Palayok English Term Paper

For other uses, see Piñata (disambiguation).

A piñata (, US pronunciation , Spanish pronunciation: [piˈɲata] ( listen)) is a container often made of papier-mâché, pottery, or cloth; it is decorated, and filled with small toys or candy, or both, and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration. Piñatas are commonly associated with Mexico. The idea of breaking a container filled with treats came to Europe in the 14th century, where the name, from the Italianpignatta, was introduced. The Spanish brought the European tradition to Mexico, although there were similar traditions in Mesoamerica, such as the Aztecs' honoring the birthday of the god Huitzilopochtli in mid December. According to local records, the Mexican piñata tradition began in the town of Acolman, just north of Mexico City, where piñatas were introduced for catechism purposes as well as to co-opt the Huitzilopochtli ceremony. Today, the piñata is still part of Mexican culture, the cultures of other countries in Latin America, as well as the United States, but it has mostly lost its religious character.

History

Although piñatas are uniquely thought of as a fun activity for parties nowadays, they have a long, rich history.[1] There is some debate but it appears that their origin is not Spanish but Chinese.[2] The Chinese version was in the shape of a cow or ox and used for the New Year. It was decorated with symbols and colors meant to produce a favorable climate for the coming growing season. It was filled with five types of seeds and then hit with sticks of various colors. After the piñata was broken, the remains were burned and the ashes kept for good luck.[1][3][4]

The tradition arrived in Europe in the 14th century where it was associated with the Christian celebration of Lent; in Spain, the first Sunday of Lent, "Piñata Sunday", became a celebration known as the Dance of the Piñata. As the word's Italian origin indicates, pignatta meaning "earthenware cooking pot", the Spanish initially used a plain clay container, before starting to decorate it with ribbons, tinsel and colored paper. The origin of the Italian word is thought to be linked to the Latin word pinea, "pine cone".[1][5]

The European piñata tradition was brought to Mexico in the 16th century; however, there was a similar tradition in Mesoamerica already. The Mayan tradition was similar to the modern piñata tradition, including blindfolding the participant hitting the piñata. The Aztec tradition commemorated the birthday of Huitzilopochtli. Priests would decorate a clay pot with colorful feathers. When the pot was broken with a stick or club, the treasures inside would fall to the feet of the idol as an offering.[1] According to local records, the piñata was first used for the purposes of evangelism in 1586, in Acolman, in the modern State of Mexico, just north of Mexico City. The Augustinian monks there modified European piñatas and created the Las Posadas tradition to co-opt the celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli, which was celebrated in mid December.[4][6][7][8]

The Mexican Catholic interpretation of the piñata rested on the struggle of man against temptation. The seven points represent the seven deadly sins. The pot represents evil and the seasonal fruit and candy inside the temptations of evil. The person with the stick is blindfolded to represent faith. The turning, singing and shouting represent the disorientation that temptation creates. In some traditions, the participant is turned thirty three times, one for each year of Christ's life. These interpretations were given to the piñata for catechism purposes. As the participant beats the piñata, it is supposed to represent the struggle against temptation and evil. When the piñata breaks, the treats inside then represent the rewards of keeping the faith.[3][7][9]

However, since this time the piñata has all but lost its religious significance and has become popular in many types of celebrations, not just during December's Las Posadas. The clay pot has been replaced with a papier-mâché container.[3] The creation of piñatas has even taken on an artistic aspect in some areas. David Gamez and Cecilia Meade sponsored a showing of piñatas as art rather than just as a party favor. The event was called Piñatarama, with 25 piñatas made of papier-mâché at the Vértigo Galería in Mexico City, all original works of art by graphic illustrators, from 23 countries including Australia. Some of the illustrators who participated include 1000 Changos, Allan Sieber, Apak, Ben Newman, Cecy Meade, Cristian Turdera, Cupco and Daniel Berman.[10] In Tepatitlán, the world's largest traditional seven-pointed piñata was created in 2010. It measures 11.2 meters, is made of fiberglass and weighs 350 kilograms. It surpasses the former Guinness record holder which was made in 2008 in Pennsylvania.[11]

