Choose a topic. Depending upon your instructor's guidelines, try to pick a topic that interests you. Before choosing; keep in mind the length of your paper and the due date. Stay away from topics surrounded by personal opinions or experiences. Also, avoid personal hobbies, such as a craft, or a sport. Also, try to choose a topic that has more than one source of information. A recent news story/event, although interesting, may not give you enough information to build a research paper around. Step 2: Conducting your Research Once you've chosen a topic, try to pull out key terms, or synonyms, to help broaden your search. Lastly, keep a notebook or journal with you, so you can map out or write down ideas, brainstorms and thoughts as you go through the research process. How do you write a research paper? Once you've brainstormed ideas for a topic, then it's time to do some exploratory research. Discuss your topic with your friends, your instructor and a librarian. Think of what you may already know about the topic Once you've done the research, then you should try to formulate your research question or thesis statement. Use subject specific encylcopedias to learn more about your topic; such as, key terms, important dates, facts or people who shape your topic. You have your key words, and basic information, now what?
First, you will need to start gathering reliable data about your topic. You can look for books using WebVoyage. Or you can use the library databases to gather information from professional journals, newspapers and magazines; plus, excerpts from books and multimedia. Some things to remember while looking for sources. Scholary vs. Popular Sources More Tips on topics But, you may wish to stay away from Wikipedia or other ".com" encyclopedias, because it is hard to verify if the information is correct.
Try the online and print encyclopedias located in Maki Library. What are Primary,Secondary & Tertiary Sources? Step 3: Developing your thesis statement. Use 3x5 index cards to write down facts and ideas, preferably one idea per card.
Remember to add your source information to the card, such as title, author, publisher, date and/or page numbers and other crucial information about each source. Writing down source information is the most crucial step, not only will it assist when writing your bibliography, or work cited page, but it is important to have ALL of your information handy when you're writing. Step 4: Read, Take Notes, and Organize Once you completed your notetaking, whether manually or electronically, it's time to organize your notes into headings and subheadings. After you've organized your notes, then you can start with drafting an outline for your paper.
Outlines are essential,
DON'T SKIP THIS STEP.
It will assist in the structure of your paper and prevent you from going off on tangents. Before you start writing, review the assignment requirements.
Also, remember your audience and what you wish to tell them about your topic. Step 5: Rough Draft Start with a strong introduction. Body of the paper According to Purdue University Online Writing Center (OWL), "Each paragraph should be limited to...one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout your paper. ..It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph." http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/ Conclusion This is the time to demonstrate to your audience why your topic is important. Don't just restate what has already been stated in your paper, give the readers explanations as to why your research matters. Tie it all together. Important tip "If you quote it, note it!" Step 6:
Revise, Revise, Revise! Make an appointment at the TLC, or with one of the librarians, to review your paper. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Read the paper out loud. If it doesn't sound correct, or isn't flowing, then it needs some revising. Ask some friends to read your paper. Good Luck! You may use "Reference Management" tools instead of notecards. These tools assist you in keeping track of source information, quotes, and any notes you may have regarding your research.
Examples of "Reference Tools" are RefWorks, Endnote, CitULike, Zotero. Always allow time for revision! No one's first draft is perfect. Your instructors are expecting that you gather information from credible sources.
The best way to locate credible sources is to start at the Maki Library. Failing to write down source information will cause you to re-create your research and waste precious time.See the full transcript