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This type of assignment is a usual task for high school students and college students, as it shows their ability to provide original research on topical issues in different fields. Such work requires not only a lot of time and deep knowledge but also a certain level of training and particular skills. Quite often students, especially those who perform this task for the first time, look for support and say “Please, help me to write my paper!” Below we described the main stages students need to go through.
1. Define your topic
It should awake your interest and enrich your knowledge. The research paper is a challenge and you can meet it if you pick the topic you really like. At the very beginning you should also narrow the range of possible topics and decide which of them is unique enough to let you offer new ideas, can provide you with enough amount of research, and fits your class. When you are in two minds, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and consult your teacher or lecturer.
2. Look for information
At this stage, you will have to look for the general information as well as the specific one. In the first case, you can use online encyclopedias and search engines but be careful and pay attention to the names of a domain; the most reliable ones are .org, .edu, and .gov. For highly specialized information you should work with the books and articles written by experts and the primary sources. Don’t forget about libraries and their online public access catalogs. The list of available materials is pretty long:
- Reports and publications of well-known organizations and official institutions
- Academic databases and so on.
An extremely important point for working with all kinds of sources is to make notes and write down bibliographical information; otherwise, you won’t find the right piece of information at the right time.
3. Develop your thesis statement
Now you have some background and it’s high time to think about the thesis statement. This is a central point of the paper on which the rest of the work is built. The thesis declares what position you share and what you want to achieve. It shouldn’t be extremely long – one sentence is pretty enough.
4. Create the outline
This stage is like a puzzle – you have separate pieces and now you unite them into one. Only after that, you will see the general picture. Traditionally, the paper consists of:
- Body with other section depending on the amount of information. Here you also describe methods, materials, final results and conclusions.
- List of references
By means of the outline, you have an opportunity to bring order in your thoughts, divide the paper into sections and subsections. In this way, the author can consider the topic one more time and check whether the logic of presentation isn’t broken.
5. Write the first draft
Your task becomes more complicated. Follow the plan you developed on the previous stage, look through your notes and pick the materials you need to reveal this or that idea. If it’s hard for you to start with the introduction, focus on the body paragraphs. Be attentive and keep in mind that you deal with the academic writing, that’s why your style should be appropriate. Don’t forget to use different academic styles and meet their requirements.
6. Edit your research paper
It’s not enough just to read and correct spelling, grammar or punctuation. Show the paper to someone else and ask his/her impression. If you feel that the paper lacks something, you need to rewrite some particular part, add more arguments or provide extra evidence.