5 Secrets For Composing A Solid Research Paper For High School

These are 5 closely guarded secrets to enable you to write a solid research paper for high school.

Secret 1: Looking for a Topic.

  • Your tutor may have already given the research paper topic to the class in that case much of your work is already defined. But sometimes the topic you have been given may be very broad so you have to make a few choices.
  • Look at the specifications that you have been given. If your topic is too narrow such as “Chocolate Cookies” or “The Daffodil”, you would have great difficulty in researching and organising an eight page paper!
  • If, instead the topic was “Cookies” or “Flowers”, the areas are too broad. A more appropriate option would be either “America's Favourite Cookies”or “Spring Flowers”. With these options you would be able to research useful material.

Secret 2: Initial Research

  • Before you commit to your topic, it is a really good idea to find out just how much information (including data) that is readily available. If you find that you cannot find sufficient material you may have to change your topic.
  • Make sure that you do not just check websites, but you also visit the library. When you are at the library make the most of the opportunity to photocopy useful material that is not available from other sources.
  • At this point it is always a good idea to have a rough plan of your paper. Ideally this should take the form of several questions to which you have found the answers through your research.

Secret 3: Defined Research

  • Once you feel that you are comfortable with your topic and have been able to answer the research questions that you devised, it is now time to get a bit more depth by skimming books and articles to get even more definitive evidence.
  • You will find that you are going to amass a lot of information that you need to keep track of. You can either start a research diary or use cards to make notes you have taken from specific articles or books. Keep to the rule of one fact per page or card.
  • Using this process will save you time in the long run as you will not have to keep going back to source work. You will end up with a lot of pages or cards and may not need to use everything in your paper but that is OK as you can just discard what you don't need.

Secret 4: Outline

  • Some tutors will ask you submit an outline before you start writing up your paper. Think of this as a proposal of the work that you intend to do. It will also help you to define your thought process and start to show case your work.
  • Remember that if you have to submit an outline you should make sure that you make it formal in other words show your tutor that you have put time and effort into your research.
  • Your tutor will give you some feedback and it is important that you acknowledge the advice that they give you. Following their advice will help you to not only achieve a good mark it will also give you knowledge that you can apply to future research papers.

Secret 5: The write up

  • Always bear in mind that although you have put in some solid research and planning you will still need to draft and redraft your paper. It should also be proofread by yourself and preferably by someone else as well.
  • Essentially if you have followed all of the secrets, when it comes to writing up the paper should not be too difficult. Start by lining up your cards and put them in order. If you used a diary instead then you should cut and paste in order.
  • Before starting your draft, make sure that you use the correct citation style and are familiar with any updates. Remember to add your own point of view and guide you reader through the logical progression of ideas and supporting data.