Piñatas in Mexico

The piñata is most strongly identified with Mexico.[9] The art of making modern piñatas falls under the Mexican craft heading of "cartonería", which refers to the making of items from paper and cardboard. This puts piñatas in the same category as amate paper craft, Judas figures and Mexico City style alebrijes.[12] The Museo de Arte Popular held the first "Concurso de Piñatas Mexicanas" (Mexican Piñata Contest) in 2007 with prizes of 15,000, 10,000 and 5,000 pesos. The purpose of the contest is to help retain this tradition and help it to be continued to be valued.[3] The Museo del Caracol in Mexico City held a workshop on how to make traditional piñatas, as part of its outreach program to the public.[4]

While the religious significance has been mostly lost, the ceremony that occurs with it has remained mostly intact. Piñatas remain most popular during Las Posadas with birthday parties coming in second. Each participant, usually a child, will have a turn at hitting the piñata, which is hung from above on a string. The participant is blindfolded, given a wooden stick, and then spun a number of times. As the participants works to hit the piñata, another moves it to make it harder to hit. There is a time limit to any one person's attempts, which is marked out by the singing of a traditional song.[1][9]

Piñatas were traditionally made with a clay pot base and many artisans make a living selling just the pot for people to decorate as they wish. However, clay pot piñatas have mostly been replaced by those made with cardboard and paper mache, usually fashioned over balloons.[1] One reason for this is that broken pot pieces can be dangerous to children.[13] These are then decorated with crepe paper, other colored paper and other items.[9] Piñatas today come in all shapes and sizes, with many representing cartoon or other characters known to most children. Popular shapes today can include Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or characters based on popular movies and television shows such as Nemo, the Lion King and more. For Christmas, the traditional style with the points is popular as it is associated with the Star of Bethlehem.[1][9] However, for the most part, piñata designs have been completely commercialized.[9]

Traditionally in Mexico, especially at Christmas, piñatas are filled with fruit and candies such as guavas, oranges, jicamas, pieces of sugar cane, tejocotes and wrapped candies. Some piñatas are "traps" filled with flour, confetti or water. Special baskets of treats may be given to children who come up empty handed after a piñata is broken. These are called colaciónes and are given to prevent hurt feelings.[1]

There are a number of localities in Mexico that specialize in the making of piñatas for sale. Acolman, the origin of piñatas, along with neighboring Otumba are one.[8] Acolman hosts an annual National Piñata Fair. This event includes cultural events, workshops on the making of piñatas, piñata contests and traditional Posadas. The event has attracted as many as 100,000 visitors over the days that it is held, many of whom come from Mexico City.[6]

About 400 families in the town of San Juan de la Puerta, in the south of the Cuerámaro municipality in Guanajuato, are dedicated to the creation of piñatas, and produce about 16,000 pieces each month. The making of piñatas supports about half of the people in the town. It is the second most important economic activity after agriculture. This tradition began in 1960 by Juan Remigio Anguiano, who brought the craft to the town after living in Mexico City. Today, piñatas from the town are sold in various parts of the state.[14]

In the penal facility of Huajuapan de León, prisoners make piñatas to sell. This began when several prisoners brought the craft with them when they were incarcerated about twenty years ago. These piñatas have become traditional for the population of the city for Christmas.[2]

The busiest time for the sale of piñatas in Mexico is December for posadas. During bad economic times, sales of piñatas can fall as much as thirty percent as they did in 2008.[13]

