Can someone PLEASE help me write my research paper? I am very confused and below I have included how the research paper needs to be written along with links thank you! Write a full and detailed...

Can someone PLEASE help me write my research paper? I am very confused and below I have included how the research paper needs to be written along with links thank you!

Write a full and detailed Research Paper contrasting nontraditional students with traditional students (at least 800 words). The completed paper should begin with an introduction and clearly stated--and underlined--thesis (but note: you may find it easier to begin with the body paragraphs and then go back to develop the intro and thesis).

The paper should include at least four body/support paragraphs, and it should use at least one quote from each of the three reading links are listed below (1. the NCES report, 2. Rendon, and 3. Bishop-Clarke and Lynch)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After reading articles in the act of research, during which the student should take notes, he/she can review them and highlight repeated ideas and concurring statistics as well as the differing statistics. From a perusal of this information, there should then be an assessment made of the main issue of these studies. This, then, will be the thesis. (The suggestion to write first and then formulate a thesis is, hopefully, no more than a directive to jot down ideas that seem to be major points so that one can have something visible from which to form a thesis. No final attempt at writing should ever not first start with a thesis if one wishes the paper to be coherent because it is the thesis, or general statement, from which the writer builds the "blueprint" of the paper, thus organizing it. i.e. "blueprint" = the supporting points that will form the body.)

  • Introduction
  1. Define terms. The introductory paragraph will first define traditional student and non-traditional student as delineated in the articles you have read.
  2. Write the thesis with 3 opinions (judgments based upon readings). This is what is called a "blueprint" for the body of the paper/essay.
  • Body of the paper

The body paragraphs will have as their topic sentence 1 of the 3 opinions/contentions that will be made to support the thesis. Supporting facts, statistics, etc. from the articles will be used to underscore the truth of the topic sentence. Some topic sentences may require more than one parapraph for support, so transitions from one paragraph to another are essential

  • Conclusion

This is merely a wrapping up of the main points; i.e. a rewording of the thesis. The student should begin the conclusion with a summary word such as Clearly, Certainly, Based upon the statistics and studies.....(Avoid "in conclusion")

--the 1st article:

Traditional student = A high school graduate who enrolls in college the immediate year after graduation.

Non-traditional student = A high school graduate who delays enrollment or attends college only part-time after finishing secondary school. (These delays are because of financial restrictions or family responsibilities, all of which contribute to what the studies call "risk factors.")

Here is a conclusion from this introductory article:

According to this study, students with no risk factors were almost twice as likely to have attained a degree or to still be enrolled at the end of the 5-year period than were students with three or more risk factors. On the other hand, this analysis also found that the presence of risk factors had little influence on the persistence and attainment of students attending less-than-2-year vocational institutions.

--the second article:

This article simply breaks down graduating high school students into racial divisions and the success rates of these racial divisions. The relevance of this article to the topic of the paper is not significant other than defining what the third article calls "heterogeneous population."

--third article

Non-traditional students are characterized by the following:

  • race and gender
  • residence - most do not live on campus
  • employment level - full time, part time
  • enrollment in non-degree occupational programs

Another discussion in this article involves further definition of 

  1. patterns of enrollment  
  2. family and financial status
  3. high school graduation status

NOTE: Regrettably, the last two articles cannot be accessed from the URL. Quite frankly, too, the government articles addressed issues other than that of traditional vs. non-traditional student. Quite frankly, they do not seem relevant to the discussion. For, they discussed the relationships between such things as lower performance and its relation to attendance which takes in both traditional and non-traditional students. Other factors discussed were comparisons of the school environment over the last twenty years, safety in the schools, distance learning and the coursework taken in the high schools at which both future traditional and non-traditional college students would be involved....It is rather perplexing. Certainly, it is understandable that you are confused. These articles are not relevant to your topic, in this educator's opinion.

