Jennifer Brozak reports:
"Choose a person who matters to you. Do not simply pick a random subject. Focus on a person whose life has influenced you in some way...If you research a person you are interested in learning more about, you likely will be more committed to your topic, and this will show in your finished product. Conduct Internet research. Today, most students use the Internet as their primary reference source. While this is perfectly acceptable, you need to be careful when it comes to the sources you use, especially when researching a celebrity. Be sure that the content you use is from a credible source, such as a reputable online newspaper, magazine or website. Do not simply access Google, type in the famous person's name and use the first five sources that pop up; instead, spend time researching the different listings to ensure you are using...reliable[,] trustworthy sources. According to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab, students should never trust websites that rely on user-created content, as the content likely has not been validated by a reputable organization. Conduct print research. Visit your local or school library. Ask the librarian to help you search the library database for autobiographies or biographies about the person you are researching. Many famous people have written comprehensive memoirs about their lives. Referencing these books can add a great deal of credibility to your writing. Organize your research into an outline. Decide how to best structure your paper...The organization of your paper will depend upon your teacher's requirements, as well as the amount and type of research you have collected. Write your first draft. Be sure to include a compelling introduction and an easily identifiable thesis statement that succinctly states what you are going to prove about your chosen person. Work on incorporating your sources by adding quotes and paraphrased references, being careful not to plagiarize. Proofread and revise. Revision is one of the most important components of the writing process. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to edit and revise your paper after you write your first draft. Look for mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Pay attention to diction or word choice. Look for passive verbs that can be replaced with active verbs. Look for simple adjectives that can be replaced with more sophisticated language...Although many students do not like completing outlines, they can help you organize a large amount of data into a usable format. Even a simple outline, such as organizing your research into sections, can help. Do not skip this step!"
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