Research papers are a mandatory aspect of all college coursework – and most importantly, they carry big grades. Therefore, you should always be careful while preparing and presenting your paper to your professor. Mistakes are not uncommon if this is your first brush with an academic paper. Writing a paper is a tough job and new undergrads are often clueless on where and how to proceed. But don’t sweat, the post below offers a guide on the dos and don’ts of writing a research paper that every Syracuse undergrad should know.
Choose a focused topic
The topic you choose plays a major role in determining how you are going to fare with your paper. Choose a topic that is focused and compact. For example, if you want to work on religion, it’s better that you settle with a specific religion rather than World Religion in general. Moreover, make sure you are personally enthusiastic about the topic.
Divide and organize your work
Writing a paper is an elaborate journey and you will get lost midway if you don’t follow a structured routine. Students generally get 3 months to complete a research paper. You should allot the first 1 and half month in deciding the topic, carrying research and gathering the literary sources. The remaining time can be used for writing the paper.
Prepare an outline
After you are done with the research and have collected all literary sources, it’s time to write the paper. Start with an overall outline on the whole paper. Think about your thesis statement. This is the main idea behind your entire paper in one sentence. Then, chalk out the table of contents. Summarize what you will write for the introduction. The thesis statement should go in the “introduction” part. Later, jot down the points you will highlight in the paper body. Note down the case studies you will include in your presentation. Finally, write a brief conclusion, which you will expand on in the final paper.
Get professional help
If you are lagging behind the deadline, a common ailment is to get professional writing help. Seasoned, professional writers know a thing or two about research and paper writing, so they can guide you to complete your paper.
Choosing a broad topic
You only get 3 months to write your paper. In such a brief time, it’s almost impossible to cover a topic with a wider scope.
Adding new data in the conclusion
This is another mistake you should be careful about while writing a paper. Do not add new data in your conclusion that you have not discussed in the paper body. Remember, your conclusion is the summarization of everything you have talked about throughout the paper. Thus, adding new data will make no sense and would only confuse the reader.
You have to be clear about what sources you use in your facts and arguments. Your professor wants to see the proof or validity behind the statements in your paper. So, don’t exclude citations. Also, ensure you place citations on those particular pages where you have stated the respective facts or points.
Your paper should be 100% original. You can definitely consult sources but don’t ever include excerpts from some book or article that are uncited. If you include them, specify them as excerpts and also provide the corresponding source citations.
Writing a paper is something that every undergrad has to do. It’s not an overly big challenge as long as you ensure that you’re organized, smart and sincere.