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Cultural and Ethnic Studies Research Paper Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that is based on the writer’s research topic and the analysis and interpretation of the findings that are acquired during the research. A research paper is a long piece of writing that explains the chosen topic of discussion broadly. Notably, it goes into details about every aspect of the paper and requires hard work and determination; however, it is important to note that it is not impossible to do. Having a positive mindset when writing the paper will ensure you produce high-quality work. Provided below are guidelines to show the way you can write a research paper on cultural and ethnic studies easily and coherently. You take several issues into account when writing a research paper in cultural and ethnic studies. These items include various steps that you should take into consideration when writing a research paper in cultural and ethnic studies.

These steps one should follow when writing a research paper in cultural and ethnic studies include:

Choosing the Research Paper Topic with Our Experts’ Advice

Choose a topic that interests you and at the same time challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic will determine the dedication and enthusiasm that you will portray in doing the work. Before you start writing the research paper on cultural and ethnic studies go to your professor to know what he or she wants you to address in the paper. If you encounter any difficulty in identifying the chosen research topic reread your work and you can seek clarification from your tutor. Settle for a subject matter that you can handle. Avoid subject matters that are too technical or specialized. Avoid topics that have a narrow range of sources to acquire information.

Examples of topics you can write about include:

  • What is unique about the African culture;
  • Explore the six major early civilizations;
  • What is the importance of understanding the gender pay gap;
  • Examine the difference between history, anthropology, and ethnohistory;
  • Discuss the meaning to assimilation into a society.

Finding Information

Information on cultural and ethnic studies is found in various places. You can decide to incorporate primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to complete the assignment. To obtain general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point. Pay attention to domain name extensions, such as, .edu (educational institution), .gov (government), or .org (non-profit organization). These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Be selective of .com (commercial) sites. Many .com sites are excellent; however, a large number of them contain advertisements for products and do not offer useful information. Network solutions provide a link where you can find out what some of the other extensions stand for. Be wary of the millions of personal home pages on the internet. The quality of these personal homepages varies greatly; thus, learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search for information on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time. You can also find information from:

  • encyclopedias and dictionaries
  • government publications,
  • guides,
  • reports magazines,
  • newspapers,
  • vertical files,
  • yellow pages, zip or postal code and telephone directories, using online libraries.

Check out online resources, web-based information services, or special resource materials on CDs:

  • Online reference materials (including databases, such as SIRS, ProQuest, eLibrary, among others),
  • Google Scholar,
  • Wall Street Executive Library,
  • index to periodicals and newspapers (such as MagPortal.com, OnlineNewspapers.com, among others),
  • Answers.com – an online dictionary and encyclopedia all-in-one resource that you can install on your computer free of charge and find one-click answers quickly,
  • Encyclopedias (such as Britannica, Canadian Encyclopedia, among others),
  • magazines and journals,
  • newspapers
  • international public library,
  • subject specific software.

Thesis Statement & What It Entails

Draft a statement that presents your basic argument based on the ideas you have collected from the analyzed sources and which you are sure to support with scholarly evidence. Since you are likely to take a stand on one side of the chosen argument and ideas, consider the other side of the argument as the counterclaims helps in refining the thesis statement; this strategy is more effective when writing an argumentative type of essay. A thesis statement should be provided early in your paper, namely in the introduction part, or in the second paragraph, if your paper is longer. It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize, and analyze materials and your ideas. You cannot make a formulated statement before you have completed your research paper as it is expected to change as you develop your ideas. Stay away from generic and fuzzy statements and arguments. Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read. Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers. A thesis statement should do the following:

  • explain to the readers the way you interpret the subject of the research,
  • tell the readers what to expect from your paper,
  • answer the question you were asked,
  • present your claim, which other people may want to dispute.

Your thesis statement should be strong and meet some conditions which comprise of;

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
  • Can my position be disputed or opposed? If not, maybe you have just provided a summary instead of creating an argument. Is my statement precise enough? It should not be too general and vague.
  • Does it pass a so-called “so what” test?
  • Does it provide interesting information to your audience or does it simply state a generic fact?
  • Does the body of my manuscript support my thesis, or are they different things? Compare them and change them if necessary. Remember that changing elements of your work in the process of writing and reviewing is normal.

