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Research Methods Information: Graduate Writing

A comprehensive resource for faculty and students who are teaching and conducting research.

Graduate Writing Resources

Graduate Writing in the Writing@APUS Website


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Graduate Writing provides more in-depth material that graduate students will find especially useful.
 

 


       The following topics are covered:

  • The Difference between Graduate and Undergraduate Writing
  • Mastering Analytical Writing
  • Writing with an Academic Voice
  • Writing the Research Question
  • The Research Proposal
  • Writing a Thesis Statement
  • Writing a Hypothesis Statement
  • The Theoretical Framework | Using Theory
  • The Annotated Bibliography
  • The Literature Review
  • Presenting Data
  • Writing the Conclusion
  • The Capstone Thesis
  • Getting Published
  • Using Style Guides


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Writing@APUS is the APUS Library’s writing reference resource for students and faculty.  It's designed to supplement and complement writing instruction delivered across all disciplines, and houses a complete guide to all aspects of academic writing, from organizing your research to formatting your citations. 

 

The dedicated section on Graduate Writing provides more in-depth material that graduate students will find especially useful.


Find Writing@APUS on the APUS Library website:
After logging in to the library (faculty login info; student login info), hover over the Resources & Services tab to access the drop down menus. You will see the link to the Writing@APUS site under "Resources & Services."
 

Writing@APUS link


Locate the Graduate Writing section:
On the Writing@APUS home page, scroll down to the navigation icons. Click on the Graduate Writing link.

 

Writing@APUS Graduate Writing Link

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Can undergraduate students use the Graduate Writing section of Writing@APUS?

Absolutely!

Writing@APUS is the APUS Library’s writing reference resource for all students and faculty.  It is designed to supplement and complement writing instruction delivered across all disciplines, and houses a complete guide to all aspects of academic writing, from organizing your research to formatting your citations. 

 

While the dedicated section on Graduate Writing provides more in-depth material that graduate students will find especially useful, undergraduate students are welcome and will find useful information there as well.

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Project Planner | SAGE

 

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The SAGE Project Planner is a tool is designed to guide you through your research project

Authored by David Byrne

(The info pages are also available in PDF for download.)

 

Developing a Topic

 

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Selected Books and Book Chapters from the APUS Library Catalog

Look in the Table of Contents or Index for specific information on developing a topic.

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Writing the Research Question

 

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The Graduate Writing section of Writing@APUS covers
Writing the Research Question.

     

     

         Included:

  • Definition of the Research Question
  • Types of Research Questions
  • The Importance of the Research Question
  • Example of an Effective Research Question (includes discussions of why effective and ineffective)
  • What a Research Question is Not
  • Selecting a Research Question
  • Sample Research Questions
  • Where the Research Question is Located
     
Where is the Graduate Writing page in Writing@APUS?


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Writing Resources for the Research/Thesis Proposal

 

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APUS End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies (EOP Manual) 
You may be prompted to use your APUS credentials to access this resource. (APUS login credentials required for download.)

See the following:


 


NOTE: The APUS Library does not collect student research proposals. For graduate students doing their capstone project the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies covers what should be included in the proposal.

You can look for example proposals from other universities by searching the open web via Google (or any other favorite search engine). Look for URLs ending in .edu.  

For example, if you will be using Chicago or Turabian style for papers in your paper, search for 

  • "Turabian sample research proposal" <or >
  • "Chicago example research proposal"

    Use "  " around your search phrase so that the system searches the phrase and not the individual words.

Keep in mind, there are specific formatting requirements for proposals submitted at APUS that may differ from those you see used at other schools.

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Writing the Literature Review


What is a literature review?

A literature review is “A comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works.” (ODLIS source)

A literature review provides the context for your own research. Its purpose is to:

  • Establish the theoretical framework of your research topic/question by summarizing how other researchers have approached the same topic/question.
  • Provide the terms and their definitions for the core concepts and ideas of the research subject/question.
  • Delineate the scope of your study within the research literature.

