Introduction to Research

The first thing to keep in mind is that writing a research paper is a separate activity from doing research. A good research paper is built on good research. Many students focus on the paper and skimp on the research. The result is a poorly written paper that simply repeats what other people have already said. This is not research. It is this faulty approach to research that has many students questioning the value of writing a research paper. After all, if a research paper just means copying in your own words what someone else has said, then it is nothing more than busy work.

In a good research paper, a student evaluates the various materials available from sources and makes a decision about what point to make. The student then organizes the information from sources in order to support the point he or she wishes to make.

Early Problems

Most of the problems associated with research papers occur during these initial steps:

Basic Notetaking Guidelines

As you take notes,

©2002-3, Bill Stifler

Research Process

Note taking
Shaping the Research
Documentation Process
Annotated Bibliographies
Final Format