Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tips for Writing a Research Paper

As you progress through college, especially if you choose to transfer to a university, you will be required to write papers either solely based on research or a combination of research and opinion.
Here are some guidelines you may find useful for such a task:

Create a Schedule
Plan a daily schedule several weeks in advance to decide what components you will work on and when. Writing a research paper is a task that cannot be completed successfully in a few days.

Choose a Topic & Begin Research
  • Develop a research question or questions
  • Choose short phrases from your question to conduct your research
  • Brainstorm alternative phrases that relate to your topic to increase your research results.
  • Ask a librarian for help with using keywords associated with your topic: http://blog.riosalado.edu/2015/07/ask-librarian-online-anytime.html
Evaluate Research
Construct Your Outline
  • You can create a formal outline or a simple list of how you think you will organize your paper based on the research you found
  • Remember this outline may continuously change as you begin to write your paper, and this is ok as the outline is not going to be graded. Keep in mind it is merely a tool to help you structure your writing
Familiarize Yourself with Format Type
Begin Rough Draft, Edit, Submit
  • Use your outline to begin your rough draft. You can also refer to online resources such as: http://libguides.riosalado.edu/ and http://www.riosalado.edu/library/owl/Pages/default.aspx
  • Dedicate blocks of time each day to writing
  • Highlight or mark sentences in your paper you wish to cite using APA or MLA
  • Proofread your paper and ask at least two other people to review your writing for grammatical errors
  • Submit your paper on time


Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.