Climbing the Mountain: Writing a Research Paper

Climbing the Mountain: Writing a Research Paper

Many students find writing research papers to be intimidating, and will avoid beginning their work because of their anxiety. While the idea of filling multiple pages in order to satisfy a word count requirement, gathering sources, and utilizing proper formatting seem like daunting tasks, they are best approached as a process that can accomplished in relatively easy incremental portions. Organization is as important, if not more important, that innate writing ability. Establishing a plan of action and implementing it is the surest path to success in research paper writing.

One step at a timeā€¦

Research papers, as mentioned previously, are filled with exact requirements that demand time and attention in order to performed. In terms of time and energy spent, it may be equivalent to other tasks, such as cutting the grass on a football field, but unlike the labor that is required in the latter example, writing a research paper demands a significantly higher strategic level than simply pushing a lawnmower in even, parallel lines. However, if the writing task is broken down into steps, the strategy becomes much easier to accomplish and the results will be much better.

There are many detailed guides to writing that are available online that go into great detail about the specifics of the entire process involved in writing a research paper, but a point of emphasis should be placed upon several of the steps that are listed in all of them.

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First, choosing a topic is perhaps the most important step in the entire process. Of course, this choice may not be entirely up to you, but finding an area or nuance of the required topic that interests you and will also lend itself to fruitful research is of critical importance. If you are engaged in what you are writing about it makes the task much easier. Again, you will probably face restrictions in your topic, but finding a way to make it as appealing as possible is the key. As you consider the possibilities, try some initial database searches to see what kind of results you can find. If your search repeatedly brings up the same twenty-year-old academic journal articles and they are not even specific to your topic, then perhaps you should try to find another angle.

Once you have identified your topic, persistence should be the goal. You should try to work on your research often, collecting and reading sources as you go, so that you can begin to assemble the notes that will become the basis of your paper. Working in this way will prevent an all-night marathon before the paper is due, and will result in work that is of much higher quality. Familiarizing yourself with the information that your research yields will allow you to write much more easily than if you are trying to cherry pick tidbits from ten sources as the clock ticks. Your paper will be much stronger, and you will receive a better grade.

Giving yourself plenty of time will also allow the revision process to be more effective. Setting your writing aside and coming back to it will reveal better phrases than you initially wrote to develop, and help you to find errors that you will miss if you are working too quickly.

While this is by no means an exhaustive manual on writing a research paper, it does stress some of the strategies that will allow you to write the best paper that you can. Academic writing support services exist that can help you with this process, and should be used as soon as you realize that you need help. You will be able to ask specific questions if you approach research paper writing as a process, and work consistently during the time before it is due. Approaching the writing of a research paper may be filled with anxiety, but with a systematic approach, it can be accomplished.


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