How to begin writing a research paper
Beginning your research papers is a difficult moment for most students, because they do not know where to start from. Preparation and thorough organisation are important prerequisites for the quality of your work, and are almost always a guarantee for a good grade. The preparation for their research papers is where most students need academic help from tutors and supervisors. Below we are discussing several simple steps, which will make it easier for you to begin with the preparation of your student essays.
Step 1: Do some preliminary research
In order to understand your subject and choose a good topic for your paper, you need to conduct some preliminary research. At this stage, do not get carried away with too much information and other researchers’ opinions. This can be confusing and you might lose track of what you want to write about. The purpose of the preliminary research is to give you the basic knowledge on the subject and to also give you some ideas about how to structure your arguments and to position your paper. Choose sources which are informative and descriptive, rather than analytical. Make sure that you get well acquainted with the basics of the research field you have chosen, as well as the main concepts, events, developments. Keep track of your sources and take notes. You might not use all the information from the preliminary research for your student essay, but you never know what might turn out to be useful at the end.
Step 2: Choose your topic
If you have not done so beforehand, you might want to choose your topic, based on the preliminary research you have chosen. Select a topic which is narrow and doable, and always go for something that you like and you feel comfortable with. After all, the most important thing is to show your tutors your best, and to perform to the best of your ability. Do not go for topics which are too complicated and involve too many variables. Go for something simple, but interesting and important in terms of academic research. Remember to always discuss the topic with your tutor or supervisor. They will be more than willing to provide you with further coursework help and advice.
Step 3: Create an outline
After you have done some preliminary research and you have chosen your topic, you need to create an outline or a plan for your research paper. Your outline is likely to change when your final paper is ready, but at least it will give you direction of what you want to include and in what order your thoughts will appear on the paper. Put all your knowledge on the subject together, even if it looks patchy at this stage. Write down your findings, impressions and conclusions so far, and even your gaps on the subject. After that arrange them accordingly and decide what might possibly go in the introduction, in the body and in the conclusion of your paper.
Step 4: Create a temporary list of your resources
At this stage, it is important to narrow down and consolidate your resources. Later on you will probably find more sources, and some of the sources on your list will be excluded. This is normal and you do not have to exquisitely follow this list. Having your resources consolidated however will help you see which parts of your argument is well-supported, and which parts still needs to be researched.
Step 5: Write it all up
Now that you have consolidated your resources, and you have the plan for your student essay, you are ready to begin writing. Make sure you follow your outline, and you refer to your chosen resources. Do not be afraid to add new resources, if they seem appropriate for your topic. Do not be startled if the final version of your research paper does not quite match your initial outline. As you progress with your work, it is normal that you develop new thoughts on the subject and discover new ways to defend your argument.