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 • Research and the Research Paper
 • Grammar
 • The Writing Process
 • Special Kinds of Writing
 • Modes of Exposition
 • Critical Thinking

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  Home > InfoWrite > Research and the Research Paper > Writing the Research Paper

InfoTrac College Edition

Writing the Research Paper

Once you have completed your research and assembled your resources, you are ready to begin the first draft of the paper:

1.     REVIEW YOUR OUTLINE AND WORKING THESIS Determine if you should make any changes to your plan, refining your thesis, adding or deleting sources.
2.     FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF YOUR PAPER In most instances, the goal of your research paper will be to analyze sources and state an original thesis -- not simply summarize everything you have found.
* Concentrate on your thesis and your ideas, not those of others.
3.     CONSIDER APPROPRIATE MODES FOR DEVELOPING IDEAS Although your goal may be to analyze or persuade, you may find that some or all of the paper should be organized using one or more of the other modes: comparison, narration, or classification. A history paper outlining the development of the Marshall Plan might be written as an analytical narrative. You might use comparison and contrast to organize a research paper discussing different methods of treating a mental disorder.
4.     DEVELOP A STRONG INTRODUCTION & CONCLUSION The opening of your paper should announce the topic, present needed background information, clear up any possible misconceptions, and explain your methods. The paper should end on a strong note -- a memorable quotation or statistic, a prediction, or final comment on the topic.
* You may find it easier to develop the introduction and conclusion after completing the body of the paper.
5.     KEEP THE LENGTH OF THE PAPER IN MIND AS YOU WRITE As you write you will probably come up with new ideas or discover that it takes longer to fully explain items on your outlines. If it seems that your ten page paper will expand to fifteen or twenty pages -- narrow your topic or discard secondary sources.
6.     COMMENT ON THE QUALITY OF SOURCES Evaluate your sources as you introduce them into your paper, commenting how statistics were gathered, a writer's possible bias, or the limitations of a government study.
7.     USE QUOTATIONS SPARINGLY Do not feel obliged to fill your paper with long blocks of quotations -- unless they serve a key purpose and cannot be summarized.
8.     REFER TO YOUR THESIS AS YOU WRITE Make sure that any new ideas you develop support your thesis and do not stray from the goal of the paper.

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From The Sundance Reader, Third Edition, Web Site by Mark Connelly.