A well-prepared thesis means you have well-shaped ideas and it increases the credibility of the paper and makes a good impression about its author

A Research Paper Outline

A cultural and ethnic studies research paper can be persuasive, informative, or argumentative. Regardless of the type and purpose, the paper’s structure should be well-organized, clear, and logical. The outline should include the following points:

  • Cover page with all the details about the author and work under discussion – a student’s name, course, date, topic title. However, this essential part of a research paper (and it is really important as most readers do judge a research paper by its cover page) can be written in different ways. The formatting style (APA, MLA, Harvard or Chicago) dictates how a cover page looks. Examine the style cover page requirements attentively before the final editing of your research paper.
  • Abstract written on at least half a page to outline the research paper briefly – its content, significance. All the main ideas in the research paper are summarized in this part so that the reader will be aware of what he/she is going to read. As a matter of convenience while searching for a particular paper, the keywords list is included in this part as well.
  • Introduction is the first part of a research paper where you state the research issue and provide the theoretical framework. In other words, your task is to give an overview of the research topic based on:
  • A statement of the paper’s topic, aims and objectives, and main research questions you’ll answer later,
  • The background information about a specific cultural and ethnic studies topic in the context that represents the paper’s key points,
  • A relevant literature review on the subject of a research paper,
  • The definition of key terms specific to the cultural and ethnic studies discourses (if necessary).
  • Body is the main part where you as a researcher should present an in-depth analysis of the research paper’s topic. The more information you provide about the paper’s topic, the more profound understanding of the of the cultural and ethnic issue the reader will have. Mind it! But this information must be well-structured, and all the parts must be logically complete. Indeed, there is no permanent limitation dictating the aspects to be discussed or the manner in which they should be analyzed. However, try to present the key ideas supporting your thesis statement to the fullest extent. Point out at least 3 main research ideas you’d like to explore in your paper. Then choose some supporting subpoints in the form of relevant details or examples – surveys, case studies, reports, etc. Underpin each idea with the help of reliable sources of information. Besides, you shouldn’t forget about the important elements of the body section:
  • Sections and subsections that represent the main research ideas. Each idea or argument should be written in one physical paragraph. Remember a single sentence does not make any sense to a paragraph. Broaden it through supporting evidence.
  • Topic sentences that specify the direction of your thoughts in each paragraph. It is important to connect the paper paragraphs smoothly with the help of linking words.
  • In-text citations that provide evidence for your arguments. For that reason, you should research the existing literature on the cultural and ethnic studies topic pertinent to your research paper. You can’t go without this part of work – referencing to the trustful information sources.
  • Conclusion is similar to your introduction but paraphrased a little bit according to the performed research – what is investigated, in what way it is done and what is found during the research process. The conclusion should restate your thesis and summarize your main points of evidence for the reader. You should restate the topic briefly, explain why it is important, and ensure that it is concise and clear. Rewrite the thesis statement because it should not appear or sound exactly as the one provided in the introduction. If possible, it should be narrowed and focused on your cultural and ethnic studies topic.

Organize Your Notes

Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. In this stage, you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic, which is the real purpose of doing a research paper. You must be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.

Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, for example, write summaries, paraphrases, or quotations on note cards, or separate sheets of lined paper. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference. Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline. Before you know it, you have a well-organized research paper completed exactly as outlined. If it is helpful to you, use a symbol such as “#” to mark the spot where you would like to check back later to edit a paragraph. The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location that needs modification. Delete the symbol once editing is completed.

Post-Writing Tips That It Is Better to Follow Rather Than Ignoring Them

Proofread a research paper thoroughly. Your research paper is not complete yet if you don’t proofread it several times. Keep your head up! Your final score depends on the way your research paper is written in. If there are some mistakes in spelling, grammar or syntax, will it be highly appreciated? It is understood that it is impossible. But you can increase your chances to get high marks only if you correct grammar, sentence structure, and some content errors. Don’t hope to cope with the task at a go during the first proofreading attempt! Yes. it is true that you can correct some grammatical errors and sentence structure mistakes through the digital tools available to you today. But as for incoherency, it is the human responsibility, not a machines’ one. Reread the paper twice or thrice to check if the paper content is free of any misunderstanding. Cross out incoherent parts of the text. On the second reading attempt, read the paper aloud to check the correctness of the sentence structures. Remember about the subject-verb agreement? Follow all the rules in structuring your sentences and paragraphs.

Edit a research paper according to the required formatting style (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago). You can follow the main style requirements while writing a research paper. But double check if everything is edited as required by guidelines. It may happen that students make some editing mistakes writing in a hurry and get lazy to check the formatting, “I’ve done the best in my research paper!” Nobody is sceptical about your editing skills. Be detail-oriented in your research paper as the detail such as the correctly-cited sources add the credibility to your paper. Don’t neglect this point!