Writing tips for your next term paper or research project — Get started now!

It is easy to get overwhelmed with reading, research and homework assignments to the point where you hardly know what day it is. No wonder you find that you have a term paper or research project due next week and you haven’t even chosen your topic yet. Yikes! What do you do?

Ace your next research paper with our writing tips. (Credit: Pexels)

Ace your next research paper with our writing tips. (Credit: Pexels)

Here are a few writing tips to help you get started on your next term paper or research project. Read more

Practicing source-ery: Utilizing primary and secondary sources

Primary and secondary sourcesPrimary and secondary sources

Now that research paper-writing season is well underway, you may be hearing your professors discussing the need for primary sources as well as secondary sources. Sidney Silverman Library at Bergen Community College (NJ) offers a straightforward definition of the difference between primary and secondary sources. “Primary sources are original materials such as autobiographies, poems, diaries, documents, research articles, original data, or an original creation such as a piece of art.”  Materials that “describe, explain or interpret primary sources,” they explain, are secondary sources. “These include literature criticism, biographies, books about a topic, reviews, encyclopedias and dictionaries.” A well-written research paper includes a range of primary and secondary sources throughout in order to have a well-balanced collection of resources and facts. Learn how to distinguish between the two and discover some lesser known resources for each!

Read more

When writers go bad

Ensuring what you mean is what you write.

Sometimes when writing, we may begin a sentence without knowing how it will end. If you’re not careful, it could come out with the entirely wrong meaning. Self-editing prior to handing in work can help avoid some serious writing disasters.

“When something is awful, why not say so?” asks Richard Palmer, author of Write In Style: A Guide to Good English(London: Spon Press, 1993, 3).  He says so in the chapter on Disasters, – using the following passages to explain what to do to avoid such mistakes: Read more

Who do you trust?

Which online resources are safe to use?

Search expert Barbara G. Friedman emphasizes the importance of knowing how to evaluate Web site reliability in her book Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005, 158). In Credibility at a Glance, she notes that one “quick measure of a Web site’s credibility is to look at the domain.”

Read more

Red Letter Days

“Handwritten letters are becoming a thing of the past,”

says Wendy Lustbader, adding, “We have e-mail now…” In her Aging Today essay The Demise of Letter-writing, she acknowledges, “It is true that e-mail from dear friends can be printed out and given the heft of paper. I have done this, placing each email in a file folder labeled with the friend’s name. But I prefer my shabby boxes filled with 30 years’ worth of letters from these same friends. When I open them, envelopes of different colors and shapes, stamps of all varieties and postmarks greet me. I see my name written in familiar handwriting, addressed to past domiciles…However, when I open a file folder of accumulated e-mail, I remain unmoved by those pages of bloodless, typed uniformity.” Read more

Matters of opinion

Where to look for research perspective

When you need to examine how people are reporting or commenting on different aspects of an issue or situation, these resources – among NoodleTools.com’s valuable guidelines to help Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need – are a great place to start.

Here are NoodleTools’ suggestions for opinion and perspective resources: Read more

Get Real

“Working with primary sources is like detective work – leads must be followed, motives evaluated and stories matched for consistency,” says Leslie F. Stebbins. In the book Student Guide to Research in the Digital Age: How to Locate and Evaluate Information Sources (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006), 79, Stebbins offers some strategies you can use to analyze primary sources. Read more

The Art of Negotiation

Deal or No Deal

Because “Negotiations crop up on the way to decisions big and small—when to fill the gas tank, how to spend money, who picks up the kids…” notes Psychology Today, most of us can “benefit from the same (negotiating) skills world leaders use to solve problems. And best of all, getting better at reaching agreement is pretty painless.” The article “The Art of Negotiation” offers tips from University of California system negotiator Gregorio Billikopf. Read more

Active Listening

Can You Hear Me Now?

Most people consider themselves to be good listeners. But what would others – professors, bosses, friends, family – say about you? If you look like you’re paying attention but are actually focusing on what you’ll say as soon as you get the chance, you’ve got some work to do. Read more

Get Fast, Accurate Results with Exact Phrases

“Searching for phrases” notes Living Internet “is one of the fastest ways to narrow down results” Their article Search for Phrases, explains how to use this technique.

You can specify a phrase on most search engines by placing it in double quotes. Because they are a form of unique identifier, phrases are very useful at filtering search results to just pages that contain that exact, specific string of characters. Read more