The star shape, or ball with points, still remains popular for the Christmas season, but for other events, traditional designs for children such as donkeys, have almost entirely been replaced by cartoon characters based on U.S. movies and television shows.[15] However, most of the piñatas produced based on these images are not done following copyright law, which has caused problems. Copyright holders such as Marvel Comics have complained about infringement by piñata makers in Mexico. Federal authorities have responded by seizing such merchandise in stores in various areas of Mexico City. Vendors complain that they have sold these pinatas for decades and never have had problems. [16] Those who have run into problems with copyright law state that it is difficult to sell other types as most customers prefer to buy those based on popular characters.[17] Mexico exports piñatas to the United States and other parts of the world,) but copyright has been an issue here as well.[17][18] Piñatas based on Disney and other characters have been seized at the border for violating U.S. copyright law.[18][19] Some have also been seized and destroyed by customs agents under suspect of hiding drugs.[20]

One niche market for piñatas in Mexico is of those themed for adults. These include political figures, especially those who are not particularly liked.[1][15] Another type for the adult market are sexually-themed piñatas, mostly those in the form of exotic dancers and strippers. Of the female of this type, the most popular are blondes. For the male, darker shades are preferred.[17][21] These piñatas will be filled with adult items such as condoms in addition to candy.[21]

Piñatas are similarly popular in a number of other Latin American countries as well.[8][22]

Piñatas in the United States

They have also become popular in Mexican-American and other Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States as well. Piñatas are used for birthday parties, Christmas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.[22][23][24][25]

The 2006 video game Viva Piñata is about a world where piñatas compete to be chosen for children's birthday parties. A spinoff television show, also titled Viva Piñata was created to push sales of the Xbox game created by Microsoft.[26]

Similar traditions

Europe

A similar tradition in Denmark is slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel") in which a wooden barrel is struck to release candy.[27]

In Catalonia, a Christmastide tradition known as "fer cagar el tió" ("making the log defecate") is observed. A log is wrapped with a blanket several days in advance of Christmas and is "fed" grass. On Christmas Eve, the log is repeatedly struck with sticks in order to make the log "defecate". The blanket is then removed to reveal the gifts that have been "expelled" by the log.

In Italy feasts with a game similar to piñata, called pentolaccia, used to be celebrated the first Sunday of Lent.

Asia

In Maharashtra, India, another similar tradition called Dahi Handi is observed on the festival of Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's birthday. The iconography represents Lord Krishna's childhood portrayal as the mischievous Maakhan Chor (butter thief). Clay pots filled with buttermilk, money or treats, in lieu of butter, are hung in public squares or on streets at a height implicitly challenging youngsters to break them. Teams put in great planning, skill and effort to form human pyramids, each higher than the other, in an attempt to break the pot and claim the prize.[28]

In South Indian villages, festivals feature a competition called Uri adithal (Pot breaking with blindfold) which closely resembles the piñata event.[29]

In Japan, a similar game called suikawari is played where a watermelon shell is used.[citation needed]

In the Philippines, a similar game called hampas-palayok or pukpok-palayok[30] (hit-the-pot) is played during Filipino fiestas and traditional parties (e.g., birthdays), in which a clay pot filled with treats and/or prizes is used. Also đập nêu (pot-hitting) appears in Vietnamese traditional custom.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Piñatas.

