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The Inquiry-Based Research Paper
Honors GWRIT 103
Kessler - Fall 2006

Here are the basics:

The inquiry-based research paper is your opportunity to explore a topic that you are interested in and would like to learn more about.  So, choose something you really want to know more about.  Begin with an open mind and just see what’s out there.  Let your findings lead you a focused research question.  Let your research lead you to a focused answer to that question, which will be your conclusion. 

Examples, and details in these examples, help to illustrate points and make your paper more interesting. Take special care with word choice.  Search for exactly the right term for each idea that you are examining.

Arrange your paper carefully. Do you want to engage your audience right away with a poignant quote or anecdote in the introduction? Do you want to end with such a device? How should your body paragraphs be arranged?  Remember to use effective transitions between sentences and paragraphs so that your points smoothly.

For this inquiry-based research paper, it is appropriate to use a semi-formal style, with first person point of view and contractions.

Plan on ~ eight to ten reputable sources. Use the JMU Library academic databases or Google Scholar for electronic sources.  Use sources from the bibliography in our text. Use internet sources if they are .org, .edu, or .gov, or if they can be traced to a reputable source.

Your paper should be ~ eight and ten double-spaced pages.

Give yourself enough time to refine your paper through several drafts.  It’s fine to use the Wilson University Writing Center.  Edit your paper so that there are no mechanical or grammatical errors.

Give your paper a relevant, engaging title.

Choose the format that works with your major: MLA for Humanities, APA for Social Sciences, and CBE for Natural Sciences. You will have both parenthetical citations and a bibliographic page (Works Cited for MLA, References for APA). 

Format to one inch all around, with 12 font on white or off-white paper and dark ink. Fasten with a staple. Do not enclose your paper in a binder or use any decorations.  


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