How To Organize A Good Research Paper: The Simple Method
Many students learn well visually. If you are this type of student, you may want to consider using text boxes. Each main point goes into a text box on your computer. After filling them all in with the information, you can manipulate and arrange them into different orders until they form a logical, organized pattern. This is a very simple method. There are others that may work for you as well.
Refining your topic is where you need to start. Ask the questions who, what, when, where, why and how. Write down some notes in answer to each of these questions. Use this information to narrow the scope of your topic so that you are able to cover all aspects of it within the boundaries of page or word count for your paper.
Beginning the research
Staying organized during this phase is essential. You will be going through a lot of reading material searching for the main ideas and supporting evidence for your topic. You will also need to write a thesis statement or question, which is a vital component of your paper.
There are a few things that will help you stay organized:
- Keep all your research sources and notes in one place. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have everything all together and then realizing you are missing something.
- Use a piece of software to keep track of your citations. It really helps you to keep the format and style you are required to have for your research paper.
- You should do your research work in several big chunks if possible, instead of spreading it out in lots of little chunks of time. The advantage to this method is that you are less likely to forget where you left off last time.
Putting together your paper
Gather all your materials and sources together into one spot. Sort through your notes and begin to make a list of all the main ideas that support your topic. These main points will become your paragraphs. Each one gets its own paragraph, and you will use the supplementary ideas for support. The simplest way to accomplish this is to make an outline. Each main idea is a paragraph heading in your outline, and then you should have 3 to 5 minor points under each one. As you create your outline it will become apparent to you if you need to gather more resources before you begin writing.