References

  1. ^ abcdefghiWendy Devlin (February 16, 2007). "History of the piñata". Mexconnect. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ abLesli Aguilar (December 26, 2010). "Piñatas, una divertida tradición que no muere" [Piñatas, a fun tradition that isn't dying]. Diario Despertar (in Spanish). Oaxaca, Mexico. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ abcdCONACULTA. "Primer Concurso de Piñatas Mexicanas" [First Piñata Contest]. Artes e Historia (in Spanish). Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ abc"Piñatas tradicionales" [Traditional Piñatas] (in Spanish). INAH. December 15, 2004. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  5. ^"Piñata". Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  6. ^ ab"En Acolman, Edomex, cuna de las piñatas, hacen su feria" [In Acolman, State of Mexico, cradles of piñatas, their fair begins]. El Universal (in Spanish). Mexico City. Agencia el Universal. December 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ ab"Municipio de Acolman, en Edomex, creador de las piñatas" [Municipality of Acolman in State of Mexico, creator of piñatas]. El Universal (in Spanish). Mexico City. Agencia el Universal. December 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ abc"Las piñatas navideñas" [Christmas Piñatas]. La Prensa (in Spanish). Managua, Nicaragua. December 5, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  9. ^ abcdefCristal Barrientos Torres (December 21, 2003). "Una historia en una piñata" [A story of a piñata]. El Siglo de Torreón (in Spanish). Torreón, Mexico. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  10. ^"Exposición-Piñatas" [Exposition-Piñatas]. El Universal (in Spanish). Mexico City. Agencia el Universal. February 13, 2010. 
  11. ^"Presumen piñata gigante" [Showing off a giant piñata]. Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. December 22, 2010. p. 4. 
  12. ^José Herrera. "Papel y Cartonería" [Paper and Cartonería (paper crafts)] (in Spanish). Veracruz, Mexico: Universidad Veracruzana. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ abMinerva Flores (December 15, 2009). "Golpea crisis a las piñatas" [Crisis strikes piñatas]. Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. p. 6. 
  14. ^"Sostienen piñatas su economía" [Piñatas support their economy]. Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. December 21, 2010. p. 12. 
  15. ^ abPaul Beckett (September 11, 1996). "Even pinatas sold in Mexico seem to originate in Hollywood now". Wall Street Journal. New York. p. 1. 
  16. ^Antonio Nieto (March 20, 2010). "Pegan policías a piñatas pirata de superhéroes" [Police strike pirated versions of superhero piñatas]. Reforma (in Spanish). Mexico City. p. 7. 
  17. ^ abcMarylú Vallejo (December 10, 2010). "No pierden el camino" [Don´t lose the path]. Mural (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Mexico. p. 6. 
  18. ^ abMarcha Cázares (June 24, 2010). "Decomisan en Laredo piñatas ..¡piratas!" [Piñatas confiscated from markets in Laredo, for copyright!]. Reforma (in Spanish). Mexico City. p. 16. 
  19. ^Department of Homeland Security Documents / FIND. (2010). CBP Officers Seize Fake Disney Pinatas at Douglas Port of Entry (Report). US Government. 
  20. ^Fernando Ramirez (September 15, 2006). "Empresa de pinatas preve exportar 380.000 unidades en el 2006; [Source: Expansion]" [Piñata company foresees the export of 280,000 units in 2006]. NoticiasFinancieras (in Spanish). Miami. p. 1. 
  21. ^ abYadira Moreno Léon (October 4, 2009). "Un nuevo y divertido mercado: piñatas para fiestas de adultos" [A new and fun market: piñatas for adult parties]. Milenio (in Spanish). Mexico City. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ abanonymous (April 23, 2010). "A Hard Knock Life For A Pinata Maker's Art". NPR-All Things Considered. Washington, DC. 
  23. ^Wayne Greene (May 2, 2011). "Tulsa to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tent parties". McClatchy - Tribune Business News. Washington, DC. 
  24. ^Peter McCrady (May 6, 2011). "BRIEF: Celebrating Mexican culture, heritage". McClatchy - Tribune Business News. Washington, DC. 
  25. ^Joe Ferguson (Sep 19, 2010). "Personalized pinatas -- to go". McClatchy - Tribune Business News. Washington, DC. 
  26. ^Christina Binkley; Suzanne Vranica (October 17, 2006). "Microsoft Tries to Raise 'Candiosity,' Aims at Kid Market with 'Viva Pinata': [1]". Wall Street Journal. New York. p. 1. 
  27. ^"Fastelavn". Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  28. ^"Janmashtami celebrated with zeal, enthusiasm". Mid Day. August 24, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  29. ^"Pongalo Pongal - Pongal Celebrations 2009 at Isha Yoga Center". ISHA Foundation. January 15, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  30. ^Author TagalogLang (2016-12-30). "HAMPAS-PALAYOK: Tagalog to English: Dictionary Online". Tagaloglang.com. Retrieved 2017-05-28. 

