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本书的主要特点是：按照学术交流活动的步骤编撰各章节，动态体现了学术写作的实际过程；使用刊登在Science，Nature，Language Learning and Technology，System等SCI，SSCI国际刊物以及清华大学学报、上海交通大学学报等国内一流刊物上的文献为样本范例，诠释学术论文各部分的内容和要素；通过实例和相关任务阐明教学要点，使学生在实际操作中逐步熟悉、了解和掌握学术活动的方法和过程；理论联系实际，融入笔者申请国家社科项目、发表国际学术期刊论文和指导研究生论文的实践经历，引用部分例子，详述学术论文的写作过程；将学生的作业作为论文修改实例，对其学术写作中存在的问题加以说明，使内容更加贴近学生；配有相应的课程网站（http://cc.sjtu.edu.cn/G2S/site/preview#/home/v?currentoc=8194），便于使用者下载教学PPT和视频材料。
A good beginning is half good ending.Choosing a proper topic is the first and most important step in research paper writing.A good topic is not only worth researching but also makes you interested and absorbed in your research and writing.1.1 What topic to choose
You’d better choose a topic you are interested in，about which you have some knowledge but want to know more by doing some research.You have to avoid topics that are too broad or too narrow，topics that are based on a single source and topics that everybody knows.For academic writing，you can possibly choose a topic related to your own discipline of study or a cross-disciplinary study.1.2 How to choose a topic
When you choose a topic，you can do brainstorming to generate ideas on possible topics，using mind-map or clusters（See Fig.1），or with the help of computer software.For example，MindGenius Mind Mapping is an online brainstorming and planning tool that can be downloaded and used free for 30 days.Besides，you can track down a list of books in the library and read the table of contents or the bibliography for ideas.If you are still at a loss as to what topic to choose，browse the Internet for information.But it takes time to decide on a topic by searching the Internet.The first idea that pops into your head may not be the one you would like to spend several months reading and writing about.Keep looking for a topic that excites you so that you will be rewarded by the excitement of research on this topic.Fig.1 Images of mind-maps（source：https://www.google.com.hk/search？q=mind+map）1.3 How to elaborate a topic
A topic that is too broad in scope may not be able to be dealt with in depth within the length of your research paper.You have to elaborate the topic to make it more specific and manageable.The following is an example of how to narrow down a topic.
A general topic：Writing
A more specific topic：Evaluation of writing
An elaborated topic：Automated writing evaluation
“Writing”is too broad a topic to be addressed and is not a good topic to write on.There are many aspects involved in writing，such as writing instruction，writing methods，process of writing，evaluation of writing，etc.A more specific topic can be“evaluation of writing”，which still covers a lot of subordinate topics such as summative evaluation，formative evaluation，teacher evaluation，peer evaluation，self-evaluation or automated evaluation.Each of these topics involves aspects that are worth exploring at length.Thus，the topic can be elaborated further to“automated writing evaluation（AWE）”，with such aspects as the development of AWE，the reliability and validity of AWE，and the effect of AWE in writing.
A general topic：Computer
A more specific topic：Computer games
A more specific topic：Computer games and their influence on behavior
An elaborated topic：Computer games and aggressive behavior
In this example，“computer”is too general a topic to be dealt with because it can hardly be covered completely in a research paper.Therefore，it can be narrowed down to a more elaborated topic of“computer games”，or more specifically，“how computer games influence human behavior”，which in turn can focus on one aspect of human behavior“computer games and the aggressive behavior”.Such a topic can be addressed with the following questions：
—What is aggressive behavior？
—How do computer games relate to aggressive behavior？
—What can we do to prevent the negative effect caused by computer games？1.4 Tasks
Narrow down the general topics in the first column of the table.The first two have been done as examples.
Use mind-map or clusters to explore some interesting topics.You can do this together in groups of three.
Use books，library data-base or the Internet to find 3 possible topics for research.Then narrow down the topics and decide on the topic you are going to write about.If you intend to write collaboratively，you can do this in a group of three students，with each working on one topic and then discuss and decide on the final topic your group is going to work on.Unit 2Sources
After deciding on the topic for your research paper，the first thing you have to do is to read a large number of books and articles so that you can be equipped with some knowledge of the topic，on the basis of which you can generate your own ideas.No research can be done without reading other researchers’works because you need the knowledge basis on which you build your own knowledge and avoid the repetition of work.
But how to get source materials for reading？What materials are worth reading？How to read so many materials at a time？In this chapter，we are going to talk about how to make use of the library to search for source materials，evaluate what materials are appropriate and read these materials efficiently.2.1 Using library database
Many university libraries offer students free and ready access to databases，among which the most popular databases are EBSCO，DOAJ（Directory of Open Access Journals），Cambridge Journals Online，Oxford Journals Online，Elsevier ScienceDirect，Wiley Online Library，etc.（See Figs.2-7）.They cover a comprehensive range of disciplines and provide both abstracts and full texts.Fig.2 The search page of EBSCO databaseFig.3 The search page of DOAJ databaseFig.4 The search page of Cambridge Journals databaseFig.5 The search page of Oxford Journals databaseFig.6 The search page of ScienceDirect databaseFig.7 The search page of Wiley Online Library databases
Let’s take EBSCO as an example to illustrate how to use databases to search for information related to your topic.
