So you have reached the point that you have dreaded your entire collegiate career. It is time to write your first research paper. You do not even know what a research paper is, much less how to do a research paper outline, or where to get your resources for the research aspect of the research paper.
No need to panic. There is plenty of time. Rather than running around with no idea what to do, take a minute to relax and read on. This article will not write that paper for you, but it is a good introduction into what you are getting yourself into.
- What Is a Research Paper?
- How To Do a Research Paper Outline
When you take apart the term, it sounds just like a paper that you collect a bunch of research for, organize into a neat, cohesive package, and then form into a logical, flowing 15 pages or so. But it is much more than just the sum of all of the sources that you have collected. And it is more than just a review of the literature that is in the field to date.
In this paper you must also analyze a perspective or argue a point that you feel pertains to the topic of the paper. Regardless of the type of research paper that you are producing, the bulk of it should be your opinion and thinking, using those collected sources to back your own arguments.
Some people do not know how to do a research paper outline, so they just think that they can skip this step in the process. Fair warning: this is a terrible idea. That outline is how you are going to prepare yourself to write the entire thing, how you can collect your ideas and sources, and make sure that all of the right data gets included. In fact, often you are required to hand in the outline along with the paper itself.
A general version of the outline should go something like this.
- Literature Review
Before we get into sources, we should stress what are not sources. Personal blogs, un-cited websites and Wikipedia. You can pretty much expect to fail if you list Wikipedia as a reference for your sources.
You can, however, find some great information on an online reference library. If your school does not have one of its own, there is a good chance that they have access to one. You can inquire about it at the computer lab or the library. While you are at the library, be sure to do the bulk of your research there. You may also be able to find some information at your local public library as well, but it may not be equipped for what you need to research.
Now you know how to do a research paper outline, where to go for research, and what a research paper is. It is far less terrifying when you know what it is you are facing. Now that you have had the time to sit and absorb what it is you have ahead of you, what are you waiting for?! Get out to that library pronto!