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At the very least, skim the section on your general area of interest. They’re probably more than happy to point you in the direction of a possible research topic.Of course, this is going to be highly dependent on your class and the criteria set forth by your professor, so make sure you read your assignment and understand what it’s asking for.That’s a good start, but take a couple steps to hone your idea a little further so you have an idea of what to research.
It’s a good idea to start by heading to the library and asking your local librarian for help (they’re usually so excited to help you find things! Check your school library for research papers and books on the topic.
Look for primary sources, such as journals, personal records, or contemporary newspaper articles when you can find them.
Put your weakest point first, and your strongest point last. Basically, take your introduction outline and copy it over.
Your conclusion should be about a paragraph long, and it should summarize your main points and restate your thesis.
As you’re starting your research, create some kind of system for filing helpful quotes, links, and other sources.
I preferred it to all be on one text document on my computer, but you could try a physical file, too.If you feel the assignment is unclear, don’t go any further without talking to your professor about it.Say it with me: a research paper without a thesis question or statement is just a fancy book report. Every good thesis statement has three important qualities: it’s focused, it picks a side, and it can be backed up with research.In this text document, I start compiling a list of all the sources I’m using.It tends to look like this: Remember that at this point, your thesis isn’t solid. If your research starts to strongly contradict your thesis, then come up with a new thesis, revise, and keep on compiling quotes. Depending on how long your paper is, you should have 3-10 different sources, with all sorts of quotes between them.Some professors will even have a list of required resources (e.g.“Three academic articles, two books, one interview…etc).Also, avoid super analytical or technical topics that you think you’ll have a hard time writing about (unless that’s the assignment…then jump right into all the technicalities you want).You’ll probably need to do some background research and possibly brainstorm with your professor before you can identify a topic that’s specialized enough for your paper.Outlines basically do all the heavy lifting for you when it comes to writing. Even if you feel tempted to just jump in and brain-dump, You’ll thank me later.Here’s how to structure an outline: You’ll notice it’s fairly concise, and it has three major parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.