The following information was compiled by Mrs. Kearney for her students at Masterman School,
School District of Philadelphia, and posted to this wiki January 2012.


Elements of Research Syllabus
ABC * Grade 6
2011-2012
Mrs. Kearney
bcookekearney (at) philasd.org

•Introduction to Class
--Research papers
--Reference tools

•Big Six #1: Task Definition
--Graphic organizers: KWL, Concept map
--Essential questions

•Thesis or Report?
--Definition of thesis
--Development of a working thesis



•Big Six #2: Information Seeking Strategies
--Library overview
--Using table of contents and index
--Academic Integrity

•Big Six #3: Location and Access
--Databases

--Website evaluation




•Big Six #4: Use of Information
--Notetaking format
--Selecting and writing notes



•Big Six #5: Synthesis
--Summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting
--Attribution: intext citations, signal phrases




•Bibliographic Citations
--Modern Language Association
--Electronic sources


•Online Resources
--The Free Library of Philadelphia site
--Destiny, online catalog
--Online style manuals

•Big Six #6: Evaluation
--Academic writing
--Presentation of working thesis


Rubric [not posted 1/10/12]


WHAT MAKES A THESIS?
Specific topic + Attitude/Angle/Argument = Thesis
What you plan to argue + How you plan to argue it = Thesis
Five Tests for a Good Thesis:
1. Does the thesis inspire a reasonable reader to ask, “How?” or “Why?”
2. Would a reasonable reader NOT respond with “Duh!” or “So what?” or “Gee, no kidding!” or “Who cares?”
3. Does the thesis avoid general phrasing and/or sweeping words such as “all” or “none” or “every”?
4. Does the thesis lead the reader toward the topic sentences (the subtropics needed to prove the thesis)?
5. Can the thesis be adequately developed in the required length of the paper or project?
Is it a Thesis Statement?
Put a check next to the statements that you thing are Thesis Statements.
_ 1. Child abuse hurts children in a variety of ways.

_ 2. Water rafting is a challenging activity, both physically and mentally, and can transform an adolescent into an adult.

_ 3. People use many lawn chemicals.

_ 4. Hip-hop is the best thing that has happened to music in twenty years.

_ 5. Many people object to today’s violent horror movies.

_ 6. Though many people dismiss hip-hop as offensive, hip-hop music offers urban youth an important opportunity for artistic expression and allows them to articulate the poetry of the street.

_ 7. The use of many popular lawn chemicals to kill weeds ends up poisoning the environment.

_ 8. The American steel industry has many problems.

_ 9. The primary problem of the American steel industry is the lack of funds to renovate outdated plants and equipment.

_ 10. Today’s graphically violent horror movies do not convey the creative use of cinematography or the emotional impact found in the classic horror films of the 1940s and 50s.

“What Is a Thesis?” Springfield Township High School Virtual Library. 5 April 2008.




Expository Essay Thesis Statement
Sample Prompt: Explain why a healthy diet is important.
Weak Thesis Examples:
• Too broad: A healthy diet is important.
• Too narrow: People should include eight servings of fruits and vegetables in their diet everyday.
• Off topic: Bananas are one of the most nutritious foods on earth.
Strong thesis: A healthy diet is important because it increases energy, prevents illness and promotes well-being in all people.

Persuasive Thesis Statement
Sample Prompt: Convince your reader whether school uniforms should be mandatory in public schools.
Weak Thesis Examples:
• Too broad: It is outrageous for students to be forced to wear school uniforms.
• Too narrow: Students who are forced to wear school uniforms have their creativity stifled.
• Off topic: When kids grow up, they will have bad memories of school.
Strong thesis: School uniforms should not be mandatory in public schools because it would stifle students’ creativity, take away students’ rights, and cause students to lose interest in school.


Literary Analysis Thesis Statement
Sample Prompt: How does Gennifer Choldenko use literary elements to create conflict in the book, Al Capone Does My Shirts?
• Too broad: Gennifer Choldenko had many examples of conflict in her book.
• Too narrow: Gennifer Choldenko’s main character, Moose was embarrassed when he discovers his sister Natalie knows Piper.
• Off topic: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Al Capone for tax fraud.
Strong Thesis: In Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko creates conflict between the students at the mainland and those at the prison, between Moose Flanagan and his parents, and between Moose and his conscience.



