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How To Write A Research Paper Step 1: How To Begin?

Take the first step:

Make sure to start right away and begin collecting your resources.  Several weeks may seem like plenty of time to complete a research paper, but time can slip away leaving you with a week (or less) to finish.  Working early and consistently will spare you a lot of stress and frustration.

Know the assignment:

Make sure you know the requirements of the assignment.  Check with your professor if you have any questions.  Find out if your paper is a literature review or research paper?  How many sources does the professor expect you to use?  What resources can and cannot be used?

Get background/overview information:

Look through encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs etc (the Library has them online and in print).  Look for major themes, controversies, new theories/thoughts that you could explore.

Focus/Define your topic and arguments:

Pick something within your broader topic you are familiar with or something you are interested in learning more about.  Consider focusing on a specific time period, location, or movement.
For example if your topic is “marketing”, you could explore marketing in the age of television, or the internet, in America.  You could focus on brand name marketing or marketing for new products. 
Once you’ve come up with a good focused topic, develop a research question to explore.  Continuing the marketing example, a good research question might be “How have companies used the internet to market to teen spenders?”

Step 2: Researching the topic