1.Go to the online database list of the library（Fig.8）.（http://www.lib.sjtu.edu.cn/index.php?m=content&c=index&a=lists&catid=223&type=%E6%9C%9F%E5%88%8A）Fig.8 Online database list（part）
2.On the main database page，all databases are listed in alphabetical order.Scroll down and select the database you wish to use（Fig.9）.Fig.9 Selection of EBSCO in the online database list
3.Click on“link to database”（数据库连接）and then on“One-stop search for all EBSCO host Databases”（Figs.10-11）.Fig.10 Link to EBSCO databaseFig.11 Link to one-stop search for all EBSCO database
4.Choose“Academic search complete”（Fig.12）.Fig.12 Academic search complete
5.The main search page is shown in Fig.13.There are a number of search functions and limiting options on this page for users to determine how to use these options when searching for information.
1）At the top of the page are three search boxes which allow multiple，simultaneous key word searches.
2）Beside them are respective search limits to specify the searches in specific fields such as author，title，key word，abstract，etc.
3）In the search options below，searches can be limited to articles that the database maintains as full text articles，to scholarly or peer-reviewed articles，or to a particular type of resource such as article，abstract or bibliography.
4）Searches can also be limited to documents published within a certain date range，to particular publication type such as books，journals or newspaper，or to a particular language.Fig.13 EBSCO main searching page
6.Use search boxes by typing in a key word or key words and selecting a field.Suppose we are going to search for“global warming”，put the key words in the“Title”field，specify the“Published Date”from the year 2005 to the present and limit the search to scholarly，full text articles only（Fig.14）.Fig.14 The search page with the key word“Global Warming”
7.Click“search”and the results will appear on the next screen（The search term“global warming”appears in bold type and only in the article titles because we have specified that the search is in the field of“Title”）.You have to scroll through the titles to find articles that appeal to you for your research purpose（Fig.15）.Fig.15 The search result of“Global Warming”
8.Let’s take a look at the first paper on the list“A Simple Analytical Model for Understanding the Formation of Sea Surface Temperature Patterns under Global Warning”.Click on the title link and you will come to a page with the full citation（Fig.16）.The“PDF Full Text”link to the left of the page will take you directly to the full text of the article.If you wish to save the article and keep on looking through other articles，use the“Add to folder”link to the right of the page and save the article.All articles placed in this folder can be accessed from the“Folder”button located at the top of the interface.There are also buttons that enable you to print，e-mail，or save the article.If you click on“cite”，you can find the citation formats of that particular article in kinds of citation formats，and choose the one that is required by your course or by the journal you are going to submit your paper to.An abstract that summarizes the article and key words related to the article are displayed on this page as well.You can read the abstract briefly to get the general idea of the paper.Clicking on any of the key word links will generate a new search for articles on that specific topic.Fig.16 Information about the first paper generated2.2 Evaluating source materials
The materials you select from the library，the database，or the internet may not be reliable，applicable to or suitable for your research paper.Therefore，it is important to evaluate these materials to decide what can be used for reference in writing.Below is a list of standards to apply to book，journal or website sources.If your answer is“yes”to these questions，the material you choose is most possibly useful.（1）Publisher—Who is the publisher or sponsor of the work？Do they have good reputations？（2）Credentials—Who is the author（or authors）？Is the author qualified？（3）Reliability—Can the information be verified in other reputable sources？（4）Currency—Does the material reflect the most up-to-date research？（Subject areas like medicine，politics or finance，need the most up-to-date information.）（5）Objectivity—Is the material objective without advertising，biased，and hidden agendas？Is the language impartial and the statistics reliable？（6）Audience—Who is the information written for？Is it appropriate for the readers of your research paper？
Students may get online and use a lot of materials downloaded from the website because this seems to be the easiest and most efficient way to get source materials.However，they don’t know which of the online sources are credible and appropriate.Therefore，it is necessary to evaluate web sources.The following are some principles for evaluating web sources.
·Does the website or document have an author？
If you land directly on a page where you can’t find the author，you have to find the link to information about the author.
If there is an author，you have to make sure he/she is knowledgeable and credible.When the author’s qualifications aren’t listed on the site itself，look for links to his/her home page to find the author’s interests and expertise.
·Who，if any，sponsors the site？
The sponsor of a site is often named and described on the home page.The URL domain name extension often indicates the group hosting the site.For example，commercial（.com），educational（.edu），nonprofit（.org），governmental（.gov），military（.mil），or network（.net）.URLs may also indicate a country of origin，for instance，.uk（United Kingdom）or.cn（China）.
Purpose and audience
·Why was the site created and who is the audience？
Sites may be created to argue a position，to sell a product，or to inform readers.You have to know who the site’s intended audience is so that it matches your research purpose and the needs of your audience.
·How current is the site？
The date of publication or the latest update is often located at the top or the bottom of the page.If many of the links in the site no longer work，the site may be too outdated for your purposes.2.3 Reading source materials
Now that you have found materials to read，you can take the following steps to start your reading：
·Read the title and abstract of each article.
