Writing a research paper in college can seem like an impossible task, especially if you’re trying to do it alone. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to make the process much easier and more effective than simply diving in without any preparation at all.
Follow these seven steps to writing a great research paper as a college student and you’ll be well on your way to creating your own A+ paper!
1.) Learn what your professor wants
There are many different types of research papers and knowing what the professor wants is crucial. Some professors want the paper to be formal while others want it more casual. Be sure to always ask your professor what they want before you start writing. You may need an abstract, methodology, or introduction depending on their requirements.
2.) Always do primary research
When writing your research paper, always be sure to include at least one primary source. Primary sources are original documents or recordings that were made at the time of an event. In contrast, secondary sources are interpretations of those events written in the present day by someone who was not present when it happened.
Examples of primary sources are speeches and letters written or spoken by people involved in the events you’re studying. Secondary sources might include newspaper articles about the event.
3.) Choose an interesting topic
Your research paper is the culmination of all your work in your course. It’s the one thing that will either make or break your final grade, so it’s important to do it right. While there are many methods for writing a research paper, this post will focus on tips specifically for college students. These steps may be tweaked depending on the type of project you’re assigned, but they can help guide you through the process.
4.) Focus on your thesis statement
A well-written research paper should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction should make a clear statement about the research topic and provide the reader with enough background information to understand the context of your research.
The body should be divided into sections that correspond with your thesis statement. Sections can also be used for subtopics if needed. For example, in my social psychology course, I had to do a project on prosocial behavior and learned about different types of prosociality.
5.) Come up with a good structure
A good structure can include an introduction, three or four body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should explain the topic of the paper and include some background information. Each paragraph should focus on one point you are making in your paper.
Finally, have a conclusion that summarizes what you said and wraps up the points you made in your paper. You may also want to consider including a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper for other resources that were used when writing this paper.
6.) Include strong facts, quotations and examples
Research papers in college are often more difficult than those in high school because the work is more complex, challenging, and lengthy. The paper should be thoughtfully planned and well researched to ensure that you have a solid paper. A good research paper by a professional research paper writer should include strong facts, quotations and examples.
A research paper will not get good grades if it does not contain any of these three things. Facts can include statistics or other information about your topic. Quotes can be from experts on your subject, other people with knowledge about your topic or from texts such as books or magazines.
Examples are events that happened or experiments that were done. It’s important to be sure that you’re using reliable sources for all three of these aspects so readers can trust what you’re saying.
7.) Incorporate everything into your writing style
Writing a research paper in college is more than just pulling information from textbooks and sources. It’s about putting that information into context and making it relevant to the reader. It’s also about being creative, using personal stories or an analogy if you can find one. Lastly, but most importantly, you need to know your audience: what are they going to care about? What will make them engage with your material? These are all things that you’ll need to think of when writing a great research paper in college.