Writing as many words as you possibly can on the given topic might not be the best way to write a good research paper. These are the basic steps that will help you avoid procrastination and ace your research paper.
1 – Study the Instructions
It may seem obvious, but making sure you understand the instructions will save you much time. Read through the task and, if needed, ask your professor for clarifications.
2 – Choose the Topic
The key to success is to write about something you are genuinely interested in. After reading through the professor’s instructions, use what initially comes to mind to define several topics that might interest you. A surface search on academic platforms such as Google Scholar will help you understand what topic has enough well-prepared sources. If one of the topics is underrepresented in open sources, and you have a five-page assignment due in two days, you better opt for an easier one.
3 – Make a Draft of All Your Ideas
What helps many students is to transfer all their ideas and thoughts onto the paper by drawing a mind map. It is helpful to include the questions that come to mind straight away so that you could pay attention to certain aspects while doing research. If the topic of your choice is too complicated to come up with ideas for a draft mind map, just put the keywords there. A mind map can help you visualize how your research paper will look later on and prepares you for the next step – researching and outlining.
4 – Research
Take your time to look for all the articles and books that should be integrated into your paper. This stage may take more time than the others, but it will help you assess the topic and develop proper argumentation. While checking for online libraries and archives, make sure to download all of the articles or, if they’re only available online, save the links so that you could use them at any moment later. If your research was sufficient, you should feel that you have enough information to outline and edit the paper.
5 – Outline
After in-depth research, you may feel the urge to start writing immediately. We assure you that outlining is NOT a waste of time. To address the topic, you will have to unfold your arguments logically. The outline of your paper will serve as a framework for your ideas. If correctly thought out, an outline will help avoid getting off-topic. An outline is the backbone of your research paper on which you will be stringing your statements and arguments.
Begin with a basic outline of your paper before adding the supporting evidence. Then, you can start adding information from the sources you found earlier (don’t forget to mention page numbers so that you could come back and reread the passage at any moment), as well as supporting arguments. A solid outline should not be perfect, but it has to structure your future piece.
Suppose you find it difficult to structure your ideas. In that case, you can collect everything you have in one document and resort to professional writers’ help on such platforms as PaperWritingService.
6 – Write
Stick to your outline while writing. No matter how great is the temptation to write wordy explanations, be clear and concise. Always use evidence to support your statements. That will prevent you from writing nonsense.
Concluding your paper, begin with describing what your essay has covered and state your main arguments. Define how you supported your arguments and what your conclusion and contribution are.
7 – Format and Revise
Make sure you know all of the requirements of the citation style you are supposed to use. For your convenience, create a template from one of your past works that were properly cited and checked by the professor. Delete all content from this template. Leave headlines explaining what should be written in every place (headline, running head, name, etc.) Each time you start a new assignment, make a copy of the template and fill it in with new content. After you are done with adding text, select all of it and make sure that font, spacing, alignment, etc., is the same everywhere and corresponds to your citation style.
As for revision, it is recommended to come back to your work in a day or at least in a couple of hours so that you could take a fresh look at your piece. You will spot small mistakes and possible inconsistencies at this stage and make sure that your text flows nicely. If you have an opportunity to send your research paper to your friend or mentor, go ahead.
Congratulations, you made it to the end of this guide and, hopefully, your research paper!