The Short Research Paper Structure: 8 Things You Must Know

Although many students may believe that a shorter research paper will be easier than one of regular length, it will be a mistake for you to think this way. They require the same attention to detail and exacting research than a longer one. In fact, the shorter versions may actually be more difficult, because it is critical that they remain focused even more tightly on the topic. In order to ensure that your paper is done correctly, here are 8 things that you must know:

  1. Choose the topic carefully: The trick to this is narrowing down a topic that can be effectively covered in a short paper. Write down the first several words about your subject that come to mind and review them for one that is not unnecessarily broad.
  2. Plan on revisions: Completing a research paper is a process that can lead you in directions you never even thought about. You may need to revise some of your points as you progress. If you assume this may happen at the beginning, then you won't be so discouraged if things turn out unexpectedly.
  3. Get all the research sources together: You will receive guidelines on what is appropriate to use as sources for your paper. The best place to begin is with academic journals, simply due to the fact that there will be other sources cited that you may be able to use.
  4. Craft an outstanding thesis statement: It is this opening statement that tells the reader what your paper is about and it is the point from which everything else will flow. Choose wisely so that you are not forced to leave out any important information or repeat yourself. Your thesis statement will need to be supported with research and clear thought processes.
  5. Showcase the best at the beginning: Until the first draft has been put down on paper it will be impossible to decide which points are your best. Take the strongest ones and expand on them, using ideas in order of importance.
  6. Use sources properly: Do not leave source citing until the end of the final draft. Keep a running list as you go along so that nothing is forgotten.
  7. Format in the proper style: Verify with your instructor to be certain what format style the paper should be in. For example, they could ask for MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.
  8. Don't waste words: On the final edit and proofread, take out all the extra words that will not be missed. Don't take a whole paragraph to say what only needs one sentence. Every word should count and add something of value.

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