writing a research paper - general rules

It is easy to say that anybody can write a research paper but the really tricky part is writing a good research paper. The assumption of course is that you want the best possible score you can get. You want to do really well in your academic course and having to produce a research paper is a standard requirement. So you must do it if you want to get the best possible score. How can you make that happen?

  • The selection of the topic is vitally important.
  • Researching the research is equally as important.
  • Exploring the research material and taking notes.
  • Creating a plan or outline.

You will have heard from a number of sources regarding the choice of topic for your research paper. Basically there are two situations regarding your choice. The first is that you are told what the topic is and the second is you are told you can choose your own. If you have no choice in the matter then you have to make the best of the situation. However, if you do have a choice then you are strongly advised to choose a topic which suits certain criteria. Do you like this topic? Better still, do you love this topic? Do you have the background knowledge or prior experience in dealing with this topic? Is this the sort of topic that you will study in more detail later in your academic career? All of those questions can direct you to choosing the right type of topic.

Once the topic has been chosen, make sure it has been approved by your teacher or professor. After all that is the person who is probably going to have to read and mark your paper. Now you need to go exploring. You need to go to your local and school library and online and discover what sort of research material is available and relevant to the topic you have chosen. Unless you can find a good supply of relevant research material, you need to think again about your choice of topic. Some academics suggest that you should be studying at least 30 pages of research material for every single page of your research paper.

Of course discovering that the relevant research material is available and accessible is one thing, studying it in detail is another. This is where you need to have access to the material and where you need to have expertise in taking notes. Simply reading research material is not enough. As you read you need to take notes. The better your reading and your note taking, the easier and better will be the writing of your research paper.

Once all the research material exploration activities are finished, you're ready to create your plan or outline. Once again the more information you include in your plan, the better and easier will be the writing of the actual paper.

The actual writing

Up until now, you haven’t done any actual writing of your research paper. All you have done is the preparation and planning. But if you’ve worked hard and wisely in your preparation, the writing should be a breeze. Refer to your detailed plan. Write quickly and without bothering about corrections. Then, once you’ve finished the first draft, go back and polish.

Editing and proofreading are skills you must acquire. Obviously you will correct spelling and grammatical errors. But editing also involves polishing and improving your research paper. Remove repetition and help the flow of your sentences. Answer the thesis statement you made at the beginning and enjoy the high score you deserve.

 

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