Research and Writing Skills Success Practice Test

Updated on Sep 2, 2011

Research and Writing Skills Success Practice Test

Before you begin the steps it takes to write a research paper, it is a good idea to find out how much you know about the research process. This practice test is designed to ask you some basic questions. The objective of the practice test is to measure what you already know and what you need to know.

Before you begin, relax, find a quiet place to work, and take as much time as you need for this short practice test. Once you have finished, you can check your answers with the answer key at the end of this the test. Good luck and remember to use this practice test as a jumping off point—a place to begin the work of writing a superior research paper.


Choose the best answer for each of the following questions.

  1. A research paper is different from an essay because
    1. an essay contains fewer facts than a research paper.
    2. an essay is more opinion dominated.
    3. a research paper is an extended analysis based on data and evidence.
    4. a research paper is always shorter than an essay.
  2. Establishing a strong, authoritative tone in your research paper means
    1. using a lot of factual information.
    2. choosing a writing style that establishes the writer as an authority.
    3. using harsh vocabulary words.
    4. writing a persuasive paper.
  3. In a research paper, footnotes usually appear
    1. in the table of contents.
    2. in the introductory paragraph.
    3. at the bottom of the page.
    4. within the thesis statement.
  4. An introductory paragraph should always contain
    1. the thesis statement.
    2. as many facts as possible.
    3. a summary of the subject matter.
    4. a table of contents.
  5. To proofread any document—including your research paper—means to thoroughly
    1. rewrite any sections that need work.
    2. restate the thesis argument.
    3. check for any spelling or grammatical errors and correct them.
    4. change the pagination and footnotes.
  6. A bibliography is an essential component of any research paper because it
    1. demonstrates to the reader the full knowledge of the writer.
    2. officially lists all the sources the writer has consulted.
    3. makes a final statement at the end of the paper.
    4. helps the reader understand the content of the paper.
  7. A primary source
    1. is the first source the writer has consulted.
    2. always includes electronic material taken directly from the web.
    3. is a better source of information than any other.
    4. includes eyewitness accounts or firsthand information about the event or topic discussed in the paper.
  8. Transitional phrases refer to sentences or paragraphs that
    1. express the passage of time.
    2. link thoughts or paragraphs smoothly to one another.
    3. have a specific chronology.
    4. refer to the time that has passed between specific events described in the paper.
  9. A secondary source, as opposed to a primary source, is one that
    1. provides information in a second hand or non-direct way.
    2. is not as reliable as a primary source.
    3. was not written or recorded directly by a witness to the events discussed in the paper or by someone with firsthand knowledge of the subject.
    4. cannot be trusted and must be questioned for its legitimacy.
  10. Which statement about reference books is always true?
    1. They are always encyclopedias.
    2. They provide the most reliable statistical information.
    3. They contain extensive charts and illustrations.
    4. They cannot circulate or leave the library.
  11. An illustration or photograph can be used, referred to, or consulted as a source of information only if it
    1. provides words or an explanatory text that accompanies the illustration.
    2. is accurately listed and documented in both the footnotes and bibliography.
    3. is in color and provides an accurate representation of events.
    4. is big enough to be inserted as a full page into the research paper.
  12. To include an abstract in your research paper means to
    1. provide an overview or summary for your reader that immediately states the topic of your paper.
    2. state your thesis in abstract language.
    3. provide a conclusion.
    4. provide your reader with a complete list of all the reference material that you consulted.
  13. Internet or electronic sources are just as valid as print sources as long as you
    1. use the most modern or contemporary website.
    2. provide the reader with the exact web address and provide correct documentation of the website.
    3. also make sure that the material is available in hard copy.
    4. provide accompanying web links.
  14. The best way to remember the correct spelling of a word and its proper usage is to
    1. use a dictionary, look it up, and see the word in context.
    2. rely on the spell check on your computer.
    3. ask a friend to proofread your paper for you.
    4. use the grammar check on your computer program.
  15. Interviewing professionals and experts in a particular field or subject area that you are researching is important because
    1. people are always an established authority.
    2. oral history or word of mouth is more believable than print sources or books.
    3. they are primary sources and usually provide excellent information on a topic based upon their own expertise and experience.
    4. people can reveal secrets or divulge material that most books cannot.
  16. The most effective statement among the following sentences is
  17. A. "I hope that if you will read my paper, you will believe me when I tell you that John F. Kennedy was not assassinated as the result of a plot but by a single assailant."

    B. "John F. Kennedy, contrary to most historical opinions, was not murdered as the result of a conspiracy, but by a single lone assailant."

