How To Write Research Papers: Practice Makes Perfect
If you’ve done any kind of academic writing in the past, you’ve no doubt stumbled across the dreaded research paper. It’s probably one of the most time-consuming pieces to write, if only due to all of the research you have to do. And while writing a research paper may be more difficult than the others you’ve conquered in the past, like any skill, practice makes perfect. Here are a few steps that you can use to better compartmentalize your future research papers, and perhaps simplify the overall process.
- Establish Your Topic
- Gather Enough Sources
- Organize Your Ideas
- Don’t Forget Your Bibliography Page
Finding a topic can be difficult, so you want to try and pick something you find fun and interesting (even if it’s from a predetermined list). If you’re genuinely interested in the topic you’re writing about, it can dramatically lessen the stress of writing the paper. Picking a topic you already have some understanding of is also a good thing to do, as it eliminates some of the research you’ll need to do. Also, try to choose a topic that isn’t too broad—the more narrow and precise your topic, the easier it will be for you to manage.
You know you’re going to have to do research on the topic you’re writing about, so don’t short yourself. Try to obtain a variety of sources—books, articles, etc.—before you begin writing your paper. You don’t want to be scowering through the sources you do have while writing your paper, and still looking for more. While there may be times that you do need to look for another source (perhaps one you acquired wasn’t credible?), try to avoid this as much as you can.
Once you’ve done your research and taken your notes, do a bit of brainstorming to organize your ideas before you actually sit down to write. This will help you in structuring the paper, or arranging your information so that your ideas are clear and bold. It also allows you to determine which of your ideas are actually critical to the point of the research paper.
This is a very important step. Forgetting to write up your bibliography (a list of all the resources you used in writing the paper) can hurt your paper your grade. Make sure it is properly formatted, too!
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