11th grade seems to be the year my teachers have finally decided to teach us about research papers. I’ve been absolutely swamped these last few weeks trying to finish them all, and I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way.

 

1- Citations

Depending on your system, your teachers may or may not care if you genuinely know how to cite sources. If they do, there are a multitude of resources online that can teach you how to cite your sources in a very comprehensive way. If they don’t, there are sites online that will cite for you. Just choose the type of source you’re using, input the required information, and it’ll generate your citation. The one I’ve been using is http://www.citethisforme.com. It even has handy MLA and APA citation guides.

2- Format

Usually when I write, I hate using outlines. I feel they’re too restrictive, and I prefer to just let the words flow. I have found, however, that with research papers an outline is essential. Choose your research topic and then decide a topic for each paragraph.

For example, if your research paper is on alopecia, a hair loss disorder, paragraph 1 would be ’causes of alopecia’ and paragraph 2 might be ‘treatments for alopecia’ and so on. These little headings may not make their way to your final paper, but they’re instrumental in making sure you include all necessary information.

3- Templates

This one is especially helpful if you’re using Microsoft Word for your paper. Just use a template! A quick Google search can show you how to access the templates for your version of Word. Then, just use the template search bar to find a research paper template. There are templates for both APA and MLA papers, and the template tells you everything that’s required in a research paper.

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4- Music

If you’re like me, it’s almost impossible to work in silence. I like to have a playlist filled with songs that’ll keep me energized, (‘hype’ in teen-speak). I keep the playlist open in a completely separate window so that it’s a bother for me to fidget with the songs and I can’t accidentally close the tab.

Writing research papers takes a while. Each of mine took about 4 hours of continuous work, spaced out over a few very busy days. Keeping yourself focused and on task will definitely make your experience much better.

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