on a particular topic.Be sure to include the ideas of finding solutions to the problem. Write
this in a complete sentence. For example:
“I want to know what kind of people become addicted to drugs and what treatment works
best to help them overcome their addiction.”
“I want to know why it is so easy to get drugs into the United States and what can be done to
stop the drug trafficking.”
“I want to find out the consequences to drug users, and what happens to their lives.”
Now, I have given you three examples of possible thesis statements. This is the statement that will
lead you while you do your research. You may have to revise the sentence later, but once you have
created this initial sentence, you have a guide so you can begin your research.
The next thing you need to do is decide on some key words that will help you in your research. For
instance, if I want to focus on what treatments there are for drug abuse and which method(s)
seems most successful, I could probably find information using these key words: drug abuse, drug
treatment, rehabilitation, drug therapies, and treat methods. There are probably many others, but
that should give you an example of what you need to do.
Write as many key words (phrases) as you can think of that will help you find the material you will
need to write this research report.Because of the examples I have used, I expect you to choose a
topic other than those I used above. It wouldn’t help you to use my ideas. You have too many good
ideas of your own.
Writing a research report does not mean that you think up ideas and write them using your own
opinions. A research report comes from a process of searching for available information on the
subject you have chosen. You will look for information in various places. Every time you find an item
of interest that you may want to use in your report, you must make a note of that information, and
you must record where the information was found. The reason you do this is because when you
write your report, you must give credit to the person or source which provided the information.
That process of giving credit is called “in-text documentation.” This will be explained in detail later,
but simply means that you will give credit in your report for the information you use.
You will be creating two different kinds of cards: source cards and note cards. It is crucial that you
do this part of the assignment correctly, because the rest of the assignment flows from this process.
Study the following carefully.
Save your finished source cards and note cards to scan and send in electronically with the rest of
For each source, you must make a source card (3 x 5 index cards work best).This is the card on
which you will record all the information about a source you find (i.e., author, title, publisher, date,
etc.). There are three reasons for making a card for each source you access:
You will be able to find the source again if you need to.
It will help you provide documentation for your paper.
It provides basic information for the works cited page you will generate.
Information is recorded on the card in this order:
1. The author’s name (last name first). If there is more than one author, the first one listed is written
with the last name first; the rest are written first, then last name.
2. The title of the book. This is the next most important piece of information.
3. The place and date of publication of the book. This is usually found on the title page or on the back
of the title page. If more than one place is noted, record the place nearer to where you are. The
publication date is the last time the work was published. This information is usually found on the
title page or on the back of the title page.
IMPORTANT: In the upper right-hand corner of the card, assign that card a number. Later, when
you take notes, you will record that same number in the upper right-hand corner of your note card.
That will help you to know immediately where you obtained the information on the note card.
Sample source cards done correctly:
Sample source card for a book with an editor:
Sample source card for a book with an author:
Sample source card for a magazine article:
Once you have recorded the basic information about the source (the source card), you need to read
through the material and make note cards. A note card is the card on which you will record the
various items of information you will find as you read various sources. Only write one bit of
information on each card. If you put too much information on a note card, you will get confused
when you start to write your paper.
Remember these two important things as you do your note cards:
1. Put the number that corresponds to the source card in the upper right-hand corner of the note
2. Be sure to put the page number where you find the information. This is critical because if you use
this information in your paper, you must tell the exact page where the information can be found.
Types of Note Cards
1. Note cards can contain the exact words you read in a source. If the words are exact they must be
written with quotation marks around them indicating that they are someone else’s words.
Sample note card using a direct quote:
(The italicized information is not a part of the note card):
1. You can also paraphrase the information you read in a source. In other words, put the information
in your own words. Sometimes a paraphrase is longer than the actual information in the source
(because you are explaining things in your own words).
Sample note card using paraphrase:
1. You can also summarize information you find. This means to put just the main ideas on the note
Sample note card using a summary:
You should have four source cards and at least six note cards when you finish this part of the
At this time you will search for material on the topic you selected from magazines. You may do this
by going to a library, looking under your topic headings in the Readers’ Guides, and requesting
access to the magazine from the library.
I know that you can get good magazine information from the Internet. However, please know that
on your Works Cited page you MUST have one source from a magazine and it can NOT be from the
Internet. If you are going to use many sources in your paper, you can use other magazine sources
from the Internet, but at least one magazine source cannot be from the Internet. If you do use
Internet sources, you must include the Web address URL on your source card.
I suggest you try to find information about your topic from at least three different magazines. Be
sure to write down the source information, and then take good notes from each article.
You have researched information on your subject in encyclopedias and magazines. You will
continue your research now by finding information on special reference and non-fiction books.
What is a “special reference” book? Each library has a reference department where encyclopedias
and other reference books are shelved. An example of a special reference book would be a book
entitled “Chronology of World Events”. Another example would be “Physician’s Desk Reference”.
There are many books in this department in a library.
Non-fiction books are true books that contain actual facts that have been compiled by an author or
editor. These books also have a special place in the library. Any librarian would be glad to help you
find books that pertain to your subject.
Try to get source cards from special reference and non-fiction books. Take good note cards on the
information you learn from these books. Be sure to correctly write out the source cards and the
Remember: You can find this kind of information on the Internet, but you MUST NOT have all your
special reference and non-fiction books sources and notes taken from the Internet.
