Research paper? What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the "treasure" of others thoughts? Whatever image you create, it is a sure bet that you are envisioning sources of information--articles, books, people, artworks. Yet a research paper is more than the sum of your sources, more than a collection of different pieces of information about a topic, and more than a review of the literature in a field. A research paper analyzes a perspective or argues a point. Regardless of the type of research paper you are writing, your finished research paper should present your own thinking backed up by others ideas and information.
Take a trip to your local library or university library. Although it may seem old fashioned, libraries are chock full of helpful research materials from books to newspapers and magazines to journals. Don’t be afraid to ask the librarian for help either - they are trained in research and know where everything about your topic is located.
Use clear segues into adjacent points in your paper. Your essay should flow well, rather than stopping and starting in a blunt fashion. Make sure that each of your body paragraphs flows nicely into the one after it.
Most research papers begin with a thesis statement at the end of an introductory paragraph. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s a good idea to write a thesis statement as you begin to organize your research. Writing the thesis statement first is helpful because every argument or point you make in your paper should support this central idea you’re putting forward.