Mexican handcrafts and folk art

Clay and ceramics
Textiles and other fiber crafts
Paper
Crafts towns
Crafts, popular art
museums and
other promotors
Artisans
Handcrafts by federal entity
Other
A nine-pointed star piñata
A woman strikes a piñata at a celebration.
Clay pots specially made for the creation of piñatas
Store in Tabasco selling both traditional star-shape and contemporary design piñatas.
Children playing in a sweets piñata

What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. This Chapter outlines the logical steps to writing a good research paper. To achieve supreme excellence or perfection in anything you do, you need more than just the knowledge. Like the Olympic athlete aiming for the gold medal, you must have a positive attitude and the belief that you have the ability to achieve it. That is the real start to writing an A+ research paper.

STEP 1. HOW TO START A RESEARCH PAPER? CHOOSE A TOPIC

Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research.

Focus on a limited aspect, e.g. narrow it down from “Religion” to “World Religion” to “Buddhism”. Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. If you are uncertain as to what is expected of you in completing the assignment or project, re-read your assignment sheet carefully or ASK your teacher.

Select a subject you can manage. Avoid subjects that are too technical, learned, or specialized. Avoid topics that have only a very narrow range of source materials.

STEP 2. FIND INFORMATION

Surf the Net.

For general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point.

Pay attention to domain name extensions, e.g., .edu (educational institution), .gov (government), or .org (non-profit organization). These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Be selective of .com (commercial) sites. Many .com sites are excellent; however, a large number of them contain advertisements for products and nothing else. Network Solutions provides a link where you can find out what some of the other extensions stand for. Be wary of the millions of personal home pages on the Net. The quality of these personal homepages vary greatly. Learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search effectively on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time.

The recent arrival of a variety of domain name extensions such as .biz (commercial businesses), .pro, .info (info on products / organizations), .name, .ws (WebSite), .cc (Cocos Island) or .sh (St. Helena) or .tv (Tuvalu) may create some confusion as you would not be able to tell whether a .cc or .sh or .tv site is in reality a .com, a .edu, a .gov, a .net, or a .org site. Many of the new extensions have no registration restrictions and are available to anyone who wishes to register a distinct domain name that has not already been taken. For instance, if Books.com is unavailable, you can register as Books.ws or Books.info via a service agent such as Register.com.

To find books in the Library use the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).

Check out other print materials available in the Library:

  • Almanacs, Atlases, AV Catalogs
  • Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  • Government Publications, Guides, Reports
  • Magazines, Newspapers
  • Vertical Files
  • Yellow Pages, Zip or Postal Code and Telephone Directories

Check out online resources, Web based information services, or special resource materials on CDs:

  • Online reference materials (including databases, e.g. SIRS, ProQuest, eLibrary, etc.)
  • Google Scholar 
  • Wall Street Executive Library
  • Index to Periodicals and Newspapers (e.g. MagPortal.com, OnlineNewspapers.com, etc.)
  • Answers.com – an online dictionary and encyclopedia all-in-one resource that you can install on your computer free of charge and find one-click answers quickly.
  • Encyclopedias (e.g.Britannica, Canadian Encyclopedia, etc.)
  • Magazines and Journals
  • Newspapers
  • International Public Library 
  • Subject Specific software (e.g. discovering authors, exploring Shakespeare, etc.)

Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community.

Read and evaluate. Bookmark your favorite Internet sites. Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information.

As you gather your resources, jot down full bibliographical information (author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers, URLs, creation or modification dates on Web pages, and your date of access) on your work sheet, printout, or enter the information on your laptop or desktop computer for later retrieval. If printing from the Internet, it is wise to set up the browser to print the URL and date of access for every page. Remember that an article without bibliographical information is useless since you cannot cite its source.