Format for Notes

1. Subtopic: You must list the subtopic that your notes relate to on each note card. These subtopics will help you organize your notes before you begin to write your draft.

2. Citation: You must identify the source your notes come from on each note card. You MUST have the full citation listed in your notes SOMEWHERE. To identify, you can use a shortened form, such as an author’s surname or article title or a code
(i.e. letter A corresponds to all books by Stein, etc.).

3. Page Number: If your information is from a print source, you must write the EXACT PAGE NUMBER on the note card. (Many online sources don’t have specific page numbers.)

4. Information: Use brief phrases and write in your own words. If the information supports your position in a unique way precisely as written, copy down the direct quote using quotation marks.

What to take notes on and what kind of notes to take:

• Focus on the main ideas of your subtopics.

• Take notes on sections that help answer or prove your thesis and relate to your subtopics.

• Evaluate the information--is it biased?

• Use your own words. Put quotes around information taken
directly from the information.

• Record dates, statistics, names of people, places, and organizations carefully.

• Write in phrases or bulleted points.

Don’t be a “yo-yo” note taker!


Name_Sec._
NOTETAKING

Subtopic:_

Citation:



_

_

Page no._

Information:_

_

_

_

_

_

_

Summarizing/Paraphrasing/Direct Quote

_

_

_

_

_

_

MULTIPLE NOTECARDS
When you take notes from the same source but different subtopics, you need to write out the entire citation on the first card. On the subsequent cards, you can abbreviate the source (citation). For example:
[Card 1]
Subtopic: Children in the workplace
Citation: Freedman, Russell. Kids At Work: Lewis Hine and the Child Labor Movement. NY: Scholastic, 1998.
Page no.: 52
Information:

[Card 2]
Subtopic: Lewis Hine's photos
Citation: Freedman
Page no.: 61
Information:
If you have a two sources from the same author, write the surname of the author and part of the title to distinguish the two. For example, Freedman. Kids At Work.
CARD 1
Subtopic:

Citation:_

_

_

Page number (no.):

Information:



CARD 2

Subtopic:

Citation:_

Page number (no.):

Information:



Online Databases

•What is an online information database?

¶A database is usually large collection of data organized especially for rapid search and retrieval (as by a computer). The database is an electronic storage system for information that exists somewhere in print.
¶A collection of magazines, newspapers, journals, encyclopedia articles, pamphlets and more!
¶Gathered in one source so you can search hundreds of thousands of articles from hundreds of sources at one time.
¶Articles are organized and indexed according to subject headings, so they are easy to access.
¶Many colleges and universities require the inclusion of database articles in academic papers.

•What are the two sources for databases available to Masterman students?

Power Library
POWER is an acronym for Pennsylvania Online World of Electronic Resources. Power Library is offered as a service of Pennsylvania’s public libraries, school libraries, and the State Library. You are entitled to use the subscription to the online database, Power Library, because you are a Masterman student and/or
a library card holder.
To access Power Library at school,
get on Firefox, then check the bookmarks for
Power Library Internal Access.
To access Power Library at home, follow
this pathway:
--website for The Free Library of Philadelphia: http://freelibrary.org
--Find-databases
--Ask-netlibrary
--library card number (skip PIN for this)
--Power Library link
--library card number again.

ProQuest
ProQuest is a company that organizes online databases. Masterman School
pays a subscription to access several databases from this company each year.
To access ProQuest at school, home, or anywhere you have internet access:
--website for ProQuest: www. proquestk12.com
--Username: 03-42691
--Password:
There is also a link for ProQuest on the school library’s catalog home page:
philasd.follettdestiny.com.
•Why is a database more reliable than a website?
A database is supported by authoritative sources.

•What is the difference between a website and a database?
¶You need a subscription or some membership to access the database. You cannot access the database by googling it.
¶Somewhere, the materials in a database exist in print. The database acts as an electronic storage.
¶Unlike a website, a team of experts has already evaluated the database for authority, reliability, credibility, and currency. In other words, you can trust that the database represents quality material.

