Academic Writing Secrets: College Research Paper


If you are a freshmen in college you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Right after orientation your instructor will likely assign a semester long research paper. This can be surprising! “Am I really suppose to write a 10,000 word paper on one topic?” Well, there is a secret to it- there is actually a reason why instructors give you SO LONG to finish these papers.


You Already Know All The Answers… Or You Will


Before you rush off to the library to begin working on your semester long research paper take a minute to consider this: The research that you need to write a great paper will be presented to you in class. Most of the time the teachers expect students to write on topics that they will cover. So, all you need to do is attend class (all of them) and keep good notes.

These notes will become the basis for your final research paper topic. Chances are if you pay attention your instructor will point you in the right direction. They will tell you what resources to read and where to go to get your supporting evidence. Each class will probably cover a different potential topic for your paper. Pay attention- and like we said keep good notes. Think of it is saving yourself time and energy later on.


Work From An Outline


Mid semester you may want to begin putting together an outline. This will help you begin to organize your thoughts and notes, while also helping to develop your thesis. During each class fill out your outline using your own words. Save yourself time by using full sentences. Smart students use this technique to work better not harder! You’ll be surprised by how far you can get in your research paper writing just from paying attention in class. That outline will later be the basis for your first draft!


Just Write!


Once you have a good sense of what topics covered in class you are going to write on the next step is to develop your thesis. If you have followed our advice and kept notes coming up with a suitable thesis statement should be easy. Because you worked from an outline most of the hard work is already finished. You already know what sources to use and where to get the rest of the information you need.