Framing a Research Question
The word RESEARCH means "finding out" or "discovery", by use of systematic effort, information or answers to something you want to know. You RESEARCH by asking questions and by searching for answers to those questions which are satisfactory, methodological valid, and balanced. You cannot RESEARCH if you do not want to know anything, that is, you must have something you would like to know more about before you can do RESEARCH. You begin with a QUESTION or QUESTIONS. If you have none, you will find no answers or will not know when you have found one. Since you will be assigned to write a RESEARCH paper, a paper written without a question in mind will NOT be a RESEARCH paper.
The Honours Project is a RESEARCH project. It involves asking a main question, then many more follow up questions. These questions MUST be pursued honestly. That is, if you find an answer you don't like, you nevertheless cannot reject it. You must examine the EVIDENCE assessed in arriving at that answer, and all other answers to your question. You must report contradictory EVIDENCE, and explain how you weight one answer as better based on better EVIDENCE than another.
You will discover that framing your question is the first thing you, as a good RESEARCHER, should do. Sure, read about countries, people or events which interest you, and all those writers wanted to know more about that which they wrote about, but then consider what more you would like to find out about that event, person, period or country, etc. If you aren't interested in what you write, and you don't have any idea about what question(s) you are asking, then don't be surprised if your lecturer / reader gets bored when reading your paper or tells you that what you wrote is not a RESEARCH paper. Most lecturers grade according to whether you did the assignments and whether it was interesting and well done. So frame a question which genuinely interests you, and which may be new.
Writing a termpaper
The introduction should consist of three aspects:
With a term paper of ten pages, the introduction should be no more than one page.
The main part of the term paper has to be constructed systematically.
Look at several books to see how the authors have structered the content of their books.
There are different systems for arranging the content of a paper:
Look at several books with different systems and decide on the system you would like to apply. You must only apply one system.
Usually, the main part starts with the definitions of the central concepts and a short review of the topic.
Refer to the table of content to see an example of a list of contents showing the systematic structure of a term paper.
In the conclusion you should try to sum up the main results of the term paper. You should try to put down the results in three or four short statements or thesis. At the end, you should give your own point of view. Try to explain why some authors are wrong or right, and what do you think about the topic, but you have to base your own opinion on reasonabele arguments.
The conclusion should be no longer than 1 page.
Citations are very important. A term paper without citations will not be accepted. They are necessary in order to show which sources you have used and allow the reader to look up the references for further reading.
There are three systems for writing citations:
To start with we would recommmend to use the system 1 or 2.
Do not mix two systems. Apply only one.
Examples of citations:
At the end of the term paper you write all articles and books in alphabetical order.You have to distinguish between:
The references should only include the titles you have actually used in your term paper.
Besides the term paper you compile a bibliography for the topic of the term paper. This bibliography should consist of all relevant books and articles, in English as well as in Chinese, but not more than 30 titles.
Please add the bibliography to the term paper.
Many of the journals have a monthly or yearly index, which makes it easier to find relevant articles. Try to find other journals.
Look up Chinese periodicals: