Sample Papers

Introduction (general to specific)

  • Begin an introduction with a general discussion surrounding your topic, then narrow this discussion down until you reach your main focus.
  • Present your main focus in a thesis statement of one sentence in which you present your main argument and how you will pursue it in the following paragraphs.
  • An introduction starts with general statements and gradually reaches a specific one concerning your thesis.

Conclusion (specific to general)

  • End your paper with a conclusion that begins with a clear restatement of how you proved your main argument (but rephrase it so you will not end up repeating your thesis statement), followed by a few sentences that explain the importance of your paper in general.
  • This is where you summarize your main arguments, presenting them in a more general light than you did within the actual paper.
  • A conclusion starts with a specific summary of your thesis and gradually reaches a general discussion.

Paragraphs

  • Divide your ideas into paragraphs.
  • Introduction and conclusion each need their separate paragraphs.
  • Try to ensure that your paragraphs do not run too long (longer than one page) or too short (shorter than three sentences)
  • Each paragraph should focus on one main idea.

Style

  • No personal/moral statements. Avoid the use of “I” in academic papers. Moral messages are also frowned upon in academic writing.
  • Originality. Make sure that the paper depends mostly on your own thoughts and ideas, not made mostly of quotations and paraphrases from your sources.
  • Spacing. Leave one space after, and none before, all punctuation marks. With parentheses, brackets and quotation marks, leave no spaces within parentheses, brackets, and quotation marks. (Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken” in 1920.)
Edit. Edit. Edit.
Always proofread your paper. Allow yourself a day or so to distance yourself from your writing before reading again. More preferably, have a classmate read your paper to ensure clarity of thought and consistency of presentation.

 

Academic Style is:  

General English

 

Academic English

Impersonal

  • I heated the apparatus.
  • In my opinion, the results do not justify a further investigation.
  • Sadly, crime is increasing
  • The apparatus was heated.
  • The results do not appear to justify a further investigation.
  • Significantly, crime is increasing
Precise
  • Hundreds of tests have been done
  • Speculators buy and sell money
  • Everybody knows that dogs chase cats
  • About three hundred tests have been done
  • Speculators buy and sell currencies
  • It is widely understood that dogs chase cats
Cautious
  • Crime increases during periods of economic growth
  • Crime will never be eradicated
  • Education reduces crime
  • Crime sometimes increases during periods of economic growth
  • Crime may never be eradicated
  • Education tends to reduce crime
Formal
  • Way
  • Opinion
  • Carry out
  • ‘cos of
  • It isn’t easy to negotiate a reduction.
  • Nanotechnology is gonna be one of the key things for research.
  • The first step was easy – just introduce the titrate slowly.
  • Fleming did not intend to discover penecillin!
  • approach, method
  • view, evaluation
  • implement
  • Due to, owing to
  • It is not easy to negotiate a reduction.
  • Nanotechnology is going to be one of the key areas for research.
  • The first step was easy; the titrate was introduced slowly.
  • Surprisingly, Fleming did not intend to discover penecillin.
Noun-focused
  • The government decided to investigate.
  • The numbers grew remarkably quickly.
  • A government investigation was started.
  • There was a remarkable growth in the numbers.

 

General English: These days a lot of kids start school early. Years ago, everybody began at 5, but now it’s normal to start at 4 – or even younger! Why? One thing is that mum’s gotta get back to work. Bob Jenkins has studied this and says that early schooling causes stuff like stealing, drug abuse etc. He’s right – we should pay mums to stay at home.

 

Academic English: These days many children start school at a very young age. Up until the 1990s it was most common to begin at age five, but more recently there have been many cases where school is started at age four or younger (Jenkins (2007).  There are many reasons why this might happen; one factor is that it may be necessary for mothers to return to work for financial reasons. Nevertheless, it seems that early schooling may cause social problems such as stealing and drug abuse (Jenkins 2007). In fact, there is considerable evidence to support the idea of a state subsidy for mothers who stay at home.

 

Source: Table and sample paragraph taken from the University of Leicester website (http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/eltu/insessional/el7030)

Fallacies to avoid when composing research papers

 

Formal Fallacies: errors in structure

  • Bad reasons fallacy: Assuming the conclusion is bad because the argument is bad.
  • Masked man fallacy: Substituting two things that are not identical to reach a conclusion:

“A said a black car hit him. B drives a black car. Therefore, B hit A”

  • Fallacy of quantitative logic: Using all when the argument is not inclusive of all:

“All students at ACA are young. Therefore, all young people are students.”

 

Informal Fallacies:

  • Accident fallacy: Sweeping generalizations of a trait that is only specific to a part.
  • Ad hominem or Genetic fallacy: Judging an argument based on its speaker:

“Lisa’s shoes are ugly. Therefore, Lisa is a bad mathematician.”

  • Fallacy of ambiguity or Equivocation: Using ambiguous words that have multiple meaning:

“Evolution states that one species can change into another. We see that cars have evolved into different styles. Therefore, since evolution is a fact in cars, it is true in species.”

  • Fallacies of Appeal:

Appeal to authority or Ad vericundiam: Using a famous person, book, idea, to prove the validity of an argument.

Appeal to emotion: Using emotive language to persuade.

Appeal to ignorance or Argumentum ad ignorantiam: Arguing for the truth of something because it has not been proven wrong.

“You can’t prove that there are no aliens. Therefore, I believe aliens exist.”

Appeal to pity or Argumentum ad misericordium: Making the audience feel sorry for the speaker in order to prove a point:

“I’ve been sick. You have to let me pass the exam.”

  • Begging the question or Petitio princxipii: Circular reasoning when the conclusion is used to prove the argument:

“Oatmeal is healthy because it says so on the box of oatmeal.”

  • Black or white fallacy or Bifurcation: proving two options when there are more options available
  • Fallacy of composition: Jumping to conclusions without providing evidence:
  • Fallacy of division: Assuming if the whole is true, each of its parts is true as well:

“You’re a great writer. Therefore, your sister must be a great writer too.”

  • Non causa, pro causa fallacy or Fallacy of false cause: Relation between cause and effect is not available”

“When the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise.”

  • Red herring fallacy or Irrelevant thesis: Distraction by providing irrelevant information:

“I know your room is small, but if you’ve gone to the gym, you would’ve been fine.”

  • Slippery slope fallacy: Assuming one action will lead to another, when the two are not necessarily relevant:

“We must fight tuition increase. The next thing they do is charge us 50 thousand a semester.”

  • Strawman fallacy: Assuming the argument is proven when the points prove another argument:

“We know evolution is false because we didn’t evolve from monkeys.”

  • Weak analogy fallacy: Using poor connections between examples: