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How To  Research Paper Guide


Step One: Pre-writing

This will help narrow your focus even before you gather books and articles as you do research. Take out a piece of paper and write your topic at the top. Then, as quickly as possible, write everything that comes to your mind down on the paper. Do not stop writing. If you get a mental block, write about it until it goes away. Give yourself about 10 minutes to do this.

Now go through and read everything you have written on the paper. Cross out the mental blocks and extraneous material. Highlight all the notes you wrote down that relate to the topic. On another sheet of paper, rank the notes in order from most useful to least useful. There can be ties, but it'd be better if there were not.

Staple the two sheets together with the ranked list on top. You will use this in the next step.

Step Two: Gathering Resources

(At this point, it becomes prudent of me to suggest you have a folder to keep all articles, printed stuff, pre writing, random notes, every draft, etc.)

The ranked list of phrases and terms you completed in step one will be helpful here.

Go to the library with the list and gather all the books you can find on the topic. If you find that you need more books, try one of the words on your list that relates directly to it. Sit down with this pile of books and take a quick look at the index. If you find the words that are on the top of your list, put them in one pile. If you find words that are in the middle of your list, put them in another pile. If you find words at the bottom of your list, put them in yet another pile. If you find words from all over your list, they go in the first pile. You will want to take home the books that are in the first pile and a few of the books that are in the second pile. The third pile should be left unless you need more books. As you go, you will want to make sure the book has been published within the last 5-10 years.

Next, get on a computer at the library and access their databases. Find articles relating to your topic - these are most likely going to be about current events or editorial/opinion type articles. Research articles are also good. Skim them on the computer for the words on your list or the title/topic. Then, print them. Make sure to print the citations for these articles as well. Staple or paperclip the article and its citation together.

Finally, do a web search to find a couple of accredited websites. Write those down on a piece of paper and make you list what's on the website.

You should have 6-7 books, 2-3 articles, and 1-2 websites when you are done. Take these resources home with you and get ready for the next step.

Step Three: Research

Get a pile of note cards and bring everything with you from step two.

First, grab however many note cards you need to have one for each source you have. Take a note card and take a source. Write the citation on the note card. Using markers or colored pencils, make a mark on the card with one color. Repeat this process for each resource but do NOT use the same color twice.

Second, it's time to do research. In order to set up the note cards, see the image attached to this article.

You should have at least 10 note cards per source. Only a small percentage of those note cards should be quotations.

When this is done move on to step four.

Step Four: Organizing

This is the step in which your outline will be formed. Remove all citation cards from the deck of note cards and set them aside. Using the rest of the cards put them into piles according to like ideas and topics.

Once that is done, find blank note cards and write a general "topic" for each pile and, if possible, a topic sentence as if that pile were a paragraph. By this point, you should have an idea of where you want to go with this paper. So, take another note card and write your thesis statement. You may want to fool around on a blank sheet of paper for a while until you get something that works.

Now, set all these cards out on a table or hard surface in the form of an outline. You may have to make adjustments to your original piles, or set cards aside because they end up not fitting (don't throw them away) but that's okay.

If you have them all set out the way you want them, take ONE more note card and write a conclusion statement. Put that at the end.

If you've been paying attention, you notice that you have your outline ready and all you have to do is transfer to your computer so it looks pretty and is handier.

At this point, you will also take all of your citation cards and put them in alphabetical order and then create your works cited page. You may want to put a letter in pencil by each source and then color code the letters to match the note cards.

Voila! Do you see how this paper is coming together so easily?

Make sure you keep all the note cards though, somewhere or other.

Step Five: First Draft

Write the body paragraphs first. After each sentence with a new source, you need an in text citation. This means that:

Sentence 1 is from source A (citation goes here)

Sentence 2 is also from source A (you don't need a citation)

Sentence 3 is from source B (citation goes here)

Sentence 4 is from source C (citation goes here)

Sentence 5 is also from source C (you don't need a citation)

Sentence 6 is from source A (you need to cite it again)

Sentence 7 is from source B (you need to cite it again)

Get the picture?

Next, write the intro. Start with something to catch a person's attention. And then gradually work your way to your thesis, getting a bit more specific each time.

Finally, write the conclusion. Start with the conclusion sentence you've already written and work out from there.

Don't worry about anything in this draft. If it's too short, work in the facts you set aside. If it's too long, that is what revisions are for. Grammar happens with revisions too.

Step Six: Revision

All right, so here's how revision works. After you write the first draft, you put it away or hide it and don't look at it for 5 days. At the end of these 5 days, you pull it out again.

1. The first time you read it through, look for unnecessary details and stuff that doesn't relate directly to your thesis. If you find that you are crossing out too much, maybe you need to expand your thesis.

2. The second time you read through, check for order. Does the order you present your ideas in make sense? If not, make notes on how you want to rearrange the paragraphs and/or where you want to move sentences.

3. The last time you read through, check for grammar. Sometimes having another set of eyes helps.

4. This step is only if your paper is too short. Grab those note cards you haven't used already and see if you can fit them in. If you can't, you may need to explain some of the details better. Read through it again and ask questions of every point you make - if you haven't answered those questions, you need to do so now.

**Keep the first draft**

Step Seven: Second Draft

This step is easy. Make all those changes and then print the paper again.

Step Eight: Revisions

Give it to another person or maybe 2 other people for them to look at it and make suggestions or correct grammar on.

Step Nine: Final Draft

Make sure you have all your in text citations, have made the changes suggested by the people you showed your paper to. (Note: you don't have to make all the changes they suggest) And then, add the works cited page (check this one last time) as the last page. Make sure your pages are formatted correctly and then print. You are done!.Buy Essay Online.