Research for a paper is like ingredients for a recipe: the food won’t be as flavorful if you don’t use the proper ingredients. It’s the same with writing: a research paper isn’t as powerful without the proper research.

Research is crucial for any paper. It allows a writer to build a valid topic with supportive facts, and it helps define and clarify the overall message and purpose of the paper. Consider these tips before writing your next paper.

1. Choose a topic

The first step for writing any research paper is to choose a solid topic. Pick a topic that is interesting to you. If you don’t want to write it, why would anyone want to read it? Avoid topics that are flimsy or contain holes in logic, since these types of topics will make your task of writing more difficult.

2. Find valid sources

The second step is to select only the best investigative methods available for your research, such as: surveys, interviews, experiments, etc. Avoid sources that aren’t fact-based or can’t be proven. Using sites like Google Scholar or similar research databases will ensure that your research is coming from vetted sources. Many colleges and high schools have access to similar online databases that are free for students. If you are a student, ask a librarian to see what resources are available to you – and take advantage of them.

3. Use up-to-date sources

The third step is to check if the sources are up-to-date. An article may seem relevant to your topic, until you realize the scientific journal was published 20 years ago. Because everything is constantly updated, re-evaluated and reviewed, it’s better to stick with the most recently published information. Using up-to-date sources ensures that your paper is using the most valid sources available.

4. Use hard or soft research

The fourth step is to determine if the topic you chose will need more ‘hard research’ or ‘soft research’. Hard research leans more into the realm of scientific and objective research, filled with proven facts, figures, statistics and other measurable evidence. Soft research is used more in topics that are subjective, cultural and opinion-based. These sources, while still important, will be less scrutinized by viewers. Be sure to have both hard and soft research in your paper. The more information you gather on both sides, the more solid your research will be.

5. Schedule your research

The fifth step is to make sure you schedule every step of the research paper. Don’t leave anything to the last minute. It takes time to make all points flow, and while you write, constantly have a pair of fresh eyes review your paper.

A Recipe Followed

Following this recipe will ensure you write a great research paper. Just make sure you don’t forget any of the ingredients. Now go out there and write… and RESEARCH.

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