7 Tips for Writing a Top-Notch Research Paper
Argosy University prides itself on giving students the support and guidance they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. As a student, your responsibilities will include writing multiple research papers, so today we present you to the following simple tips that can help you achieve success.
1. Plan Your Schedule – Create a timeline, and keep track of smaller goals. Sticking to this schedule is the first step in scoring high on your next paper.
2. Write About One Idea – Most research paper assignments allow students to choose their topic. To stay focused, pick a singular idea to write about. Just make sure that you can still find enough resources to write a full paper. For instance, if “Soda Pop’s Effect on Toddler Teeth” doesn’t have enough research to support 28 pages of writing, “Soda Pop and Your Health” might be a better choice.
3. Fine-Tune Your Thesis Statement – Think of your thesis statement like a movie pitch. It should succinctly sum up the point of your paper. Say upfront what you will prove, and make it sound interesting. Enthusiasm won’t prove your point, but it will make your paper easier to read (and write).
4. Use Reputable Resources – Trustworthy resources are the foundation of your paper. Consider whether something had to be fact-checked before being published. Sites backed by a good reputation – major news outlets, government websites, study abstracts and the like – are strongly preferred.
5. Organize Your Notes – Taking notes isn’t just for keeping track of direct quotes. You’ll be expected to say where general ideas come from as well. If a study finds that soda pop leads to increased addictive behaviors, for instance, you need to be prepared to reference it.
You'll also want to be able to separate important bits of information during the outline phase of writing. An effective way to do this is to use a word-processing software to list a source and compile your notes, so that you can later reorganize the information and highlight important pieces as needed.
6. Create Your Outline – Organize your research findings and your thoughts in a way that not only states your thesis, but supports it as well. If soda pop is bad for your health, you might discuss the amount that people drink, its contents and, finally, how it’s linked to medical problems. Your instructor may have certain rules for your outline or may not even require you to make one. Regardless of whether it’s part of your assignment, an outline is a great way to stay focused and keep your paper on track.
7. Write, Edit, Repeat – Expect to write or review at least three drafts of your paper. The first should be reviewed for continuity. The second should be evaluated for grammar and spelling. By the third draft, your research paper should be free from mistakes and should fully support your thesis statement.