Research Paper Procedures
- Author contacts the VP of Education to review topic.
- Author writes paper and sends it to Ms. Hardy for review (Note: can only be sent in after completing both weeks of CP training).
- Before sending first draft, have the paper proofed by a third party for spelling, grammar and structure.
First draft of paper has to be mailed no later than March 15th in order for completion by the June conference.
Send in first draft with a short cover letter introducing author & organization for Ms. Hardy to establish a relationship. She does this for more than just the NACFM, so it assists her while opening her mail and setting priorities.
Be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope for the return of your paper each time you send it in.
Author e-mails the V.P. of Education the title of paper and lets him know the paper’s first draft has been sent in.
The paper will go back and forth to Ms. Hardy as many times as needed to make it a quality paper.
After final review by Ms. Hardy, the author will get their paper back as APPROVED.
Ms. Hardy will inform the V.P. of Education of the completed paper.
Director of Education will send an email to the author and all active Board Members, acknowledging authors completion.
A Week by Week Guide to Getting Your Paper Written
Week 1 – Autobiography
Go find a place to sit for one-hour with paper and pen in hand (you high tech individuals can use your lap top). All the information should be in your head, no research needed yet and you are the topic for now. Your goal is to tell those that will be reading your paper, who you are. Don’t get too hung up on grammar yet, just get it down then we can clean it up later. Start with a sentence or two about where you were raised then move to your education and career path that led you to church facility management. Let them know about your facility management career and how God called you to it. Be sure to tell the readers who your spouse is and how many children you have. God put them in your life for a reason so don’t leave them out.
If you are still experiencing “writers block” reschedule your one-hour writing session and go to the NACFM web site and read some of the autobiographies that are posted in the research paper section. After reading a few you will be ready to write your own autobiography.
That is all for this week, put it in a folder labeled NACFM Research Paper.
Week 2 – Wrapping up the Autobiography
This week we are going to concentrate on cleaning up our autobiography. First step is to book yourself a one-hour time block when you can dedicate yourself to the project. At that time pull out your rough draft from last week and read through it. A couple questions to ask yourself are; does it flow well, do you have good transitions, and did you cover all the major points, if not make some notes.
We will be using the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers to set up how the paper will look and the proper way to list the sources we used to get the information for our paper. For now, set all margins at one inch and use Times New Romans 12 pt font double spaced. It is now time to get it typed on the computer; this is the best way to check your spelling and grammar. You should try to make it fit on one page but no more than two pages. You may also find as you type you may have ideas that make it sound better so adjust as you go.
After you have your autobiography typed, ask a couple of your closest friends to read it and give you feedback on how well you communicated your life and why you are doing church facility management. Take any corrective criticism and make the adjustments needed. Congratulations you have completed the first part of your paper!
To prepare for the next part of the research paper, if you have not already done so, purchase a copy of the MLA handbook for Writing Research Papers and read the forward and chapter one.
The other part of this assignment is to decide on what topic you are going to be researching and writing about. If you are having problems choosing you may want to visit the NACFM website and look through a few papers and get a feel for how a completed paper looks and flows.
When you have chosen a topic, make sure to contact the VP of Education for approval.
Week 3 – The Main Topic
By now you should have a copy of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and read the forward and chapter #1 Research and Writing (p.1-40) the other five chapters will be used as you create your final copy of your paper.
Picking a single topic seems to be one of the biggest hurdles, so if you have not done so take heed of the words of a father and “buckle down and do it”. No need for a catchy title at this point just the subject you are going to write on.
Once the topic is picked you will want to create an outline of the main points you plan on communicating. An example would look like this:
Selecting the Right Vacuum Cleaner
How a vacuum cleaner works
Types of vacuum cleaners
Pros & cons of different vacuums
Manufactures of commercial vacuum cleaners
Repair and Maintenance
Remember these need to be fluid. You may even switch points around in the example because it very seldom comes to mind in the correct order. You may have sub-points that come to mind at the same time and that is fine. Get it down on paper then you can clean it up later.
Selecting the Right Vacuum Cleaner
How a vacuum cleaner works
Types of vacuum cleaners
Pros & cons of different vacuums
- Author completes both Sessions of certification weeks. (Does not matter which order)
Next week we will begin to add substance to the outline.