    C. "My paper will tell you and prove to you all about John F. Kennedy's death and the complex plot to murder him."

    D. "It's too bad that John F. Kennedy was killed. He was a really cool and decent guy."

    1. A because it directly addresses the reader.
    2. B because it words the argument in a direct statement.
    3. C because it explains to the reader what the writer will do.
    4. D because the language is informal and conversational.
  18. When writing a research paper, the point of view that you should always use is
    1. first person point of view such as, "In my paper, I will state …"
    2. an impersonal point of view so you can simply provide facts.
    3. third person point of view such as, "If he or she reads my paper, then he or she will understand …"
    4. first person plural point of view such as, "We can see by the facts provided here that the conclusion should be …"
  19. The term printed material refers to any material that is
    1. in hard copy and text such as material found in books, magazines, or articles.
    2. from a source that uses the word print.
    3. complex in its writing or sentence construction.
    4. an article from a reference book.
  20. The purpose of writing an outline for your research paper is to
    1. assemble every single idea in alphabetical order.
    2. follow a fixed sequence of page numbers that do not change.
    3. provide a step-by-step guide and overview that links your main points visually on one page.
    4. allow you to order events in a chronological arrangement.
  21. A thesis statement is
    1. an opinion.
    2. a conclusion.
    3. the primary argument of your paper.
    4. the analysis or evidence provided in your paper by a professional journalist.
  22. A preliminary outline is
    1. a final version of your paper.
    2. a beginning or first draft of your outline.
    3. the conclusion of your paper.
    4. an abstract of all your relevant information.
  23. You can include direct quotes from authorities and speeches in your paper as long as you
    1. explain to your reader why this material may be opinionated.
    2. analyze whatever you include.
    3. state how and why they are important.
    4. cite the specific context from which they were taken in your footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations.
  24. Brainstorming is a useful process because it allows you to
    1. type your final draft more quickly.
    2. jot down many ideas that you can refer to later.
    3. interview another professional.
    4. write several rough drafts of your entire paper.
  25. Using evidence in your paper to support your thesis statement is important. The term evidence refers to
    1. statistics, illustrations, speeches, or direct quotes that prove your argument.
    2. your opinions and ideas about the topic.
    3. what your professor thinks of your work
    4. a convincing introductory sentence.
  26. When you use the Internet to help you do your research, an established website or search engine is
    1. an electronic site with an accompanying address that helps you search for specific information.
    2. a university website.
    3. a website that a librarian helped you to locate.
    4. a site that has all the information you need on its home page.
  27. A thesis statement should always be clear and written
    1. at the very beginning of your research paper, preferably in the introduction.
    2. at the end of the endnote page.
    3. in the table of contents.
    4. in a separate bibliography.
  28. The sentence, "Kennedy was a really cool president," is a good example of
    1. shrewd analysis.
    2. direct reasoning.
    3. secondary information.
    4. colloquial or informal writing.
  29. Which of the following statements is the most convincing way to begin a research paper?
    1. "I think you should listen to the evidence that I will present to you."
    2. "I feel that you should listen to the evidence that I will present to you."
    3. "The evidence presented will demonstrate that …"
    4. "I believe this evidence is important because …"
  30. It is important for a writer to have opinions. However, when you are writing a paper, it is always better to
    1. state more opinions than facts.
    2. word your opinions strongly.
    3. tell the reader your opinion with informal and friendly writing.
    4. support your argument or thesis statement with facts.
  31. Similar to having strong opinions, a writer's emotions
    1. should not be stated openly to the reader but instead demonstrated and proved by the evidence.
    2. should be obvious.
    3. should be worded with extreme caution.
    4. should be documented with notes or citations, and a formal bibliography.
  32. A work of non-fiction is based upon
    1. historical legend and folklore.
    2. facts and real-life occurrences.
    3. anecdotes and stories.
    4. a lot of textual evidence.
  33. A work of fiction
    1. uses historical facts to shape a story.
    2. provides interesting statistical data.
    3. is based upon hard core evidence.
    4. is a product of the writer's imagination and may, but does not necessarily, incorporate factual material.
  34. An annotated bibliography
    1. is not alphabetized.
    2. contains valuable insights.
    3. provides a brief summary of the books that were helpful during research.
    4. is part of the final analysis of the paper.
  35. A definitive statement
