Fresh Ideas for College Students: Writing an Excellent Research Paper

Writing a research paper is like creating a pastiche or a collage. It’s just as much about assembling some great quotes upon the page, perfectly cited in APA (or MLA) format (most times APA), and connecting them with pristine, polished sentences of your own. In fact, the research paper is only as good as the information on the page. So you want to seek out the best quotes you can to put on that paper. The writing in the quotes will take YOUR writing up a notch. So, you want to use the best research you can and this takes time.

Research Like an Artist

Research, like painting a beautiful, carefully crafted painting, takes time, time, and more time. But once you gather it, I have a handy method which will help you to quickly get some words onto paper—beautiful words, that will motivate you to finish the research paper even faster.

Creating that Collage of Quotes

What I do is research like a pro. I try to seek out the very best articles and books that I can on any topic. What I like to do that keeps me from spending a lot of money, is to use Amazon’s great “search inside this book” feature, which enables you to find great quotes in books without buying the book or even having to read the entire book. You can search for quotes exactly on what you want, note the page number the quote is from, and then go back and click on the book title for all the publication information.

What I do is begin retyping all of these quotes, gradually moving them around in the order that the paper flows. Soon, you will have pages of quotes, in the same order that your paper moves, and it will look as if you have a research paper already. All you need to do is add in the beautiful writing that connects the quotes.

Gathering Citations While You Work

With every article you quote from, you want to take the time to do one thing—go ahead and put that citation onto the works cited list, moving them to the point on the page they would probably fall alphabetically. For example, you might put author’s names with the last name beginning in A toward the top of the page proper.