The end of the semester is upon us, and that means more papers and studying for the dreaded finals. If you have a paper due at the semester, don’t waste time–start now! Don’t worry, though, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. The following will provide you with some tips on conducting research and writing a great research paper.
1) Pick your topic
If it’s assigned to you–great. If not, then start thinking about things you are actually interested in. It’s much easier for you to write about something you are interested in and enjoy rather than striving to write a 10-15 page paper on something you absolutely dread. The fact is, if you like your topic and want to learn more about it, then researching it becomes a whole lot easier.
2) Narrow your topic
Now that you’ve found your topic, find ways to narrow it down to something even more specific. For example, if in a literature course you decide on a topic about a specific literary theme like the triumph of good over evil, then slim that down by looking at it during a specific time period, genre, or even a few specific works (or just in one author). If you have too broad of a topic, then it becomes very difficult for you to say something original and get a good grade on your paper.
3) Research academic journals and in the library
Make sure you utilize all the resources you have to find more information about your topic. Your college should give you access to Academic Journals which will allow you to search through various articles. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your library and ask a research librarian to help you out. They may not do the work for you, but they could definitely help you learn how to research things on your own. Moreover, being in the library will hopefully encourage you to check out some books on your topic, too!
4) Have friends proofread your paper
After editing and proofreading your paper by yourself a few times, get a friend to go over it as well. This allows your paper to be looked at by fresh eyes who may catch something that you didn’t. Let them know you are open to feedback and criticism, even if it’s a little negative. Receive their advice and feedback graciously, or else you will lose there help in the future.
5) Ask the professor for help
More often than not, your professor will be willing to talk to you about your paper and the research your doing during his/her office hours. Some professors require you to do this, while others leave it to your discretion. Make sure you utilize them; after all, they are the ones who know what they look for in research papers!