•How do you search for information using an online database?
¶Remember to use Boolean search terms: AND, NOT, OR. Do not string words with commas, as you do with Google searching.
¶Try a wild card. Use the root or stem of the word and type an asterik. Ex., Farm* you can get results farmer, farming, farm work.
¶Put quotation marks around phrases you want the computer to search together. Ex.,"Civil War"
¶Check full text. You cannot use an abstract for research; you need a complete article.
¶Take advantage of narrowed search on left-hand side.
¶ProQuest allows you to search using “natural language.” This means you can string terms together using commas. For ex., if you wanted to search for information about the Union soldiers during the Civil War in the United States, you could type in these search terms: Civil War, United States, Union. Be sure to click natural language under the search box.

•How do you reference the information found in an article on a database?
Citation for online database (MLA):
Author’s last name, first name. “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical Vol.—Issue---
(Date day-month-year): pages. Database. Web. Date of access.
Most databases have a link for citation.

•What are some databases available for your use?
Through the subscription to ProQuest, students may use the following databases:
Learning Literature, Culturegrams, Historical Newspapers, and History Study Center.
Through Power Library, students have access to several databases; some of them are the following: SIRS Discoverer, Omnifile Mega and Omnifile Select, AP Images, Contemporary Authors, and Consumer Health Select.



Evaluating Websites

Why is Google like the cereal isle at the grocery store?

If you had to make a decision about treatment for a serious medical condition, would you base your decision in information you got from any old website?

What makes a website worthy of your use?

Criteria for evaluating websites
1. Authority: Who wrote it? If there is no author listed, what organization is responsible for it? Do they have knowledge of the subject? (Do you know what ~ means in a web address?)

2. Accuracy: Is the information correct? (How can you find out?)

3. Currency: When was the page last updated?

4. Objectivity: Is the purpose of the page to convince you of an opinion? Is there bias on the site? Are there advertisements related to the subject?

5. Coverage: How in-depth is the information?

The Test: Would you use it?
Rate each site using the criteria below.
1=disagree strongly 2=disagree 3=not sure 4=agree 5=agree strongly
The site: http://www.dhmo.org/ Dihydrogen Monoxide Homepage

Authority: Author/editor/sponsor is reputable.
1
2
3
4
5
Accuracy: The information is from reliable sources and is correct.
1
2
3
4
5
Currency: The information is current and the page is regularly updated and maintained.
1
2
3
4
5
Objectivity: The purpose of the site is to inform, not sell or persuade.
1
2
3
4
5
Coverage: The information is in-depth.
1
2
3
4
5
Would you use this site for a research paper? Explain why or why not.


The site: http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html Faked Apollo Landings

Authority: Author/editor/sponsor is reputable.
1
2
3
4
5
Accuracy: The information is from reliable sources and is correct.
1
2
3
4
5
Currency: The information is current and the page is regularly updated and maintained.
1
2
3
4
5
Objectivity: The purpose of the site is to inform, not sell or persuade.
1
2
3
4
5
Coverage: The information is in-depth.
1
2
3
4
5

Would you use this site for a research paper? Explain why or why not.



The site: http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/bread.html The Dangers of Bread

Authority: Author/editor/sponsor is reputable.
1
2
3
4
5
Accuracy: The information is from reliable sources and is correct.
1
2
3
4
5
Currency: The information is current and the page is regularly updated and maintained.
1
2
3
4
5
Objectivity: The purpose of the site is to inform, not sell or persuade.
1
2
3
4
5
Coverage: The information is in-depth.
1
2
3
4
5


Would you use this site for a research paper? Explain why or why not.



The site: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2004/040105.htm News and Events

Authority: Author/editor/sponsor is reputable.
1
2
3
4
5
Accuracy: The information is from reliable sources and is correct.
1
2
3
4
5
Currency: The information is current and the page is regularly updated and maintained.
1
2
3
4
5
Objectivity: The purpose of the site is to inform, not sell or persuade.
1
2
3
4
5
Coverage: The information is in-depth.
1
2
3
4
5


Would you use this site for a research paper? Explain why or why not.



