Key Information

Step by Step: Building a Research Paper, By Patricia Shields

2004 [ISBN: 1-58107-117-5; 8 1/2 x 11 inch] Price $23.95

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SBSwebCovTime and organization are two of the biggest obstacles facing students as they begin the process of writing a term paper. As a scholarly paper project organizer, Step by Step addresses these issues by reconceptualizing “writing a paper” into “organizing a project.” Writing is just one aspect of a term paper assignment. Step by Step is a powerful workbook — a tool that helps the student-scholar manage or organize three elements of the term paper assignment: time, materials and ideas. Using the organizer, student-scholars build, make, or do the critical behind-the-scenes elements of writing research papers: manage time, read, think, take notes, make an outline, etc. Ideally, a new organizer is purchased every time the student writes a significant research paper (20+ pages). Patricia Shields has crafted a real winner in Step by Step! Order today!

The Contents

1. Introduction to Step by Step
2. Getting Organized: A Pragmatic Tool for Writing Graduate Papers
3. Things To Do list
4. Calendar
5. Sources to find
6. Miscellaneous useful information
7. Bibliography
8. Article and chapter notes
9. Outline
10. Class handouts
11. Early drafts of the paper
12. Source document (copies of articles etc.)

The Reviews

Always Brings Clarity and Order
“My applied research project seemed too big to tackle until I finally decided just to follow the process exactly as it was defined in Dr. Shields’ STEP BY STEP Method. The method brought clarity to my confusion of notes, sources, names and ideas and made a huge task manageable. I have continued to use the STEP BY STEP method for large projects I undertake on the job and even as a volunteer and find that it always brings clarity and order.”
Jane McFarland, MPA 1994
Program Manager, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners

An Indispensable Tool for Understanding the Research Process
“The notebook research method presented in STEP BY STEP: Building a Research Paper is an excellent organizing tool that has practical use in both the academic and professional arena. STEP BY STEP helped me organize the numerous details involved in research that include note taking, important contacts, deadlines, references, and list of things-to-do. It helped me distill the murky sea of information floating through the brainstorming process into a conceptual framework that guided the focus of my research. These organizational skills carry over into the professional realm by providing a framework for designing and evaluating projects, and helping practitioners keep track of their goals and vital information. For me, STEP BY STEP was an indispensable tool for understanding the research process.”
Shivaun Perez, MPA 2000
Education Policy Consultant

Produced More Papers for Less Money
“As an MPA student I really appreciated the STEP by STEP method. Coming from the practical world of policing I found it difficult to determine where to start when writing an academic paper, much less an Applied Research Project. The STEP by STEP notebook method provided an overall ‘system’ that enabled me to get started, and more importantly keep focused over an extended amount of time.
“Later when I became a teacher I used the STEP by STEP method in a long-term executive development program for police administrators. Prior to implementing the method we were spending about $153,000 each year on the research component of our program and producing about 30 papers per year. We had backlog of about 250 individuals that had finished the course work but not the paper. The most common complaints I heard were: 1) I don’t know what they want, 2) I can’t seem to find the time to work on it for more than an hour, and 3) after awhile I kind of lose my place and forget what I originally wanted to do. Naturally, when I heard these comments I implemented the STEP by STEP notebook method. It worked great. After the first year we produce 90 papers and spent a little less than $45,000. Each year thereafter we averaged about 80 papers at about the same costs.”
Dr. Brian L. Withrow, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and
Director, Midwest Criminal Justice Institute
School of Community Affairs
Wichita State University

The Author

Pat Shields is a Professor of Political Science at Texas State University. She has a Master of Economics(1975) and PhD (1977) in Public Administration from The Ohio State University. While at Ohio State she worked for the Center for Human Resource Research and completed a dissertation on the equity of the draft during the Vietnam era. She published her dissertation in Armed Forces & Society and has been the Editor-in-Chief of that journal since 2001. She has supervised over 350 masters level empirical research project. The student work has received many national and regional awards. She has received several teaching awards which, recognize the process she used to supervise research. She has three books dealing with research methods. Two highlight techniques she developed to work with students. They are Step-by-Step: Building a Research Project, A Playbook for Research Methods: Integrating Conceptual Frameworks and Project Management and The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military Science.  Her research interests include pragmatism and public administration, peace and conflict resolution, research methods, women in public administration, and civil military relations. She has published over 60 articles and book chapters in journals such as Public Administration Review, Administration & Society, American Review of Public Administration, Armed Forces & Society, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Society, Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, Administrative Theory and Praxis, Public Administration Quarterly. She is currently working on applying the ideas of Jane Addams to Peace Studies.

For more information, see her Wikipedia page.