Research papers are complex academic assignments that often cause anxiety in students, mostly because this type of paper is different than any other assignment students have been given so far. Unfortunately, professors rarely acknowledge how inexperienced students are with this particular writing genre and assign these tasks without teaching them of the basics for writing a research paper. This leaves students with a completely unfamiliar type of academic paper and a short deadline to finish it within.
In order to help you with the writing process, we have created a step-by-step guide for writing a research paper.
1. Read and Follow the Instructions Given by Your Professor
Professors always provide students with instructions on how they should write the research paper. Pay attention to the tools you are given by your GSI and instructor to plan the strategies and techniques you will use in the research process.
2.Plan the Assignment
The list of requirements should help you understand the assignment and plan the writing. Pay attention to the length and citation style of your paper. The requirements from your professor should show you how much research is required and point out to any other special requirements.
This is the part where you see if your paper’s topic is assigned. Look for information on the type of paper you should write and terminology you may not find clear to start with. Once you do all this, you can plan on how you will break the assignment into sections and parts and how much time you will need to do all these parts.
3. Pick the Topic
If the topic was not originally assigned, you must pick one. Take the time when choosing your topic since this is the base of your research paper.
When looking for a research paper topic, you should look for something you find to be of interest. Furthermore, your topic must be something you are introduced to and have access to sources that will help you research it.
Once you choose several topic ideas, write them all down and brainstorm. This brainstorming list should help you choose the best topic for your research paper.
4. Start Planning and Outlining
Now that you have read the instructions and chosen the topic, it is time to start with the planning and outlining process. This process involves writing down:
- All ideas and information you possess
- Sources you find to be relevant to the research
- Background reading you are planning to do
- The nature of the audience for your research paper
Make an outline to help you plan the research paper and guide you along the way.
5. Gather Research Materials
Research materials must be relevant to your topic, reliable and properly referenced. Use the citation style as required in the instructions from your professor.
When organizing your research materials, you can use any type of document or even a plain sheet of paper. Try to organize the bibliography records first, followed by the notes. This is the part where you write down all quotations, ideas and paraphrases you are planning to use in the paper.
6. Start Writing
The outline should help you set the direction of your paper and guide you while writing. It is important to write quickly, without worrying about mistakes or flow of sentences. All this is something you will fix in the editing and proofreading process. At this point, it is highly important to express your ideas while they are fresh.
7. Proofread and Revise
Check the text for mistakes in content. Rework parts you find to be badly organized and ensure that information flows and is connected. This is the part where you make sure all information is documented, too.
The individuals who find the writing of this paper to flow naturally are very few, which is why many students now turn to a professional research paper writing service for assistance, at least until they learn how to write it on their own. Try to write your research paper, but if you cannot, remember that asking for help is never a bad idea.