For example, a paper on What happened during the Mexican revolution?requires the author to do no more than list facts and datesa good encyclopedia entry, maybe, but not a good research paper.How has a social or political phenomenon changed from one period to another? Why have some countries been more successful in the transition from Communism than others?
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What and when questions are only the starting point for writing research papers.
Obviously, you need to have a firm grasp of the facts of the case, but you must then move on to answer a serious and important why or how question in the paper itself.
The process forces you to ask good questions, find the sources to answer them, present your answers to an audience, and defend your answers against detractors.
Those are skills that you will use in any profession you might eventually pursue.
This guide is intended to help you organize and write a quality academic research paper.
Also included are recommendations regarding how to manage specific course assignments.
A research question, at least in the social sciences, begins with the word why or how.
Think of it as a puzzle: Why did a particular political or social event turn out as it did and not some other way?