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It’s a good idea to start by heading to the library and asking your local librarian for help (they’re usually so excited to help you find things! Check your school library for research papers and books on the topic.Look for primary sources, such as journals, personal records, or contemporary newspaper articles when you can find them.
If you feel the assignment is unclear, don’t go any further without talking to your professor about it.
Say it with me: a research paper without a thesis question or statement is just a fancy book report. Every good thesis statement has three important qualities: it’s focused, it picks a side, and it can be backed up with research.
At the very least, skim the section on your general area of interest. They’re probably more than happy to point you in the direction of a possible research topic.
Of course, this is going to be highly dependent on your class and the criteria set forth by your professor, so make sure you read your assignment and understand what it’s asking for.
There’s also another key component to this outline example that I haven’t touched on yet: Some people like to write first, and annotate later.
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Personally, I like to get my quotes and annotations in right at the start of the writing process.
It’s the sort of project that can leave even the most organized student quaking in their boots, staring at the assignment like they’re Luke Skywalker and it’s the Death Star.
You have to pick a broad topic, do some in-depth research, hone in on a research question, and then present your answer to that question in an interesting way. How on earth are you supposed to tackle this thing? With a well-devised plan, some courage, and of time together, so you might as well pick something you like, or, at the very least, have a vague interest in.
Outlines basically do all the heavy lifting for you when it comes to writing. Even if you feel tempted to just jump in and brain-dump, You’ll thank me later.
Here’s how to structure an outline: You’ll notice it’s fairly concise, and it has three major parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.