- By Daniel Millions
- Published 03/6/2009
Research paper writing is a common task for most academic and science professionals. If you are involved with scientific, humanitarian or liberal arts disciplines, you will have to write a number of research papers. The purpose of research paper writing is to provide vast knowledge about a given subject that has been written by scholars and experts and to give you the opportunity to study the material, analyze it and formulate your own opinion or thesis. In order to complete the written portion successfully and with knowledge, you would have to first conduct the research. Many people dread researching, but with some guidance you can comfortably do research and learn a lot. You may plan out an agenda for doing research so that you will be aware of deadlines. Break down the research part into finding sources followed by reading the material. Be cautious of: Reliability: Any reading material that you use for research paper writing has to come from a reliable source such as a scholar, expert, organization, etc. Bias: You do not want to use source material that is overwhelmingly biased because the result is too one-sided. Judgment is not always apparent in biased material and is often supported by ignorance. Currency: Depending on your topic and field, such as science, you may want the most recent finds. You may begin searching for sources at a library where a librarian can offer help. Many people turn to the internet as it is a bountiful search tool.
When looking for sources on the internet for research paper writing, be aware
that much of the information can be outdated, biased and unreliable. Universities offer databases, such as JSTOR, so that you can search for articles, journals, and periodicals. You can also seek out magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. Once you have found all your reading material, create a bibliography using the proper format such as MLA, APA, or Chicago. At this point, you are ready to begin reading and analyzing your material. You can use the index or table of contents to locate where your topic may be in a book. While reading, you should answer a few questions about each source such as “What is the author trying to prove?” A common aid for analyzing is creating annotated bibliographies or summaries of each source that answer the previous question. Each summary can have the major points written out and you can provide your own criticism or opinion. While you read, you should have a note taking system where you either jot down relevant sentences and quotes or you make cards for each source with major points. Make sure to record page numbers in case you have to refer back. You want to make note of significant quotes by an author, sentences that you can paraphrase without distorting meaning, and for footnoting. Once you are complete with this part, you can use the information to write an outline. The goal of doing research and taking notes is to gather all the relevant information for the actual research paper writing part in an organized manner.
Through research paper writing, you will accomplish the task of collecting information, identifying reliable sources, examining them and providing a reflection on it through argument and criticism. As a result, you will shape your analytical, critical and time-management skills.