1. Planning a Paper

Discovering what interests you and how to share ideas with your readers is a strong beginning for a research paper that will take you beyond your current level of knowledge.

Completed quizzes
0/10
We hope you enjoy this complimentary research tutorial.
Please note that progress and scores are only saved for our active members. Your work will be lost once you leave this website. For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a free, 1-day trial.
1.1  Selecting a topic that interests you 0 of 2 quizzes completed

Video

Selecting a topic that interests you

Learn different brainstorming practices to help you write a paper you’ll enjoy working on.

Example

Narrow your topic

Ask questions about your subject and work with your assignment to choose an interesting, manageable topic.

Quizzes

  1. 1.

    Brainstorming a topic

    Know various ways to go about brainstorming a topic for your paper.

  2. 2.

    Narrowing your topic

    Focus in on a specific topic once you have brainstormed preliminary topics.

1.2  Considering what your readers know about the topic 0 of 2 quizzes completed

Video

Considering what your readers know about the topic

Understanding your audience can help you find ways to connect your writing with their knowledge and expectations.

Example

Consider your audience

Pose questions about the readers of your research project to determine what kinds of sources and evidence they will find most persuasive.

Quizzes

  1. 1.

    Thinking about your audience

    Consider how your audience and what they know will influence your argument.

  2. 2.

    Thinking about a single reader

    Think about your instructor as a reader of your research paper, and about what they expect academically.

1.3  Developing an objective stance 0 of 2 quizzes completed

Video

Developing an objective stance

Offer an informed opinion by thinking critically about your topic to strengthen your credibility as a writer.

Example

Consider what you know about your topic

Considering your own attitudes, experience, and stance on your topic will help you develop a reasonable research plan and locate useful evidence later on.

Quizzes

  1. 1.

    Understanding objectivity

    Be aware of the role that objectivity plays in your research and argument.

  2. 2.

    Using sources objectively

    Research sources in a way that strengthens both your argument and your credibility.

1.4  Composing a thesis 0 of 2 quizzes completed

Video

Composing a thesis

Creating the right thesis for your paper can help you focus your research and develop a topic that is interesting for you and your readers.

Example

Move from research question to working thesis

As you preview sources and consider what you already know, aim to draft a statement of your working thesis and what you believe your research will show.

Quizzes

  1. 1.

    Writing a thesis statement

    Understand how and when to write a thesis statement.

  2. 2.

    Refining your thesis

    Evaluate and revise your thesis statement to accurately represent your argument.

1.5  Organizing your ideas 0 of 2 quizzes completed

Video

Organizing your ideas

A well-organized paper with a recognizable structure will be easier to compose and will leave your readers with a clear understanding of your topic.

Example

Organize major ideas in formal or informal outlines

Using your working thesis and major ideas, you can develop an outline to organize your project.

Quizzes

  1. 1.

    Using an argument or comparison and contrast organization

    Determine whether to use argument or comparison and contrast to organize your paper.

  2. 2.

    Using a narrative or cause and effect organization

    Determine whether to use a narrative or cause and effect to organize your paper.