College is infinitely more than what meets the eye. Theme parties, cool campus traditions, and free swag are shadowed by the endless drudgery of writing. Sometimes, crafting a research paper seems less like an intellectual endeavor and more like a menial job. Not anymore!
College shouldn’t be a place of torment presided over by a research paper as the most sophisticated torturer. It should be a place of fun and enlightenment. To help you out, we’ve scoured the Internet, libraries, and our brains for the most effective tips and tricks on writing. The result is a comprehensive repository of knowledge on college writing. Consider it a starting point to becoming a happier, more successful student.
Research writing is difficult. This is not news (otherwise, students wouldn’t look so tired all the time). What might actually be news to you is that this type of writing shouldn’t be difficult. With the right amount of practice and cool tricks up your sleeve, crafting research paper is a matter of days. Furthermore, if you’ve been practicing for years and the paper itself is not too long, it can be finished in several hours. Cool, isn’t?
Let’s get started.
…and What It Isn’t
Keep in mind the above points to stay within the boundaries of the writing genre when working on your research paper.
The choice of a topic is a point of departure for research paper writing. It can either send you down a dead-end road or a highway of academic excitement. Choose wisely. If there is any confusion about the topic’s worth, approach an instructor and ask their opinion. Keep in mind that as a first-time researcher, you will have a hard time distinguishing worthy topics from limiting and unfeasible ones. Therefore, don’t hesitate to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the professional.
Having discussed the importance of choosing a proper topic, let’s delve into the process itself. When generating topic ideas, do the following:
When selecting a research paper topic, steer clear of:
While the first four points in the list above are self-explanatory, it is worth discussing the last one in detail. There is a large number of topics capable of stirring controversies. Many students abstain from writing on hot-button issues at the risk of offending someone. However, if you are sure of your ability to present strong opinions clearly and support them with research and data, you shouldn’t be afraid of discomforting someone with a controversial topic. If not, it is better to refrain from choosing topics such as partial-birth abortion, abstinence-based sex education, intelligent design, assisted suicide, minimum wage, healthcare rationing, and capital punishment among others. Once again, if you are not sure whether your topic is a good fit for a research paper or not, approach a professional and ask their opinion.
Research is an iterative process involving the investigation into and study of primary
(interviews, experiments, observations, etc.) and secondary sources (journals, books, reports, etc.) on the issue at hand. Before initiating primary research, carefully select research methods and methodology. Focus on what you are expecting to discover and follow the research ethics. Keep your biases at bay when engaging in observations, issuing surveys, conducting interviews, and analyzing the results of the inquiry.
The amount of information available on your topic can be quite overwhelming, which is why you should conduct your secondary research in a systematic manner. Start by determining what types of sources you can access and what kind of information you can discover from each. When dealing with traditional print sources, look for books, textbooks, academic and trade journals, government reports, industry reports, and legal documents. Stay away from social media, blogs, personal websites, chat rooms, and podcasts.
You may be thinking “writing for college is not that hard” and you wouldn’t be alone in that. Many students discover the falsity of this assumption when their paper is graded poorly. The jangling wake-up call causes considerable dismay for young learners. After getting used to highschool writing requirements, it is extremely difficult to make a switch to the new writing mode. Part of the challenge has to do with inertia; another part lies in the fact that a momentary action won’t turn a high-school student into an academic writer. To write at a college level, one must learn how to employ a vast array of different strategies, skills, and approaches. This takes time. Don’t throw your hands in the air and give up after getting your first research paper back. Instead, use our resource to become a better writer. With enough training, you’ll have nowhere to go but up. In a year or two, you will escape the disheartening C range and enter a celebratory A range. If, along the way, you stumble upon a seemingly insurmountable challenge, then get professional help. But never, ever, ever, give up!