Crafting a research paper can be a fascinating learning opportunity. Despite the fact that many students struggle with all of the steps of putting the project together, students often claim that the project was meaningful and memorable. Once your instructor assigns a major project, it is important that you follow through on all of the required steps so you can guarantee that your project will earn a top grade. Here are some ideas to consider:
One of the most difficult aspects of crafting a major project like this is meeting the requirements of formatting. These include using the correct font sizes and styles, setting up margins, placing page numbers and headers, and formatting the bibliography and in-text documentation styles. These little details are often overlooked and any mistakes could result in teachers deducting points or even considering plagiarism charges. In order to avoid problems, students should learn to be precise by using a sample paper and following instructions in the appropriate manual.
Students need to keep close tabs on everything they need to organize. This includes the paper and the resources you plan to use. If you paraphrase or directly quote a source; but you cannot find the actual source, you could be accused of plagiarism. Therefore, it is vital to create a system so you know exactly what source you used and where you used it in your paper. You do not want to have to reread your sources to look for a quote that you included but did not cite. Some students will use a numbering system or the old-school notecard stack to keep track of information and sources.
Find great sources. One of the most important part of composing a research paper is finding the best sources. These are usually not the ones that pop up at the top of a basic Internet search. The best thing to do is dig deeply into academic search engines and professional journals. It is important that you look for sources that have been written recently, especially if you are digging deeply into a current topic. For example, if you are researching a technological issue, the sources should be as new as possible, especially because technology changes so rapidly. If you are looking at a historic subject, then the publication date of the source could be older, because history does not change as quickly as technology does.
Organization extends beyond the bibliography. Your organizational steps should include the way you write your paper. It is important to follow the organization style that you are assigned. For example, if you need to use the APA style, your paper needs to be put together in a particular order. The same goes for MLA and Chicago Style. Your manual and the same you use as a template will help you organize the paragraphs into the proper sections.
You want your paper to look like you know what you are doing, so when you get in trouble, ask someone for help. Most schools have writing labs or tutors who are available to help on difficult projects like this. Your instructor should be more than willing to help you through a difficult portion whether online or in person. Do not ever think you are pestering your instructor because they get paid to help you learn and succeed.
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