How Can Students Learn Proper Research and Writing?
A wise man once quipped that, “the greatest part of a writer’s time is spent on reading” (Johnson, n.d. ). This quote rings especially true in the field of teaching students the art of conducting research and writing. To many students, writing is an uphill task especially given the fact that in most college courses, writing assignments are a key part of the course. The situation is further complicated by an assumption that at this point in their academic journeys; students have grasped the basics of research skills. Unfortunately this is not the case and many students have no idea where to start to write a commendable research paper.
Writing assignments at college level require that a student should focus on a topic by conducting related research, establish research questions and then use the research gathered to generate an academically correct paper with proper citations. While this is the expectation how can students do it all?
According to Wax learning how to conduct proper research and write is best done through a step by step process. First, if the topic is not provided the student should identify a topic that is not too technical and one that has a wide range of source materials (A Research Guide for Students , n.d. ). The topic should also focus on a limited subject for instance a topic on fashion could be narrowed to women’s fashion and further narrowed down to a particular item like handbags. The next step is conducting background research on the topic chosen. King calls this as the first commandment of research writing. While Wikipedia is not a good citation source due to its ed. Nature, it is a good place to start the research.
By using keywords on the search engine, Wikipedia is perfect for giving a succinct summary of the topic in question. With this overview in mind, the writer should then start reading scholarly works on the topic in a bid to find answers to the clear research questions that were asked in step one during topic selection. It is worth noting that while conducting secondary research, the student should watch out for domain name extensions which indicate reliable sites like .edu. Books and journal articles are also great scholarly articles which can be easily found on the online public access catalogue. While reading, the student should note down the full bibliographical information that will be used later for citation purposes and to avoid plagiarism (A Research Guide for Students , n.d. ). King adds that both secondary and primary research should be conducted because a review of the latter through mediums like memoirs or statistics increases the reliability of the research.
Wax explains that after conducting research, the next step is to write an outline which creates a system of how the student plans to organize their ideas in the paper. A good outline is thus a critical step in writing a logical paper. All the research gathered should thus be organized and analyzed according to the outline. Analysis includes synthesis of information, noting down the thesis statement and opposing statements. After this is done the student should then write their first draft. The draft should then be revised before penning down the final paper. This should be followed a thorough proofreading accompanied by a look at the assignment sheet to ensure the paper fully complies with the assignment instructions. It can thus be summed that, the best way for a student to learn the art of proper research and writing is through a procedural method of learning each individual step.
A Research Guide for Students . (n.d. ). Chapter 1. How to Write an A+ Research Paper. Retrieved from A Research Guide for Students.
Essay News for Writers, Students, and Research Services. Retrieved from: https://essaynews.com
Johnson, S. (n.d. ). Quotes About Research. Retrieved from Good Reads.
King, C. How to Write a Research Paper. Georgetown University.
Wax, D. Advice for Students: 10 Steps Toward Better Research.
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