Research Paper Writing – U Wisc

Writing a Research Paper

This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper.
Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.
  1. Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic
  2. Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
  3. Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information
  4. Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
  5. Writing the Introduction
  6. Writing the Body
  7. Writing the Conclusion
  8. Revising the Final Draft

Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic

  • Try to find a topic that truly interests you
  • Try writing your way to a topic
  • Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic
  • Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved

Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources

You will need to look at the following types of sources:
  • library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
  • primary vs. secondary sources
  • journals, books, other documents

Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information

The following systems will help keep you organized:
  • a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
  • a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
  • a system for taking notes

Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself

Consider the following questions:
  • What is the topic?
  • Why is it significant?
  • What background material is relevant?
  • What is my thesis or purpose statement?
  • What organizational plan will best support my purpose?

Writing the Introduction

In the introduction you will need to do the following things:
  • present relevant background or contextual material
  • define terms or concepts when necessary
  • explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
  • reveal your plan of organization

Writing the Body

  • Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
  • Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
  • Integrate your sources into your discussion
  • Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
  • Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization

Writing the Conclusion

  • If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
  • Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.

Revising the Final Draft

  • Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
  • Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
  • Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
  • Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.

S H O W I T

S : Strategy —
Your strategy is your blueprint for writing, your overall plan based on your thesis.
H : Heuristics — 
Heuristics are your “Rules of thumb”–   your strategy filtered through common sense. Select the best presentation of your message for your purpose, audience, and medium of presentation.
O: Organization —
Plan to organize your essay around a unifying thesis, with a strong beginning, appropriate development, and an effective conclusion.
W: Writing –
Writing is a process that involves various stages of development. Write your first draft, working out your plan, knowing you will have an opportunity to improve your essay later.
I : Improving —
Improving your writing means revising to optimize your essay for your audience and purpose.
T : Tracking —
Tracking your writing means following-up, reviewing and redeveloping as needed to achieve your purpose.

 

Policy Development and Writing

Identify the Need for a Policy

You want to have the necessary policies and procedures to ensure a safe, organized, convivial, empowering, nondiscriminatory work place. Yet you do not want to write a policy for every exception to accepted and expected behavior. Policy development is for the many employees not for the few exceptions.

Consequently, you do not want to create policies for every contingency, thus allowing very little management latitude in addressing individual employee needs. Conversely, you want to have needed policies, so that employees never feel as if they reside in a free-for-all environment of favoritism and unfair treatment. These ten steps will take you from determining the need for a policy through distributing and integrating a policy.

Check Out These Guidelines to See if a Policy Is Needed

For each of the reasons provided about why a policy might be necessary, I have provided examples of the policies that might fall into that category of need for a policy. A policy is necessary:
  • if the actions of employees indicate confusion about the most appropriate way to behave (dress codes, email and Internet policies, cell phone use),
  • if guidance is needed about the most suitable way to handle various situations (standards of conduct, travel expenditures, purchase of company merchandise),
  • when needed to protect the company legally (consistent investigation of charges of harassment, non-discriminatory hiring and promotion),
  • to keep the company in compliance with governmental policies and laws (FMLA, ADA, EEOC, minimum wage),
  • to establish consistent work standards, rules, and regulations (progressive discipline, safety rules, break rules, smoking rules), and
  • to provide consistent and fair treatment for employees (benefits eligibility, paid time off,tuition assistance, bereavement time, jury duty).
There may be other reasons, additionally, for why you may want to develop a policy. Remember, though, that one employee’s poor behavior should not require a policy that will affect all other employees.

Articulate the Goal of the Policy

Once youâ’ve determined that a policy is necessary, determine the goal you want to accomplish in writing the particular policy. When possible, you will want to tell employees why the policy is being implemented. You need enough details in the policy to make the company’s position clear, yet you can never hope to cover every potential situation addressed by the policy.
Consequently, my goal with a policy is short and simple. I recognize this may not be possible with policies about areas such as the company’s approach to the Family Medical and Leave Act, discrimination or complaint investigation, or the progressive discipline system. But, how much can you really say about driving while talking on a cell phone? So, use common sense as you determine the outcome you want from your policy.

