Writing a research paper is hard. The anxiety, pressure, and challenge of writing an effective paper is something you know all too well. It’s one of the reasons we built EasyBib, to help make the research process easier.
While technology can make a difference, following an efficient end-to-end research process is still critical to doing well. A good research process can alleviate the anxiety that hits you when your professor assigns that long paper. So let’s get into some of the best practices to writing a good research paper:
1. Start early
Yes, it’s that simple. We know it can be a struggle to find the time to write a paper and juggle the rest of your workload. However, writing a 20-page paper a day or two before it’s due is a recipe for disaster. Start reviewing your paper assignment as soon as you get it. It’ll help you size up and plan what work is needed.
2. Identify the steps you need to write your paper
Everyone has their own unique writing process, but there are best practices to follow. First, identify a topic you’d like to cover and start researching and understanding that space broadly. Second, identify the differentiated view or argument you want to write about. Third, form an outline on how you want to support your thesis. Fourth, research more to support the points you made in your outline. Lastly, review it yourself and get a peer review!
3. Set goals
While you identify what key steps make the most sense for your research process, make sure to create a timeline with milestones. It’ll help keep you motivated and progressing! To be successful, determine how long each step will take. For instance, if you have a month to write your paper and you expect your initial research and outline will take half of your effort, plan to have that done two weeks in.
4. Set early deadlines for yourself
To further prevent procrastination, move up deadlines. This will give you a cushion should you ever need it. Aim to have your paper ready two days before it’s due.
5. Don’t do it alone
Get help! It’s easy to see the trees and not the forest when writing. Consult your professor, librarians, writing center, and peers regularly for feedback. They will give you ideas that can strengthen your paper.
6. Use online tools
Writing tools like the EasyBib check for grammar and plagiarism and citation generator help you work efficiently and, hopefully, you save time.
7. Lastly, take breaks
Humans can concentrate for up to two hours at a time, after which we lose concentration. Try games like solitaire that you can play online for free, that aren’t addicting but are fun and can help clear your mind.
Next time you’re writing a paper, try some of these tips. Once you realize that a good process can drastically improve how you write a paper, research and writing will be WAY less intimidating. In fact, you’ll find a common trend among those who love research and writing: they simply follow a good process and strategy.
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