You coasted through high school on your charm and good looks and never actually wrote a research paper. You have written research papers, but every time is like the first time, and the first time was like a root canal. How do you start? Here is a step-by-step approach to starting and completing a research paper.
You may read this TIP Sheet from start to finish before you begin your paper, or skip to the steps that are causing you the most grief. Interest, information, and focus Your job will be more pleasant, and you will be more apt to retain information if you choose a topic that holds your interest.
Even if a general topic is assigned "Write about impacts of GMO crops on world food supply" , as much as possible find an approach that suits your interests. Your topic should be one on which you can find adequate information; you might need to do some preliminary research to determine this. Go to the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature in the reference section of the library, or to an electronic database such as Proquest or Wilson Web, and search for your topic. The Butte College Library Reference Librarians are more than happy to assist you at this or any stage of your research.
Scan the results to see how much information has been published. Then, narrow your topic to manageable size:. Childhood diseases Too Broad: Once you have decided on a topic and determined that enough information is available, you are ready to proceed.
At this point, however, if you are having difficulty finding adequate quality information, stop wasting your time; find another topic. First read a general article on your topic, for example from an encyclopedia.
If you need to know what publication information is needed for the various types of sources, see a writing guide such as S F Writer. On the index cards or in your notebook, write down information you want to use from each identified source, including page numbers.
Use quotation marks on anything you copy exactly, so you can distinguish later between exact quotes and paraphrasing. You will still attribute information you have quoted or paraphrased. Some students use a particular index card method throughout the process of researching and writing that allows them great flexibility in organizing and re-organizing as well as in keeping track of sources; others color-code or otherwise identify groups of facts.
Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Jun 24, How to Write an Introduction. Retrieved Sep 10, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4. You can use it freely with some kind of link , and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations with clear attribution.
Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level. Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later. Share this page on your website: This article is a part of the guide: Select from one of the other courses available: Don't miss these related articles:. Check out our quiz-page with tests about: Back to Overview "Write a Paper".
Search over articles on psychology, science, and experiments. Leave this field blank: Want to stay up to date? Check Out the Official Book Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level. These sections should let you know the topics covered by the author and whether or not they apply to you. Skim through the footnotes. These should give you an idea of the kinds of conversations the author is involved in. If you are writing a psychology paper and the footnotes of an article are all citing philosophers, that source might not be relevant to you.
Decide which materials to read in depth, which materials to read portions of, and which to discard. After skimming your research materials, decide which ones are likely to help out your research the most. Some sources will be very useful, and you might want to look through the entire work. Other sources might only have small sections that are relevant to your research.
Other sources might be completely irrelevant; you can simply discard them. It is normal to be overwhelmed with information while writing a research paper. You will be introduced to new concepts, new terms, and new arguments.
In order to keep yourself organized and in order to remember clearly what you have read , make sure that you take careful notes as you go. Otherwise, you should keep a separate notebook or word processing document to keep track of the information you read.
The source's major argument or conclusion The source's methods The source's key pieces of evidence Alternative explanations for the source's results Anything that surprised or confused you Key terms and concepts Anything you disagree with or doubt in the source's argument Questions you have about the source Useful quotations. As you take notes, be sure that you indicate exactly which source provided you with the information. Most citations include the author's or authors' names, date of publication, title of publication, journal title if relevant and page number s.
Other possible information to include might be the publisher's name, the website used to access the publication, and the city in which the source was published. Remember that you should cite a source when you quote it directly as well as when you have simply gleaned information from it. Not doing so could lead to accusations of plagiarism or academic dishonesty.
All of these have online style guides that can help you cite your sources appropriately. There are many computer programs that can help you format your citations easily, including EndNote and RefWorks. Certain word processing systems also have citation programs to allow you to build your bibliography. Organize and consolidate the information. As you continue to take notes, you should begin to see some patterns emerging about your topic. Is there general consensus about certain things?
Have most of the sources left out a key topic from their discussions? Organize your notes according to these key patterns. Open a new blank document. This will be where you outline your paper. An outline is a key step to writing a research paper, especially research papers that are on the longer side.
It should also expedite the writing process. Remember that a good outline does not have to have entire, smooth paragraphs. Instead, an outline will only contain the most vital pieces of information for you to arrange later. Your thesis statement The topic sentence, key pieces of evidence, and key conclusion for each body paragraph A sensible order of your body paragraphs A concluding statement. Come up with a tentative thesis statement. Most research papers will require you to make some kind of argument based on the evidence you've gathered as well as your analysis.
