If you are tasked with writing a research paper and you want to ensure it is brilliant and earns you an “A”, consider these five golden rules:
The first step to doing this is to ask yourself if you were to file that information in, for example, a library database, where would you file it. You can use this question to create categories for your information into reduce your notes.
Look over your headings and see if any of them are repetitive. You want your paper to be as concise as possible so having repetitive notes or categories, which would in turn become your key paragraphs, only takes away from the strength of your argument. You might find that some of your categories can be grouped together to reduce any repetition. You might find that there is a category, or a heading, which is no longer relatable to your argument. It might have seemed like a great piece of evidence when you started your research, but now you have better refine your thesis and it no longer fits. If this is the case do not try and squeeze it in just because you think it is an excellent quote. Get rid of it if it does not pertain to your exact argument. Having something that only mildly pertains to your argument will detract your reader’s attention and take away from the strength of your paper. Individual pieces of information might start to seem irrelevant once you try to group together your notes. Get rid of anything which fits this category.
Look for common themes. Go through all of your headings and look for common themes among them. If you are reviewing the primary race for the Republican Party in order to prove that finances are the most important factor in determining success, you might find that you can group your notes together based on policy initiatives, foreign-policy, and healthcare.
Once you've grouped together your information into these categories you can see that the order starts to appear naturally. You can find the best presentation of your information and apply that you are rough draft.
No essay would be complete without a counter argument. In order to write a great paper, you need to persuade your readers. And in persuading your readers, this means that there is natural tension because the reader may not hold the same views as you. And with this natural tension comes objections. If your paper only presents one-sided argument and doesn't cover the alternatives, or make aa counterargument, the reader might think that you are not well educated on the subject and that you only know one side of the argument. The reader might also think that you were trying to cover something up. Your job in a successful paper is to present not only your argument and why your argument is supported with evidence, but to acknowledge any challenges against your topic and then to reaffirm why your topic still stands tall with supporting evidence. If there are no counterarguments that immediately come to mind when you are researching or questioning your topic, your topic maybe very dull and not very provocative.
An effective paper will use reasoning and evidence as well as a counter argument. You want to make sure that you persuade your reader by anticipating their doubts and preemptively assuaging their objections and their skepticism. If you have already weighed the alternatives and confronted them head-on, the reader will be much more interested in the truth that you have discovered.
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