How Do I Start My Research Paper?
We previously explored the art of writing an excellent research paper. All the basic information about research papers such as the different types of research papers and the structure of a research paper was covered. The articles on choosing an effective research paper topic, evaluating the relevance of your chosen topic and formulating an excellent thesis statement are critical prerequisites in the application of this guide. .
That being said, how do you start an essay? You know the type of research paper you will be working on, you have chosen your essay topic, and have formulated your thesis statement. How then do you proceed?
You already have all the information you need to know to start your research topic. Nonetheless, we know you are probably experiencing writers’ block – not knowing what to do next now that you have your essay topic and thesis statement.
The truth is, starting an essay is the most challenging stage of your research paper writing process. You are not certain the approach to take or even if your points will connect in a logical manner.
The Process of Starting of Your Research Paper
At this point, it is presumed that you already have a topic for your essay: either it was given or you choose it. Once you have a topic, it’s time we start off your research paper writing as per the steps below:
· Do a Preliminary Research
The best way to start off your preliminary research is breaking down your research paper topic into several keywords without much thinking actually. Use the keywords to research any information you might get for each of the keywords you generated. You might want to take some notes as they may prove beneficial while writing your paper.
Your preliminary research should involve skimming through the sources you get noting major points. The process shouldn’t take much of your time if you have the necessary research skills.
· Formulate Your Thesis Statement
Using the information you have gained, develop a thesis statement for your research paper.
· Conduct Your Final Research
Using your thesis statement to guide you, select academically credible and relevant sources you will use to write your essay.
Where Do I Get Sources to Use for My Research Paper?
There are various platforms from where you can identify sources to use. Most students use their college’s library or even the public library. Others use online databases provided by your college such as EBSCOhost and ProQuest.
The one thing you should know is that the comprehensiveness of your research and how fast you do it depends on your research skills.
Unless specified otherwise, you should try to use online databases or the internet – specifically Google scholar and Google books. Even during instances when you are required to use library resources, checking online platforms for relevant sources will give you a heads-up on where to start looking while doing a search in the library.
The beauty about use of internet and databases to research is that you get access to unlimited number of sources to start you off on your research paper.
The Process of Researching to Help You Start Your Research Paper
Now that we know of the places to research on, it is time we understood the process of researching to get information to use while writing your essay.
ü Brainstorm on the Research Paper Topic
Using the ideas you got during preliminary research and other materials such as the rubric, think about aspects such as:
What is/are the objective(s) of the research paper?
How best do I cover all the objectives?
What is/are the best approach(es) to use for the research paper?
What are some of the areas I might face difficulties?
How do I address the challenges I might face?
The best way to brainstorm is by activating your subconscious thinking. Do whatever helps you to activate your subconscious thinking such as walking, listening to music or even bird watching.
The use of subconscious mind is highly beneficial especially when working on a challenging topic. It is a key to good writing among other things. That's why great scientists such as Marconi, Einstein and Edison relied heavily on subconscious mind.
No matter what you do to activate your subconscious thinking, you should have a place to quickly note the ideas you get.
ü Use Keywords to Research Valid and Relevant Scholarly Sources to Use
Use your keywords to research on the internet especially the Google Scholar. There are numerous resources available in the platform for you to use. In case you have access to an online database such as EBSCOhost and ProQuest, check for possible sources you did not access using Google Scholar.
Be certain to have more sources by the end of your research than you need so that you can then filter then to only remain with the best. Remember that you have not yet started our essay. You are researching information to help us start writing and you don't want to do research again once we start writing the essay.
You might also want to keep the sources that you filtered out as they may be important in expanding your discussion when writing your paper. You can also get some ideas to use in your discussion as you start your essay.
ü Make an Outline or a Mind Map
Your essay ought to show logical progression and good transition from one section to another. The best way to achieve this requirement is to develop an outline or a mind gap. The outline or the mind gap is the framework that will guide the flow of your essay once you start writing it.
Your outline need to comprise the strategy you are going to use to write your introduction, the topic sentences for each paragraph and ideas to use to support your point and how your will conclude your paper. You should also indicate the source of each idea so that you won't have to recheck your sources once you start writing. You want to be as swift as possible when writing your essay.
ü It’s Time to Write Your Essay
Once you are done with your outline, the next thing is to write your essay.
How then do you write your essay?
How to Start Writing Your Essay
You have all the information we need to write the essay. It is time to do the write-up.
a. How to Start Your Essay Introduction
Writing an excellent introduction in essential in capturing the attention of the reader. You definitely want to attract your reader's attention for them to desire to read the whole paper. A good introduction should also be written in a manner that lays ground for your paper.
There are various strategies to start your introduction. For instance, you can state an interesting fact, give a dramatic description, highlight a recent discovery that is intriguing or even pose a question.
b. How to Start Your Body Paragraphs
The body of your essay is the trunk that serves to clarify, support and oppose conflicting ideas. Your body paragraphs should start with the topic sentence- the argument supporting or opposing your thesis statement. Your topic sentence should be your own inference on the topic. Your should then support your topic sentence using your research while including citations appropriately. Each of your paragraphs needs to be about 150 words.
c. How to Start Your Conclusion
The concluding paragraph is your opportunity to restated and prove your point based on your research. Often, you should restate your thesis statement followed by brief summaries of major findings. You should consider incorporating excellent transitioning phrase such as ‘in summation’, ‘in conclusion’ or ‘in light of the discussion above’ and many others that can be applied.
Things You Should Avoid When Starting to Write Your Essay
When you want to start writing your essay, there are things and/or practices that you need to avoid. Here are some of the major issues we have found to cause trouble to most students when starting of their essays.
Ø Failure to do a preliminary research and brainstorm on your essay before you start
This limits your understanding of the premise of your paper. The scope of your discussion is also greatly limited as well as failure to consider different approaches to your essay. Subsequently, you deny yourself the ability to choose the best approach to use that guarantees you high chances of passing.
Ø Failure to have an outline
Unless you have good mastery of essay writing, you should never start your essay without a well-developed essay outline. Lack of an outline for your essay has dire consequences. For instance, you might end up exhausting all your points without having met your required essay length. You could also digress from your area of focus while working on your essay.
Ø Ensure good transition throughout your essay
Having good transition enables your reader to easily understand the flow of your ideas. The reader will appreciate the logical flow of ideas by reading through the whole paper.
Ø Ensure your arguments are backed by sufficient literature
The worst thing you can do while writing your essay is to base it on opinion unless that’s the objective of the essay. Your paper should be well supported by previous literature to avoid being disregarded due to possible fallacies or opinions in that matter.
Ø Don’t rush
Take time to plan how you are going to work on your essay!
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