You cannot simply state something that is common knowledge or basic fact. Your thesis must be based in evidence and careful analysis. Appropriate to your assignment. Remember to adhere to all parameters and guidelines of your paper assignment. Manageable in the space allotted. Keep your thesis narrow and focused. That way you might be able to prove your point in the space given to you. Write the thesis statement at the top of your outline.
Because everything else depends on your thesis , you want to keep it in mind at all times. Write it at the very top of your outline, in large and bold letters. If you have to tweak the thesis as you go through the writing process, then do so.
It is likely that you might change your mind somewhat as you compose your paper. Other key things to include in an introduction include your methods, the parameters of any studies you performed, and a roadmap of the sections to follow.
Consider necessary background information for the topic. Many papers include a section towards the beginning of the paper that gives the reader key information about their topic. In many cases, you also need to provide a discussion about what other researchers have said about your topic a.
List the pieces of information that you will need to explain in order for your reader to be able to understand the following contents of the paper. Consider the information needed to prove your thesis statement is correct. What kinds of evidence do you need in order to demonstrate that you are right?
Do you need textual evidence, visual evidence, historical evidence, or scientific evidence? Do you need expert opinion? Take a look at your research notes to locate some of this evidence. Outline your body paragraphs.
Your body paragraphs are where your research and analysis will come into play. Most paragraphs are a few sentences long, and all of the sentences are related to a common theme or idea.
Ideally each body paragraph will build off of the previous one, adding weight to your argument. A topic sentence that explains what the following evidence is and why it is relevant. The presentation of pieces of evidence. These could include quotations, the results of scientific studies, or survey results. Your analysis of this evidence. A discussion of how this evidence has been treated by other researchers. A concluding sentence or two explaining the significance of the analysis.
Organize your body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should stand on its own. However, they all must work together to argue the merits of your thesis statement. Consider how your body paragraphs relate to one another. Think of a compelling, sensible structure for these body paragraphs. Depending on your topic, you might organize your body paragraphs: For example, if your research paper is about the history of an artifact, you might want to discuss its key features in chronological order.
You might consider the major themes in your paper and discuss each concept one-by-one. For example, if your paper discusses the way a particular film treats gender, race, and sexuality, you might want to have separate sections on each of these concepts. For example, if your paper discusses the impact of a vaccine, you might organize your paper according to the size of the population from smallest to largest population, e.
According to a yes-no-so structure. A yes-no-so structure involves the presentation of one perspective the yes , then its opposite structure the no. Finally, you bring together the best parts of each perspective in order to create a new theory the so.
For example, your paper might explain why certain health care providers believe in acupuncture, then why other health care providers consider it to be quackery. Finally, you can explain why each side might be a little bit right and a little bit wrong. It can be very useful to include transition sentences between your body paragraphs.
This way, your reader will understand why they are arranged the way they are. Consider other necessary sections. Depending on your field or the parameters of your assignment, you might have other necessary sections besides the body paragraphs. These can vary quite widely, so be sure to consult your syllabus or your instructor for clarification. These sections could include: A strong conclusion will serve as the final statement that your thesis is correct.
It should tie up your loose ends and make a strong case for your own perspective. Possible downsides or alternative explanations for your results Further questions in need of study How you hope your paper has impacted the general discussion of the topic.
Most people experience writer's block at some point in their lives, especially when faced with a large task such as a research paper. Remember to relax and take a few deep breaths: Use freewriting exercises to get your mind flowing.
If you are stuck on your paper, put away your outline for a few minutes. Instead, simply write down everything you think is important about your topic. What do you care about? What should others care about?
Writing a research paper is a challenge for many high school and college students. One of the biggest hang-ups many students have is getting started. Finding a topic and doing the research may be half the battle, but putting words to paper or starting an introduction often proves to be an intimidating task.
Aug 17, · If you are writing a research paper that analyzes a primary source, you should start by closely examining your primary materials. Read them closely, look at them closely, and take careful notes. Consider writing down some initial observations that will help ground you%(9).
Many students delay writing a research paper from the very beginning of the writing process. This happens due to many reasons. Most often, students experience writer’s block where they open a document but can’t start writing. Before we begin writing our research paper, let's take a look at the definition.A research paper is a type of writing in which the author does an independent analysis of the topic and describes the findings from that investigation.
Take the first step: Make sure to start right away and begin collecting your resources. Several weeks may seem like plenty of time to complete a research paper, but time can slip away leaving you with a week (or less) to finish. After you have picked a research paper topic, begin to focus it by writing down anything you can think about the topic of your ggetlava.cf to consider as you narrow your topic: Your opinion about it.