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Thread: Writing a Research Paper... Need Help

  1. #1
    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Writing a Research Paper... Need Help

    Hey guys,

    Undoubtedly, a few of you have written research papers in your time. I haven't written one in well over 10 years, and I've forgotten quite a number of things. I was hoping to get some advice from you.

    Specifically:
    • What's the difference between an Executive Summary and Background sections?
    • In the Executive Summary, do I need to provide my conclusion or can I just provide enough information explain what is in my paper?
    • In the Recommendations section, how can I provide recommendations on a historical topic which had problems in its time, but have since been resolved?


    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    Greatful his pants are on bskcase's Avatar
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    How big is your research paper? An executive summary is usually done with papers longer than 5 pages. It is a summary written in plain English with no technical terms covering all the main topics of your paper. It should be brief and no more than a page depending on how big the research paper is. Eisenhower was famous for this because when he was President, he had everybody write one because he did not want to long proposals.

    A background section has me a bit confused because I don't exactly what your writing. It could be a citations page like in MLA format, but it could also be a bit of explaination on where the research was based on and what conclusions you got out of it. Again, no more than a page if that's what they want.

    The Recommendation section is usually your conclusion. Based on all the research and insight you have provided in your paper, your suppose to give an information conclusion which states what you think needs to be done about a topic or what is lacking in the topic usually.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. #3
    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Yes, it does help. Thank you for the immediate response. My paper needs to be 7-10 pages, and I have about 6 pages down. I'm covering the dot com attack on web sites that occurred in 2000.

    For the Exec Summary, I'm providing a summary of the topic focus (about 1/2 page double-spaced); basically, it's the entire paper in 1 paragraph. Are you recommending that I reposition it to instead explain what will be covered in the paper? e.g., "This document discusses x, y and z. The topic of x is covered to explain the a, b, c. Y topic is also touched on to elaborate on d, e, f." And so on...

    For the Background section, what you say makes sense. I should cover off on how the research was done and points were substantiated. I read into the Background as being another type of summary of the topic, but with greater detail.
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  4. #4
    Greatful his pants are on bskcase's Avatar
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    Your summary is good. I would keep with what your doing, just make sure you write it in plain english and no technical terms.

    I would get with your professor and ask him or her for a better explaination on the background section. I think your probably right, but I would just cover my bases.

    Good luck with it.
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  5. #5
    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Update: Awesome! Thank you! I got an A on my paper!!

    New Question: Do all research reports need a "problem" section?

    My last paper was on a communications crisis. So, obviously, there was a problem surrounding it. However, now I'm writing a paper on how marketing agencies work. There *is* no problem... it's just how they work. On the other haand, is the problem supposed to be "finding out how marketing agencies work"?

    Thank you and others in advance!
    If Jack Bauer was on Lost, everything would have been solved in 24 hours!

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  6. #6
    Brassy Baroness
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehenyo View Post
    Update: Awesome! Thank you! I got an A on my paper!!

    New Question: Do all research reports need a "problem" section?

    My last paper was on a communications crisis. So, obviously, there was a problem surrounding it. However, now I'm writing a paper on how marketing agencies work. There *is* no problem... it's just how they work. On the other haand, is the problem supposed to be "finding out how marketing agencies work"?

    Thank you and others in advance!
    Typically for scientific reports the problem is discussed in "Background" section. I don't know if there is a different format required from a specific professor/journal but if would typically be broken down as such.

    Executive summary (Some require some do not. No more than 300 words.)
    Introduction / Background
    Method (may not be required)
    Discussion
    Conclusion
    References
    Appendices (May not be required)

    You do this and you will have all data they could want!
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  7. #7
    Greatful his pants are on bskcase's Avatar
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    IF you are using writing an informational paper, the format is going to be a bit different. Usually when you write one, I use the MLA format. You can search it and you'll come up with tons of info. Your professor might want a different format. Usually in my communication department, they were OK with MLA format.

    Basic information on the paper will usually require a chronological explanation of the history of your topic. With your research, you paper must answer these questions: What is the history? When did it start and how was it developed? What changes and significant events or people occurred on this topic? What are some of the different schools of thought on this topic? How are things today? Your final portion should be on theories of the future. Your conclusion should be some summary and analysis of what you think.

    You will of course need your citations, good research, bibliography page, maybe a summary.


    PS: Good job on the paper. Glad to hear you got an A.
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  8. #8
    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Thank you both! You have each provided a solution to my "problem" question. I will take these ideas and run with them. Less than a week before my paper needs to be done. (BTW, for my crisis paper, the required format was: executive summary, background, problem, analysis, recommendations and conclusions. This paper doesn't have a required format.)

    H.
    If Jack Bauer was on Lost, everything would have been solved in 24 hours!

    If Jack Bauer was on Heroes, he wouldn't need to save the cheerleader to save the world.

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