STEP 3. MAKE YOUR THESIS STATEMENT

Most research papers normally require a thesis statement. If you are not sure, ask your teacher whether your paper requires it.

A thesis statement is a main idea, a central point of your research paper. The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important. Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your research paper thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief. The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief.

A thesis statement should be provided early in your paper – in the introduction part, or in the second paragraph, if your paper is longer.

It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize and analyze materials and your ideas. You cannot make a finally formulated statement before you have completed your reseach paper. It will naturally change while you develop your ideas.

Stay away from generic and too fuzzy statements and arguments. Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read.

Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present your own ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers.

A thesis statement should do the following:

  • Explain the readers how you interpret the subject of the research
  • Tell the readers what to expect from your paper
  • Answer the question you were asked
  • Present your claim which other people may want to dispute

Make sure your thesis is strong.

If you have time and opportunity, show it to your instructor to revise. Otherwise, you may estimate it yourself.

You must check:

  • Does my statement answer the question of my assignment?
  • Can my position be disputed or opposed? If not, maybe you have just provided a summary instead of creating an argument.
  • Is my statement precise enough? It should not be too general and vague.
  • Does it pass a so-called “so what” test? Does it provide new/interesting information to your audience or does it simply state a generic fact?
  • Does the body of my manuscript support my thesis, or are they different things? Compare them and change if necessary. Remember that changing elements of your work in the process of writing and reviewing is normal.

A well-prepared thesis means well-shaped ideas. It increases credibility of the paper and makes good impression about its author.

More helpful hints about Writing a Research Paper.

STEP 4. MAKE A RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE

A research paper basically has the following structure:

  1. Title Page (including the title, the author’s name, the name of a University or colledge, and the publication date)
  2. Abstract (brief summary of the paper – 250 words or less)
  3. Introduction (background information on the topic or a brief comment leading into the subject matter – up to 2 pages)
  4. Manuscript Body, which can be broken down in further sections, depending on the nature of research:
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results (what are the results obtained)
  • Discussion and Conclusion etc.
  1. Reference
  2. Tables, figures, and appendix (optional)

An outline might be formal or informal.

An informal outline (working outline) is a tool helping an author put down and organize their ideas. It is subject to revision, addition and canceling, without paying much attention to form. It helps an author to make their key points clear for him/her and arrange them.

Sometimes the students are asked to submit formal outlines with their research papers.

In a formal outline, numbers and letters are used to arrange topics and subtopics. The letters and numbers of the same kind should be placed directly under one another. The topics denoted by their headings and subheadings should be grouped in a logical order.

All points of a research paper outline must relate to the same major topic that you first mentioned in your capital Roman numeral.

Example of an outline:

I. INTRODUCTION - (Brief comment leading into subject matter - Thesis statement on Shakespeare) II. BODY - Shakespeare's Early Life, Marriage, Works, Later Years A. Early life in Stratford 1. Shakespeare's family a. Shakespeare's father b. Shakespeare's mother 2. Shakespeare's marriage a. Life of Anne Hathaway b. Reference in Shakespeare's Poems B. Shakespeare's works 1. Plays a. Tragedies i. Hamlet ii. Romeo and Juliet b. Comedies i. The Tempest ii. Much Ado About Nothing c. Histories i. King John ii. Richard III iii. Henry VIII 2. Sonnets 3. Other poems C. Shakespeare's Later Years 1. Last two plays 2. Retired to Stratford a. Death b. Burial i. Epitaph on his tombstone III. CONCLUSION A. Analytical summary 1. Shakespeare's early life 2. Shakespeare's works 3. Shakespeare's later years B. Thesis reworded C. Concluding statement

The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline an INTRODUCTION, a BODY, and a CONCLUSION. Make the first outline tentative.

INTRODUCTION – State your thesis and the purpose of your research paper clearly. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic. Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.

BODY – This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i.e. find 3 supporting arguments for each position you take. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point.

