This is a step-by-step recipe for how to take some of the pain and guesswork out of writing a research paper.
First off, what I'm taking about is called "qualitative" research which is reading, interpreting and synthesizing information into a coherent paper. The other kind of research is "quantitative" which focuses on (shudder with me now) statistics and their uses.
I like to break down the assignment of writing a research paper and make it into a fill-in-the-blanks game; I'll outline the thought process of how I do that. Remember, though, this is a multi-step process, the idea is not just to get enough words on the page to turn in but to actually find something you are interested in learning about.
Common obstacles to writing a research paper:
- It's an assignment and automatically classified as BORING, UNPLEASANT, UNNECESSARY. I know, I was a student once, too...
- The second obstacle is often that you may not like the class you are taking and so the idea of having to spend so much time on the subject is off-putting.
- And the final and most prevalent obstacle is time. Very rarely do we plan out enough time to to plan, research, write and edit that darn paper.
I'm hoping that by giving you tips and guidelines for the first two, the third will be less of a problem because you will be less likely to procrastinate because, hopefully, it's no longer quite the oppressive, unpleasant burden you started out with.
1. Topic/Research Question