If you’re a college student, you will probably have to write at least one college-level research paper before you graduate.Writing a good research paper can be daunting if you have never done it before. Here are the steps and resources you need to write a strong research paper, as well as a checklist to go over to be sure you wrote a good paper.Research writing can be a challenge, but with a little practice, it can become an important part of your academic and professional toolkit.
Use the guidelines given by your instructor to help pick your paper topic.
If you have a topic that you love, but you’re having trouble fitting it into the guidelines, choose another topic.
Take what you have learned from a Google search or Wikipedia article and dig deeper.
Check out the sources on the article, use keywords from your internet search to search an academic database, or ask an expert whether or not what you learned is valid and if it is, where you can find a reliable source stating the same thing.
Many students skip this step, and then wonder why they receive a low grade on a paper they worked hard on or were excited about.
It’s often because they didn’t read the instructions. Look at everything your instructor has provided you with.
Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic.
This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.
So you have all of this information, now what to do with it? Like research, different people have different preferences here. Some sort of bibliography (literally “book writing,” this is a list of the books, articles, and other sources you have used in your research) is helpful when it comes to organizing your research.
If your teacher requires you to turn in a bibliography with your research paper (think back to step #1; you ought to already know exactly what the assignment is by now!