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Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Be concise
  • Reflect upon main points
  • Help the reader to understand the context of your arguments
  • Don't let arguments become personal
  • Write for yourself
  • Do not modify copied text, apart for quotes
A modern research paper will usually utilize theories that are applicable to a relevant issue. There are three major types of questioning that the researcher can take on what is known as the 'research ladder'. The first level means questioning basic assertions, such as when something happened, what happened, who and where. The second level comes after answering the questions of the first level, and these questions are more fundamental, such as how and why. The third level comes after at least being able to partly answer the second level, and will include your point of view, and the use of persuasion.
  • Be detailed
  • In your own words, reflect on the language and structure of the evidence, and the views of the author
  • Don't let other people's views become personal
  • Write in your own words
For a modern research paper to be successful, it most hold specific relevance for a real world issue, whereas years ago papers often were not relevant, and more of a tool to assess progression.
Considering the description of levels in the first row, we can give an example. A research paper on the H1N1 virus would start with "what is H1N1" and "who has been and is being affected by H1N1?"
After these questions have been addressed, and the elements of the issue have been introduced, the second level will ask questions that are more specific and in depth, such as "how did H1N1 begin", and "how has H1N1 affected the social view of modern pandemics?", or "what makes H1N1 immune to most treatment?". This level will include most of the research you have done from a wide range of sources.
The third level comes after establishing and reaching goals and targets set in the first two levels. Now the writer must use arguments and persuasion to steer the reader's point of view based on the sources and reasoning of them. He is the chance for questions to be raised with thought and care.
When you write the research paper, it helps to formally establish questions that need to be and are going to be answered, starting with basic questions of the first level, and moving on to more complex questions in the later levels. One the second level is completed, there opens room for personal opinions and persuasion for the reader to take your view.
  • Select quotes that explain your ideas well
  • Use verbs of attribution to start a quote (for example, he states, she asserts)
  • Ensure proper punctuation
  • Use the APA format for referencing
It is stated by Gourles, that research papers begin with the easy questions, which then go on to ask the deeper questions like how and why, which allow opinions and judgments to present themselves afterwards.


Gourley, Catherine. (Nov-Dec 2002) Climb the research ladder: here's how to plan a research paper based on questions you want to answer. (Trends). In Writing, 25, p19(1). Retrieved August 20, 2006, from InfoTrac OneFile Name=uphoenixcustom&version=1.0