How to Begin Writing a Research Paper
Writing a research paper is a daunting task especially to a student aiming to fulfill the requirements of a college degree. One of the difficulties associated with this task is inadequate preparation or lack of appropriate knowledge and skills to undertake an investigative inquiry. Usually, students are confounded and they do not know how to begin writing a research paper. How should they be able to begin writing one?
Research, upon closer scrutiny, is not really that difficult as long as one is well-equipped with a good knowledge and understanding on how it works. Hereunder are ways on how to get over this quandary.
1. Know what your interests are
To begin writing a research paper, you must know those things that really interest you. Are you inclined to learn about how people behave? Or maybe, you would like to find out or discover the solution to a problem. In writing a research paper, it pays to write about things that matter to you most and can give you satisfaction. You can make a list of those things that cause you to ponder or strike your curiosity.
For instance, you might want to ask yourself the following questions to serve as your guide:
- What are the things that you like to do when you were still small?
- Are you shy (introvert) or gregarious (extrovert)?
- Which subjects do you really like to study (without thinking of it as a requirement)?
- What do people say about you? Do you have special talents?
You can easily recall the things that you did when you were small and you can gain insight from this. If you are an introvert, then you might want to explore those things that do not require dealing with people. Or if you are an extrovert, then your research might be accomplished by talking with people to learn more about it. There are subjects in college where you get good grades, and then those subjects may well be your real interests. What people say you are able to do well means you can excel in those areas.
2. Observe around you
Once you have already identified which fact, event, issue or problem interests you, open your eyes widely, activate your sense of smell or hear, feel or taste something. Observe what's going on around you bearing in mind that specific subject you have in mind. A researcher is keen in observing things. Can you remember the color of the lowest traffic light signal lamp, or the number of buttons in your shirt? Chances are, you don't exactly know.
3. Review literature and studies about your subject
In writing a research paper, you need not do things which have already been done before. But how will you know if somebody has already done something like what you plan to do? It pays to be original in your ideas. If nobody knows about your subject, then you become the authority! How can people refute or criticize you for presenting ideas which they do not know something about?
You will then need to read a lot of literature covering your subject matter. This is to identify the gap in knowledge or avoid "reinventing the wheel" they say. Thus, you can define a way forward where you avoid duplicating the work of others. Why do something which others have already done? That's a waste of money and time.
4. Talk to people with similar interests
Talking to people about things that also interest them will provide you a great deal of insights necessary to begin writing a research paper. The experiences of people are valuable that could serve as input to your intended research topic. In the process, you will also gain friends or contacts that can help facilitate the conduct of your research.
5. Take Notes and Make an Outline
Taking notes is very important as you progress in your research. Your notes can be handwritten or you can use a voice activated tape recorder, which you can buy at any electronic store. If you take hand written notes, make sure you can read them later.
Make an outline when you start your research, a quick outline as to what you hope to accomplish in your research and what you want to write about. This outline can change as your research moves along, because you might decide on different approaches to your research topic.
Applying these tips on how to begin writing a research paper should enable you to come up with new, original, ideas. Take your notes and pen and capture these ideas else they fly and escape your grasp.
©2012 June 30 Patrick A. Regoniel