Developing A Research Paper

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Carefully read the writing assignment, prompts, grading rubric, or any other materials you’ve received.

It might even be helpful to highlight and take notes on the assignment.

Encyclopedia articles are often followed by carefully selected bibliographies or lists of references to other works, useful items to have as you begin looking for additional information.

You can expand or focus a topic by adding or eliminating the: Sometimes a research topic is so specific that you cannot find adequate information to fulfill the requirements of the assignment. The techniques used to focus a general topic can also be used to expand a narrow topic.

The following example demonstrates how to focus a general topic: Select an aspect of the topic that will interest you and your audience.

Make the topic narrow enough that you can cover it in the assigned number of pages and timeframe.

It’s also good to realize that you can use this research writing assignment as an opportunity to learn about something new.

You will be somewhat of an expert in the topic by the end of this process, but you don’t have to know everything right now. This step is pretty flexible; different people will research for a paper in different ways.

Many students skip this step, and then wonder why they receive a low grade on a paper they worked hard on or were excited about.

It’s often because they didn’t read the instructions. Look at everything your instructor has provided you with.


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