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.
Personally, I like to get my quotes and annotations in right at the start of the writing process.
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.
Even if you hate the class, there’s probably at least one topic that you’re curious about.
Maybe you want to write about “mental health in high schools” for your paper in your education class.Some professors will even have a list of required resources (e.g.“Three academic articles, two books, one interview…etc).Take this thesis statement for example: actually prove it with your research, you’re golden. You know exactly what you’re looking for, and you know exactly where you’re going with the paper. That makes the next step a lot easier: So you have your thesis, you know what you’re looking for. By real research, I mean more than a quick internet search or a quick skim through some weak secondary or tertiary sources.If you’ve chosen a thesis you’re a little unsteady on, a preliminary skim through Google is fine, but make sure you go the extra mile.Also, avoid super analytical or technical topics that you think you’ll have a hard time writing about (unless that’s the assignment…then jump right into all the technicalities you want).You’ll probably need to do some background research and possibly brainstorm with your professor before you can identify a topic that’s specialized enough for your paper.In this text document, I start compiling a list of all the sources I’m using.It tends to look like this: Remember that at this point, your thesis isn’t solid. If your research starts to strongly contradict your thesis, then come up with a new thesis, revise, and keep on compiling quotes. Depending on how long your paper is, you should have 3-10 different sources, with all sorts of quotes between them.All research papers fall under three general categories: analytical, expository, or argumentative. If you’re missing any of these qualities, you’re gonna have a bad time.Avoid vague modifier words like “positive” and “negative.” Instead use precise, strong language to formulate your argument.