Dogs – Companion Animal

Dogs – Companion Animal

The Research Project

This quarter you will complete a research project. How does one begin such a project, and what are the possible topics one might choose? According to, Ken Macrorie, an English Professor at the University of New Mexico, one way to begin is to allow something to choose you, such as a topic that you are already interested in and want to know about. Perhaps your topic will be about something you wish to better understand. Maybe it’s an artist or a jazz singer that you want to know more about. Maybe it’s a time in history, or information on an occupation or a technical school or college that is best for your career goals and needs, or perhaps it is a place in the United States or in a foreign country that you are interested in learning more about historically and geographically. These are only a few suggestions. The important thing for you to understand is that you are being asked to investigate something that interests you, something that might make a difference in your life, something that will be meaningful to you and provide you with the information necessary to better understand the topic and take whatever action is necessary, such as apply for a new job, apply to the college of your choice, interview a specialist in your area of interest.

Walk around for a couple days letting yourself think of possible topics, possible interests that might become topics, or a “thing” that you have always wanted to investigate. At night when you’re beginning to slide off into sleep, and in the morning when you’re coming out of sleep, let your mind “receive” possible topics. Keep a note pad and pencil beside your bed. Scientists have discovered that these periods are the most productive for developing your ideas. It is a time when one idea leads to another, and the connections between them are solid and real. Don’t be satisfied with something you can do that seems proper for school. You’re in command here, and there must be a payoff for you, so be creative!

One thing to remember is that we have used several rhetorical devises this quarter to write our papers. Now is a time for you to decide which rhetorical devise will work best for you. Will it be narrative? Will it be informative? Will it be argumentative? The choice is yours, you may use a combination of rhetorical devises. Just remember that you may use third person point of view (POV), he/she/it, or first person POV, I/me/we, but avoid (like the plague!) second person POV, you/your!

Use the Hacker A Writer’s Reference or whatever writer’s handbook you own to help guide you through the research process. The Hacker has a black tab marked “Researching” that provides an entire chapter on the research process. It also has white tabs for “MLA” or “APA” style formatting. You will find models of how to cite sources in-text and in your bib in these chapters and online at the Green River Community College Holman Library homepage.

How to Begin

We will follow the following steps to complete this project:

Develop a topic and post it on the DB. This will be your Research Proposal. Tell your classmates how you became interested in the topic, and ask them if they can help you with tips on finding more information: i.e., names, addresses, and phone numbers of experts, or organizations that might help you further your search.

Consult both firsthand sources (people who talk to you about what they’re doing, or objects and events you observe on your own) and secondhand sources (books, magazines, newspapers, the internet, or people who tell you about what others have done). Remember that experts are persons who know a lot about something. They need not hold an official position or be a certain age.

You might also want to conduct a survey of your peers. Develop a questionnaire and poll enough people to formulate a quasi-educated result from your data. To do this type of research, you must be very organized, and you must begin early in the Research process!

Another option is to interview an expert in the field you are researching, but before you conduct an interview, think about the best way to approach the person. Perhaps it is through another person who knows him or her. Perhaps you can contact the person directly, by phone, email, or letter. Find out what his or her schedules are, and when a good time to meet or call would be. Find out if you need an introduction of some sort.

Do some preliminary research on your topic before you approach an authority on that subject. Professionals in the field are usually busy, so be thoroughly prepared with a list of questions when you do approach them. Often they enjoy helping others because they get a chance to talk about what they love.

Ask them where you might look for information and advice on your topic, and add these other resources to your research material, or use that material in place of an interview that couldn’t happen because of time conflicts.

As you write your paper, synthesize your sources to support your ideas. You will need a minimum of 4 sources, 4 cited in-text, using MLA formatting and a “Works Cited” page. This paper requires a minimum of 4 pages and a max of 7.

Research Written Proposal Guidelines

In your written proposal please address the following questions in a short paragraph or two. Do not list the answers 1, 2, 3, etc. and do not just fill out this form and post it. Create a paragraph or two that answers the following questions.

1) What is your research question? Why are you interested in this topic?

2) How will you find the answers to your research question?

3) What resources will you use? Try to use at least three types of sources, such as books, journals, database articles, personal interviews, and Internet sources.

4) What do you hope to discover or learn?

5) How will this knowledge improve our life and create a deeper meaning in the cosmos for you and all your relations?

Paper Form

We will use MLA or APA formatting for this paper. Let me know in your heading which you will use: Research Paper (APA).
All margins are one inch.
The pages are numbered as headers with your last name then the number one-half inch from the top margin (Adams 2).
Begin numbers on the second page.
Do not use a cover sheet.
Start your paper with a header that includes your name, the course, the date, and the assignment.
Center your title, and double-space your paper throughout.
See your writer’s reference pages for more specific information on in-text citations and formatting the Works Cited page.

Organizing Your Paper

A good way to organize your Research paper is simply to tell the story of what you did in your search, in the order in which everything happened. If you wish, you can divide your paper into four parts, like this:

What I knew (and didn’t know about my topic when I started out).
Why I’m writing this paper. (Here’s where a real need should show up: the writer demonstrates that the search may make a difference in his/her life.)
The search (story of the hunt).
What I learned or didn’t learn. A search that failed can be as exciting and valuable as one that succeeded.

Use the following outline as a guide if you have trouble getting started with the drafting process, but do not feel that you must use it.


This is just a suggestion to help you start the writing process. You don’t need to follow this format, but if you are having a hard time getting started, begin answering the questions, and you will find yourself writing the paper! Again this is a tool to help you begin writing, but not an outline that I expect you to follow rigidly.


1. Where did you begin?

2. What was your initial question?

3. What did you already know?

4. What did you want to find out?

5. Why was the question important to you?


6. What did you find out?

7. What was your plan?

8. How did you gather information?

9. How did you use the information?

10. What did you find out?


11. What do you know now?

12. What surprised you about what you learned?

13. How did your understanding of the topic change?

14. Where are you now with your understanding of the topic?

(What do you now know?)

15. What new questions do you have?

Your language and style should belong to you, so use first person or third person, or a combination of both. Just don’t use second person!

4 page minimum/7 page maximum

4 source minimum with 4 sources used in-text