The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Research Paper
Hello, my fellow college-goers!
I know you are probably freaking out because you just got assigned a huge research paper, you haven’t even started, it’s due soon as a final, and you have 3 others to do and a project, and that crappy group project! But first, take a deep breath because once you realize that it is not that difficult you will finish everything on your list, especially this research paper, and move on to more exciting things!
Preparing Yourself for the Task:
- Breath, relax, get focused!
- Realize your teacher assigned it to you in advanced for a reason, so USE YOUR TIME! You probably cannot manage an “A” in one night. If you can, share some of your talents!
- Read the assignment or rubric sheet, and read it again with a highlighter in hand!
- Get the main points like the topic, how many pages or words, how many sources you need and what kind, and you probably already know this because it’s been haunting you but the due date.
- Jot down some rough ideas for a topic.
Finding the Research:
Maybe this is just the nerd in me, but this can be the most interesting and fun part of the paper. This can also be changed to any order that makes sense to you, but this is how I go about it.
- Start online! I just discovered google scholars and fell in love! This is a great place to get started. Another great place is your libraries online databases which can be JSTOR or EBSCOhost or many others. Basically, these just shift through all the wrong information on the web and just give you the good stuff!
Helpful tip: Your school’s online databases have helpful ways to narrow down all the articles and journals! I always click peer reviewed so I know I am getting scholarly work to cite. You can also check things like the date it was published, what type of source it is, and where the source comes from.
- You will probably need to move to the actual library to find some books as well. Don’t be intimidated by reading a whole book before your paper is due. Most books have an index where you can look up key topics or subtopics you will be talking about to narrow done the information for you. You may only read 1 page of the whole book!
- Do not be afraid to ask for help in this process! Even if you are intimidated by your Professor a librarian would be more than glad to help you online or in the library!
- Even if you only need one or two sources it’s good to have at least four or five so you can pick and choose which ones will help you.
Organizing the Research:
- Get sticky notes, tabs, or notecards to help organize all the information you have just found.
- Mark up or place a sticky note on the online sources or books where there is something you may want to quote.
- Stop and think about what your research is saying, you may start to form a thesis sentence.
- Put aside the things you do not want but keep them in case it may come in handy.
- You are ready for an outline for your paper! This is how I would do mine:
Write the Paper:
- If you still do not have a concise thesis do not worry! I know many people who write their whole paper and do the thesis last!
- You should still start with an introduction to the topic of your paper and an attention grabber which will grab the attention of your reader.
- Body paragraphs are super simple so don’t sweat it! State your claim. What point are you trying to make? Use evidence with your quote! NEVER have a hanging quote, make it a full sentence by introducing the evidence. Then you can have one quick sentence explaining the quote but then you should be using your own knowledge to finish the paragraph to further make your claim. Usually, this is answered with how/why is this important? Then connect this paragraph to the next.
- Conclusions are the best because you are basically restating your introduction but be sure to not just copy&paste!
- DO NOT forget to make your Works Cited page! and to make your in writing citations. A great place to go is Owl Purdue, especially for MLA.
Happy Writing! I hope this was helpful and made this journey a little easier! I have my own research paper to write, so I’ll catch you later!
Remember that you are brilliant and you can do anything with the right amount of focus and mindset. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day!
Also, check out my blog 5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block! Subscribe and share!