Research papers are an inevitable part of life for students. They require a good deal of concentration and time if it is intended to achieve a satisfactory grade on the assignment (maybe not if you could care less about your grade). It is very tempting to keep putting off your researching and writing, but this approach just sets you up for anxiety once the deadline creeps nearer. These five tips will make the process easier and guide you to a better research paper.
Choosing a Topic
It seems logical to choose a research topic that you are interested in, and this might be the tendency of most people because many students fall into the trap of choosing whatever topic first occurs to them, not taking into the account that they will be spending rigorous amounts of time studying the subject. It is better to choose a topic that you know you will be able to research and support. A bad topic results in procrastination and lack of enthusiasm for the research paper. Choosing a topic that you are already somewhat familiar with can expedite the process of writing a research paper since you may have an idea of which direction you want to take it. Don’t be intimidated into choosing a simple topic either, many teachers will enjoy reading a complex argument and reward you for it. High risk, high reward.
The best and simplest way to get ahead on your research paper is starting your research as soon as possible. It seems like a no brainer but almost everyone procrastinates. At this phase, you should have in mind a topic and an argument that you will writing about in regards to the topic. In this stage, don’t worry about specifics until after you have accumulated a substantial base of information. The only thing that should be on your mind in this stage is getting notes and quotations from as many sources as possible to expand your knowledge about your topic By beginning your research well ahead of the deadline, you create an incubation period for the information in your head to create the best argument you can. A more direct reason to start early is because if you wait to long all of the printed resources at places like the library will be taken already.
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. If someone’s already made the point you’re making, quote them! It will add creditability to your argument and possibly shed light on your argument in ways you hadn’t seen before. The best tools for structuring a research paper are quotations from reliable sources. As long as you give proper credit to the original source and the quotes are apt and have merit, quotes can only help a research paper.
Once you’ve concocted a rough draft with a bunch of sources and quotations, it’s time for revision. You should take a break before writing the final copy and the draft because you will notice more mistakes if wait. You may also get more insight and change your mind about certain things, or find more supporting evidence for your argument. Mainly you will have a different perspective on you work if you give it some time. The main question to ask to make sure the paper is on topic is “How does this support my thesis?” Even if it is a very interesting tidbit, if it doesn’t support your thesis, its a waste of space. The name for this extra information is “fluff.”
Fighting Through It
The way to get through a research paper is to just sit down and do. When you work on your paper, don’t take breaks to get on Facebook or YouTube, that’s just procrastination. It’s hard to do, but if you set aside just half an hour every day to work on your paper with no distractions, it will be done in no time.
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