Writing College Research Papers

Dr. Lana W.Jackman

Dr. Lana W. Jackman Academic/Career Adviser Emeritus 

College students often cringe at the thought of writing a college research paper.

That’s because writing a 20-page college research paper, for most, is a very stressful, anxiety-inducing experience!

Perhaps, you’re thinking, “Can I fill 20 pages with worthwhile content and still get an “A” on top of it?”          If you’re passionate about the discipline and/or your major, then writing college research papers should be a piece of cake. If you’re not, well then, practice makes perfect and, whenever possible, select a topic that peaks your interest.   In any case, most research paper assignments are due either in the late fall or the late spring of each year.

And, somehow, it seems that students love to procrastinate when faced with a research paper deadline.

So if you find yourself in this position, check out the following 10 tips listed below and get started. Otherwise, you’ll put a damper on enjoying your vacation seasons and semester breaks!

College Research Paper Checklist

Review the Top Ten list below.  Add whatever works within your learning style.  Remember, this paper represents you!  No pressure!  So, just put your best foot forward:

  1. Check your course syllabus and scrutinize the research paper requirements.College Research Paper Checklist
  2. Any questions…then make an appointment with your professor to secure needed clarification.
  3. Decide on a topic and create a draft thesis statement.
  4. Next, visit your campus writing center to discuss research writing strategies and resources.
  5. Then visit your campus reference librarian for information literacy research resources and note-taking assistance.
  6. Create a “working research paper draft”, subject to revision.
  7. As you create the draft, periodically read your written sections aloud. 
  8. Listen closely for grammar and syntax errors.  Also use a recorder.
  9. If time allows, take a 24 hr break from paper writing, then revisit your original masterpiece.
  10. Critically review your work, cite, and document appropriately your resources.


Google and Wikipedia should never be used as your primary research resources.  Both are good sources to “begin” your research process.Most importantly, as you create your final research paper, remember that your faculty may have access to plagiarism software. 


So, don’t even think about it. Just do your best!


Keep in mind that plagiarizing can get you academically dismissed from your institution. 

So beware!

Also, regularly using your campus resources like the Writing Center.  Select a topic that really interests you.  That will make the writing process so much easier.

Need Research Help?  Come Pay Me A Visit!

Purdue Owl

It’s best to concentrate on staying a couple of steps ahead of the research paper deadline!


And always consult the campus reference librarian for scholarly resources, particularly when you have selected your research topic.

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