Writing a Research Paper

Choose a Topic
While choosing a topic, many people make the mistake of choosing a topic that is too broad. It is important to keep in mind that a topic should be narrowed to one small scope of the subject to ensure that you are able to cover aspects of that one topic. Rather than choosing a topic as broad as Christianity, one might consider choosing a topic that includes The Influence of Other Religions on Modern Christianity. This allows for a narrower scope of information and is an effective way to narrow the research.

Research from a Wide Variety of Resources
The internet is a resource that can provide you with a variety of sources when it comes to information. Some of the information sources that can be accessed through the internet include:

  • Newspaper and online articles that are available through online archives.
  • Journals and periodicals which can be accessed through online directories.
  • Articles, blogs and other pieces that are available through websites.
  • Online dictionaries and other encyclopedic information that can be accessed.
When writing your paper, one should never use only one source, as this can create a bias within the research paper that is being written.

Create an Outline
Creating an outline is perhaps one of the most important parts of the research paper. The outline enables you to determine whether you are on track while writing your paper and enables you to gauge where you need more content and can act as a "to-do” list throughout the entire process.

The outline should contain the following:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
In your outline you should create the headings and sub-headings.

State Your Thesis
The thesis is the statement in which you are going to argue for or against through the entire paper. The information which is going to be presented in the research paper is going to support your thesis. The thesis should give the reader an insight into the information that is going to be found in your paper.

The thesis statement should be chosen with care. When choosing the statement, you should take into account the tone in which the thesis statement is going to create.

Organize the Research
It is important to ensure that the research is organized, as this can ensure that you are able to create an effective argument for the thesis statement and allows you to match the notes that have been researched with the outline that has been chosen.

Notes should be organized in sections to which they pertain to and should be easy to read, using headings, bullet points or point form notes to organize the notes as simple as possible.

Create a First Draft
Using the outline and the organized notes, create a draft copy that is going to be used to form the basic introduction, body and conclusion of your paper. Using a word processing program can reduce the amount of work that comes from your paper and can ensure that you are able to quickly and effectively make changes in the copy.

Create a Second Draft
When creating the second draft of the research paper, be sure to print out a copy. There are things that you may see with the fresh set of eyes on the piece of paper that you may not have noticed while looking at your paper on a computer screen. Using this information you can than make notes throughout the draft that can help you to make the changes needed to ensure that you maintain a great paper.

Use consistent marks throughout the draft and read the draft aloud to ensure that the words flows throughout the entire piece. This can ensure that you are going to create a research paper that can demonstrate your argument effectively.

Edit and Create the Final Copy
At the time when you create the final copy it is important that you retain the gist of your paper and don't succumb to over-editing. Use the copy to review to ensure that you make all of the points which were demonstrated in the outline and print a final copy to hand in as the research paper.

When editing the final copy, you should ensure that you go through the entire paper to check for common mistakes which can cause you to lose points through the marks of the paper. This can include run-on sentences, punctuation and spelling errors and any formatting errors that may have occurred while you were typing your paper.

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