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Sociology Research

Writing Research Papers

Your Research Papers should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion:

1. Introduction: summarizes what you will write and puts it into context. Should consist of 3 parts:

  • "What You're Studying": start with a thesis statement about your research question which includes background contextualizing your question
  • "So What?": demonstrate why your research question is important and why your reader should care
  • "Game Plan": outline the main points of your paper and how you will address them

2. Body: presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Prioritize and organize your main points and paragraphs to logically build your arguments to a compelling conclusion. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:

  • The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
  • Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas
  • Analyse your evidence to show how it links to your broader research question
  • Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph

3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your research question from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together to answer your research question
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)

4. References list: a list of the sources you cited

For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.

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