Here are some guidelines you may find useful for such a task:
Create a Schedule
Plan a daily schedule several weeks in advance to decide what components you will work on and when. Writing a research paper is a task that cannot be completed successfully in a few days.
Choose a Topic & Begin Research
- Develop a research question or questions
- Choose short phrases from your question to conduct your research
- Brainstorm alternative phrases that relate to your topic to increase your research results.
- Ask a librarian for help with using keywords associated with your topic: http://blog.riosalado.edu/2015/07/ask-librarian-online-anytime.html
- Begin to narrow down your research results or select another topic if your research results do not produce enough information: http://www.riosalado.edu/library/owl/Pages/evaluating-resources.aspx
- Consult with your instructor if you are struggling to find information on your topic and ask for suggestions in refining your topic
Construct Your Outline
- You can create a formal outline or a simple list of how you think you will organize your paper based on the research you found
- Remember this outline may continuously change as you begin to write your paper, and this is ok as the outline is not going to be graded. Keep in mind it is merely a tool to help you structure your writing
Familiarize Yourself with Format Type
- Is MLA or APA format required? Review how to cite your sources: http://www.riosalado.edu/library/owl/Pages/citing-your-sources.aspx
- This is important as there are specific ways to integrate information within a paper for each of these writing styles
- If you need assistance you can consult a librarian and/or other online resources http://blog.riosalado.edu/2015/07/ask-librarian-online-anytime.html
Begin Rough Draft, Edit, Submit
- Use your outline to begin your rough draft. You can also refer to online resources such as: http://libguides.riosalado.edu/ and http://www.riosalado.edu/library/owl/Pages/default.aspx
- Dedicate blocks of time each day to writing
- Highlight or mark sentences in your paper you wish to cite using APA or MLA
- Proofread your paper and ask at least two other people to review your writing for grammatical errors
- Submit your paper on time
Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.