Week 4 – Thesis Statement
By this time, you should have a main topic and an outline of the main points you plan to write on. Next step is to think about what your main purpose in the paper is. You are writing in a persuasive or guidance style. Who is your audience and what do you want them to gain from reading your paper? From the answers to these questions you formulate a thesis statement. It should answer the overall main question of your topic. For example, on our vacuum cleaner paper our thesis statement could be; “how you select the best vacuum for your cleaning operation” or it could be “ what makes vacuum cleaners clean and how do I keep them working” or “the only vacuum cleaner you will ever need is the _____ vacuum”. As you can see these statements will bring out some of the same information about vacuums, yet each will present unique information to answer the thesis statement. As you go forward with your research you may find yourself wanting to adjust the thesis statement and that is all right as long as you realize that you are doing so.
Your goal this week is to schedule yourself a block of time to write your thesis statement and to refine your outline of main topics and sub topics. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers chapter #1 would be a helpful resource as it has valuable information on outlines, thesis statements and research.
If you want to work ahead, next week we will be digging in and doing the research on each part of the outline.
Week 5 – Compiling Information
Now that we have our Topic, Thesis Statement and Outline we need information to bring it all together. You can get this information from various sources like books, magazines, the Internet and interviews, but they all need to be given the proper credit. It is important to document each place you get information from so it can be included in your “works cited” section at the end of your paper. In the chapter “Compiling a working bibliography” of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers it gives you what information is required for each type of source.
This week’s goal is to review chapter 1.5 on bibliographies and read 5.1-5.3 on citing sources of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and then to gather as much information on your topic as you can. A good way to stay on track is to use your outline and try to answer each point and think about how you will substantiate it with facts or reliable sources.
Next week we will use this information and put it into sentences, so we can clearly communicate our points to our readers.
Week 6 – The Draft “bringing it all together”
This is the time all your work of research and planning come together. With your outline and thesis statement as your guide, it is time to begin putting all the information you have on your topic into meaningful yet interesting sentences. It is recommended to look at the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers chapters 1.9-1.11 and 5.1-5.3 for pointers on writing your draft.
Remember this is only a draft, go with your thoughts and after you have them down you can go back and clean them up, add and rearrange. It is also helpful to put your draft away for a day or so, then get it back out and read it as someone that does not know anything about the topic, to see if you are conveying your information clearly.
Work your draft copy into a well thought-out communication of information and add your creative touch with your own writing style.
Next week we will use your draft and work it into a more complete writing with proper spelling, punctuation, grammar and giving credit to your sources.
Week 7 – Your Paper “cleaning up your act”
At this point you should have a draft that is quite refined and you will need to set aside some blocks of time in order to create a well written paper.
First you will need to study the MLA Handbook, next you will need to apply it to your draft and lastly you will need to find a friend (critic) to give you feed back before you can move on.
If you have not done so yet you need to read the following chapters from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 2.1 – 2.7 on mechanics of writing, 3.1 – 3.9 on format and 4.2 – 4.5 on how to quote within an MLA paper. The balance of chapter 4 can be used as a reference as needed. Also look at the samples of an MLA paper after the appendix in the back of the book.
Once your studying is done you will be prepared to turn your draft into a well-presented MLA format paper. Once you have it done find someone to read it and give feedback on how well it was presented as well as grammatical errors.
Hang in there, you are almost done, and it will be worth it. Remember if you plan to be recognized as a CCFM by the June conference you will need your draft submitted by March 15th.
Week 8 – Final Draft
This week is the time to put the finishing touches on your paper. By now you should have found someone to have read your paper and given you feed back.
First item is to clean up all the text, so it reads not only correctly but also fluently with proper references to your sources. This is also the time to insert any pictures, graphs or tables if you have not done so already.
Second item is to recheck your MLA format for margins, quotes, etc.
Third is to make your works cited page. Using the MLA book as a reference guide, list all the sources used in writing your paper. This usually is just one page but may go longer if you had a lot of sources.
When you feel your paper is ready it is time to send it in for accreditation. Look up the submitting instructions in the guideline document found on the NACFM web site. On a cover page write a short paragraph to Ms. Hardy introducing yourself and your paper. Remember to send the Director of Education an email with your name and subject of your paper when you mail Ms. Hardy for the first time, so we can track it and make sure your certificate is ready by the conference date.
Now wait for Ms. Hardy to give you feedback.
Once your paper is sent in for accreditation it can take three to four weeks to get it back with comments. It is important that you make any adjustments and return it for final review ASAP. Our goal is to have all the papers being presented at the June conference completed and approved by the first week of June.
Questions? All questions should be directed to the Director of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.