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I Am Having Trouble With Writing Research Papers. What Should I Do?

I Am Having Trouble With Writing Research Papers. What Should I Do?

The best answer to the question, "I am having trouble with writing research papers. What should I do?" is, "Learn and Practice writing research papers."

Although you might think that writing a research paper is very difficult, it is actually not as complex as you think. If you know the correct and proper steps to follow, you will find that writing a research paper is not all that tough to do.

Yes, it does need some amount of in-depth research and a lot more hard work than a simple essay. But these obstacles are easily surmountable with some help from experts. So, this article is written with the intention of providing you some tips on how to write research papers.

Understanding research papers

Research papers, as part of the name suggests, requires in-depth research of the topic under discussion. However, it is more than just doing research. Let me illustrate it through an example. Remember your 5-paragraph essay that you wrote in high school. It had an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs in the body of the essay, and a concluding paragraph.

Supposing you had to write an essay that is an epic version of that 5-paragraph essay along with multiple supporting points of evidence, tables and figures supporting your argument, and more, then that will be called a research paper. You will have to present all points of evidence from reliable sources only.

Before you start off doing research for your research paper, make sure you have ample note paper, differently colored highlighters to make your research markings and notes easy to read, and some index cards. You can use the following steps as a sort of guideline to write your paper:

  • Select an appropriate topic

  • Find reliable sources

  • Make and organize your notes neatly

  • Brainstorm ideas for a good outline

  • Write your first draft

  • Read and revise your first draft suitably

  • Ensure your final paper is perfect in all respects

Select an appropriate topic

It is important that interests you and motivates you. As the process can be quite lengthy and requires a lot of reading, if you choose a topic that you find boring, it is going to be very difficult to sustain the interest till the end. However, if the topic is already given to you, then you do lose out on this luxury and you simply have to move on to the next step.

Do proper research

This step is the crux of getting a good research paper done. Your college library is the ideal place to do your research work. It is not just refreshingly quiet but you also get access to a host of reliable resources, a key element in getting a good research paper completed. Get all the resources to one quiet corner that is free from all kinds of distractions and start your reading work.

Speak to your teachers and the librarian and ensure that you find all the reliable resources you need to get ample notes for your research paper. Use different colored index cards and/or different colored highlighters to mark your notes appropriately and subject- or topic-wise.

You can, of course, continue research at home or in your dormitory room as well. However, remember to use reliable sources only. The internet is a veritable treasure house of information and there are many credible sources that you can use to gather data for your paper. But, before you take down notes, ensure the sites are legitimate and reliable.

Take down notes correctly and sensibly

Taking notes for your research paper can be a very tricky task. You cannot overdo it and take down unnecessary notes. This will clutter data so much that you will not find the relevant data when you need it. If you take down fewer notes than needed, then you will not have enough data to complete your paper comprehensively. Both these situations can affect your grades in a negative way.

You must remain organized when you are taking down. Keep data related to the same point together either using same colored index cards or highlight the notes using the same colored pen. Color codes help in easy retrieval of notes too. You can take photocopies of articles and information from the books if there is a lot of notes to write by hand.

Every time you make notes of some points, ensure you have relevant information about the bibliography as well. Taking down details about the author, the title of the work, the date of the publication, the publisher's name, etc are critical elements that are needed for citation purposes.

Brainstorm ideas for your outline

Your quality of your research paper is dependent on the quality of your outline. It is important to spend some time to decide what kind of outline works best. For this purpose, you must sit down and brainstorm ideas. Go through each idea in detail and see which matches your requirements and that of your teacher.

Write the outline

Now, actually, write out your outline. Write the introduction with the thesis statement clearly obvious to the reader. The thesis statement is an imperative part of the introduction. You should have ideally decided your thesis statement while brainstorming ideas to write the outline. Write down the points of evidence that support your thesis statement in order of importance. Ensure that each point is factually correct and the accompanying data is in sync with your research question.

Write the concluding paragraph and decide how you want to word it. Make short succinct summaries of each point and finish by re-wording your thesis statement. This reinforcement of the research question is necessary to make an impact with your research paper. Do not hesitate to spend time on this step. It is a crucial aspect of the research paper writing process and if this does not happen the way it has to happen, then your entire paper can go awry.

Now, write your first draft

In this step, expand your outline to include detailed data and information. Structure your sentences correctly and make sure that the paragraphs are formatted in the right way. The detailed information that you write in this step will ensure that the reader clearly understands what you are trying to say.

At this juncture, it is possible that you might have to do some additional research if the information is insufficient or some form of contradiction is arising. Do not worry if the paper is not looking the way you want it to. Remember this is only the first draft so there is ample time and lots of opportunities to make corrections.

Edit the first draft

After you have completed writing the first draft, keep it aside for a day. Then, pick it up and read through it and see what aspects need revisions and/or corrections. At this stage, recheck for the correctness of the factual data and ensure that the information is perfect in all respects. Check for spelling and grammatical errors and correct them. Make sure the font and the formatting are as per instructions of your teacher.

Create the citation page

Although this is only one page, the citation page is what reflects the credibility of your paper. Make sure that every source that you have used in your paper whether as a direct quote or in a paraphrased form appears on this citation page. Moreover, you would have used in-text citation when you used the source in the paper. Ensure that every in-text citation is found in more detail on the citation page.

Final Thoughts

The more you do research papers, the more adept you will become at it and as you advance in your college, you will see that completing a research paper is far easier than you originally thought.

Like all things in the world, writing a research paper also requires patience, diligence, hard work, and lots of practice. It is very likely that you will find the first research paper that you do is difficult and complex and the outcome is also not what you actually wanted.

You must not feel disappointed with this. Doing anything for the first time is difficult and this is more so for a research paper which does have more complexities than a simple essay. Just keep at it and you will soon master the process of writing a research paper.

At Prescott Papers, our team of dedicated and experienced writers would be happy to give you a helping hand in writing your research paper. Do not hesitate to contact us for all your academic writing needs including custom essays, projects, assignments, and more.

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