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A research paper is generally defined by college instructors as an essay which requires the writer to find and synthesize outside sources to back up a thesis (which may be argumentative or merely informative). These outside sources may include books; articles from journals, newspapers or magazines; information from credible websites and databases; personal interviews; or even songs; films; or political cartoons.

The keys to writing a good research paper are 1) finding credible sources relevant to your topic, 2) incorporating the sources into your paper smoothly, and in a way that supports your paper’s purpose, and 3) citing and documenting your sources appropriately and correctly so that your reader could go back and check them if he or she has questions or doubts. Your instructor may specify how he or she would like you to cite your sources (for example, MLA format or APA format), or your instructor may leave that choice up to you, with the provision that you follow some type of conventional academic format and avoid plagiarism.

The Chabot Library has plenty of resources to help you cite your sources correctly, and Chabot librarians are excellent guides in helping you identify sources that are credible (that is, trustworthy) and which will be useful to you in writing your paper.

Please see below for an example of a Research Essay written by a Chabot student.

Example Research Essay

Example Literary Analysis Research Essay

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