Top 3 tips for doing your research paper

Research papers can feel overwhelming, especially if they are more than 15 pages long. It’s more so if there’s a lot at stake, like your grade and a chance to get into college. Here are some top tips to have you doing research like a pro.



  1. Choosing the right topic

Of the list of subject that the professor has assigned, select one that sounds interesting to you. Should you have the option of selecting your own, look through all the course materials that you have interacted with thus far for a topic you feel you have more to say about. The topic you settle for makes the difference between a good and bad paper- interest in something makes you more motivated. Not sure what topic to choose? You can do preliminary research on two or more topics and choose one that, preferably, has more content around it and you’re keen to learn more about.


  1. Go online

It is 2018; it wouldn’t be far off to assume that all resources on the planet have an online version. Don’t only rely on your favorite search engines online. It is likely that your professor has listed some useful content on the E-reserves. You can also look at your library’s page and focus on getting the scholarly and academic material available around your topics. You can then choose journals of a particular topic and use them as sources. If you’re unsure of what’s useful and what’s not, look at the top results when you add ‘most popular’ to the search filter. You can then use reference from those journals to get other content.

Tip: when looking for other online sources, opt for websites with an or .gov. The thought behind this are that .com sites like Diamond and Diamond are usually selling a service or a product and the content doesn’t undergo a lot of scrutiny as compare to the domains mentioned before. Use gateway resources from big names like Oxford and Cambridge and use the footnotes to further guide you.

Pro tip: Learn to use AND or + when you want to limit your search results, for examples adding ‘stats’ if that’s what you’re going for. You can use OR/ – to expand a topic as well.


  1. Visit a library

This idea may appear ‘old school’ but librarians have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to books and resources. They’ll be more than happy to guide you to the section with hard copies of books pertaining to your topic. For big universities, you can get librarians trained around specific topics, making them all the more helpful. If you cannot find what you need there or online, head over to the interlibrary loan department. They’ll help you get a copy of a book or article that you’re looking for.

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