How to Write Effective Research Papers

18Jul07

Dustin Wax at Lifehack.com posted a good article on how to write effective research papers.

Wax’s main points in the article:

  • Write about something you’re passionate about.
  • Write a strong thesis.
  • Use yourself as a source.
  • Consult the experts.
  • Choose your audience.

I strongly recommend you take a look at the article for the explanation to each of the above bullet points. The one thing that I thoroughly identified with in this post is that the best papers you write are something you are passionate about.

This past spring semester, I took a writing-intensive course on ‘Comparative Children’s Literature’. I have no interest in pursuing this area in the future, but the course ended up being great success. The professor let us decide what we wanted to write about within a general framework for every assignment. It was surprising to see how much motivation I could muster up when the topic was something I felt like writing.

One thing that I would add to the article is about finding sources. One of Dux’s points is that one way to collect material/evidence for your paper is to consult experts in the field. I write for the College Newspaper and this method is a good way to assemble facts for a news story. For a research paper however, I think this method reveals a degree of laziness on the part of the student. It is our job to sit down, look at the big picture, and make sense of the horde of information in front of us.

Do you have any tips you rely on when writing your papers?

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