In this final 2012 edition of the EazyPaper newsletter, Professor Randy gives some tips on researching, and Michael finishes his Specialized Page Layout series.
by Professor Randy
Last month, we looked at how to create a dynamic outline that will help you stay focused as you write your paper, saving tons of time in the process. This month, I am going to address strategies for researching and organizing your ideas.
You may recall that I used the topic, "American Foreign Policy with Canada, Japan and China," as an example in last month's newsletter. I had said that the main points of your outline would be: 1) Introduction - every good paper has a strong introduction and conclusion, 2) American foreign policy with Canada, 3) American foreign policy with Japan, 4) American foreign policy with China, and 5) Conclusion.
Now, that you have a basic outline that will guide your research, it is time to dive into the research phase itself. I would suggest a three-pronged approach.
First, it is often useful to do a search on the internet for short articles, blogs or other websites that contain information about your topic. This will likely give you an overview of some of the key issues. I would add that this kind of internet-based information is often subjective in nature, so I would caution against placing too much weight on it. Of course, your search may uncover articles in reputable online magazines and journals that would carry more weight.
Second, access your school's online databases of full text journals and magazines. If you are not sure how to access these databases, check with your school's library staff. These online databases are an incredible way of delving into current research on your topic.
Third, do a search of your library's book catalogue to see what is available on American foreign policy with Canada, Japan and China. For example, you may find entire books dealing with American foreign policy with China. Of course, depending on your library's holdings, you may have to opt for more general books on American foreign policy that contain chapters on American-Chinese relations.
As you engage in this three-pronged approach, make sure that you put the important ideas you discover into your outline and include bibliographic information about the source. As you begin to see sub-themes emerge (e.g. the North American Free Trade Agreement as part of American-Canadian relations), add sub-points to your outline that reflect these sub-themes. Make sure that all of your ideas fit with the overarching purpose of your paper.
Next month, we will look at how to write a strong introduction that grabs the attention of the reader and sets the tone for the entire paper.
by Michael Hu
Last month's article covered columns which are useful for newsletters and the print medium industry. This article will finish the Specialized Layout Series with a tutorial on Line Numbers.
Line Numbers are not used in academic papers, but are common in government and legal documents. Whereas academic papers quote a page, government and legal documents need to reference a paragraph or even line number in their rulings.
Adding line numbers to a document is simple: just click the Line Numbers button of Figure 1 and select Continuous, Restart Each Page, or Restart Every Section.
Figure 1: Columns on the Page Setup section
Continuous adds line numbers to every line in your document. Restart Each Page restarts the line numbering at 1 at the beginning of each page, and Restart Every Section restarts it at every section. You can place section breaks at any arbitrary point in your document, thus allowing you to restart the page numbering wherever you wish. You can also combine Columns with Line Numbers, so that each line of each column is numbered sequentially.
However, sometimes you want to avoid numbering a particular paragraph, especially if it is a section title. Just click in that paragraph, and select Figure 1's Suppress for Current Paragraph to toggle line numbers for that paragraph.
Line Numbers are easy to use, but are they useful for a student? They can be if you are working in a team, and need to edit a document together. Referring to line numbers that can easily be toggled on or off for the whole document makes the collaboration process easier.
Michael's Spring 2013 Series will cover more of Word's extensive document collaboration features that make working on a document in a team environment smoother, and less stressful.