Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Collect Evidence

The evidence you collect will shape your research paper. You need to decide what evidence is appropriate for your audience, purpose, and thesis. To help you make this decision, decide what kind of appeal you are making to your audience—logical, emotional, or ethical. When you appeal to your readers' logic, you appeal to their intellect through factual or objective evidence. When you appeal to their emotions, you appeal to their feelings and their heart. When you appeal to their ethics, you appeal to their sense of justice or fair play or trust.

Here's a narrative that describes research evidence to support an observable trend. This evidence appeals to readers' logic and intelligence.

Example of a Research Question and Argument

Research Question: What trends in research led to the computer industry segmentation that has occurred since the 1960s?

Argument Appealing to Logic and Intelligence: You might learn from early research that the initial phase of the U.S. space program generated much interest in robotics and in programmable machines. The interest led to government funding for research in these areas during the 1960s. This evidence might suggest to you that the government's role in financing research was instrumental in nurturing the fledgling computer industry of the 1960s. At the same time, you may learn that the government came into conflict with proponents of the growing industry by attempting to curtail domination by a single manufacturer through enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in the 1970s. This evidence, in turn, will help you write about and explain the industry segmentation that has occurred since the 1960s, with its attendant competitive emphasis on constant improvement and innovation, realized in paradigm shifts such as those that occur in object-oriented programming.