Writing the research paper is not as overwhelming as some may initially think. The research paper essentially is a search on work that has previously been studied by usually an expert in the field. The only task that is required of you is to unearth their work. Even though this task may seem simple, many students encounter problems organizing and writing the research paper because they fail to research the general topic before they decide on a thesis statement; they fail to provide an appropriate thesis statement; they fail to provide a connection between the thesis statement and all of the topic sentences in the paper; they fail to support the paper with adequate information that is relevant only to the topic of the paper; or they fail to correctly cite their sources.
To begin, many students encounter problems with the research paper because they do not fully review all of the information available. As a result, the student may choose a topic that is too general or too specific for the number of pages that required. For example, the topic of capital punishment maybe be appropriate for a 100-page dissertation because there is a plenty of information available on the topic, and the length of the paper permits for an in depth discussion of the topic. However, the general topic of capital punishment is too large for a 15-page paper. The length of the paper does not allow for everything to be covered.
After researching and narrowing down your topic, choosing an appropriate thesis statement is necessary. Sometimes, the instructor will assign a research topic, but there are some instructors that will allow you to choose your own topic. If you are allowed to choose your own topic, make sure that it is appropriate to the assignment. When writing an argumentative essay, the thesis statement should be a statement that persuades the readers to change his/her mind about a particular subject. An informative research paper just informs the reader about a topic. To make sure your topic is appropriate, clear it with the instructor.
Another issue that is problematic in writing the research paper is connecting the main points of the paper to thesis statement. This connection is important because the reader - your instructor - has to be able to relate your main points or topic sentences to the overall point of the paper or the thesis statement. This can be accomplished by providing transitions between paragraphs and by always reminding the reader why this point is relevant to the discussion. Take care, though, to avoid redundancy in writing.
A related problem to connecting the main points to the thesis statement is failing to provide adequate and relevant support for the assertions made in the custom research paper. First, especially in persuasive research papers, it is necessary to substantiate all assertions made so that the argument is strong. Combat this problem with some of the research that you have already reviewed while choosing your topic. Also remember just because there is research that is interesting and is closely related to your topic it does not mean that it necessarily belongs in your paper. Choosing research that is appropriate to the point you are making is just as important as providing substantial information on the topic.
Of all the mistakes that students make when writing a research paper, properly citing sources within the texts is a major one. When a paper is incorrectly cited or fails to give credit altogether to the person whose ideas they borrowed, the student has committed plagiarism. Plagiarism can involve blatantly copying ideas and passing them off as your own, or can be committed unintentionally by not providing parenthetical citations at the end of each statement that covers the material that you borrowed. Whether you summarize, paraphrase or directly quote a source, failing to provide adequate source citation is plagiarism. Avoid plagiarism by investing in a style guide that explains all three major methods of citation: MLA, APA, and Chicago. Taking a chance on possibly committing plagiarism cannot only earn you a failing grade for the assignment and the course but also expulsion from the school.
Ultimately, completing a research paper takes time, effort, and proper planning. In order to prevent major mistakes, you must give yourself enough time to do research and write the paper, choose an appropriate thesis statement, support your thesis with adequate research and facts, and ensure your paper is in the correct format, to include properly citing sources within the paper and in the reference page.
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