·Organize the reading list of articles in descending order of importance.
·Read the whole article if you find it closely related to your research.
·Identify the article’s argument and take notes or highlight the important content while reading.
·When you come to relevant information，put them together.
·Note down also the sources of these materials so that you can list them in your references later.2.4 Tasks
Suppose you’re going to write on 3-D printing.Please find source materials in the library database，for example，EBSCO.
Find source materials for your research topic by exploring the Internet or the library at your university.
Read source materials for your research paper by taking the steps described in 2.3.Pay attention to taking down notes while reading and remember to save the references.Unit 3Thesis and Title
After you have done sufficient reading，you can start preparing for writing.First and foremost，you need to formulate a thesis.3.1 What is a thesis
A thesis is a statement that summarizes the central idea of the research paper.It deals with what you are writing about and what argument you support throughout your essay.A good thesis helps you find directions for the viewpoints in the paper.It establishes a boundary around the topic，charts an orderly route for the paper and tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.3.2 How to formulate and refine a thesis
A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process.When you formulate a thesis statement，you have to be very clear about what content is to be covered in your paper，try to find and analyze possible relationships between facts，and think about the significance of these relationships.You also have to read your draft thesis carefully，think about what conclusions you want to draw from your evidence，and what major ideas can support these conclusions.Keep asking yourself questions like“What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss？”and“How will I convince the reader that this is true？”
When you refine your thesis，remember to keep your whole paper in mind all the time.You have to improve your thesis all along your writing process.At the first stage，a thesis statement is usually ill-formed or rough and can only serve as a planning tool.When you continue writing，you may find that some evidences cannot fit your“working”thesis，and that you may have deeper insights resulting from more research.So your thesis statement has to be improved to match the evidence you want to use.Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you have new evidence，develop fresh insights，or employ a different approach to your topic.3.3 How to word the thesis
The wording of the thesis should be clear，comprehensible，and direct so that readers are able to predict the organization of the research paper，and find main points in the paper.Proper wording of the thesis should follow the following principles.
1）A thesis must be expressed as a complete sentence.
How life is on a farm.
Residents on a farm tend to live longer lives，have a more established sense of community，and socialize in bigger groups than do city dwellers.
The thesis must not be a fragment but a complete sentence.The first one is obviously not a complete sentence.The second one is not only much more complete but also shows how life on a farm is different from that in a city.
2）A thesis should be focused on a single idea.
The Roman theater was inspired by the Greek theater，which it imitated and eventually the Romans produced great plays in their theaters，such as those by Plautus，who was the best Roman comic writer because of his robustness and inventiveness.
Because of his robust language and novel comic plots，Titus Maccius Plautus can be considered the best Roman comic playwright，and his plays are still successfully staged.
The first thesis has two directions and lacks focus.The students will be tempted to write on both the Roman Theater and the theatrical career of Plautus.This might result from the accumulation of two sets of notes—one on the origins of Roman theater and the other on the career of Plautus.The second is a better and more focused thesis.
3）A thesis should not be worded too simply.
Smoking is harmful to your body.
Smoking harms the body by constricting the blood vessels，accelerating the heartbeat，paralyzing the cilia in the bronchial tubes，and activating excessive gastric secretions in the stomach.
The first sentence is too simple to be a thesis statement because it suggests no direction，provides no structure，and proposes no specific arguments.The second thesis clarifies how smoking harms the body from four perspectives that directly shows the development in the body.
4）A thesis should not be worded as a question.
What motivates a student in second language learning？
A student learning a second language can be motivated by the requirement of the course，the necessity of passing the exam，the need to study abroad，or the interest in the culture of that target language.
A question is a good starting point for research.Indeed，most research begins with a question.But the thesis should not be your original question；it is actually the answer to the questions through your research.
5）A thesis should not be too broad or general
Children must be disciplined.
By using disciplinary techniques，parents，teachers，and police are the main agents for controlling children.
The first thesis is too general and you may not be able to cover it adequately in a paper.The second thesis provides three groups to discuss，which is both general and specific enough to allow for the development of several main ideas and show the structure and organization of the research paper.
6）A thesis must not be expressed in muddled or incoherent language.
The benefits of clarity and easy communication of a unified language compel a state to adopt codes to the effect that make bilingualism possible but preserving a single official language for transacting business and social communications.
The benefits of clarity and easy communication offered by a single official language in a state are compelling and persuasive.
The first sentence seems long and muddled.It is much more difficult for the readers to understand than the second thesis.In fact，if your thesis is muddled，your essay tends to be muddled as well.
7）A thesis should not contain phrases like“in my opinion”or“I think”.
In my opinion，smoking should be outlawed because of the adverse health effects of“passive smoking.”
Smoking should be outlawed because of the adverse health effects of“passive smoking.”
Using phrases like“I think”or“in my opinion”will weaken your argument because they will make your argument seem subjective.You’d better plainly state the thesis to tell your reader what you think，or what you intend to prove in the article rather than using these phrases.
8）A thesis should not be worded in figurative language.