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How Do I Start Writing Research Papers Independently?

How Do I Start Writing Research Papers Independently?

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Writing research papers involves not only knowing the subject (on which you are going to write the paper) really in depth but also knowing the complex mechanics involved. This article answers the questions, "How do I start writing research papers independently?" by giving some tips on how to write research papers

How to get started

The most important thing you need to do to get started on writing a research paper on the right footing is to organize yourself and give yourself sufficient time. For a 10-20 page research paper, you must have 3-4 weeks so that you can complete it truly well. Do not expect to start today and finish in a day to two.

Make a schedule of the entire process and allocate time for sufficient time for reading and making notes. You will need to allocate time for the following activities:

  • Research for and read relevant data and information. You must remember that this information need not only come from online sources. You might have to travel to a library for older and non-digitized data.

  • Making copious notes

  • Writing an outline

  • Writing the first draft

  • Revising the paper

Unless you are a natural night owl, avoid late nights for reading and making notes as it is a commonly accepted fact that you can be most productive when your mind is most alert.

Write a strong thesis statement

This is the base of your research. The thesis statement will be the question which your research papers will attempt to answer. It is possible that some professors or clients you are writing for will want to give approval for the thesis statement before you can begin your research. Here are some tips on how to write an effective and solid thesis statement:

  • Keep the statement as simple as possible. It is a misconception that good research papers should have complex thesis statements.

  • You must have a thesis statement that is very specific and narrowed down as much as possible. A massive idea in your thesis statement will not be good. You must sharpen it down.

  • Your thesis statement should have ample material to work with. For this, do some preliminary amount of research and ensure that there is sufficient material available to create a good research paper based on your thesis statement.

How to make notes

The activity of making notes for your research paper is an art by itself. It is simply not enough to copy down whatever you read. You must make notes only of those aspects that you will be using your research paper. Here are some tips on how to make notes:

  • It makes sense to use small index cards of different colors. If your paper has two or more primary ideas, then you can color code the notes for easy retrieval when you are writing the paper.

  • While you are making notes of relevant points, ensure you note down the name of the author, the name of the publisher, the name of the book, the page number, and all other such details. These are essential elements that you will use as part of your bibliography.

  • Use a separate index card or folder to keep a complete list of all the works you are referring to in your paper.

  • When you are making notes of quotes or taking down statistics, ensure that they are accurate in all respects and no data is misinterpreted.

  • Before you move on to the next point, check the notes again and compare with the original and correct all errors

  • While it is good to have some amount of quotations in your research paper, it is equally important to limit quotes to 15% or less.

Writing the outline

Writing the outline is, perhaps, the most important step in creating your research paper. The entire paper will turn out as good or as bad as your outline. So, it is imperative that you spend some time and give some detailed thought to the process of writing your outline. Here are some tips:

  • First, write your introduction which is an expansion of your thesis statement. At this point in time, make sure that your thesis statement matches the data that you have collected.

  • After the introduction, write your first heading using the notes that you made on the index cards. Under each heading, you will have subheadings each of which will have a paragraph or two. So, your outline will look something like this:

    • Introduction – Here is where you will expand your thesis statement. In the introduction, do not use any opinionated statement such as "I believe," or "I think," etc. For example, if your paper was on Shakespearean tragedies, the introduction could read as: Although Shakespeare's works varied across genres and each one of them achieved immense popularity, his tragedies are the most studied ones.

Main ideas – Here is where you begin to present your ideas supporting your thesis statement. So, you could take up the study of five of Shakespeare's tragedies each under a separate heading. And under each heading, you could have subheadings depending on how you plan to present your paper supporting your thesis statement.

After the main ideas are done, write down your conclusion which will be a summary of your entire paper. The concluding paragraph should include the reiteration of your thesis statement. When you are editing your outline, ensure that each supporting point is made in a convincing manner and the flow of the content appears seamless. When you have completed writing and editing your outline, you must have a clear idea of how your final research paper will look.

Write a Rough Draft

Using your outline as the basis, write your first rough draft as freely as you want to. Make sure you have utilized all the notes made on the index cards. Remember not to exceed the 15% limitation of direct quotes. When you have completed the first draft, read it completely and check and verify the correctness of facts and figures.

Write your final draft

When your rough draft is ready, finalize it after making additions and/or corrections. Ensure sentence structures are flawless. Check and correct spelling and grammatical errors. Read the paper aloud. This will help in ensuring that no mistakes are left uncorrected and the flow of content is perfect. Another thing about reading aloud is the fact that if any sentence is awkward, it will show up glaringly during the reading process. You can correct it immediately.

Bibliography and Citations

No research paper is complete without citations and bibliography. You must follow citations formats accurately as mentioned in the instructions. You must ensure that in-text and the citations page are correctly and accurately formatted. Every source mentioned in the in-text referencing should have a corresponding notation on the citations page and vice versa.

Final Notes

And, finally, when you have completed the research paper including all corrections, keep it aside at least for one entire day. Read it again the next day and see if the paper makes sense. If you are unhappy with something, do not hesitate to make corrections again.

The best works are the ones that have been repeatedly read and corrected. So, do not feel bad that you did not get a perfect research paper at the first time. That is a near-impossible task. Read and edit till you are completely satisfied with your papers.

At Prescott Papers, our excellent team of talented, experienced, and qualified writers is trained and specialized in writing research papers for all subjects and topics. Do not hesitate to contact us for any kind of help ranging from editing and making corrections in your paper to doing the entire paper.

We are adept at all kinds of academic writing works including custom essays, projects, dissertations, research papers, presentations, and more.

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