Writing: A College Handbook - Writing and Research in Different Disciplines (Ch. 42)


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A research paper on one or more works of literature, art, music, or philosophy normally includes secondary as well as primary sources, and in general, you should organize this material as follows: (1) In the introduction you identify the particular work or works you will consider in the paper. You also formulate the question you will try to answer. (2) In the body of the paper, you develop an answer to the basic question in terms of individual works, supplemented by comments drawn from secondary sources. Secondary sources--books and articles--help you to clarify the meaning of the works you discuss, to explain the connections between them, and to sharpen the edge of your argument. But the works themselves-- not the secondary sources--should be the prime source of evidence for your argument. (3) In the conclusion of the paper, you restate the main point of your argument and indicate what the argument contributes to our understanding of the works of literature you have discussed.

Through four successful editions, Writing: A College Handbook’s positive approach has not only empowered students to write effectively, it has challenged students to consider why good writing matters. The Fifth Edition builds on this emphasis, exemplifying in clear, engaging prose the skills that students need to communicate in a wide variety of rhetorical contexts. A reliable and easy-to-use reference tool and an up-to-date rhetoric and research guide, Writing: A College Handbook invites students to discover the power of effective writing.