Before you graduate, you will have to write at least one research paper at the college level. For many students, writing a college paper is daunting and anxiety-inducing. But it doesn’t have to be!
With a little planning and organization, you can get the job done and enjoy the process.
Step One: Choose a Topic
The first step to writing an excellent college paper is choosing a topic. But with so many options, it can take time to decide what to write about.
Here are some pointers for selecting a topic:
- Think about what you’re passionate about.
- Consider current events.
- Talk to your professor.
Once you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time to start researching!
Step Two: Do Some Research
The research will help you understand the topic and find the information you can use in your paper.
You can go to the library and look for books on your topic. You can also search the internet for articles and websites about your topic.
When you’re doing research, take notes. Write down where you found the information so you can cite it properly.
Step Three: Develop a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a one-sentence summary of your paper’s main point. It should answer the question: “What is this paper about?”
To develop a strong thesis statement, answer the following questions:
- What is the main point of my paper?
- What am I trying to argue or prove in my paper?
- What are the key points that I want to make in my paper?
You can create your thesis statement once you have the answers to these queries. However, remember that your thesis statement should be debatable and open to criticism.
Step Four: Outline Your Paper
Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- In the introduction, present your thesis and give background information on your topic.
- The body paragraphs should each focus on one main idea and provide evidence from your sources to support that idea.
- Your thesis should be restated and your important points should be summarised in conclusion.
Once you have a rough paper outline, take some time to flesh it out and make it more detailed.
Step Five: Write Your Paper
Begin with your introduction, which should include your thesis statement. Remember to keep your introduction short and to the point.
Move on to the body of your paper. Each paragraph should concentrate on one important idea that helps to support your thesis. Then, develop each idea fully and back up your points with evidence from reliable sources.
The conclusion is where you summarize everything you’ve written and remind the reader of your main points. Make sure to refrain from introducing any new information in your decision.
Step Six: Edit and Proofread Your Paper
Editing involves ensuring that your paper flows well and that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Proofreading consists of reading your paper aloud or having someone else read it to you to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
When proofreading your paper, pay attention to your grammar and spelling. Check each sentence to make sure it is correctly constructed.