Writing and Citing: Helping You With Your Research Paper
So here you are. Ready to move on to summer or winter break and you realize you have a few huge obstacles in your way. How do you manage it all? How do you make sure that you get all of that studying in and work done without driving yourself insane? Here I have compiled some tips to make sure you make it through the semester and on to bigger and better things. These do’s don’ts and hidden tips of the end of semester weeks will help you get motivated and get cracking on those projects, essays, and more.
For starters let’s tackle the most dreaded words for the end of a college semester, research paper. Research papers can be some of the worst project you are assigned in college. My personal experience had me writing a ten page research paper that was worth 50% of my grade. No pressure right? Well to be honest, there was no pressure with it. My little inside hints helped to make it an adventure that didn’t make me go nuts. I guarantee if you try my method to solving the research paper problem your woes will slowly fade away.
The first step in getting ready for your research paper is choosing the topic. Of course the harder and more intellectual based topics sound great and make the teacher a little bit impressed, but what it doesn’t do is give you an easy paper to write. There is a middle ground between the so called easy topics and the impressive ones. To pick the perfect topic for your essay you need to start with what interests you. If you are an engineering or science major it makes it a little more difficult to go solely based on your personal interests, but as with most topics there is always something that inspires you a bit more. Run with what you love, just make sure it is relevant to the course and topic at hand.
Next you want to narrow it down. Writing an essay about baseball for example is easy, but boring and too broad. To narrow down your topic explore the inside areas of what you are talking about and what can affect the picture as a whole based on your class. The physics of baseball, the sociology of baseball, the psychology of baseball; all of these make great starter areas that can be narrowed down even further. Try and get your topic as narrowed down as possible in order to assure you can write a specific enough essay that will please your professor or teacher.
The biggest and most important step in all of your time writing this paper is to outline your ideas. This does not include the research you gather but your own personal views and ideas about the topic. Put on paper what it is about the topic that you find interesting and want to write about. From there you can gather your research pertaining to your points instead of spending hours upon hours researching things that will never be put into your essay. When you are writing about your favorite parts of the topic it makes things easier and can help you add your citations and facts later on.
Overall writing a research paper is a process, but hopefully my hints make the process easier. Make sure you do not procrastinate, you keep yourself up to date with your personal goals, and you write correctly. A research paper isn’t worth anything if the spelling and grammar isn’t double checked and edited and all the facts are cited. Using the wrong citation or no citation at all can take an A paper and push it right into the plagiarism area. Good luck and hopefully my tips can guide you in the right direction.
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