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Sophomore Research: Home

What is a Compare & Contrast Research Paper?

A compare and contrast paper examines two or more topics (objects, people, or ideas, for example), comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences. You may choose to focus exclusively on comparing, exclusively on contrasting, or on both-or your teacher may direct you to do one or both. (Butte College)

What is a Cause & Effect Research Paper?

Cause and effect papers use analysis to examine the reasons for and the outcomes of situations. They are an attempt to discover either the origins of something, such as an event or a decision, the effects or results that can be properly attributed to it, or both. (Butte College)

Cause and effect papers answer questions like the following ("A" is your topic):

  • Why did A happen? (discovering the causes of A)
  • What happened as a result of A? (discovering the effects of A)
  • What might happen as a result of A? (predicting further effects of A)

You may write a cause and effect paper primarily about causes, primarily about effects, or a combination of both.

Homework Help :


Tutors available 24/7. Select subject and grade level.  En Espanol available 2pm-1am. Provided by NHC Public Library.  Use your Student ID number to access program.  Always say you are at home when using this program. Get your paper reviewed before you submit it.


Make sure you have your ROI printer code to print out your paper.  You will find it in your school email and it will be the same throughout your time at Ashley.

Synthesizing Information

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Synthesis of Research

"Synthesis is defined as combining a number of different parts or ideas to come up with a new idea or theory." []

What does it mean to synthesize sources?  After you've located a number of great sources for your research project and taken your notes, what's the next step?

An important step between researching and writing (or presenting) is organizing your notes so that you form connections between your sources and your own thoughts and ideas. Synthesizing basically just means "putting things together."   Tidewater Community College

Synthesizing is more involved than summarizing information you have located.  Instead of just restating the important points from a text, synthesizing involves combining ideas and showing your understanding of the text.

Synthesizing is analyzing the research and ideas you have gathered and putting them in your own thoughts to share.

Synthesis and Your Research Journey

Formal Writing

Academic writing has a different tone and style than everyday writing. Here are some of the main characteristics of writing academically.

  • First, Second and Third Person: You may have heard about writing in the "third person". This means you will not be using any personal pronouns such as I, mewe, us, (first person) or you and your (second person). Seen side by side, there is a noticeable contrast in the way first person and third person phrasing sounds:
  • First person: I think, I feel, I believe, I am sure, my opinion is, I am quite certain...
  • Third person: certainly, undoubtedly, probably, will, likely, may, might, could, possibly...

Unless you are an expert on the topic, it is best to avoid using the first person when writing academically. When you have strong evidence to support your argument, you can successfully use the more confident tone of the third person. The exception to this is reflective writing, which is always written in the first person.

  • ContractionsContracted forms of English; didn’t, isn’t, couldn’t, wouldn't , are not accepted in formal academic writing.
  • SlangAlways avoid using slang language (“the kids”, “arvo”, “drunk”).
  • Over-complicated languageThe more concise and simple the language, the more persuasive it can be. Only the facts should be written and emotional content should be avoided as should flowery language, adjectives and jargon.

University of Notre Dame Library

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing

There are three ways of incorporating other people's work into your own research paper.

Quotations, Paraphrasing and Summarizing.

What Are the Differences?

Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly. At times, your paraphrasing may end up longer than the original passage.

Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

All three formats must be cited. See Citations tab for more information.

Purdue Online Writing Lab


Seven Important Steps to Paraphrasing

1. Read and reread the entire passage until you understand it.

2. Take Notes : As you are reading, on a sheet of paper jot down any main ideas, key words or specific details.

3. Write it in Your Own Words : Put aside your book or resource, think about what you read, look over your notes and explain what you have read. 

4. Compare what you have written with the original passage. Make sure your paraphrase is original, accurate, complete, and objective.

5. If you retain any unique terms or exact phrases from the original source, place quotation marks around them.

6. Transfer your paraphrase to your note card.

7. Cite your source of information.

Adapted from San Jose State University