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term paper writing manuals

Set Specific Goals

Writing a research paper is a lot easier on you, the student, when you set yourself certain goals. All of this takes place before you start the research and the writing. The saying goes that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. So rather than rushing in to begin writing your research paper, stop, take stock of the situation and list your goals. Here are a few possible specific goals.

  • set up a timetable
  • create an ideal topic
  • create an ideal thesis statement
  • become an expert note taker
  • create an outstanding plan
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Research paper writing tutorial for dummies 


Research papers are one of the most common papers you will be assigned in school, especially as you advance in your academic career.

The research paper is often in APA format which requires the following parts:

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Body (which may include a literature review, methods section, results, discussion)
  • Conclusion
  • Reference page

The research paper is one where you demonstrate that you can conduct research and analyze that research. Some rudimentary research papers are literature reviews, wherein you review the existing published literature on a subject to search for areas where authors agree or disagree, or areas that need to be covered with further research. Research papers might also be used to present findings from an experiment you conducted.

When it comes to writing a paper you need to ensure your content and style match the assignment. You should demonstrate to your reader that you truly understand the concepts or the argument before you. You don’t have to create a paper that has thoughts no one has ever thought before, but you do need to demonstrate that you critically analyzed the content and that you have the skills to provide a professional research paper in your field. You have to show the reader that you can present findings for an experiment properly.

When you are writing your essay, you should ensure that you use an academic style. Avoid including:

  • colloquialisms
  • contractions
  • vague comments
  • phrasal verbs
  • a simple description rather than an analysis
  • overly formal vocabulary

If you are writing about communication and the role played by the media there are many great topics from which to choose. You can review the list of potential topics below and see if anything stands out to you. Remember that these items are meant to be broad topics and examples that you can use to create a thesis suitable for your particular assignment:

  • What causes media bias? Is it particularly worse in America?
  • How does the media influence body image among women and men?
  • Is censorship ever safe and necessary?
  • Should advertising for prescription drugs be eliminated?
  • Should children’s shows not have advertising?
  • When does freedom of speech go too far?
  • How are copyright laws changing to keep up with the times?
  • How are minorities represented in the media?
  • How are women portrayed in the media?
  • Is talk radio a dying art?
  • Is television violence too graphic or not graphic enough?
  • Is reality television harmful to society?

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Citation Styles

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