Research Papers? You Got This! Part 2


October 2, 2013
by Mary Steffenhagen
Last week, I wrote about research techniques and tips that I've found useful for preliminary research for a paper. Now it's time to start writing!

Last week, I wrote about research techniques and tips that I've found useful for preliminary research for a paper. Now it's time to start writing!

You have sources and a direction in which to head but you won’t go anywhere without a strong thesis. A strong thesis states your idea concisely and directly. It should be very specific but also something that is not beyond argument – your paper will be proving a point and disproving others – so starting off with “I argue” is a good way to state your thesis confidently.

Quotations from your sources, especially your primary source, are the excellent additions to strengthen your arguments. Don’t let them overpower your own voice, though; if you’re quoting every other sentence, back off a bit. You can still include that information if it’s necessary but try paraphrasing it (with attribution, of course) and injecting your own viewpoint. Use quotations to point back to the thesis and, like the thesis, make sure they are strong and not just in there to bump up the word count (although quotes are great for that if you really need it).

Assuming you have the bulk of the paper down, write your conclusion and intro. The intro is incredibly obvious once you have the body of the paper done – after all, your ideas are concise and flow together in a real format. It goes without saying that the intro is crucial: It has to seize and hold your reader’s attention and present your thesis. Your conclusion is equally important and you shouldn’t just summarize what you’ve already said. Think of these sections as your answer to “So what?” Make your reader see why your argument (and all the work you’ve done) is worthwhile.

Next come the dreaded citations. Whether it’s APA, MLA or Turabian, I’ve never known anyone to enjoy citations but they are crucial to correctly attributing your sources. (Remember, inadvertent plagiarism is still plagiarism.) The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an excellent resource when you are unsure of how to cite something and I often use Calvin College’s Knight Cite to format the source information for me.

It should come as no surprise that your next step should be proofread, proofread, proofread. Get a friend to read your paper over, too, as new eyes catch mistakes better than eyes that are used to seeing them.

Lastly, print it off, smell the fresh ink and breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe there’s even time tonight for a few hours of sleep! I hope what I have learned from writing a plethora of research papers will make your process less daunting and more worthwhile.

Mary Steffenhagen is a junior at Concordia University of Wisconsin who is majoring in English with a minor in business. She hopes to break into the publishing field after graduation, writing and editing to promote the spread of reliable information and quality literature; she is driven to use her skills to make a positive impact wherever she is placed. Mary spends much of her time making and drinking coffee, biking and reading dusty old books. In an alternate universe, she would be a glassblower.

College is expensive, Scholarships.com is completely free. Pay for your college education with as much free college scholarship money as possible. By applying to all the awards you qualify for, you can be sure to not miss a single opportunity in paying for your college expenses - including tuition, fees, room and board. Get matched to college scholarships instantly and start applying today by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education Corporation of America, Dream Center Education Holdings, Vatterott College and Charlotte School of Law will be able to qualify for a full discharge of their federal loans if they were enrolled when their college closed or withdrew within 120 days of the official closure date and didn’t transfer to another institution, according to Inside Higher Education.

$43M in Loans Forgiven for Students of Closed Colleges

September 6, 2019 9:18 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an adversity score - when scoring their SAT college admissions test. The score would have taken into account a student's socioeconomic background and the neighborhood in which they grew up.

College Board Backpedals - No Adversity Score to be Added

August 30, 2019 2:05 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an "adversity score" - when scoring their SAT college admissions
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to redress gender imbalance in fields such as computer science and engineering. The U.S. Department of Education launched more than two dozen investigations into higher education institutions nationwide - including UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice - which offer female-only scholarships, awards and professional development workshops.

Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

August 20, 2019 4:57 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to "redress gender imbalance" in fields such as computer science and engineering. The
Dozens of suburban Chicago families have been using a legal loophole to help their children get need-based college financial aid and scholarships. By their parents' forfeiting legal guardianship, students are able to declare financial independence so they qualify for federal, state and university financial aid.

Parents Giving Up Guardianship for College Cash?

July 30, 2019 9:24 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Dozens of suburban Chicago families have been using a legal loophole to help their children get need-based college financial aid and scholarships. By their parents' forfeiting legal guardianship,
An Iowa Carpenter sent 33 Iowan students he'd never met to college with the $3 million he had in savings. Prior to his death in 2005, Dale Schroeder told his attorney that he wanted to use the money in his will help send underprivileged students to college. Schroeder's scholarship recipients, also known as Dale's Kids, recently met up to reflect on his generosity and the fact that many of them would have been unable to attend college without Schroeder's help.

Carpenter Comps College Costs for 33 Iowans

July 23, 2019 3:50 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
An Iowa Carpenter sent 33 Iowan students he'd never met to college with the $3 million he had in savings. Prior to his death in 2005, Dale Schroeder told his attorney that he wanted to use the money
Monroe College's IT system was hacked last week, disabling many of its technology systems and platforms as hackers demanded $2 million ransom in Bitcoin to restore access. Faculty, students and staff members were locked out of the college's websites but continued to attend class and hand in homework, regardless.

Another College Cyber Attacked, Hackers Demand $2M Ransom

July 16, 2019 4:16 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Monroe College's IT system was hacked last week, disabling many of its technology systems and platforms as hackers demanded $2 million ransom in Bitcoin to restore access. Faculty, students and staff
 Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and are charged with various counts of mail and wire fraud. The scheme involved enrolling hundreds of mainly non-existent students, successfully applying for grants and loans and pocketing the money.

3 Women Charged in $1M Student Financial Aid Fraud

July 2, 2019 11:07 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and