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How to start a research paper: Step-by-Step Guide

7 Steps On How To Begin A Research Paper Easily

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Your tone is your attitude toward the subject you're presenting. Is your tone detached, amused, slightly cynical, suspicious, or more passionate? Whatever the tone is, it has to be appropriate to the subject matter. If you're writing an essay about stem-cell research, for example, your tone should be objective and detached; if you were writing an essay about online dating, you could take a more amused or playful tone.

Though it may be fun to jump right into an essay without knowing exactly what you're talking about, the best thing you can do is to do your research first so you build a solid foundation for your thinking. Get the texts you need, take notes, and read them until you feel that you've mastered the topic and have enough information to write an essay or formulate an argument. Make sure that the materials you use are credible and come from established professionals.

Don't do your research on Wikipedia. Take enough notes to be comfortable with the subject. Know what makes an appropriate thesis statement. Once you've done your research, you'll need to write a thesis statement, which will be the central argument or point that you'll be making throughout the paper.

Though you can outline some basic ideas first or find several main ideas that stand out to you, you should not begin writing the essay without a clear idea of what your thesis statement should be. One example of a thesis statement is the following: Write a thesis statement. Write a thesis statement that makes an argument clearly and precisely and which can be argued.

You can't write a thesis about how unicorns exist because you can't prove that, and you can't write a thesis about how smoking is bad for your health because that can't really be argued. Instead, pick an interesting, relevant argument to your subject matter and pick at least two or three specific details to help you argue your point.

Here are some examples of different thesis statements: Once you have a thesis statement, you should create an outline that will serve as the roadmap to the rest of your paper, which will help you know exactly what to put in each paragraph. This will make your thoughts logical and organized and will keep you from getting overwhelmed or changing your mind halfway through the paper.

The outline should include the introductory paragraph, the body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraphs, citing as much specific evidence as possible. Here's an example of an outline of an essay with the following thesis statement: The introduction is comprised of three parts: The first part, the hook, should be a way to draw your readers in and to have them read the rest of your essay.

The hook should relate to your main point and should get your readers engaged so that they want to keep reading. Here are some examples of hooks: Asking a question that helps draw the readers into the central debate you're discussing can help get their attention.

For example, an essay that supports gay marriage can start with the question, "Shouldn't any person be able to marry the person he loves? Starting with a shocking statement or statistic relevant to your topic can help get the reader's attention. Starting with a short anecdote relevant to your thesis can help draw your readers in.

For example, if you were writing an essay about the difficulty of being a single mother, you could start by saying, "Jane was struggling to make ends meet while trying to take care of her son, Randy.

State your main points. Once you've hooked your readers with a strong statement, it's time to spend at least one sentence or two describing each main point, so that your readers know what to expect. For example, if you're writing an essay with the following thesis statement: Once you've hooked your readers and stated your main points, all you have to do is state your thesis. It tends to work best as the last sentence in the introductory paragraph, though sometimes the essay can be successful if you place the thesis earlier in the introduction.

The introductory paragraph and the thesis should work like a road map to the rest of the essay, so that the reader knows what to expect in the rest of the paper. To recap, a successful start to a college essay, or an introductory paragraph, should include the following: A "hook" to get the reader's attention A brief discussion of the main points that will be covered in the body of the essay The thesis statement.

Write body paragraphs. Once you've found your thesis statement and have written that introductory paragraph, much of the hard work of the essay is over. Now, you'll have to jump into the body paragraphs that will develop the main points you've made in your thesis statement, and which will help inform or persuade your readers. You should have body paragraphs or more, depending on the length of the essay. Each body paragraph should include the following: Supporting details, evidence, facts, or statistics that develop the main point.

A concluding sentence that wraps up the ideas in the paragraph and transitions to the next body paragraph. Once you have your introduction and your three body paragraphs, you should write a conclusion that wraps up the ideas you've introduced and explained in your essay.

The conclusion should do several things: Remember to stick to the third person. Writing in the third person unless you're told not to do so is a very important aspect of writing a successful college essay.

You should never say "I think Instead of saying, "I think abortion should remain legal in the United States," you can say, "Abortion should remain legal in the United States," to make your argument sound more forceful.

