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How to Research and Write a Decent Research Paper

EF_Team [Moderator] 41 / 222 15  
Mar 22, 2006   #1
All tied up in knots? Don't know where to begin? You're not alone. Many students struggle in writing a decent research paper. Often knowing some tips to writing a research paper will make a difference in creating a successful essay. Often students struggle in selecting topics, but knowing how to choose a topic will help. Researching, writing, and editing are three different steps to a research paper.

The first step in writing a research paper is choosing the topic. Some instructors assign the topic, but even then there is room to be more specific. One way to choose a topic is to brainstorm. What do you know about the topic? What do you want to know? Spend ten to fifteen minutes brainstorming and then choose a topic from this. Another way to choose a topic is to freely write for five to ten minutes about what you know about the topic and what you would like to learn. Select a topic from this.

The next step is researching the topic. Begin at home if you own a computer by going to Google and researching the topic. This will give you basic information. Next, go to the library and search with their different search engines such as EBSCO for information about the topic. Make friends with the librarian and ask her to help find the best journal articles and books about the topic.

Begin reading the research material. Use this information to help you create a thesis and to create an outline. A thesis is a road map showing what the paper will be discussing. What is the focus of the topic? What are the three main points? An essay on eating disorders might have the following thesis: Many teenage girls develop eating disorders because they have poor body image, low self-esteem, and no self-confidence. Notice this is a roadmap because it is telling the read that he or she will be reading about teenage girls with eating disorders. Secondly, it is telling the reader that three specific things cause eating disorders in teenagers. This gives the three main points.

It may be necessary to go back to the library and look for specific journal articles or books for the specific focus that you will be taking from the thesis. Create some note cards with quotes, but always be sure to cite where you got the information including the author, title of the article, journal, date, volume, and page numbers. Use the outline to choose the material to create note cards on. Once you finish the research, it will be time to create a rough draft.

The first step in writing a rough draft is to start with the first paragraph. A first paragraph should begin with an attention-getter. This can be an interesting fact, statistics, or anecdote. However, some professors want the thesis as the first part of the paragraph. Ask to be sure whether the professor wants the thesis first or to use an attention-getter.

Next, build the three body paragraphs. These will come from the thesis and outline. What are the three main points of the topic? Select these to write the three body paragraphs. In the thesis of the teenage girls who develop eating disorders, three specific problems are given: poor body image, low self-esteem, and no self confidence.

The last paragraph is the conclusion. This is a short summary of the topic and then the last sentence or two should leave the reader with something to think about after reading the essay.

The final part of writing an essay is revision. Once the rough draft is written set it aside for a few days or hours. Proofread the rough draft. Have you used transitions? What type of voice are you using? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Read the rough draft out loud and listen to any major mistakes. Have a friend read the essay. It is recommended to rewrite an essay at least three times.


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