- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Sure Points: Writing and Researching of an Academic Paper

Writing an academic paper can be a daunting process that taxes the writer’s knowledge, health, and sanity. The secret is to break this process into manageable steps. Learning how to research and write an academic paper becomes a manageable and eventually natural skill that may cover a wide variety of future academic papers.

Writer Research

Choose a single, clear topic. The narrower the topic, the easier it is to write and research. For instance, studying Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken gives the writer far more focus than studying his entire poetry collection, which could take thousands of pages to fully cover. When you decide on a topic, choose what direction you want the paper to go. What are you trying to convince the reader of? What is the reason for writing this essay?

Once you have a topic and argument in mind, write out a tentative outline. This may be as a formal outline or simply bullet points from brainstorming your ideas. As you research and write, your outline will become more defined. An outline is also a good way to meet the required number of pages, by assigning a word count to each section of the outline.

With your topic and outline in mind, it’s now time to research your topic. There are many sources of research for an academic paper. Teachers prefer that students avoid sources such as Wikipedia and SparkNotes. Do your research from books, textbooks, published magazines, newspapers, authoritative websites (such as .edu sites), and scholarly journals. As you research, consider what you find, and how you’ll use that in your paper.

You may still continue your research as you write your paper. Getting the words on paper is usually the most difficult part of writing an essay due to nervousness. It may not seem effective. You may be unhappy with the quality of your writing. Keep in mind that your first version is a rough draft. The point is to get your ideas onto the paper, instead of making a finished product.

An academic paper most often has this structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. An introduction is meant to introduce the writer to your topic. The body is meant to prove your argument. And the conclusion is meant to reiterate and emphasize the significance of what you’ve written. If you need a thesis (your argument summed up in a single sentence) it should be at the end of the introduction, and sometimes repeated in the first sentence of your conclusion. Your paragraphs should be little sub-topics to your essay’s main topic. And the sentences should provide your research and direct evidence to prove each sub-topic.

Once you’ve written your rough draft, write your second draft. Take out weak or irrelevant points that don’t contribute to your argument. Consider your research and anything else you may want to add. Are the paragraphs and sentence in the right order, or would it be more effective changing them around? If a first draft is about writing out your ideas, the second draft is about making it convincing and well structured. In your final draft, always proofread your paper. Is it easy to understand? Is it free of spelling and grammar errors? Such errors can weaken an otherwise great academic paper.

There may be a required format such as APA or MLA. Your teacher may provide you with information on how to format your paper, by correctly writing quotes and a sources page. A great online website for finding out how to cite your academic format is Purdue Online Writing Lab.

About Writer - Author and Editor

As an ambitious professional writer, I pride myself on being highly adaptable to different scholarly fields and unique prompts. While in college, I enjoyed a number of diverse experiences that have shaped my life and the way in which I write. For example, when I worked as a private chef while in college, I learned to make efficient use of time and always be prepared. Though not improving my writing through recipe writing, I developed a penchant for using scheduling software, which I have continued to use since.

Participating in moot court competitions improved the eloquence in speech and, I believe, in writing, though only useful in a handful of academic writing scenarios. My interests include reading classical literature, reading philosophy, and playing sports. Because I am somewhat introverted, I enjoy working from home and hate disappointing other. Coupled with my perfectionist tendencies, this makes me a productive writer who almost never misses deadlines. I am also a great listener, one of the qualities of a great writer, mentioned on the CustomPapers.com blog entry on that very subject. I become absorbed with topics that I write about, often researching deeper into particular fields of interest associated with paper on which I am working. Researching is a necessary form of preparation during the writing process.

Because good research is so vital to the production of quality academic works, I dedicate a significant allotment of time to research and never settle for sub-par or even simply on-par research articles to supplement my own original ideas expressed in such works. Also, my experience as a professional writer has allowed me to become proficient in APA, MLA, and Chicago style formatting. In fact, I have even prepared three templates for these three styles, to be used for any writing project requiring use of any of them. Additionally, I am familiar with a variety of other less common styles such as Bluebook, ASA, and AMA.

My professional writing experience includes the production of a 70-page honors thesis, graduate works in engineering, philosophical works covering both analytical and theoretical sub-fields, and a number of works in humanities and the social sciences. In addition, my occupational background uniquely qualifies me for professional work writing about business, technology, and management. While working as an executive chef, I learned how to successfully and productively run a business, including tax and corporate law. My work as a project manager required me to delve into management and finance. Finally, when I worked as a web designer, I learned the fundamental principles of design and a deep appreciation and comprehension in technology. Combined with my diverse educational background, my occupational experience qualifies me for work in a number of scholastic fields. Paralleled only by my perfectionist attitudes towards grammar, spelling, and word choice in research papers is my ability to manifest originality in essays. Despite that certain academic papers require an abundance of creativity and originality, such as creative writing papers and essays, other papers, such as those in the sciences and literature reviews, require an absence of creativity, either of which I am well-experienced in.

Above all, I enjoy producing outstanding prose that is virtually without error. My talents for writing are bolstered by my talents for research. I am familiar with all of the major formatting styles and have already prepared writing templates for the styles of APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. My preparation and talents demonstrate my work ethic and dedication to producing high quality works on time. Though I hate to miss deadlines, I would never sacrifice quality for quantity in writing and, thus, am always willing to ask for extensions on the rare occasions in which, for quality purposes, I require them.