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Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic.This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.
It’s also good to realize that you can use this research writing assignment as an opportunity to learn about something new.
You will be somewhat of an expert in the topic by the end of this process, but you don’t have to know everything right now. This step is pretty flexible; different people will research for a paper in different ways.
It might make sense to bookmark resources on your web browser or make a digital bibliography that allows you to link the resources you found.
You might prefer a printed list of your resources or you might want to write down all you have learned that is relevant to your project on notecards or sticky notes and organize your research paper on a table or the floor.
You can find articles testifying that all three of the previous claims are true; however, when you dig deeper, it’s clear that they’re not.
Just because you find one article stating that something is true, that does not necessarily mean it is a proven fact that you can use in your research.
Now that you understand what you’ve been asked to do, have chosen a topic that fits the assignment, and have researched and organized that research, you’re ready to articulate your own opinion, argument, or assertion.
Even if you aren’t arguing for or against anything, your paper needs a thesis.
However, it’s important to stay focused and move pretty quickly. Learn how to identify key points and arguments without getting bogged down and reading every word. Although this may run contrary to what you’ve been told, you can use Wikipedia to write a research paper. You can use general sources like Wikipedia to get familiar with a topic, find keywords that can further drive your research, and quickly understand large amounts of information.
After all, you still have to write your research paper. You don’t have to read in-full everything ever written about your topic. But, for the information you use in your paper, you have to find reliable resources.