Perhaps, the inaccessible articles are the relevant ones on the non-traditional and the traditional college student and their differences in success? This is what information you need to locate in order to contrast the two groups:

  • In what types of majors do the traditional college students enroll? the non-traditional? 
  • What motivates traditional vs. non-traditional to go to college?
  • How many years does it take for the traditional to graduate? the non-traditional?
  • What is the rate of graduation for traditional vs. non-traditional?
  • What type of jobs do each group attain? (Pay differences, etc.)

See the links below for articles on motivation, [e.g. study by Jennifer Adams reports contrasts in time studying, social expectations, etc.] and other differences between traditional and non-traditional college students.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Don't worry. We'll clarify the steps to take for a paper like this and get you started. 

An 800 word paper will be roughly three pages when double-spaced and will probably include around ten paragraphs (possibly fewer). When outlining your essay, you might be helped by planning for one introductory paragraph, eight body paragraphs and one concluding paragraph.

The body paragraphs can deal with:

  • defining traditional students and nontraditional students very broadly (1 paragraph),
  • discussing the characteristics of traditional students in terms of study habits, strengths and weaknesses as students, usual financial situations, usual living situations and family situations, performance in school, reasons for attending school/college, etc. (2 paragraphs),  
  • discussing the characteristics of traditional students in terms of study habits, strengths and weaknesses as students, usual financial situations, usual living situations and family situations, performance in school, reasons for attending school/college, etc. (2 paragraphs), 
  • create two contrast paragraphs with each highlighting the one of the most significant differences between traditional students and nontraditional students. In these paragraphs you will explain why/how these two differences are the most significant differences between these types of students (2 paragraphs)

Using this format, your essay would end up with nine paragraphs and should be 800 words or more without stretching. 

If this outline works for you, the first step is to begin doing some research. Find sources that discuss or deal with the topic of tradition students and non-traditional students. Looking for material on non-traditional students seems like the better place to start. 

The information you are looking for will be determined by your essay plan (your outline and its planned contents). The notes you take from your research can be organized into categories using your paragraph plan. Information that defines each type of student will go in one section. Information on the unique challenges faced by non-traditional students will go in another section. 

"Take notes while you are reading. A good way to organize your notes is to use note cards to record important quotations and paraphrases. To avoid citation problems later, be sure to also write down the title, author, and page number of the work used!"(eNotes)

After you have gathered information and informed yourself on your topic, you can draft your thesis. To do this you will have to decide, based on your research, what you believe are the two most significant differences between traditional students and non-traditional students.

Ask yourself what the most important differences are emotionally, practically, financially, etc.  What differences have the biggest impact on student success? 

The answer to these questions will become your thesis. Put very bluntly, it will take the form of "Nontraditional differ from traditional students in XXX and XXX." The assignment suggests that you underline this statement in your writing. The rest of your introduction can be largely rhetorical, offering a context for the argument you will make about how different students function in school, approach schooling, and/or succeed and fail in school. You might discuss why this issue is important or who it is important to. 

In your concluding paragraph you might want to briefly mention some of the similarities between these groups. Despite the many important differences represented by these types of students, they are pursuing very similar ends and possibly doing so for very similar reasons. 

The outline idea provided here is not the only possible way to write this paper, but it is one way to plan a paper like this. Another outline idea would be to organize your paper by subtopics and do two paragraphs on each topic, discussing how traditional students and non-traditional students differ within each sub-topic.

For instance, for the body of your paper you could do two paragraphs on how family situation influences school success for each group, two paragraphs on how age impacts performance in school and two paragraphs on another sub-topic you generate. Then conclude with one paragraph discussing which of these categories/sub-topics/differences is most important and why then finally offer a paragraph on how these groups are also similar, despite their differences. 

Hopefully you can see these two outlines as clear formats for a paper that map out your research as well as your writing. 

Again, the suggestion here is that you make an outline/plan, then research, and draft your thesis only after at least one round of research is done. 

The last link provided below may help you to begin thinking about what areas to explore in your research.