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Undergraduate research papers writing manual

When it comes to college students, research usually equals procrastination. The word research itself usually causes groans to emit from any classroom of students. Perhaps it’s not the research itself that causes fear, but rather that they many students really know how to do it. That’s where a manual for how to conduct the research and write the research paper would be a big benefit.

Here are some fundamentals that would help the college student with their undergraduate research paper:

  • Make a plan of attack. Time is your best friend if it’s on your side, so that means start as early as possible so there is no time pressure distracting you from getting the work accomplished. A good paper takes time, so use it to your advantage.
  • Create a weekly schedule to keep yourself on track. It can take an hour or two to locate each source. Then there’s all the reading to do, writing down notes, making an outline, writing the paper, formatting the reference list, proofreading, revisions and editing.
  • Check in with your instructor along the way. Ask him questions if necessary and get feedback from him to see if he thinks you are on the right path with your research. His input could be extremely valuable!
  • Do very thorough research. The research usually takes longer to do than the writing does, so allow ample time. Take studious notes as you read through the research materials, referencing each source so that you get all your quotes and citations correct. There’s nothing worse than finding a great quote, writing it down and then not remembering which source it came from! There’s a lot of time wasted back-tracking through the research materials to find that original quote.
  • Make sure your topic or argument is not too broad to be covered in the scope of your paper. Your instructor can give you good feedback in this area, so don’t underestimate the advantage of seeking his/her advice.
  • Build an outline using the information taken down in your notes. The outline is like a foundation onto which you build your research paper, so the outline is a very integral part of the paper writing process. The next step is writing – basically to fill in the outline with all the details.
  • Once your paper has been written, proofreading and editing are essential for taking the essay to its final polished form, ready to hand in.

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Writing resources

We've found a few interesting resources that you might use when writing your essay.