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How to Write a Research Paper

A general process for writing a research paper at the college level.

Step 1

Meme showing Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Words: Topics?! Tricksy!! False!!
[Sméagol/Gollum The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)]. Retrieved from

Choose a Topic

This means you've got to focus and come up with a topic you’re:

  1. interested in, and
  2. can actually find information about.

Topics are tricky, and can change during the course of your research. Sometimes they change a lot, sometimes a little; it just depends on what information you find.

Choose a topic that interests you. Writing a paper that bores you is the worst!

Make sure you can find some information on it. Also, you need to take care not to pick something too broad. Determining a topic’s scope can be a fine line, and it takes practice.

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