Process for Writing a College Research Paper

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(1) Thoroughly read assignment instructions. After completing an outline and rough draft, review the instructions.

(2) Choose a topic by reviewing scholarly articles, textbooks, and books to determine whether enough research is available to support your thesis.

(3) Read a few scholarly articles to better understand your selected topic.

(4) After acquiring some basic knowledge, develop a preliminary thesis. Take note of questions you have while conducting research. Identify unresolved problems, and determine whether to devote the essay to addressing the problem or potential solutions. Develop multiple thesis statements and ask your teacher to review them and offer suggestions.

(5) Create a generalized outline for each potential topic. In each section of the outline, estimate the amount of pages necessary to address each one. Meet with a peer tutor to get suggestions.

(6) Conduct extensive research after creating a thesis using the outline as a reference point. Analyze sources and determine which ones best support the thesis. Simplify the writing process by highlighting text from sources that will be cited in the essay. Do not neglect to keep track of page numbers of cited information.

(7) Once you’ve selected sources, reexamine them and highlight or star text that will be cited in the final draft. Stay organized by keeping track in the outline where sources will be referenced in the essay. Change the outline if the thesis is altered.

(8) Focus on one section at a time while writing the essay. Review sources before writing to ensure the content is in your own words. Note where sources will be cited in the essay to decrease time spent switching between sources and the essay. Double check sources after completing a section to ensure everything matches.

(9) Thoroughly review the essay for context, clarity, and completeness. Be sure the main concepts of each paragraph are concise, and the essay is free of plagiarism. Have your essay reviewed by a professor, classmate, or peer tutor.

(10) Conduct a final review for spelling, grammatical, and syntax errors.


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