Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.
Are you wondering how you can wow your instructor with your research paper? It is not impossible. With some hard work, caution, and communication, anyone can create a research paper that will impress an instructor.
Do Not Procrastinate
One of the biggest things to do in creating a good research paper is never wait to the last minute to write it. Very few people can produce quality work with the ticking of the clock getting louder. Procrastination could be a student’s biggest enemy. It is wise to begin working on your research paper weeks before the actual due date. Most instructors will ask for a preliminary thesis, outline, and bibliography. This helps the student get an idea of where their paper will go and help get them started on the paper. The initial rough draft should be done several weeks before the paper is due. This gives the writer time to review the paper, proofread, make changes to strengthen the paper, and create an amazing paper. Never wait till the last minute!
Let It Age
Wine and cheese get better with age. So does an excellent research paper. After the first rough draft, set the paper aside for a few days or even a week. During that time, your mind mulls over what you wrote even if you are completely unaware of it. When you set back down to look at the rough draft, spelling, grammar, and sentence structure issues will stand out that you never would have noticed if you had begun reviewing it immediately after writing it. Taking that necessary time away from it allows your mind to clear and see the paper in a fresh new light. After you review it and edit it, let it set again for several days. Each time you review it, let it age. You will find that your paper will get better each time.
Nothing looks as bad to an instructor is a paper that was not proofread. In today’s world of technology, there is almost no excuse for this step to not happen. Word processing software highlights misspelled words and incorrect grammar usage. Reading a paper on the Spanish Inquisition can be tedious and almost impossible if a reader is having to decipher words that are spelled incorrectly or sentence structures that do not make sense. Remember that when you are writing a paper that you are communicating an idea and the supporting information of that idea to the reader. When there is bad proofreading, the communication fails. How can a reader get anything out of the paper if it is unreadable?
A research paper without proper citation is one that should not be read or be relied upon. When proper citation is applied to a paper, the reader can rest assured that the information was not pulled out of the air and that the reader can look further into the thesis by accessing the bibliography. Proper citation helps the writer avoid plagiarism and gives creditability to their work.
There are some features of a research paper that are not required but can add quite a bit of character and appeal to the paper. Some instructors might require these features, but overall they are bonuses. Try adding headings to the various parts of the paper. You can use your outline as a guide to where the headings should be placed. Adding maps and illustrations can also be beneficial. Many of these, as well as charts, can be placed in appendices.
Always communicate with your instructor. Read the instructions for the paper carefully. If anything does not make sense, contact your instructor and get it clarified. Ask if they require headings. See if they can help you through a difficult part of your paper. They might have resources that can help you. Your instructor is another resource at your disposal. Use them. Use the communication that they give in your essays and prior papers. Read their notes. This will help you in future papers.
Creating an amazing research paper is not as hard as you might think. Never treat the paper with anything less than respect. Let it grow and get better with time and the appropriate attention.