CONCLUSION – Restate or reword your thesis. Summarize your arguments. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion.

STEP 5. ORGANIZE YOUR NOTES

Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. Here you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic which is the real purpose of doing a research paper in the first place. You must also be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.

Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words, if possible. Plagiarism is definitely out of the question. Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page.

Devise your own method to organize your notes. One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e.g., IA3b – meaning that the item “Accessing WWW” belongs in the following location of your outline:

I. Understanding the Internet A. What is the Internet 3. How to "Surf the Net" b. Accessing WWW

Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e.g., IA2, IA3, IA4, etc. This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline.

STEP 6. WRITE YOUR FIRST DRAFT

Start with the first topic in your outline. Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e.g. with the capital Roman numeral I.

Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e.g. write summaries, paraphrases or quotations on note cards, or separate sheets of lined paper. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e.g., IB2a or IIC, etc.

Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline, e.g. IA, IB, IC. If using a word processor, create meaningful filenames that match your outline codes for easy cut and paste as you type up your final paper, e.g. cut first Introduction paragraph and paste it to IA. Before you know it, you have a well organized term paper completed exactly as outlined.

If it is helpful to you, use a symbol such as “#” to mark the spot where you would like to check back later to edit a paragraph. The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location again. Delete the symbol once editing is completed.

STEP 7. REVISE YOUR OUTLINE AND DRAFT

Read your paper for any content errors. Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind. Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly.

CHECKLIST ONE:

1. Is my thesis statement concise and clear?
2. Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything?
3. Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence?
4. Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing?
5. Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments?
6. Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay?

Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability. Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed.

CHECKLIST TWO:

1. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence?
2. Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples?
3. Any run-on or unfinished sentences?
4. Any unnecessary or repetitious words?
5. Varying lengths of sentences?
6. Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next?
7. Any spelling or grammatical errors?
8. Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation?
9. Are all my citations accurate and in correct format?
10. Did I avoid using contractions? Use “cannot” instead of “can’t”, “do not” instead of “don’t”?
11. Did I use third person as much as possible? Avoid using phrases such as “I think”, “I guess”, “I suppose”
12. Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective?
13. Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader(s) at the end of the paper?


The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, by William Strunk, Jr.

For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr. on the Elements of Style. Contents include: Elementary Rules of Usage, Elementary Principles of Composition, Words & Expressions Commonly Misused, An Approach to Style with a List of Reminders: Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. Details of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. partially available online at Bartleby.com. Note: William Strunk, Jr. (1869–1946). The Elements of Style was first published in 1918.

There is also a particular formatting style you must follow. It depends on the field of your studies or the requirements of your University/supervisor.

There are several formatting styles typically used. The most commonly used are the APA style and the MLA style. However, there are such style guides as the Chicago Manual of Style, American Medical Association (AMA) Style, and more.

APA (American Psychological Association) style is mostly used to cite sources within the field of social sciences. The detailed information can be found in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used for the liberal arts and humanities. The most recent printed guide on it is the  MLA Handbook (8th ed.). Instead of providing individual recommendations for each publishing format (printed, online, e-books etc.), this edition recommends a single universal set of guidelines, which writers can apply to any kind of source.

You should necessarily ask your instuctor which formatting style is required for your paper and format it accordingly before submitting.

STEP 8. TYPE FINAL PAPER

All formal reports or essays should be typewritten and printed, preferably on a good quality printer.

Read the assignment sheet again to be sure that you understand fully what is expected of you, and that your essay meets the requirements as specified by your teacher. Know how your essay will be evaluated.

Proofread final paper carefully for spelling, punctuation, missing or duplicated words. Make the effort to ensure that your final paper is clean, tidy, neat, and attractive.

Aim to have your final paper ready a day or two before the deadline. This gives you peace of mind and a chance to triple check. Before handing in your assignment for marking, ask yourself: “Is this the VERY BEST that I can do?”

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