General Recommendations On How To Plan A Research Paper
When planning how to organize and start your research paper, you can choose to base most of your research online or at your library. Choosing an easy to follow, linear process will help you move forward through each step and accomplish your main goal: a completed, successful paper.
The following points will help you to achieve your goal.
- Narrowing down the perfect topic. This requires some researching, focusing, thinking, brainstorming and maybe a little bit of luck. You can ask your teacher or course instructor, read through some media like newspapers and magazines, or browse academic journals at the library. Brainstorm with some other classmates for additional ideas.
- Selecting your sources. They should be trustworthy and verified. You can look at library catalogues, periodical indexes, books, journals or news articles.
- Plan out how you will group and sequence your material. Will you use index cards or computer software? Which is quicker and easier for you? It doesn’t really matter which you choose, as long as you keep it up to date and use the system to save you time in the long run. Make the system work for you.
- Take notes and carefully document each source so you can go back and get more information as well as being able to properly cite each one.
- Use the notes to draw out the main ideas which will form your outline. You should have a main idea for each paragraph, and they should all support your topic statement or claim. The outline should have several smaller, related ideas to make up the rest of each paragraph.
- Writing the body of the paper. This involves using the outline as a map. Write in the order of the main ideas you’ve discovered. Develop each paragraph and then use a transition sentence to connect them to each other. Use the sources in your writing. Always cite each one properly to avoid plagiarism.
- Write the introduction. This is basically a summary of the body of your paper. It should also introduce your topic to the audience. Your reader uses the introduction to gain a basic understanding of what your writing is going to be about.
- Write the conclusion. Like the introduction, it’s also a summary of your project. It should be worded differently than the introduction, and give the reader something to think about.