How to write a good research paper

A good academic paper starts out with a clearly defined topic which is neither too broad or too narrow. For example, "Cactus" would be too broad a topic. On the other hand, A topic is too narrow if you can't find any information about it. For example, suppose your foreign language subject to, "foreign language policy in South Dakota." Although you might have a strong interest in this topic, South Dakota may not have a specific policy about foreign languages. If you have chosen the topic, "teaching Chinese in elementary schools," and your research attempts have been fruitless, it may be that you are considering a topic that no one else has previously presented. In other words, no one has determined that Chinese should be a major language taught as commonly as Spanish or French.

Using an outline can help you organize your material and can also help you discover connections between pieces of information that you weren't aware of when you first conceived the topic of your paper, After you have identified a topic and prepare an outline of the project, you can begin to gather information from authoritative reference sources: pertinent books, encyclopedias, and articles in magazines and journals. Be cautious when using material from the Internet. Before citing Internet sources, check the credentials of the writer. Are they associated with a university or well-known corporation? What experience and training do they have in the field?

Before you turn in your paper, double check it for errors. If you can, after you have checked for errors, let another person (for example, your parent or an older sibling) check it too. Are there any references missing from the bibliography. Is referenced material from sources properly cited? Do the sentences and reasoning make sense. Did you include an abstract or summary of the paper in the case of APA format papers? As soon as you are satisfied with your paper, run a spell and grammar check. (Check your spell checker setting and make sure that they set to Grammar and style). At that point, you can hand in your paper.

About the Author

Janet Ilacqua is a freelance academic writer. She is available for writing articles, research papers, theses, reports, and dissertations. Specialities: Education, Business, Social Science, History, Philosophy