Task 1: Requirements
Verify that you know exactly what is expected of you. Review all the information you have about your assignment and make sure you can answer the following questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, ask your teacher.
When is the paper due? Will you be expected to hand in preliminary work, such as your thesis statement or your outline? If so, when are they due?
Is there a requirement for length?
Which types of sources are you allowed to use in your research (library, Internet, personal interviews)? Are any required?
Task 2: Topic
Selecting a topic is one of your most important tasks. Your topic needs to be narrow enough to cover in a paper, but not so specific that you can’t find research sources. And most important—you have to be interested in it, or you won’t be motivated to work on your paper.
1. Choose a broad topic that interests you and that falls within your teacher’s guidelines.
Example: Your teacher assigned a research paper on a scientific subject; you select Genetics as your broad topic.
2. Do some digging to get a feel for your topic. Skim an encyclopedia article and read a few newspaper articles that relate to your topic. This will introduce you to the major areas of interest in your topic.
Example: After skimming the encyclopedia article on Genetics, you discover that this broad topic covers human, animal, and plant species, and that it’s also a cutting-edge scientific and medical discipline.
3. Narrow your focus. Start by applying the same principles you did before—pick an aspect of your broad topic that interests you and fits with your assignment guidelines.
Example: During your preliminary research you discovered that you are especially interested in cloning—more... [continues]
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