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Tips for Writing Research Papers

Selecting a Topic

Try some of these strategies

  • Ask questions
  • Define the problem
  • Examine the research
  • Analyze assumptions & biases
  • Avoid emotional reasoning
  • Avoid oversimplification
  • Consider other interpretations
  • Tolerate ambiguity

Start with a “Working” Thesis

Create a draft thesis which includes your
your purpose

“I am going to argue/ compare/ analyze/ discuss/ prove etc.”

How will this help you plan your paper?

Purpose Defines Focus

Description requires an answer to: “What is it?”

Analysis requires an answer to: “Why is it?”

Argument requires an answer to: “How should/could it be/”

Examine Samples of Papers 

Here’s where you can find some:

When You're Reading Ask yourself the Following

  • How have the authors organized their paper?
  • Do they use headings? How? What kind?
  • What statements are supported by evidence?
  • How is this evidence documented?
  • What will i use that supports my main ideas?

Anatomy of a Paragraph

  • Topic sentence
  • Main point 
  • Proof or support in a summary or quotation (Both require citations)
  • Analysis (Why is this significant?)
  • Concluding sentence 

Writing Your First Draft

  • Just write. Save editing for later drafts.
  • Keep a running reference list and always include citations.
  • Avoid beginning with the introduction.
  • Use the three forms of in-text citations
    • Preventative health promotes healthy eating and exercise (Wilkins, 2009).
      or
    • According to Wilkins (2009), preventative health promotes healthy eating and exercise.
      or
    • Wilkins (2009) claims that “preventative health promotes healthy eating and exercise.” (p.91)

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