How to write your college paper

Writing college papers is hard, exhausting and can be plain annoying if you don’t know what you’re doing. A lot of students struggle with writing papers because after High School they are completely new to writing long articles. They also have to write scientifically and research and follow the styling guidelines and they have only written two or three papers in their life that were only around two pages long. I get a ton of question from my first-year students about how to write a college paper, so I thought I’ll publish them here and help some more college starters.

First off, you’ll have to pick your research question. I already published an article on how to do that, so head on over there if you don’t have a clue where to start. It’s my foolproof way of choosing an interesting topic that your professor might want to read. However, keep in mind that we professors have to read your paper no matter if we like the subject or not, so don’t worry too much about us.

a female student is writing on  a comuter

One thing all students struggle with is time management. Set yourself a specific time when you want to do your research, when to write and when you want to finish your work. Remember to add time for proofreading, editing and so on. For a 15-page essay, I’d plan two or three days for research, then around a week for writing if you work on it every day and then add three more days, so the chosen people have enough time to proofread. You can, of course, shorten the research time and the time for correcting, but I noticed that this formula works marvelously.

Next, comes research and finding relatable and trustworthy sources. A scientific paper has to have at least three reliable sources which must be included in the bibliography of your text book or you’ll ask your professor about authors and books that he or she knows. If you do that, make sure actually to include the stated source, or your professor could be surprised when reading your paper. Make sure to read your sources and summarize each with notable quotes and thoughts. It will help write your paper quicker and better.

Before finally writing the paper now, you should draft an outline that you can hang on to when you’re stuck. Introduction and conclusion should be around ten percent of your paper, leaving the central part to around 80%. Try to have a red line throughout your whole article that guides the reader from one discussion point to the next and leaves him without confusion. Your personal opinion does not matter in a college paper at all, however, in the conclusion you could write that the topic hasn’t been researched enough yet or what questions are still left open and so on.

The last step will be editing the essay according to the style guide, proofreading and finally turning your masterpiece in! I’m sure you did a great job.

Finding a topic for your research paper

Welcome back to my TextGarden! I hope you had an excellent week so far and are ready to dig into your work. I’ve been teaching at the college for a few years now, and one problem that most students have is finding a topic for their research paper. I mean, they get off of High School with the five paragraph formula drilled in their head and then they have to write their first 10-page essay and even find a topic by themselves? I get it, it’s overwhelming, and you just don’t know where to start. That’s why I assembled these following tips on how to find a kick-ass topic for your research essay.

Okay, I usually don’t give my students specific questions for their essays, but they visited my course and can write about any topic that we have covered in class. So, the first thing I advise them to do is doing some background reading on the subject they liked most. I’d suggest the library and an encyclopedia for that, but the Internet works just fine, too. Afterward, they can search through the library’s website to find relevant books and recent journal articles relating to the chosen subject.

After reading a little bit into everything, think about what questions or problems arose or if something is confusing or interesting to you. I noticed that most students write the best papers if they have powerful feelings about it – no matter if they hate it or love it. Let’s say the class is about crime management and you were interested in the articles about cyber crime, then choose that for your general topic.

Now that’s not enough for your research essay just yet. You need to be as accurate as possible so that you can get into the depths of the topic. Staying with cyber crime, you could examine the effects on society or how police forces can be trained to prevent further cyber crimes. These are already pretty precise and perfectly suited to be your topic, you’ll just need to transfer them into questions. Instead of how police forces can be trained to prevent further crimes in the cyber world, you could write in what ways can police forces be trained to obviate cyber crimes?

Last, but not least, I always encourage my students to visit me and discuss the chosen topic with me after they have taken care of all the points above. I can give them feedback and advice on the selected subject and sometimes even provide them with some tips on awesome literature.

These tips seemed to have helped my student a great lot, and I hope they will help you just as much!