Once you become a college student, there will come a time when you’re assigned a research paper. Though a research paper is very similar to essays, which are often assigned to students at school, this type of academic assignment may cause young learners to feel anxious and confused. This is usually due to students’ being inexperienced about this type of assignment. If you’re also finding yourself perplexed and unable to figure out how to write your first research paper, today’s article is just for you. Note that any gap in your knowledge can be filled with practice and due diligence. And learning how to write strong and effective research papers is a significant step towards boosting your academic career. So, you shouldn’t allow your anxiety or laziness to hold you back and interfere with your academic progress and professional growth. Let’s take a look at some useful tips that will help you become an efficient research paper writer.
Choose a Topic
It’s not a secret that the first thing you need to do prior to writing your paper is to come up with an effective and interesting topic. You may be given a list of approved topics. In this case, you need to pick the one that resonates most with you. Some instructors give their students liberty to choose their own topics. If you’re also given such liberty or find the recommended topics uninteresting or somewhat limiting, it’s a good idea to approach your instructor and share your ideas with them. Make sure to discuss the topic you have in mind with your mentor and get it approved.
There are may be times where your professor may assign you a specific task. In this case, you need to make certain you fully understand the assignment at hand. Without grasping the question and understanding what’s expected of you, you risk traveling down dead-end roads and wasting too much of your precious time. Should you have any questions, contact your instructor and ask for additional clarifications. Voice your doubts or uncertainties. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t understand something. If you college has a writing center, it’s a good idea by stop by it from time to time and avail yourself of writing specialists’ help.
Where to Begin?
To write an impressive research paper, it’s important to pay attention not only to a topic, but also the discipline, genre, and your readers. Moreover, you need to develop and hone researching, outlining, drafting, and editing skills to be an efficient writer.
Once you have chosen a topic or get your own approval, you may proceed to research it. Regardless of the topic chosen, chances are lots of other researchers have already investigated and written much on it. So, you need to take advantage of their work to back up your own arguments and prove the validity of your claims. Take care to rely only on credible and up-to-date sources when researching your question. Your paper will benefit if you use both primary and secondary sources.
Once you’re done researching your question, it’s highly recommendable that you develop an outline that will serve as a map for your future paper. There is no need for you to come up with a detailed outline unless you’re more comfortable having an exhaustive plan at hand or your instructions require it. You can just jot down the key ideas and a couple of supporting details for each argument. Also, at this point, you should figure out a thesis statement around which your paper will be revolving.
At the drafting stage, you make your first attempt to craft a research paper. It’s critical that you always have a research question in mind while drafting your paper. You need to make sure that all ideas that appear in your writing are pertinent to the research question and help you develop and support your thesis. When working on your draft, don’t aim to make your writing flawless. You’ll have enough time for that at the editing stage. That being said, try to keep your paper logical and maintain coherence and official tone while writing. Make sure your arguments and evidence are strong to the point. Your introduction needs to clearly state your approach and position while the concluding paragraph should briefly summarize the key ideas that have appeared in the research paper.
Put your research paper off for a little while. Once you get the needed respite from a time-consuming and mentally exhaustive writing process, get back to your draft to proofread and edit it. Check your paper for coherence, logic, punctuation, and spelling. Devote enough time to checking both grammar and formatting. Make sure to give credit to the sources you’ve been consulting and using. It’s also a good idea to ask your mentor to take a look at your final draft and suggest possible improvements.
About the author:
The article provided courtesy of Isabelle Foster, a freelance journalist, copywriter, and fiction writer. Concurrently she serves as an educational consultant. Isabelle is also one of the most in-demand academic writers at PapersOwl, online writing service, and educational portal.