Gather Information

This Human Resources website provides sample policies as do many other websites, albeit other companies frequently charge for their policies. Even websites that charge provide free samples so you can test their policies. In my experience, I never find a sample policy that is exactly right for my company circumstances. But, research online and find sample policies to provide a base for revising rather than writing your policy from scratch.
You can also subscribe to a service that provides samples such as Personnel Policy Manual Service, a service used by a client company. External policy sources are also provided in my policy samples directory. Finally, the Society for Human Resources Management provides policy samples for members.
In some cases, you may even want to talk with your employment law attorney. Law firms write generic policies for their clients that can also be customized. Especially when a new law passes or the Department of Labor issues new rules, your attorney is likely to develop an accompanying policy.

Develop and Write the Policy

With goals and samples in hand, write the policy using simple words and concepts. Speak directly to the people who will be reading, enforcing, and living by the policy. After each paragraph, ask yourself “what if” questions to make certain the policy is covering the basics and the normal exceptions and questions. Do not obsess over this, however; as stated, no policy ever covers every possible contingency.

Review the Policy

Select several employees, or even a small pilot group, to read the policy and ask any questions they might have about the policy. This review provides feedback that employees will be able to understand and follow the policy. Rewrite the policy based on the feedback.

Obtain Management Support for the Policy

Review the policy with the managers who will have to lead and put into effect the policy. You will want to have their support and ownership of the policy. You will have started this process much earlier, even as early as when you identified the need for the policy, but management support as you implement the policy is crucial.

Obtain Legal Review of the Policy

If the policy has legal implications, is litigious by its nature, has personal implications for employees (such as security procedures), you will want to have your attorney review the policy before you distribute the policy further. Make sure you communicate to your attorney that you do not want the policy rewritten in “legalese.” You want the policy reviewed for legal implications and appropriate wording.

Implement the Policy

In small groups, individually, or in a company meeting, depending generally on the controversial nature of the policy and the ease with which it will be understood, distribute and review the new policy. Give employees a chance to ask questions.

The policy should always consist of the policy on a piece of paper with the employee sign off on a second sheet. Employees can sign off that they have received and understand the policy, yet retain a copy for their own files.
This is a sample signoff statement to use:
I acknowledge receipt of and understanding of the (Your Company) Policy. The policy is effective (Date) until further notice.
_______________________________________________________
Employee Signature
_______________________________________________________
Employee Name (Please Print)

________________________________

Date

Decide How You Will Communicate the Policy in the Future

Include the policy in your employee handbook. You may also want the policy to become part of your New Employee Orientation. Some companies place policies in their Intranet or in a policy folder on the computer network’s common drive. Determine whether you will want to distribute the policy by additional methods.
You will also want to archive and date former policies that this policy replaces. You may need them for legal or other reference in the future.

Interpret and Integrate the Policy

No matter what you write in the policy, your later policy application and work practices will determine the real meaning of the policy. Think “consistent” and “fair” as you interpret the policy over time. When you find your practices differing from the written policy, it is time to review and rewrite the policy and the cycle starts again.

Policies and Procedures Writing

Instructions

things you’ll need:

  • Printers
  • Binders
  • Bonded Paper
  • Computers
  • Word-processing Software
    • 1
      Involve front-line managers in putting together a policy and procedure manual, as they will be administering the policies.
    • 2
      Include statements that show your commitment to applicable state and federal laws in areas such as new hire reporting, equal employment opportunity, exempt and non-exempt employees, harassment, wages, and antidiscrimination.
    • 3
      Discuss mandated benefits such as social security; worker’s compensation; unemployment; military, jury and familyleave; and school visitation rights.
    • 4
      Outline company policies, such as time-keeping; pay schedule; confidential information; use of mail, phone and e-mail privileges; probation period; performance reviews; and standards of conduct.
    • 5
      Offer information on benefits, such as holidays, vacation, retirement plans, insurance, leaves of absence and stock options.
    • 6
      Replace don’ts with dos. Use positive statements to describe company policies – instead of telling employees what they can’t do, emphasize what they’re expected to do.
    • 7
      Write clearly and keep the list of dos and don’ts reasonably short. Too much legal jargon will confuse your employees.
    • 8
      Have an employment law attorney review your manual before you issue it. This can save you thousands of dollars by protecting you from lawsuits down the road.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have employees read your policy manual from cover-to-cover and have them sign a statement saying they have done so to avoid later confusion.
  • Be careful in your use of language; you don’t want to inadvertently create a legally binding contract. Avoid using words like “always.” Use “generally” and “usually” instead. Leave room for the exceptions 

Business Plan — Templates for Writing — SBA

What is a business plan and why do I need one?

