Developing a Research Plan


Procrastination can lead to serious problems in getting a research plan completed. Often students are so busy with various classes and activities that they forget to write their research paper. Time flies before a person realizes it and the work just doesn't get done.

How can you prevent this from happening? The best answer to this is developing a custom research plan in the beginning.

The first step is deciding on the topic. Once you know the topic the rest will be easier.

The second step in the research plan is to decide where you can get the information about the topic. Will you use books, journals, magazines, government documents, or the Internet? How many sources do you need? What type of sources do you need? Do you need primary sources or secondary? How current does the information need to be? Some instructors require information to be within the last five years, while other instructors are more lenient. This is important when it comes to researching for information.

Will this be a research paper without any personal opinions or will the instructor allow you to write a persuasive paper with a definite side of the issue to be argued? What type of research paper is it? Is it a scientific research paper requiring scholarly journals? Will it be a simple essay discussing a topic? Know what the assignment called for before beginning the research plan.

The third step in the research plan should be to research the topic. Set several dates to do the research. Put these dates where you will be reminded to see them. On these dates begin the research. Having more than one date will help you in case something comes up on one of the dates. Use various types of sources depending on the type of paper it is such as a research paper usually requires a combination of scholarly articles, books, and governmental documents. Use the library searching for any books or journals. The library often has several ways to search materials such as EBSCO. Use the Internet to find different type of sources including journal articles.

The fourth step in your custom written research plan is reading the material in the sources you find. Make several dates to read the research materials. It is important to have more than one date so you can analyze the material a little at a time. Make notes with different quotes as well as citations. Some students use 3" x 5" note cards to write down different quotes but be sure to write the information about the author, title of book or article, type of journal, dates, and etc.

The fifth step in the research plan is to create a thesis statement and an outline if you haven't already done this. Set a specific date to have this finished by. Put it in several places so you will know you must have this done by this date. If the date comes and you do not have it done, then do it that day. The thesis statement should be supported with several main points. In the research plan show how the notes and quotes will be used to support the thesis statements and main points.

The sixth step of the research plan is to write a rough draft of the paper. Have a date to write this rough draft in your research plan. It may help to set a couple of dates to write the rough draft. This part of the research plan often means to just custom-write the essay without worrying about spelling or grammar.

The seventh step of the custom research plan is to revise the research paper. Again have a date to do the revising. Check all spelling that may be incorrect and to check for grammatical errors. Use a checklist to do the revising.

The eight step of the research plan is to ask someone else to proofread the research paper. Before you get to this step ask someone when you are designing the research plan to be available to proofread the paper for you. On that date ask the individual to do this and give it back to you by a specific date. Encourage the individual to check closely for any mistakes.

The ninth step is to rewrite the paper one more time. This is another date that should be included in the research plan. Plan to carefully check for any errors.

The tenth step of the research plan is to turn the research paper in. If you have designed the research plan and have followed the dates, your paper will be turned in on time and you can relax.

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