Before you begin, please identify a future career.  What can you see yourself doing in 5-10 years in the future? How will you get “from here to career”?

The first section of your paper is your opportunity to introduce your topic, your research question, and give reasons why you have chosen this topic to investigate. 

Use Show-Don’t-Tell to get the reader interested in your topic.

Tell what you know about the topic.

Tell what you want to find out.

Discuss how you intend to find answers (your research strategy).

Discuss what you think you will find when you are done with your investigation (your hypothesis).


In the second section, discuss what you did to find out more information on your topic. 

Write an introduction (each section should stand alone as a paper).

Tell the reader where you looked, who you talked to, and what you did to research this topic.

For each piece of research information you gather:

Introduce the source of the information.

Give the information you found by quoting or paraphrasing it.

Cite the source using parenthetical documentation according to MLA 8th ed. guidelines.

Explain how that information contributes to your understanding of the topic.

Make sure you tie your research, as a whole, into your topic.  Discuss how the research illuminates, explains, or adds-to your knowledge of your future career.


The third section is your opportunity to wrap it all up.  Synthesize (condense, bring together) all the information you learned in this research. 

Introduce this section by giving a brief synopsis of the research you did.

Now that you have all the facts, what do they mean?  How do they tie back into the future of your career?

How accurate was your original hypothesis?

Now that you are finished with the investigation, has it changed your initial perception of your future career?  Now that you know what you know, what skills do you think you need to learn now to be competitive?


Please make sure you gather your sources for the Works Cited page as you investigate.  Each source must be correctly cited in MLA style WITHOUT annotations or numbers. It must be formatted correctly!!

It may seem strange to write three short papers instead of one long one, but it is a very good technique for writing research papers throughout your college career.

The next time you have a class with a research paper, start working on the paper by writing an introduction to the topic in the first week of classes. 

Meet with your professor to ask if your topic is acceptable, then spend weeks 2-10 collecting research and writing it up, little by little. 

Finally, in the last two weeks of class, when everyone else is freaking out trying to write a research paper, you can simply Wrap It Up and put together your Works Cited page.  If your paper needs to be more than 6-9 pages, simply increase the page count in the research section.

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