The internet is a beautiful thing. The world is at our fingertips, with all its prolific brilliance. We can access books, journals, reviews, articles and websites.
The only problem is, you still have to read them.
Or do you?
How many times have you accessed an academic article online, only to be floored by its exhaustive length? Or worse, stumbled upon a website that claims to have a database full of academic genius, a database which just happens to include an article on the exact topic of your paper, only to find that you are either required to pay or barred from access because you are not a student at their university?
Fret no more. Make these sites work for you, and these frustrating situations can become headaches of the past. The first technique that you can employ is Title-Scouring. Most academic articles have exceedingly long titles which describe the issue and often point to the author's stance on said issue. Use this! Pick a few big words from the title and summary, carefully transcribe the author's name, and you have an intellectual-sounding citation, ready-made for you. "In his article 'Bumblebees and the Coming Apocalypse,' Joe Shakespeare explains the procreation of insects in a way that sheds new light on the deconstruction of society." Pad it with a few thoughts in the voice of somebody who believed in the connection between bees and world distruction, and voilŕ! One authentic academic source.
The aforementioned technique can be easily expanded to incorporate the number and nature of sources that your professor requires. Academic journals? No problem. Find one of those sites that provides for you the first paragraph for free, pick out a few important words, and run with them. The technique of Title-Scouring works with an introductory paragraph as well; just remember that the "scouring" part is key. Every tidbit of information can be useful. The article that you have found was written in 1962? No problem. Use it. "This article shows us that views held several decades ago give crucial background to the issues facing us today." A similar sentence can be used in almost any paper, if you have the ability to expand and support. Run with it.
The "run with it" technique is essential to writing the successful researchless research paper. You can be praising the heavens for the invention of the abstract, that one magical paragraph, if you know how to turn that paragraph into several pages. Take a few important phrases, say them "in your own words," then explain why this person's views are so important and his or her findings so earth-shattering. "study of the successful effects of laundry detergent used as bubble bath" can give you an entire page of interpretation, with the simple insertion of a few cleverly deduced details. "When Pompous P. Smarterthanyou tested the use of detergent as bubble bath, his success opened the door to a wide range of uses for common household cleansers." Then spend a paragraph or two discussing why this particular study is so meaningful. A few of your own insights will steer the professor away from any missing details or hard data. After all, your thoughts are so important, you simply didn't have the time!
With these few techniques, you can write a brilliant research paper with less than ten minutes of research. Scour what you have, then run with it! Your professor will be stunned at your brilliance... and so, probably, will your roommate, when he is up until 3 am doing the research that you didn't have to do!