How to Research a Paper

Got a big research paper? It's not nearly as daunting if you break it down into steps.

You will need

  • Good Library
  • Notebook
  • Internet Access
  • Expert to Interview

Step 1 Decide your objective Spend some time thinking about what you want your paper to accomplish. Do you want it to prove your viewpoint? Explain a topic? You’ll want to have a clear focus before you begin your research.

Step 2 List key words Make a list of key words that will be helpful in locating information when you conduct online and offline searches.

Step 3 Go to the library Go to the library. Yeah, we know—you think you can find everything you need with your laptop. But to get an actual book on a topic, plus find academic papers, journals, and other subscriber-only materials, you’ll need to head to a library.

Step 4 Check library indexes Use the library’s indexes to find articles in periodicals, like trade journals and magazines. They’ll contain the very latest information on your subject.

Step 5 Go online Okay, now you can do some online research by plugging in those key words you listed at the start. Only take information from reputable sites and organizations.

Step 6 Find statistics While you’re researching the facts, don’t forget the figures. Find useful statistics.

Step 7 Don't forget the videos Don’t forget the videos. See if there are any documentaries on your topic.

Step 8 Start writing Organize your research, mull it over, and then start writing!