Mastering How to Write a Research Essay – Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel
There is some discussion today about what constitutes a research essay and what constitutes a research paper. The biggest difference between these two pieces of writing is length, for both require research and the use of that research to support a thesis. But generally, essays are shorter in length. So, as you are struggling with producing a research essay, understand that the processes are the same as for writing a good research paper. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps involved and how that process can be streamlined and made easier.
Selecting a Topic
Topic selection is certainly significantly impacted by the length requirements of the instructor, and it is critical for how to start writing a research paper. If your topic is too broad or too narrow, you will be in trouble once you start to write the piece. Here is one of the best tips for topic selection. Choose a topic area that really interests you, and then get online. Look for sample research essays or papers that have been written in the same topic area, and find those specific topics that resulted in a paper that is the length yours must be. Of course, you will NOT use that paper – plagiarism is serious and you will be caught, considering the sophisticated scanning software now in use. But you will have refined a topic that meets the length requirements.
Doing the Research
The biggest issue with the research is organizing it as you go along. If you organize the information you collect by sub-topics areas as you actually do the research, you will save yourself hours of time in the end, trying to do this. So, you need to have your sub-topics identified before you start your research. This is one of the most important tips for writing a research paper that you should use. To get those sub-topics, again, look at how existing research papers on the same topic are organized. Doing this will allow you to develop your own sub-topics in advance. Then, as you conduct your research, use note cards, list the source at the top of each note card along with the sub-topic for the information. Once the card has been filled with information, put it in the stack for the appropriate sub-topic. When all of your research is completed, it is already completely sub-divided.
Organizing for Writing
Each of your sub-topics is a major heading of any outline or other organizer you may use. Here is where you take each stack of notecards and harvest out the details that you will be included. These should then be listed in the order in which you will cover them within that sub-topic.
Rough Draft, Revision, Final Copy
You are certainly familiar with these three steps. You write your rough draft from your outline/organizer, and be careful here. You need to make note of the sources used as you go along, so that you can properly cite them in your final draft. Revising that rough draft is not fun, especially if you are not really skilled in grammar and composition. You may need to pay someone else to do this. Once you are ready to write your final draft, be sure that you follow the required format style.
Research essays and papers writing is not your favorite coursework assignment, to be sure. They take time, lots of organization, and solid writing skills. These research paper tips, however, should make the process somewhat less painful.