We sometimes wish we could tell students that writing a research paper can be easy. No matter how many times you have done it or how many articles you have read about writing a good research paper, the truth is every research paper presents a different challenge.
To be on the safe side and ensure you tackle every paper you will ever do in college efficiently, there are steps that you always have to bear in mind whenever you are writing a research paper. This article will highlight some of these tips. Hopefully you can get all the insight you need.
1. Understand the Assignment
Unfortunately many students ignore this rule every time they have to write a research paper. Even when you think the topic is straightforward, don’t start writing any paper unless you know what your teacher or professor is asking for. Failure to do this will lead to low grades on a paper you probably worked so hard on.
It’s important to spend time going through what your instructor or professor has provided you with. Read and understand the question, go through the grading system, prompts and other materials provided. If anything is unclear, ask your teacher for clarification.
2. Choose a topic to write about
Once everything has sunk in and you now understand what the assignment requires, you can now pick a topic to write about. This isn’t always easy to do, but don’t panic. We recommend that you pick a topic that you are interested in, something you are familiar with and can write comfortably about.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect topic. Remember, the goal is to write a successful paper and not impress your instructor. You can use the guidelines provided by your professor to pick a topic. Remember that any topic you pick must answer what the assignment is asking for.
3. Do your Research and Organize what you find
This is where it gets interesting. There is no single way to research a paper you are writing. Different people use different approaches. However, pay attention to a few things when you ate doing your research and don’t take too much time here. Quickly go through research materials, find and highlight reliable resources, and keep all relevant information for reference as you write your paper.
You don’t have to read every research material you encounter in full; skim through it and write down important points. When you are doing your research, make sure you find reliable sources. While you can still use Wikipedia to do your research, you cannot use it as your final source. Dig deep for more on what you are writing about. Also, make sure that the information you use is accurate.
After gathering all the information you need to use in your paper, you need to organize the material in a bibliography. This includes listing the sources you have used to write your research paper. This part could be significant in case your teacher asks for a bibliography.
4. Create a thesis or statement for your research paper
Once your research is done and you have prepared a bibliography on all the important sources you’ll use in your paper, it’s time to create a thesis. Put forward a statement that will tell your readers what you are trying to say. Sometimes I get stuck here, and I need someone to write my research paper before it’s too late.
But it doesn’t have to be for you. Start by writing an answer to what your paper is about. However, don’t just write a one-sentence answer, be definitive. Remember it should be a statement that tells your reader you understand what you are trying to argue in your paper.
5. Have an outline for your paper
An outline is important if you want to achieve a proper structure for your paper. Remember your paper will have sections based on what the assignment asks and your thesis statement. You can use different methods to structure your paper.
However, whatever you do, don’t be too rigid or try to adopt a particular formula. Use your thesis as a guide to organize the main points of your paper.
6. Start Writing
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. It’s time to start writing your paper. Don’t be overly excited about this part. The best way is to look back at everything you have done so far before reaching this point. Look back at your research, thesis and outline and start writing.
Don’t worry about making it perfect here, you will have plenty of time to go through your paper and edit it. The chunk of the work here should be to articulate your ideas as you see fit.
7. Edit your Paper for Content and Grammar
Now that you have written your paper, it’s not over just yet. It’s time to take a look at your paper and make it somewhat perfect. Look back at the structure and organization you did before you started writing. Based on what you have written, you can choose what to keep, what to remove and what to change about that structure.
Make sure the grammar is perfect as well and check the length of your paper.
These are the steps or tips you need to keep in mind whenever you are writing a research paper. Remember to use all the information provided by your professor and make time for your paper. A paper done hastily will likely lead to low grades.