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm’s resume.Its basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow analysis.It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make the right decisions.
Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan package.
Additionally, it can tell your sales personnel, suppliers and others about your operations and goals.
NOTE: An area has been devoted to helping you with your business plan. Additional resources in completing a business plan can be found at Develop Your Business.

How do I write a business plan?

If you go to SBA’s home page sba.gov and select “Writing a Business Plan” under “Starting & Managing a Business” mega menu, you will find information on all aspects of writing a business plan. Under “SBA local resources” you can find local contacts such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the Small Business Development Center that provide FREE one-on-one counseling in the area of starting and expanding a small business. They can assist you by critiquing your business plan and your business ideas. You can locate a center by selecting “Local Resources” under sba.gov as well.

Templates for Writing a Business Plan

What goes into a business plan?
There is no single formula for developing a business plan, but some elements are consistent throughout all business plans. Your plan should include an executive summary, a description of the business, a plan for how you will market and manage your business, financial projections and the appropriate supporting documents.
To help you get started in writing your business plan, we have summarized the essential elements in the following outline.

Elements of a Business Plan

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Executive summary (statement of the business purpose)
  3. Table of contents
  4. Body of the document
    1. Business
      1. Description of business
      2. Marketing
      3. Competition
      4. Operating procedures
      5. Personnel
      6. Business insurance
    2. Financial data
      1. Loan applications
      2. Capital equipment and supply list
      3. Balance sheet
      4. Breakeven analysis
      5. Profit and loss statements
      6. Three-year summary
      7. Detail by month, first year
      8. Detail by quarters, second and third year
      9. Assumptions upon which projections were based
      10. Pro-forma cash flow
    3. Supporting documents
      1. Tax returns of principals (partners in the business) for last three years, personal financial statements (all banks have these forms)
      2. Copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor (for franchise businesses)
      3. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
      4. Copy of licenses and other legal documents
      5. Copy of resumes of all principals
      6. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

Questioning methods

from http://changingminds.org/explanations/research/design/control_authenticity.htm

Questioning methods

A very common way of getting around the classic experimental problem is to ask the target person questions, rather than directly trying to manipulate them. This assumes they can answer fully, honestly and without bias.

Surveys

Surveys ask respondents to fill in a form by themselves. Traditionally on paper, they are often now done on the internet. They may ask the respondent about attitudes, events, beliefs and so on.
Surveys are often standardized, in that the questions are tested and calibrated beforehand.Psychometric instruments evaluate individual differences, comparing them against a standardized scale.
Surveys, although qualitative in subject-matter, often give quantitative data that may be statistically analyzed.

Structured interviewing

Structured interviews are little more than researcher-read survey questions. What this does allow for is clarification of what questions mean, branching in the survey and the use of careful probing.

Open interviewing

Open interviewing is a looser method and may resemble a ‘general chat’, although the interviewer has an agenda and will try to steer things in the ‘right’ direction whilst avoiding a forced situation.
Open interviewing is also known as life history interviewing or unstructured interviewing.

Issues

A big problem with questions is that it requires self-reporting and thus is affected by the respondent’s views.
Interviewing directly includes the researcher in the process and their bias might creep in. Social desirability and other effects that change how respondents behave can also creep in.
Surveys remove the researcher to a remote position. This can still lead to bias and other effects. It also means

Observational methods

The lowest amount of control is applied in methods where the researcher has the role of ‘witness’, carefully not intruding and perhaps remaining hidden such that the target does not know they are being observed (and hence giving them no reason to change how they behave).
Participant observation includes methods where the researcher may watch people in natural surroundings, converse with them about ‘what it’s like’, take photographs and even live in the same circumstance to get some sense of the experiences.

Issues

Whilst observational method minimize the chance of bias, they are pretty singular experiences and depend on the observational powers of the researcher as well as their ability to be fully objective (which can be difficult when they would like to report something interesting). This makes it difficult to generalize conclusions to wider contexts, a factor that prevents any reliable ‘laws’ from being identified.