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How To Write A Research Paper

I have had the privilege of being an educator for almost thirty years, and involved in education for more than 3 decades. During those years I have taught younger students, grades 9-12, college prep and most recently at the college level. For me, it was a constant battle keeping learning fun, interactive and rewarding for each student. As my classes focused on older kids, making the gradual change from young to older, I noticed a common concern that each maturity level of kids became overwhelmed by: how to write a dissertation.

Initially, I thought nothing of the response I received when asking for such assignments to be completed. At first, I simply defined the usual groaning as a student's dislike of my love for homework. But, what I was dismissing and defining as being disgruntled, actually had much more significance; these pupils were sometimes downright unnerved when they heard mention of a "research paper".

Worry about the unknown, being buried in heavy tomes, and not having a clue how to brainstorm research paper ideas was frequent. college-age students envisioning a brick wall to climb, because they didn't know how to write a research paper, rarely truly believed me that in life's big picture, completing a dissertation, even one that was ten to thirty pages long, was barely a grain of sand on a beach, compared to much more significant, life impacting challenges they'd eventually face as grownups. Those words fell on a non-responsive audience much of the time.

Unable to look towards the larger arena or the long view, their immediate truth was a looming time limit that could only be met by participating in an activity they weren't interested in, that conflicted with their extracurricular activities or that made them uneasy facing the unknown: how to write a research paper, and do it right - not just to pass or fail, but measure up to the criteria that high schools, universities, colleges and graduate schools, both public and private, hold in high value.

When I first began teaching at the post high-school level I planned to give a full term assignment to write a research paper on a(n) subject of every individual's most passionate interest.

The dean of our department warned me that this would cause me many headaches. He said that even at a college level, simply hearing that you have to write a research paper usually sent many students into a counter-productive funk.

Determined, I ignored his advice and ventured into research paper neverland. The first session of the term I handed out the outline for the semester. This included the title of the selected text, test dates and the assignment that everyone would write a research paper.
I explained that the tests as well as the participation in class confabs would be a majority of the grade and the research paper would be the other third. I handed out time lines and due dates for the dissertation. I wanted the topic they chose as well as a rough outline completed in the first fortnight and then various progress reports throughout the term.

My agenda and execution of my set schedule "forced" things to be done in small increments, rather than the typical giant one, when many students, kids or adults, sit down at the last minute and try to accomplish a semester's worth of work in one marathon of study. Unnecessary tension and nervousness in my mind. And with the basics of how to effectively write a research paper tackled in small sections throughout the class, semester or year depending on subject and / or school, initial stress about even the most simple part, research paper ideas, seemed less and less an issue of worry.

Whether narrowing down a long catalog of paragraphs formatted neat and succinctly summarizing research paper ideas, writing each necessary part, keeping each research paper properly formatted for a teacher who was known to be very picky about such particulars, or pacing themselves to guarantee assignment completion by the due date, when deconstructed into smaller sections, how to write a research paper woes slowly, but surely disappear. Stay tuned for the next article: Research Paper Ideas, the Easy Way.

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