7 Tips For Writing a Research Paper

Research papers are pretty hefty chunks of writing, and students always struggle with them – regardless of what the paper is actually on. To avoid due stress, last-minute writing or other research paper blues, follow these few simple tips:

  • Plan ahead. The most common reason students fail to complete research papers is because they run out of time. When students are allotted several weeks for a single paper, it’s easy to put it off until a later date. To avoid last-minute rush-writing, set aside times – perhaps daily – when you’ll work on the paper. Make a schedule or set deadlines for certain parts of your paper. You’ll find you won’t need to pull an all-nighter the day before it’s due!
  • Learn your research options. You’d be surprised how many students can’t navigate through a library or find credible web sources. Know what online research is viable and what isn’t (Google scholar is sometimes a good place to start). Also understand how you’re local or school library is set up and how to use their literary filing system.
  • Pick a solid and personally interesting thesis. Not only should your thesis be an intelligent, approachable question that you can answer through your paper, but if should hold some personal interest to you. Writing on a thesis you find intriguing is far easier than struggling over a boring or unfamiliar one.
  • Divide up your work. This harkens back to planning ahead. Don’t try to do everything in a few days – this is a recipe for disaster. Divide up times to take research notes, compose an outline and write segments of your paper. You’ll find this helps to avoid writer’s block and make the paper easier to tackle.
  • Take notes and make an outline. Do no go from research to writing – this is a recipe for disaster. Take notes on your research and determine what can go into your paper. Then compose a simple outline – perhaps a bulleted list. Know what ideas or points you will address in each paragraph or paragraph group; make headings, subheadings, etc. This will help keep your ideas on the paper organized, and make writing easier later on.
  • Write using your outline. Once you’ve got effective notes and an organized outline, writing will come much more naturally. Move through your points calmly; your first attempt at writing the paper will always be rough. Write as naturally as you can and worry about fine-tuning later. Get your ideas down and use relevant research.
  • Review. Always proofread and edit your paper after writing. This brings it from a rough copy to its final, polished version.Grammar, structure, organization, spelling and much more should all improve at this stage.