8 Steps In How To Write A Research Paper

  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Grade: 100
Here are 8 steps in how to research a research paper. These 8 steps are easy to follow and will increase your accuracy in researching your paper. These steps are a helping tool for any college or high school student with a long or short paper. Like any other writing project, research writing is a process involving a number of steps. Although you may be overwhelmed at first by the large scope of a research paper, if you break the task into smaller tasks, you'll find yourself able to complete even the largest assign-ment.

First, start by understanding your paper; make sure you know what requirements your instructor is assigning. This is a key step in being able to outline your plan of attack.

Second, focus on your topic. Narrowing your topic before you begin, and again several times as you proceed, will help you write a thorough paper, one that treats its subject accurately. Once you get into the library, you will find dozens of temptations to expand and extend your project. The clearer you are at the beginning about your project, the better off you'll be.

        Research writing requires two special kinds of focusing. The first is identifying the descriptors or key words that will guide your search through the library resources. You will want to spend some time brain-storming possible key words, or subject headings, under which you might find articles and books about your topic. The more precise your de-scriptors, the more likely you will be able to find useful articles. Finding key words or descriptors can be a creative process and it is a vital process to successful research. The second essential focusing activity is to formulate a question or cluster of related questions that will guide your search for information and ideas. Putting your topic into question form can help you locate sources and evaluate them quickly for suit-ability for your paper.

Third, make a generalized position on your topic, which support your views. Although you should expect your ideas to change and improve as you continue working, you should begin with a first sense of what you think about your topic. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the opinions of more experienced writers, and if you enter the project without a preliminary sense of your own position, you may have a difficult time formulating an original position later.

Forth, decide on a documentation style you would want to use or ask your instructor for the preferred style he/she is requiring, and pay careful attention to how references are documented in the publications you read. Establishing the proper documentation style from the beginning can save you time from having to reformat your citations, and it will help you to be thorough and organized in gathering the necessary information.

Fifth, decide on a research strategy you are going to use, or in what way you are going to gather your information. The college or university library holds a tremendous variety of resources, and you should plan a broad enough search strategy to accommodate for all the possible information and ideas. You need to make a plan for searching books, periodicals, government documents, and other appropriate resources. A library tour or a talk with one of the librarians or staff can be especially helpful at this stage. Many researchers be-gin in the reference section, reading encyclopedias, disciplinary guides, specialized dictionaries, and other reference works to develop an overview of the topic. Your instructor can help you find the most important information for your topic and a librarian can help you learn how to use them. Many of these research tools are now available in computerized versions and can point you in the direction of a great deal of very specific information.

        Sixth, ranking your resources or gathered information. As you locate books and articles, you need to assess their usefulness for your project. The ones that seem valuable to you need to be evaluated for their timeliness, relevance, and critical position. Not all-new material is good material, and certainly not all-old material is out of date, but you should try to work with the materials that inform the most accurate information on your subject. Older research studies may be outdated or disproved by more recent work. Recent articles in good journals and in books from major publishers generally represent the current state of knowledge on your topic. But, in general, confine your search to works published in the last ten or twenty years for humanities projects, the last five or ten years for papers in the social and natural sci-ences. You should also evaluate articles and books for their bias, for the critical position and/or methodology they use.

Seventh, you need to take careful and accurate notes. You will want to do several kinds of writing during this early stage of the research paper. You probably will want to keep some kind of a journal to record your responses and evaluation of your findings. You will also want to take careful notes on the information that you will use in your paper. If you find sections that you might quote, copy them exactly and record the page numbers. If you rely on photocopies, be sure to copy the bibliographic information too. The passages that you para-phrase need also to be noted carefully.

Last but not least you need to make a plan for your paper, a skeletal diagram on how you are going to present your new learned information and views. If your paper will be a long one, an outline will help you to organize your material. Some people will support your point of view, oth-ers will voice contrasting positions, and some will provide forceful views. Keep an open mind and represent what you learn in an organized manner, and give credit where credit is due. Keep your paper sweet and too the point. Follow this simple structure on how to make a simple structure on how to set up your paper:

Cover Page-         Should include Title, Name of author, date.

Outline-          Table of contents, skeletal structure of the paper. (If needed or used)

Opening-          Opening arguments, tell what you are researching, state a thesis or view to prove.

Body-                  The information you are translating which supports your thesis.

Conclusion-          Closing, brief summary of information presented, personal views or opinions.

References-          Cites noted page, this is where you list all the resources you used if any.

Index-                  Quick link to pages where specific information is found in the paper. (if needed)
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