The process of writing a research paper is often a repetitive and chaotic one. Using this outline of how to do a research project, could be a flexible guide to managing time and getting the work done. We’ve all wondered, “Where did all the time go?” at some point…mostly when there are just 10 or 5 days left until the due date. When such a situation occurs, the problem is not the time but the lack of planning.
Students, especially college students do not enter into a class unaware of what they will be facing. Professors hand out a class syllabus outlining the whole semester so you know what is required to pass the class. Also, there is talk on campus of the instructor who demands a ton of work. Before you enter a class, learn about the requirements.
How To Start A Research Project
Look Into Possible Topics
The first important step on how to do a research project, investigate your topic! After you know there will be a required research paper to receive credit for the class, go to the campus library and investigate possible topics. See what sources are available. Ask a librarian which topics are popular for that class. Make sure you don’t pick out a topic because everyone else is doing it, try to find a topic that truly interests you. The staff can offer great tips and point you in the right direction. This information will put you days ahead of your classmates and give you more time to prepare.
Check Out The Types Of Sources:
- Journals, books, other documents
- Library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
- Primary vs. secondary sources
Pick Your Topic
To get more insight, talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic. They might direct you on the right path on how to do a research project if you are making any mistakes. Place your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved. After the assignment has been given, immediately choose your topic and have the instructor approve it. Once it has been approved, outline your research strategy. Since you have already done your research on where to find information, you know what sources are immediately available…books, newspaper and magazine articles, documentaries, journals, etc. The most important part of this step is to once again plan ahead and keep moving towards your goal
Write A Thesis
The next step on how to do a research project. Place a date beside each source. Once you have outlined the sources you will be using, plan when you will have each portion of the research completed. After you have a firm grasp on your topic write a thesis statement.
A thesis statement is one or more sentences explaining the point of your academic paper. It tells what your paper is about, the point it will make, how it will reach this point, the methods used to show this point, and the conclusion obtained once all the evidence is in. Your thesis statement should tell the reader what the paper is about, where it is going and how it will get there. While writing a thesis statement, you may want to let your ideas flow and write down everything that comes to your mind on the topic. You can then re-read all thoughts and format your thesis statement from a draft. Here’s how to carry out research while writing your thesis.
Consider The Following Questions While Writing Your Thesis:
- What is the topic?
- Why is it significant?
- What is my thesis or purpose statement?
- What background material is relevant?
- What organizational plan will best support my purpose?
By planning ahead and being ready, you will not waste a lot of time researching information related to your topic.
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Note Down Your Source’s Information
While researching, jumbling up the steps on how to do a research project is likely to happen, you might even forget this step. Avoid forgetting this important step because you will require it later on. The more extensive the research project the more notes you will have to keep everything organized, either by source, by your paper’s outline or some other method that allows you to find information when it is necessary.
Three Easy Techniques To Stay Organized:
While writing a research paper it is important to be organized, so try using these methods to keep everything in place.
- Grouping: a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
- Sequencing: a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
- Documenting Information: a system for taking notes
Also keep a considerable amount of notes on your source’s information like the book title, author, publication date, publisher, etc. Cite information from references that will be needed for your reference list at the end of your research paper.
Set A Date To Begin Writing Your Research Paper
Set a date to when you will start writing your paper and begin on that specific day itself. Stick to it, no procrastination! This date must be firm and fixed. Put the first words down on your rough draft document. Try and write your overall introduction in one sitting. This gives you a short working draft of your whole paper in one complete thought, a good visual.
Plan A Date For Your Final Edits
Finally, set a date for your final edits. Preferably for your own convenience, a few days before the project is due. Don’t forget to revise your final draft for mistakes and grammatical errors.
Steps To Revising The Final Draft
- Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence, and depth of discussion in body, the effectiveness of conclusion.
- Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
- Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
- Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, the accuracy of the list of works cited.
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