A college tutorial: how to write a research paper
College professors love to assign long projects that require their students to think deeply about their subject. This is why so many professors assign lengthy research papers. Unbeknownst to the professors, most college students tend to stress more about earning a good grade and getting the project completed than they enjoy writing and learning about the subject they are researching. This conflicts with the entire reason that professors assign these projects. Students tend to stress about research papers because they have so little experience actually crafting them. Here is a quick tutorial on writing a research paper:
- Step One: Learn about the formatting style you are going to use and find a sample paper. Whether you are writing it in APA, MLA, or some other style, the formatting will dictate the way you organize the paper.
- Step Two: Choose a topic that you are comfortable researching. You need a topic that you can easily narrow so you can actually write a concise paper. You also want a topic that you will enjoy learning about because you will need to actually read the information that you find.
- Step Three: Develop an argument that you can support. Most research papers are argumentative, so you need a strong argument to support. You argument can be farfetched, as long as you can support it. If you decide on an argument, only to find that you cannot support it, adjust the argument, not the research. You do not have to agree with the argument, just support it.
- Step Four: Organize your research and arguments according to the sample paper in the assigned style. Notice where the author has built the strongest arguments and the counter-arguments. Put your arguments in the same places and be sure to use ample support for those arguments. The general rule is have at least three supporting details along with explanations for each supporting argument. Write the paper using the sample as your guide.
- Step Five: Properly cite and document your sources. This is the area where students make the most mistakes because there are so many details involved, but there are free apps that can get the job done for you.
- Step Six: Proofread, edit, revise. Do this several times so that you are sure to catch every mistake. You can even ask your professor to take a quick look at the citations to be sure you are correctly following the procedures. Use an online editing app, too.