A good literature review lets you justify your research question(s) and your methodology. It demonstrates that you’ve learned what other researchers have done and said about your topic, including the gaps or flaws in that research. A well-executed literature review serves as the backdrop against which you can compare your results and conclusions.


What's the difference between an annotated bibliography and a literature review?

There are some similarities. The ODLIS defines an annotated bibliography as "A bibliography in which a brief explanatory or evaluative note is added to each reference or citation. An annotation can be helpful to the researcher in evaluating whether the source is relevant to a given topic or line of inquiry." (ODLIS source)


Purpose:  While a literature review and annotated bibliography share some similarities, they serve different purposes. Both present a list or collection of resources. The creation of each requires that one read and analyze those resources.

  • A literature review addresses the research on a particular question about a particular subject or question.
     
  • An annotated bibliography, by contrast, focuses on the importance of the information sources.


Format: The format used for each differs as well.

  • The annotated bibliography presents each resource as a separate entry listed in author order.
     
  • A literature review is written as extended prose in which you present a synthesis of the resources you’ve read.
     
  • The bibliographic citations are included in an annotated bibliography.
     
  • In a literature review in-text citations are used within the text with the full list of bibliographic citations presented alphabetically by order in a separate bibliography section.


SAGE Project Planner header

Writing@APUS logo image

 


The Graduate Writing section of Writing@APUS covers
Writing the Literature Review.

     

     

        
Included:

  • Definition of the Literature Review
  • The Difference Between a Literature Review and an Annotated Bibliography
  • Writing the Literature Review
  • Formatting the Literature Review
  • Some Advice (on approach and avoiding plagiarism)

Where is the Graduate Writing page in Writing@APUS?
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Critical Thinking | Analytical Writing & Reading

 

thoughtful personCritical thinking "is defined as reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. Critical thinking is analytical thinking. This type of thinking takes problems apart radically and down to their roots, in order to solve the problems.

But critical thinking is also defined as practicing the detachment and distancing to question the conventional wisdom -- and even negatively as debunking for the sake of one-upmanship.

A person who thinks critically can ask appropriate questions, gather relevant information, efficiently and creatively sort through this information, reason logically from this information, and come to reliable and trustworthy conclusions about the world that enable one to live and act successfully in it."


From Santa Rosa Junior College.


Selected Books

 
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Analytical writing "breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience."

From the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)


Selected Books

What does it mean to read critically or analytically?


Critical/analytical reading is a kind of "deep reading" in which one thoroughly reads, reviews, and assesses the content and presentation of a text by an author.

Daniel J. Kurland, of CriticalReading.com notes that in critical reading, "any single text provides but one portrayal of the facts, one individual’s “take” on the subject matter. Critical readers thus recognize not only what a text says, but also how that text portrays the subject matter. They recognize the various ways in which each and every text is the unique creation of a unique author."

Kurland breaks down the reading process into three areas:

  • Non-critical (or pre-critical) reading (a linear activity)
    • The focus is on "recognizing what a text says about the topic," i.e., the basic comprehension of a text.
    • The reader's goal is to "make sense of the presentation as a sequence of thoughts, to understand the information, ideas, and opinions stated within the text from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph."
       
  • Critical reading (an analytic activity)
    • The action here is re-reading in which one reads a text, multiple times, if necessary, to "identify patterns of elements -- information, values, assumptions, and language usage-- throughout the discussion."
    • The purpose is to join these "elements...together in an interpretation, an assertion of an underlying meaning of the text as a whole."
       
  • Critical thinking
    • This is the action of the reader/writer and "involves bringing outside knowledge and values to bear to evaluate the presentation and decide what to ultimately accept as true."


Quoted material and paraphrasing of same from Kurland, D. J. (2000). How the language really Works: The fundamentals of critical reading and effective writing.     
         CriticalReading.com. http://www.criticalreading.com/index.html

 

Selected Books

FAQ from our LibAnswers Knowledge Base.
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Find Writing Assistance

Using Style Guides


APA style guide cover
The complete APA style guide (a.k.a., the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition) is currently not available in an institutional version from its publisher. This means we cannot license it for student use.