You should avoid the first and the second person. Don't say "you" -- say "one," "he or she," or use the appropriate pronoun. Instead of saying, "You should spend hours a week if you want to succeed in college," say, "College students should spend hours a week studying if they want to succeed.

Once you've written your rough draft, you should go back and revise the essay and check for any lapses in your logic, and unproved points, or any weak arguments. You may also find that not everything in the essay is relevant, that your ideas are repetitive, and that you may need to tweak your thesis a bit -- that's only natural. Once you feel that the essay is solid, you can revise it for grammar and punctuation.

You should start by writing an introduction, followed by your main paragraph. Finally you should write an argument paragraph followed by a conclusion.

An explanation process paper may end up looking a lot like a cause and effect paper, since cause-effect relationships are by nature sequential. There is room for overlap among various modes of writing, and seldom does a piece of writing "purely" represent one mode only.

Once you have identified the steps, list them in sequential order. If there is a trick to writing a process paper, it is to take the time to look at the steps you have listed as if you had never seen them before. Imagine you know nothing of the process you plan to describe. Read over your steps critically to see whether you have omitted anything.

Sometimes the most ordinary processes are the most difficult to describe, as any writer of the "how to tie a shoelace" exercise knows! If you can, try following your own steps to the letter to see if they do, in fact, bring about the desired result. No cheating-if you must do something not already on your list of steps, add it.

Forming transitions Listing and numbering steps for prewriting is relatively easy. Describing steps in prose is a little different. The use of "first," "second," and "third" is little more than listing; there are a whole array of signal words, or transitions, to help you shed light on processes.

Most of the following transitions are also suitable for narratives, which, like process papers, usually use chronological, or time, order. Notice the signal words and phrases in the following student paper telling how to get to class on time this paper combines how-to, explanation, and narrative elements:. Your success as a student begins with getting yourself to class, and getting yourself to class begins night before.

Choose and lay out your clothes. That way in the morning, when you change your mind and you know you will you will have already started the process of elimination in searching for something to wear. This will save you time. Set up the coffee pot the night before , too. That way, even if you're not fully awake in the morning, you won't risk filling the coffee filter with something inappropriate, like Lucky Charms.

I n the morning , get up, start the coffee, shower, toss aside the clothes you laid out the night before don't blame yourself; really there was no way to know then what you would feel like wearing today , rummage through your closet, choose something, and dress. Next , dash to the kitchen, spread peanut butter on a tortilla, roll it up, and take it with you out the door, for, in the wee hours the night before, you poured the last of the Lucky Charms into the coffee filter and they are irredeemably soggy now.

Don't waste time blaming yourself. Just start the car and go, because 10, fellow students are vying for your parking place, and that's just on the freeway off-ramp. Follow the stream of cars into the parking lot and circle once or twice to make sure a close spot has not been overlooked by earlier, sleepier arrivals. Settle at last for a distant spot. Jog, don't walk, to the coffee vendor and put your money down. Isn't that a great aroma? Nothing like the percolated Lucky Charms!

It's still only five minutes to eight. Finally , stroll to class nonchalantly. You are so ready to succeed. Once you have transformed your numbered list into prose as in the above example, read what you have written to make sure you have not omitted anything.

Revise by moving or removing sentences if necessary, or by adding the steps or transitions needed to clarify the process. Process writing has very practical applications.


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An effective introductory paragraph both informs and motivates: it lets readers know what your essay is about and it encourages them to keep reading.. There are countless ways to begin an essay effectively. As a start, here are 13 introductory strategies accompanied by examples from a wide range of professional writers.

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Discover how to start an essay with a unique, catchy intro that catches your readers' attention and leaves your instructor eager to give you an A.

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Think about your paper topic or, if you have a question, reread it. Your paper will be about responding to a question or developing a specific aspect of a topic in detail. Where to Start a Paper (printable version here)Starting a paper is almost always the hardest part of the writing process. Consider these questions as you prepare to start your paper.

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Starting a research paper won’t be so difficult if you have chosen the right topic – if you are interested in and inspired by the chosen topic, this will help you write faster. 7 Steps On How To Begin A Research Paper . The middle sentences cover the different points in your paper. If you've already planned which order to write the points in the paper, you already know which order to place them in your introductory paragraph.