When you are first assigned a research paper, you will probably have one of two reactions. On the one hand, you might dread the whole process, feel overwhelmed, or turn into a nervous wreck. On the other hand, you might be excited, looking forward to the opportunity to fully explore a topic that really appeals to you. If you react the second way, you are ready to get started. You already have the positive attitude that will help you achieve your goals. If you react the first way, you'll need to take another look at the situation. You are capable of completing this assignment, and with some guidance along the way you can stop fearing the process and instead work your way through it step by step. As you progress, you just might find yourself enjoying the challenge.
A research paper can be a very intriguing project. You are usually given at least partial freedom to select your own topic. Therefore, you can pick something that you find personally fascinating. You can conduct research on a topic that you feel strongly about or that you have a desire to learn more about. And you will learn much, much more about it than you otherwise would. Because you will collect research from such a wide variety of sources, and then compare and analyze it using your own opinions and ideas, you will gain a mastery of your topic. Instead of the paper being a dull and boring report on a topic that doesn't interest you, you'll be inspired to write an interesting and fun paper because you really care about the topic.
This book guides you through every phase of the project and explains in detail how to accomplish each task. If you don't know how to get started or what to do along the way, you can simply follow the sequence of steps. Those of you who have some experience with research projects can just go to the section or chapter that pertains to your needs.
As you read through this book, you will learn exactly what a research paper involves, how to choose a suitable topic, and how to schedule your time so that you complete the paper by the due date without a last-minute panic. You will learn how to make full use of all research sources, including traditional reference materials, the Internet, films, television, radio, music recordings, museums, and government institutions. After that you will find out how to conduct an interview, and with whom. You will learn how to take good notes and how to format your research sources for the bibliography. You will learn how to prepare an outline and how to organize your notes into the best order for writing the draft versions of your paper. You will find out how to check your facts, spelling, and grammar, and ensure well-crafted writing. You will be shown which graphic elements could be included in your paper to improve its value. You then will learn how to produce your final draft of the research paper, how to present it orally, and how to publish it. The last chapter discusses the new skills you acquired through this process, and other ways in which you can apply them.