Writing a Research Paper
Writing a research paper often requires the same steps for writing an essay. Research must be performed, requiring you to read about your topic from many sources, including newspapers, magazines, books, and the Internet. In some instances, conducting interviews can also produce valuable information.
The information that you gather from your reading is used to support the topic you have chosen. You must take care to document all sources so that they can be included in footnotes. This ensures that your reader understands where you derived your information so that they can determine its reliability. Following are the steps needed for writing your research paper:
1 - Determine Your Topic
It's easier if you pick a topic that interests you, otherwise you may lose interest and focus. Why? Because your attitude about a project often determines the effort you put into it. Select subject matter that you can handle. Avoid subjects that provide narrow ranges of sources. Avoid topics that are too specialized or technical.
2 - Research Information
While you are doing research, keep track of full bibliographical information in your worksheet. Your research paper is useless without the sources you cite. Bibliographic information should include:
Analyze your research data, checking for accuracy and that your information is up to date. Don't include irrelevant information. Use the following system to keep you organized:
- Where published
- Page numbers
- Creation date of web pages used
- Date of your access
- Organize Notes
3 - State Thesis
- System for noticing sources on cards
- System for organizing your material according to its importance
- System for taking notes
Write your thesis statement using one sentence. This is the statement of your belief. Your research paper is used to support and defend your belief.
4 - Write Outline
An outline helps to organize your thoughts before you write the paper. This is one of the most important steps you can take to successfully complete your paper. Make sure that the points you are trying to make are covered and flow in a logical manner. Your outline should include an introduction, the body of the paper, and its conclusion.
5 - First Draft
- Introduction: This is where you state your thesis and the purpose of your paper. Make sure you cover the reason you are writing on the topic. Briefly, explain the major points you plan to address in your paper and why it should be of interest to the reader.
- Body: This is the place to present arguments supporting your thesis. Find 3 supporting arguments for each of your positions. Start with a strong argument, then move to a stronger one, ending with your strongest argument as your final point.
- Conclusion: Reword or restate your thesis and summarize arguments used. Your conclusion is where you state the reason you came to your conclusion.
The easiest way to write the first draft is just to start writing. Write as quickly as you can and just concentrate on the words. Don't try to make your first draft your final draft. You're going to revise anyway, so just write without going over your notes. Many find it easier to write their first draft in longhand so that they can revise as they write.
6 - Final Draft
Review your assignment sheet to ensure that you fully understood what is expected. Make sure your research paper meets all the requirements expected from your teacher.
Proofread carefully, checking for punctuation, spelling, and duplicated or missing words. Make sure your typewritten paper is neat and attractive.
It helps if you can have your paper written a few days before it's due. This gives you time to read over it again, double checking for errors.
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