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Loyola College Culion

Writing Strategies For College Students: How To Write A Solid Research Paper


It’s good to have a pattern to follow when writing your research paper. The following steps will give you a foundation on which to build. Using these strategies will help you write a successful paper.

  • Step 1. Choose your topic. It should both interest and challenge you. It should be a topic you can really relate to and become immersed in. Make sure it can be narrowed down enough to cover succinctly. A topic too broad will be difficult to completely cover and one that’s too narrow will not have enough background material.
  • Step 2. Find the information you need. This is the research phase of your paper. You can look on the internet, in your school library, browse previous papers written on the same topic, and consult reference textbooks if necessary. Be wary of false information on the web. Only trust academic or verifiable sources.
  • Step 3. Formulate your thesis statement. This will require some critical thinking. The statement is a declaration of what you intent to explain or prove. The body of your paper will consist of arguments and evidence supporting this declaration.
  • Step 4. Make an outline. You may revise your outline several times during the process of writing, but get your main ideas organized as early as possible. As you uncover more supporting evidence, you can organize it into the outline in the appropriate place. The outline should present the material in a logical manner; either chronologically or some other method that makes sense.
  • Step 5. Organize your notes and analyze all the material you have gathered. Discard anything that isn’t relevant to your topic. Make sure everything is referenced properly. Group your notes into a similar format as your outline, so when you begin writing you can find the corresponding notes quickly and easily.
  • Step 6. Write your first draft. It’s imperative not to get hung up on editing or correcting. Just write freely and leave the proofreading for later. Start with the body of your paper. Don’t tackle the introduction and conclusion until after the body has been finished. This is the most logical order to do your writing. The introduction and conclusion are both summaries of the body. Once the main body of your paper is complete, write the beginning and end.
  • Step 7. Revise and proofread. If you can, get someone else to edit your paper. You may not see your own errors.

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