For this lesson, you are to conduct an interview with a person who has more than an average
understanding of the topic you are researching. If, for instance, you are researching facts about
homelessness, you can visit a homeless shelter and request an interview with the director. If a faceto-face interview is impossible, you may interview someone using the telephone or the
computer.Once you have interviewed the person, be sure to make a source card giving the person’s
full name, their title or position, and the date the interview was conducted. Be sure to assign this
source card a number. Make note cards on the information you learn from the interview. You
probably won’t include page numbers at the bottom of the note cards made from the interview.
If you have followed the instructions by selecting a topic, writing a thesis statement, and you have
generated several source cards from encyclopedias, magazines, reference and nonfiction books,
and from an interview. From those sources you should have many note cards. Using those source
cards and note cards, you will now organize your material. If you will take the time to do this, you
will expedite the writing of your four to six page research report.
After organizing your note cards in the order you want to use them, make an outline of the material
you will present in the research report. This working outline will be for your benefit in getting your
ideas organized. An error-free outline will be included as part of your report.
To write your outline, place the thesis statement at the top of your page. This may have changed
during your research. Remember, this is the sentence that will guide the reader through the paper.
Choose at least three big ideas you want to tell your reader that you have learned about the topic
you chose to research. Using Roman numerals, label those ideas I, II, and III. Under each Roman
numeral, choose at least two ideas that will complete that thought. Label those ideas A and B. This
is important: any time you have a number or a letter, you must have at least two. In other words,
you can’t have a I without at least a II. You can’t have an A without at least a B. You can have as
many as you want, but you must have at least two. At the end of your outline, write your
A bare-bone outline could look something like this:
Note: If there is an A, there is a B. If there is a 1, there is a 2.
You must choose whether you will use sentences or phrases after each number and letter. If you
choose a sentence outline, you MUST use all sentences. If you choose to use simple phrases, that is
fine, but you MUST not have any complete sentences. If you use both sentences and phrases in
your submitted outline, you will lose points.
This is an example of how to format an outline:
Thesis: Drug abuse is a serious problem in the U.S. and can only be controlled by educating
people, enforcing laws, and providing treatment for those who need it.
I. People need to be educated about the dangers of drug abuse.
A. Children can be educated at an early age.
B. Parents need to be educated about drug abuse.
II. Laws about drug abuse need to be enforced.
A. Stiffer penalties need to be given to first time offenders.
B. Police need to have the resources to be able to enforce the laws.
C. Laws should be the same in each state.
D. The federal government should be more proactive in drug enforcement.
III. Treatments to help drug abusers should be available.
A. Options for drug abuse treatment should be made available to everyone.
B. More money should be allocated to help reform drug abusers.
C. Those who seek treatment should be required to help pay for it.
Conclusion: Many of the problems of drug abuse could be solved if we made a more
concentrated effort to educate everyone about drug abuse, we put more resources into enforcing
existing law, and if we provided treatment for those needing it
This is a sample outline (using the same information) in phrases:
Thesis: (This would be the same.)
I. Education about drug abuse
II. Enforcement of drug laws
A. Stiffer penalties
B. Police resources
C. Uniform enforcement
D. Proactive enforcement
III. Treatment for drug users
Conclusion: (This would be the same.)
Note: Both outlines use the same format (numbers, letters, periods, capital letters), but the first
one has the ideas put in sentences. The second one has the same ideas put in phrases. You may use
either style you choose, but you MUST conform to that style throughout the outline.
As you write your research report, you need to give credit to the people and/or books that provided
that information for you. Doing this is called in-text documentation. It simply means that you are
giving credit—in the body of your report—to the sources that provided the information you are
using. This is an example of in-text documentation:
Redwood National Park in Orick, California covers 110,180 acres (National Forests 550).
Note: National Forests is the title of the book (or magazine article) where you found this
information. The information was found on page 550 in the book.
Notice several things:
1. There is no end punctuation (period) until after the in-text documentation.
2. There is a space between the end of the sentence and the first parenthesis.
3. National Forests tells the reader the first most important words of the title of the work which
contained this information. In this case, there was no author. If there had been an author, I would
have used the author’s name in place of the first part of the title.
4. There is no punctuation between the title (or author) or the work and the page number—in this
case, 550—where the information was found.
5. The last parenthesis is followed by a period. The sentence is not considered complete without this
6. If you are going to give in-text documentation for a direct quote you are using, it is documented this
way: Park Ranger Williams stated, “Redwood National Park in Orick, California, covers 110,180
acres” (National Forests 550).
Notice that the quotation marks come at the end of the quote, NOT at the end of the
WORKS CITED PAGE
The other thing you will have to submit is a Works Cited page. This is where you will list (in
alphabetical order) the works you have referred to in your in-text documentation. Please note:
Because of the format (MLA) of documentation that I have taught you, in the Works Cited page you
list only the titles of the works you refer to in your report. Since you must use information from at
least one encyclopedia, one magazine, one other reference or nonfiction book, and some
information from your interview, you should have at least four sources listed on your Works Cited
page. All of your sources can’t be online encyclopedias, magazines, etc. You will lose points if you
use all online sources.
Here is an example of how to cite two different sources on your works cited page:
Lambert, Janet. Our Language—The Story of the Words We Use. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., Inc.
New York. 1957.
New York Public Library Desk Reference, The. Webster’s New World. New York. 1989.
Notice several things:
1. The first line is out further than the second line.
2. The entries are in alphabetical order.
3. The same entry is single-spaced if it is more than one line.
4. There is a double space between each entry.
5. There is a period at the end of each bit of information.
6. There is a period at the end of the entire entry.
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