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History Topics Helps: Researching History

Step Five: Synthesis

  • Organizing your research and drafting your paper.

A good research paper is well organized. This means that you consider how to support your thesis in a careful, step-by-step way. Rather than writing the paper in the order that you discovered your sources, consider the needs of your audience. What do you need to establish first? Which source will help you to prove which points to your readers? You may refer to one source just once in a paper, or you may refer to it at several different points. Try writing an outline that helps you to see what points you will make and what sources you will discuss for each point.

Once you have an outline, you will have a framework for how to write your first draft. Use this as a guideline. Write the main body paragraphs first, making sure that your thesis and purpose are clear and that you have supported your thesis. Usually, it is easier to write an introduction and conclusion after writing the body paragraphs. Remember to include a bibliography of the sources used.

Step Six: Evaluating And Improving Your Research Paper

  • Is the product effective?
  • Critiquing and revising.

Well-written papers can take a long time to write. Be sure to save time before the due date to revise. First, read your draft two or three times, looking for large-scale changes that need to be made. Make sure that every point in your paper is clear, that you have adequately described the sources you are using and how they fit into your paper's thesis. Look for any places that information needs to be added to make your purpose more clear. Also look for places where information might need to be deleted because it does not contribute to your overall purpose.

The next stage of revision is to make small-scale changes. Make sure every sentence is clearly written and correctly punctuated, that every word is correctly spelled and means what you think it means, and that each source is cited correctly. Try reading your paper out loud. Hearing it will help you to find sentences that are unclear and should be re-written. Unnecessary repetition should be taken out and so should any errors that you have not found by reading silently.

As mentioned above, make sure you understand your teacher's or professor's requirements for this assignment, and then you should be ready to turn it in. Congratulations!

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