    1. makes a clear, strong point to the reader.
    2. uses a lot of vivid and imaginative detail.
    3. contains many facts.
    4. should be footnoted.
  36. Statistical information should always be cited because
    1. numbers should appear in a bibliography.
    2. facts can always be disputed.
    3. hard data should appear at the end of a paper.
    4. a conclusion should always contain statistics.
  37. In a bibliography, it is essential that
    1. sources are arranged in chronological order.
    2. sources are grouped together by their usefulness.
    3. all sources are alphabetized.
    4. sources are listed by category according to whether they are primary or secondary.
  38. An abstract typically accompanies
    1. a scientific or mathematical paper.
    2. an essay only.
    3. a paper on any liberal arts topic.
    4. a paper with a great deal of footnotes or documentation.
  39. The tone of a writer's work usually refers to
    1. the effectiveness of his or her writing.
    2. the mood that is conveyed within the work.
    3. the instrumental sound of the language.
    4. the feelings that the writer has for the reader.
  40. When a paper has an authoritative tone, this means
    1. the writer presents his or her material knowledgeably.
    2. the writer uses large vocabulary words to impress the reader.
    3. the writer includes colorful illustrations.
    4. the writer adds a long bibliography at the end of the work.
  41. Unlike an opinion, a fact
    1. is known to be true.
    2. is believed to be true.
    3. is something the writer wishes were true.
    4. is part of an anonymous legend.
  42. Footnotes and parenthetical citations are important because
    1. they prove that the writer has done a lot of needless research.
    2. they protect a writer from accusations of plagiarism.
    3. they make a writer seem intelligent.
    4. they make a paper look more professional.
  43. When listing books in a standard bibliography, the correct procedure is to
    1. list all the printing editions of the books you have used.
    2. alphabetize your books by the author's last name.
    3. make sure the order of the books you have listed corresponds with the order of your footnotes.
    4. write a corresponding list of the books' illustrations.
  44. Using formal language in your paper means to
    1. address the topic in a professional and serious manner with language reserved for scholarly work.
    2. use very familiar words and language.
    3. assume a tone of superiority.
    4. become friends with your reader so that he or she is eager to read your paper.
  45. Common spelling errors are often found when a spell check is completed; however, this method is not infallible. To be sure that you find all errors, you can
    1. give your paper to your professor and ask him or her to grade it in advance.
    2. have a friend or a relative read your paper to look for errors.
    3. ask a librarian if he or she wouldn't mind checking your paper.
    4. allow the computer to run a grammar check at least three different times.
  46. The difference between an emotional and a logical appeal is that a logical appeal
    1. is written more carefully.
    2. provides more reasonable arguments.
    3. is based upon fact.
    4. values the opinion of the reader.
  47. In order to find a topic for your paper, it is often helpful to
    1. copy an idea straight from a book.
    2. ask yourself some basic questions like, "who," "what," "where," "when," or "why" about a particular subject that interests you.
    3. seek the advice of a guidance counselor or other working professional.
    4. go to the librarian and ask him or her for a list of popular topics.
  48. A primary source is valuable because
    1. it provides a firsthand perspective about the event, time period, or topic you are researching.
    2. it is the best source that a writer can use.
    3. it is the most documented and respected type of source.
    4. it is from a very distinguished and respected individual.
  49. Using note cards to take down information from books is helpful and handy because
    1. note cards can be arranged easily and quickly and stored in one place.
    2. note cards are a more respected way of taking down information.
    3. note cards look more professional than large sheets of paper.
    4. photocopying can leave dark marks on paper.
  50. When writing footnotes, it is always important to list them
    1. in chronological order.
    2. as a separate work from your note cards.
    3. with a corresponding reference sheet.
    4. in your opening credits.
  51. A historiography provides
    1. a thorough listing of all electronic sources.
    2. a summary of different ways of historical thinking about a particular topic over time.
    3. a complete list of illustrations.
    4. a list of acknowledgements at the beginning of your paper. 


Check your answers using the following answer key.

  1. c.
  2. b.
  3. c.
  4. a.
  5. c.
  6. b.
  7. d.
  8. b.
  9. c.
  10. d.
  11. b.
  12. a.
  13. b.
  14. a.
  15. c.
  16. b.
  17. b.
  18. a.
  19. c.
  20. c.
  21. b.
  22. d.
  23. b.
  24. a.
  25. a.
  26. c.
  27. d.
  28. c.
  29. d.
  30. a.
  31. b.
  32. d.
  33. c.
  34. a.
  35. b.
  36. c.
  37. a.
  38. b.
  39. a.
  40. a.
  41. b.
  42. b.
  43. a.
  44. b.
  45. c.
  46. b.
  47. a.
  48. a.
  49. a.
  50. b.
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