Where to Start With a Research Paper

Been assigned a research paper and don’t know where to start? Don’t know what a research paper is? Here are a couple pointers to get you going in the right direction!

What is a research paper? A research paper is a presentation of ideas based on the investigation of a certain topic or subject. By gathering the facts, interpreting them, then documenting them in an organized and cohesive manner, you are able to produce a unique evaluation of the content manner you chose to look into.

How do I start my research paper? First find a topic you want to research (Which is easier said than done). It can help if you begin brainstorming on things that interest you or, if a professor has provided one, looking over the list of approved topics. It’s okay if you realize through further investigation that your initial subject is not exactly what you had previously. Research topics are fluid and are often dictated by further research rather than restricted to writing boundaries.

Who am I even writing this for? Well, that’s something you’re going to have to answer. By looking at the subject matter you chose, you can narrow down your audience and tailor it to fit them. Key things to think about are

  • Who is the general audience I want to reach?
  • Who is most likely to be interested in the research I am doing?
  • What is it about my topic that interests the general audience I have discerned?
  • If the audience I am writing for is not particularly interested in my topic, what should I do to pique its interest?
  • Will each member of the broadly conceived audience agree with what I have to say?
  • If not (which will likely be the case!) what counter-arguments should I be prepared to answer?

Questions above were taken from here.

Where do I begin now? Once you have your research material and topic picked out, sit down and start outlining. What ideas have you gathered from all this information and what would you like to address? It’s important to remember that you should make clear notes on where you got your information so your audience can further look into these reliable sources in the bibliography or footnotes. Lastly, start drafting AFTER you have your research question or thesis statement. Like any other piece of literature, you need to have a clear direction and purpose to this work or else you’ll end up aimlessly spewing information with no thought to it. This is your time to shine and show off analytical skills and creative thought. It can seem like an immense load of work but taking it one step at a time will make it seem less daunting.

I hope these tips were helpful!




Post submitted by Kelly


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