You are free to purchase your own copies of the complete APA style guide directly from the American Psychological Association or from the bookseller of your choice.(Available in print or Kindle only (no Nook). Kindle eReader not required. Amazon provides free Kindle reading apps for tablet, smartphone, or computer.)




You can also use Writing@APUS to find the information you need on using APA style.


At the APUS Library web site, hover over the RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.  Look beneath WRITING and click on the APA Style link.
 

Writing@APUS style guide links

 

Not sure how to use a style guide?  Visit The Writing Process at Writing@APUS for tips!
 

Writing@APUS writing process link

 

NOTE: For direct help from the APA style guide editors, see either of these resources:


Blue book style cover

 

All APUS faculty and students have access to The Bluebook Online via the link here:
http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/bluebook  NOTE: You will need to enter your APUS login credentials.

(The APUS ePress Bluebook Style Guide is no longer in publication.)

 




You can also use Writing@APUS to find the information you need on using Bluebook style.

At the APUS Library web site, hover over the RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.  Look beneath WRITING and click on the Bluebook Style link.
 

Writing@APUS style guide links

 

For additional information, see the Writing & Citing page of the Legal Studies & Paralegal Studies | Program Guide.

 

 

Chicago style guide cover

 

 

All APUS faculty and students have access to the official Chicago Manual of Style Online (CMS or CMOS) via the link here: http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/chicago  NOTE: You will need to enter your APUS login credentials.

 




 


You can also use Writing@APUS to find the information you need on using Chicago style.


At the APUS Library web site, hover over the RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.  Look beneath WRITING and click on the Chicago Style link.
 

Writing@APUS style guide links

 

Not sure how to use a style guide?  Visit The Writing Process at Writing@APUS for tips!

 

Writing@APUS Writing Process link


For additional guidance from the University of Chicago Press editors, see these links:

 

MLA style guide cover

 

The complete MLA style guide (a.k.a., the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Edition 7) is currently only available in print format (with website access after purchase). There are no Kindle or Nook or other eBook versions at this time.

Because the official MLA style guide is not available in an institutional version from the publishers we cannot license it for student use. You are free to purchase your own copies of the complete MLA style guide directly from the Modern Language Association or from the bookseller of your choice.





You can also use Writing@APUS to find the information you need on using MLA style.

At the APUS Library web site, hover over the RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.  Look beneath WRITING and click on the MLA Style link.

Writing@APUS style guide links 

 

Not sure how to use a style guide?  Visit The Writing Process at Writing@APUS for tips!

 

Writing@APUS Writing Process link

 

NOTE: Writing@APUS MLA is based on the 7th edition of the MLA guide. We are in the process of updating our current MLA resources with 8th edition. (See MLA’s page on What’s New in the Eighth Edition? for  information on the new version.)


NOTE: For direct help from the MLA style editors, see these resources:

 

Turabian style guide

 

 

The Turabian style guide (A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th edition) is currently available only in print and in Kindle and Nook formats. (Amazon and B&N/Nook provide free reading apps for tablet, smartphone, or computer.)

 

 




You can also use Writing@APUS to find the information you need on using Turabian style.

At the APUS Library web site, hover over the RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.  Look beneath WRITING and click on the Turabian Style link.
 

Writing@APUS style guide links

 

Not sure how to use a style guide?  Visit The Writing Process at Writing@APUS for tips!
 

Writing@APUS Writing Process link

 

NOTE: Turabian is based on the Chicago style. There are minor differences but if you don't have your own copy of Turabian you can check APUS Library's licensed edition of the Chicago Manual of Style Online via this link: http://apus.libguides.com/APUS_ePress/chicago. (APUS login credentials required.)


For additional guidance from the University of Chicago Press editors, see these links:

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