Economics in Our Professional Lives Discussion Paper

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Your paper is a different kind of research paper. You will evaluate sources and use them for support, but to support your unique view and need of said sources that relate to said thesis. Your thesis may be along the lines of “Considering what I now know about econ basics, I will be able to make much more informed personal, professional, and political economic choices.” You’re not going to necessarily “further the field” of economics or add some great insights, but rather further¬†
inform YOUR life, understanding and needs.

You’re NOT going to write a book report, opinion piece, or editorial as regards some aspect(s) of economics, but rather you are using sources to support your thesis or that which is based on your needs.

You’re also not going to necessarily write an “argument” or “analytical” paper, but you can use argumentation to show how what you’re saying is going to work for you, and you can use analysis to better understand and demonstrate how what you’ve learned will potentially work for you in the future in your personal, public, and professional life.

But most of all, it’s a time to educate yourself so that you become an asset to society, not an easily manipulated and used element to be take advantage of by powerful politicians and corporate cronies.¬†

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Your paper is a different kind of research paper. You will evaluate sources and use them
for support, but to support your unique view and need of said sources that relate to said
thesis. Your thesis may be along the lines of “Considering what I now know about econ
basics, I will be able to make much more informed personal, professional, and political
economic choices.” You’re not going to necessarily “further the field” of economics or
add some great insights, but rather further inform YOUR life, understanding and needs.
You’re NOT going to write a book report, opinion piece, or editorial as regards some
aspect(s) of economics, but rather you are using sources to support your thesis or that
which is based on your needs.
You’re also not going to necessarily write an “argument” or “analytical” paper, but you
can use argumentation to show how what you’re saying is going to work for you, and
you can use analysis to better understand and demonstrate how what you’ve learned
will potentially work for you in the future in your personal, public, and professional life.
But most of all, it’s a time to educate yourself so that you become an asset to society,
not an easily manipulated and used element to be take advantage of by powerful
politicians and corporate cronies.
Good luck!
Research: What it is.
A research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of
research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition. It is,
perhaps, helpful to think of the research paper as a living thing, which grows and
changes as the student explores, interprets, and evaluates sources related to a specific
topic. Primary and secondary sources are the heart of a research paper, and provide its
nourishment; without the support of and interaction with these sources, the research
paper would morph into a different genre of writing (e.g., an encyclopedic article). The
research paper serves not only to further the field in which it is written but also to
provide the student with an exceptional opportunity to increase her knowledge in that
field. It is also possible to identify a research paper by what it is not.
Research: What it is not.
A research paper is not simply an informed summary of a topic by means of primary
and secondary sources. It is neither a book report nor an opinion piece nor an
expository essay consisting solely of one’s interpretation of a text nor an overview of a
particular topic. Instead, it is a genre that requires one to spend time investigating and
evaluating sources with the intent to offer interpretations of the texts and not
unconscious regurgitations of those sources. The goal of a research paper is not to
inform the reader what others have to say about a topic but to draw on what others have
to say about a topic and engage the sources in order to thoughtfully offer a unique
perspective on the issue at hand. This is accomplished through two major types of
research papers.
Two major types of research papers.
Argumentative research paper:
The argumentative research paper consists of an introduction in which the writer clearly
introduces the topic and informs his audience exactly which stance he intends to take;
this stance is often identified as the thesis statement
(Links to an external site.)
. An important goal of the argumentative research paper is persuasion, which means
the topic chosen should be debatable or controversial. For example, it would be difficult
for a student to successfully argue in favor of the following stance.
Cigarette smoking poses medical dangers and may lead to cancer for both the smoker
and those who experience secondhand smoke.
Perhaps 25 years ago this topic would have been debatable; however, today, it is
assumed that smoking cigarettes is, indeed, harmful to one’s health. A better thesis
would be the following.
Although it has been proven that cigarette smoking may lead to sundry health problems
in the smoker, the social acceptance of smoking in public places demonstrates that
many still do not consider secondhand smoke as dangerous to one’s health as firsthand
smoke.
In this sentence, the writer is not challenging the current accepted stance that both
firsthand and secondhand cigarette smoke is dangerous; rather, she is positing that the
social acceptance of the latter over the former is indicative of a cultural double-standard
of sorts. The student would support this thesis throughout her paper by means of both
primary and secondary sources, with the intent to persuade her audience that her
particular interpretation of the situation is viable.
Analytical research paper:
The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a
research question) on which he has taken no stance. Such a paper is often an exercise
in exploration and evaluation. For example, perhaps one is interested in the Old English
poem Beowulf. He has read the poem intently and desires to offer a fresh reading of the
poem to the academic community. His question may be as follows.
How should one interpret the poem Beowulf?
His research may lead him to the following conclusion.
Beowulf is a poem whose purpose it was to serve as an exemplum of heterodoxy for
tenth- and eleventh-century monastic communities.
Though his topic may be debatable and controversial, it is not the student’s intent to
persuade the audience that his ideas are right while those of others are wrong. Instead,
his goal is to offer a critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources throughout
the paper–sources that should, ultimately, buttress his particular analysis of the topic.
The following is an example of what his thesis statement may look like once he has
completed his research.
Though Beowulf is often read as a poem that recounts the heroism and supernatural
exploits of the protagonist Beowulf, it may also be read as a poem that served as an
exemplum of heterodoxy for tenth- and eleventh-century monastic communities found in
the Danelaw.
This statement does not negate the traditional readings of Beowulf; instead, it offers a
fresh and detailed reading of the poem that will be supported by the student’s research.
It is typically not until the student has begun the writing process that his thesis
statement begins to take solid form. In fact, the thesis statement in an analytical paper
is often more fluid than the thesis in an argumentative paper. Such is one of the benefits
of approaching the topic without a predetermined stance.

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