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Sep 03

11 Steps for Writing a College Research Paper

Writing a research paper is an integral and important part of the learning process in college. Regardless of specialization a lot of research work will be assigned to you, so you’ll need clear instructions helping you to cope with this task. Follow these steps to write your research paper correctly and in due time.

Step 1

Think of a topic you are interested in. The more passionate about a topic you are, the easier it’ll be to write a research paper. It is smart to give preference to topics related to the subjects you have already learned.

Step 2

Define goals of your paper. There can be two approaches:

-          Discussion is based on some matter of dispute and, in this case, you should argue in favor of a particular standpoint in your research paper.

-          Analyticalresearch takes a fresh perspectiveregardinganyimportant issue as a basis. In this case, a topic may notcause anycontroversy, but you should tryto convince youraudience thatyour ideas deserve attention.

Step 3

Find reliable sources of information on the chosen topic. It’s better to use various sources including websites, books, academic periodicals and professional magazines, interviews with experts in a particular field.

However, it is quite possible that most of your information will be found on the Web. Note that in research papers it is not allowed to use third-rate information like given in Wikipedia, but Wikipedia articles often have references to primary sources. Look for websites with reliable information, for example, educational or government web-resources. If you doubt the truthfulness of materials, it is better to refuse to use them. If you decided to use materials in your research paper, be sure to make a note of the number of pages, reference and a quoted passage to be able to specify the source.

Step 4

Write a preliminary thesis rest on the purpose of the research. Thesis serves as a general idea of your work, making a statement about a particular issue, and then arguments are given in favor of this statement. At this stage, draw out only a preliminary thesis of your research paper, since in the course of your work it can change.

A thesis is almost always presented in the form of a statement (in general, it looks like “this is true because … “). If your assignment is to write a research paper about a controversial topic, then you have to write a statement reflecting your point of view and then produce arguments supporting it. If your work is purely analytical, present a thesis in the form of the issue you are going to explore in the research paper without taking any side on this issue. For example, if your paper is dedicated to the book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” you can define the thesis like “What is the role of honor in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird “?

Step 5

Compose and arrange the “body” of the paper. In the body all collected and analyzed information is presented, and this is the main part of your research paper. To make it easier, you can write this piece in the form of a structure until you understand how you’d like it to look in the last analysis.

It is better to start with simple ordering of obtained information in writing. First you should put down an introductory part, following by specific details and arguments including refuting arguments, and in the end you should present materials which support your point of view. Further information can be related to all sorts of versions and ties.

A good idea is to show arguments contradicting a broader trend. Refutations will add weight to your arguments. Be aware that gathered arguments can turn out to be contradictory to what you expected. If you face such a situation, take a new conclusion as your own and be grateful for the fact that your work gained more reasoning.

Step 6

Write chapters of your research paper. The chapters should be written on the basis of the notes made in the course of your research work. They usually differ from each other in the point of issue. If the chapters are very large, it’s better to divided them into paragraphs. Dividing the chapters pay attention to keeping the tenor of your work.

Make sure that each new chapter of your paper has a proper head reflecting its main idea, so that reading your paper a person will be able to understand what is discussed there. But it is possible that you won’t be able to supply each of the paragraphs with a title since some issues may be discussed through several of them.

Before you make any final conclusions, all the collected information should be analyzed, interpreted in details and properly presented.

Step 7

Write a conclusion. After making thorough analysis, you can compose the conclusion briefly describing all the information discovered by you. Start with the initial thesis, and then remind of those aspects that were described in the course of the research paper. Cover the topic at length describing the results of your research.

The purpose pursued in a conclusion is to answer the question “What’s the point?”. Make sure that your audience will be able to learn something new reading the research work.

Note that it’s better to write a conclusion before you go to the introduction. It’s easier to put words down when all the information is still fresh in your memory. Moreover, it is desirable to use all of your copious vocabulary while writing the conclusion and then just rephrase necessary ideas for the introduction. This will make much better impression on your audience owing to strong logical connection between the parts of the research paper, so do write the conclusion before the introduction, not vice versa.

Step 8

Write an introduction. As contrasted to the conclusion, start the introduction with a more broad thought and then go to your specific topic. Avoid repetition of the phrases used in the conclusion.

Step 9

Improve your topic. After thorough working out your research, you can rewrite the topic so that it would better reflect the content of your paper.

Step 10

Check your work and improve the final version. Read the paper two or three times. Make sure that the truthfulness of your arguments is confirmed by sources and that you completely elaborated on the topic without missing important details. Finally, check the paper for grammar and punctuation errors.

Step 11

Provide a list of references. Here you have to specify all sources of information used in the course of writing the paper.