WEBSITE EVALUATION

Google and Bing are the names of two popular search engines. There are many others. Google and Bing are not websites.

The basic criteria for evaluating a website:
Authority (Who wrote it?)
Accuracy (Is the information correct?)
Currency (Is the site current?)
Coverage (Is there in-depth information?)
Objectivity (Is there bias? Opinion? Is the
site trying to sell or persuade? What is the extension?)
General Website Entry:
Author. (If given) "Title of article." (If given) Name of site. (If given) Date of publication or last update. (if given) Sponsoring organization or publisher. (If given) Web.Date accessed.

Sample Website Entry:
Stewart, Hayden. “Let’s Eat Out: Full-Service or Fast Food?.” Amber Waves. Sept. 2004. USDA Economic Research Service. Web. 2 Mar. 2008.



Direct Quote [not posted 1/10/12]


Signal phrases--lead into a quote
• According to Jane Doe, "..."
• As Jane Doe goes on to explain, "..."
• Characterized by John Doe, the society is "..."
• As one critic points out, "..."
• John Doe believes that "..."
• Jane Doe claims that "..."
• In the words of John Doe, "..."
(50)
(Padgett 50)

In the words of author and essayist Samuel Johnson, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."

As Divakaruni has noted, “Looking down from the heights of Maslow's pyramid, it seems inconceivable to us that someone could actually prefer bread to freedom.”
Arthur Hardy, a renowned expert on New Orleans Carnival traditions, points out that “Mardi Gras came to North America from Paris, where it had been celebrated since the Middle Ages.”

Racial profiling “makes a mockery of the rights to which people in this country are entitled,” claims columnist Colbert I. King.

Politician Anita Sheffield answers her critics by conceding, “The proposal did not account sufficiently for the economic downturn.”



Quotations

•match the source word for word;

•are usually a brief segment of a text;

•appear between quotation marks;

•must be attributed to the original source.

Times to Cite:

Paraphrasing

•does not match the source word for word;

•involves putting a passage from a source into your own words;

•changes the words or phrasing of a passage, but keeps exactly the original meaning.

•may be longer than the original text;

•must be attributed to the original source.

Summarizing

•does not match the source word for word;

•involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, but including only the main point(s);

presents a broad overview, so is usually much shorter than the original text;

•must be attributed to the original source.


“Quoting, Paraphrasing & Summarising.” The Learning Centre. 17 December 2008. University of New South Wales. Web. 9 February 2009.



INTEXT CITATIONS With LONG (BLOCK) & SHORT QUOTES
MLA Formatting

Directions:
Just like the bibliographic citation, intext citations follow certain formatting rules. The intext citation tells your reader specifically and immediately where you got your information. The key to having appropriate intext citations is good notetaking. So, follow these instructions, even if they seem tiresome.
Set up your notecard. You will need all this information: subtopic, citation, page number, information.

When you summarize or paraphrase, state a fact or provide a direct quote, you need to cite your source with an intext citation.

•When the author is identified in the signal phrase, you need only cite the page number in your intext citation. Ex. (33).

•When the author is not identified, you need to cite his/her surname and the page number. If no page number is provided, such as an online source, just write the surname.
Ex. (Smith 40) or (Jones).

You need to write carefully and accurately direct quotes. There are two kinds of quotes: short and long.
--Short quotes are direct statements from the source that are complete within the
paragraph in three lines or less.
Ex. People had a naïve idea about the seriousness and length of the Civil War. In fact,
when the Battle of Manassas was waged in Virginia, ". . .scores of newspaper reporters and dozens of ladies with picnic baskets and opera glasses" came (Fleming 89).
--Long quotes follow these rules:

Four or more lines
No quotation marks
Signal phrase
Indented margins
Punctuation differs in intext citation.


MAKING A BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bibliographic citations in Modern Language Association (MLA) Format.
•double spaced
•alphabetical
•overhanging indentation.
Suggested online style manual: OWL at Purdue University <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/>
Some electronic citation sources: easybib; noodletools; son of citation (citation machine).
Book
With one author:
Author’s last name, author’s first name. Title. City: Publisher, Publishing year.

