Creating A Strong Research Paper: A Step-By-Step Guide
When you have been given the task of creating a strong research paper as part of your academic career, there are several steps you need to follow in order to come up with a strong paper. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you accomplish the task with ease.
Step 1: Planning
The process of creating a strong research paper begins with meticulous planning and organization of the project. You should begin the planning process as soon as the task is assigned. Begin by creating a journal of everything you will create for the task and reference tools, as well as your style manual and the list of sources you have. You should also make a list of each step and the timelines for completion.
Step 2: Understand the Task Requirements
The second step in creating a strong research paper is becoming familiar with the models and concepts required to complete the assignment. You need to understand whether the paper is a report, survey or argument. Issues such as the number of references, length of the paper and type of style manual required should be clarified and understood at this stage.
Step 3: Select the Topic
You have to choose a topic in the event that the instructor did not provide a topic. You have to be careful not to choose a topic that is too broad. The best approach is to select a general subject and narrow it down several times. At this stage, you also need to state the purpose or thesis statement for your study.
Step 4: Explore the Topic and Plan for Research
At this stage, you need to create a list of the key words and topics you intend to use in order to find information. These will be used to search for information in the library and the internet.
Step 5: Begin your Research
You need to think of the places where you can get information. At this stage, you have to explore all the options including books, journal articles, websites, magazines, newspapers, periodicals, general encyclopedias, bibliographical dictionaries, almanacs, and interviews or observations. Do not forget to create a list of all the sources that you have used.
Step 6: Take Notes
This step does not involve copying and pasting. it should involve reading, selecting valuable and reliable information, interpreting information, summarizing the information and paraphrasing the information. It also involves citation of any paraphrased information and direct quotes.
Step 7: Create an Outline
While some students are able to write the entire paper without an outline, these are usually few and most of them end up with a poorly organized paper. Do not make that mistake. An outline is important because it acts as a roadmap to guide you from point A to point B.
Step 8: Compile your Information
At this stage, you need to begin organizing the information you have collected according to the outline. You may collect more information along the way in case you feel that the information you already have is not sufficient. This will act as your rough draft.
Step 10: Editing the Rough Draft
After you have prepared your rough draft, it’s now time to do the editing. This involves making sure your thesis statement is clear, ensuring the introduction is captivating, ensuring each point is clear, ensuring the points are arranged in a logical fashion, ensuring the conclusion ties everything together, and so forth. This step also involves preparing your bibliography.
Step 11: Proofreading
Even though you already edited your paper in the previous step, it is always advisable to proofread. Rather than proofread it yourself, get another person to do the proofreading for you. A colleague from school will be better placed to notice any mistakes that might have missed your attention. Never submit your paper without proofreading.