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How To Start That Dreaded Research Paper

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UBC chapter.

You’ve been putting it off for weeks and now you have to decide on a research topic that you somewhat enjoy. Here are my 5 tips on how to start your research paper!


1. Go to office hours 

Let’s be honest here. Most of us don’t ever want to or have time to go to office hours. However, professors can be extra helpful if you visit them — after all, these are hours dedicated for students to pester them with questions! Instructors are especially helpful if you approach them in relation to research papers. They might even help you out in deciding your topic! 


2. Select your academic journal articles soon 

Logging into an academic journal and searching for a few keywords related to your research topic may actually bring you more resources than you would expect. Read the abstracts for selected scholarly-reviewed articles and decide whether they are relevant to your topic. Once you have selected the required amount (usually stated by your instructor), focus on reading them strategically during the following week. Don’t forget to highlight, as it will be much easier to find the information when writing your paper!


3. Start a word document 

You’ve read your sources and have a rough idea of what your paper will look like. However, you just can’t seem to get started with it. I recommend you open a Word Document and add a title page and then leave it open on your computer. You may be surprised to find yourself working on your paper sooner than you would have otherwise! Somehow, having an open document makes you think about your responsibilities, and the amount of time you procrastinate will be reduced.


4. Write a brief outline 

Outlines work wonders. In my experience, the more specific the outline, the better. With the help of an outline, when you finally sit down to write that essay (probably two or three weeks later), you will already have everything thought out: just put your thoughts into phrases and you’re set! I like to have evidence ready for each of my arguments, including scholarly article(s) to mention and page numbers.


5. Have food and snacks ready 

                                                                                                   No food and you’ll end up like this guy!

As any other fourth year student will know by now, research papers can and only will ever be done if you are properly fed. Before sitting down to finally set yourself to it, make sure to have a good meal ready for when you’re done, and several healthy snacks and drinks that can keep you company while you’re suffering. Don’t forget to proof read! I am confident you’ll be done sooner than you expected. 


Good luck and, remember, YOU CAN DO IT HCUBC cuties!

Isabel is a total foodie studying in Vancouver to discover the true meaning of being a global citizen. Isabel loves sailing, music and spending time with friends. She enjoys cooking and would like to have a big farm one day to have several dogs and horses...and in case you were wondering, her truest fan is her dog, Eddie, 12 years old and blind, happy Pinscher miniature with a very strong personality and possibly her greatest friend of all time.