Print.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary (unsigned)
“Term looked up.” Encyclopedia. # ed. Year.

Periodical
Author’s last name, author’s first name. “Title of Article.” Periodical. Date: pp.

Print.
Online database:
Author/editor name(s). “Name of article.” Magazine or Journal. Date: pp (if given).

Source. Web. Date of Access.

Website
Author (if known). “Title of Article.” Website Name. Date of article. Name of

Organization sponsoring web site. Web. Date of access.

Interview
Person interviewed, relationship. Interview by author, Date, City. Interview.

Video or DVD
Author’s last name, author’s first name (if given). Title of video. Produced and

Directed by ----------. Number of min. Production company. Year of

Format. Videocassette OR DVD

CITATION GUIDELINES FOR BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATIONS
If you have more than one author, list the second author with his/her first name, then last name.
If your book is illustrated, copy the illustration information from the title page exactly as it appears.
For example, Pictures by Paul Zelinsky; Photographs by Ansel Adams, etc. If your book has more than one publishing cit, pick the one closest to where you live; pick the most recent publication date.

Book: Look on the front and back of the title page.
Author's last name, first name:_
Title:_ (italics)
Illustrator (if given):_
Publishing city: Publisher:_
Year:_ . Print.
Encyclopedia: Look on the front and back of the title page.
Author's last name, first name:
Term you looked up:_(quotations marks)
Title:_(italics)
Edition (year):. Print.
Periodical (Magazine/Journal): Examine front/back covers, contents
Author's last name, first name:
Title of article:(quotation marks)
Periodical:(italics)
Vol._ Issue:_(for journals)
Date:(d/my): Page nos. :. Print.
Online Database: Don't leave the computer without this information.
Author's last name, first name:
Title of article:(quotation marks)
Periodical:(italics)
Vol._ Issue:_(for journals)
Date:(d/my): Page nos. (if given) :.
Database:(italics) Web.
Date of access: (d/m/y)

MAKING A BIBLIOGRAPHY. CONTINUED
Website: Look at top/bottom of screen end page, home page.
Author's last name, first name (if given):_
Title of article: (in quotation marks)
Name of website: (italics)
Source of website:(may be same as name)
Website last updated:_(d/m/y)
Web. Date of access:(d/m/y)
Interview:
Person interviewed (last name/first name):
Kind of interview (personal, telephone, email, etc.)_
Date of interview:(d/m/y). Interview.
Video/DVD: Look on box and on opening/ending credits of media.
Name of movie: Director:
Performers:_
Production company:Year:_. DVD

FORMAT OF MLA BIBLIOGRAPHY
At the end of your paper, you include a bibliography, a list of the sources you used to write your paper. Your entire paper, including the bibliography, must be formatted according to an approved style. Many formatting styles exist, but you will follow the one your teacher assigns. You will follow the formatting rules of the Modern Language Association (MLA) for this class.
When you format the citations for your bibliography, you will need to alphabetize them, punctuate them correctly, and use overhanging indent (first line starts at the margin, the rest of the citation is indented).
Bibliographies contain all the sources you used for your paper--books, DVDs, magazine articles, websites. If you mention an author or source in your paper, it must appear on your bibliography. If no author is given for an article or website, etc., alphabetize by the article or website's title. If this title begins with a, an, the, go to the next word to alphabetize.
This list shows you just a few samples. Every idea that is not from you needs to be cited. If you need to cite a different kind of source, you can look at Purdue University's Online Writing Laboratory (OWL) or, in printed form, a manual of style. In addition, online sites exist for citing sources electronically, for example, easybib, noodletools. However, when you use your source, you need to keep a careful record of the publication information so you can plug in that information on these electronic sites.


PRIMARY SOURCES
Make a journal entry about your life.

PRIMARY SOURCES
Draw a cartoon or a picture that depicts something about your life.

PRIMARY SOURCES
Record your visit to the school library. Comment on what you observed there.

PRIMARY SOURCES
Conduct an interview with a person from your times.

PRIMARY SOURCES
Examine an artifact and note what it tells you about your times.

PRIMARY SOURCES
Study a piece of writing and evaluate what it tells you about your times.