10 Important Research Paper Definitions

1. Subject – A broad subject area of study.

Ex. Montgomery Bus Boycott

2. Topic – A narrow area of study that can be thoroughly investigated within the limits of a given research assignment.

Women who Contributed to the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955

3. Hypothesis – A prediction made before reading the sources closely. This educated guess guides your search for information by focusing your attention on specific aspects of your topic.

4. Thesis – A statement placed in the introduction of the paper. The thesis statement announces to your reader the major conclusion uncovered in your research. In other words, the thesis statement tells your reader what you will prove.

5. Primary Sources – The original findings or words of a writer, whether it be a poem, novel, or case study.

6. Secondary Sources – Comments and observations about the original poem, novel, case study, speech, and so on.

7. Rough Summary – Jotting down an idea that may or may not be used in the paper.

8. Paraphrase Note Card – A version of the original written in your own words in about the same length.

9. Precise Note Card – A light condensed version of the original as written in your own words.

10. Quotation Note Card – A verbatim copy of the original material.