Face it. If you’re a college student, research papers are part of life; you know, like bad hair days, or Kanye West throwing a hissy fit at awards shows.
Now you can just ignore research papers altogether and then get bad grades. Or you can choose to understand them and know how good papers get done. There are tons of ways to find out all about college papers. You can get help about making good college papers from books. You can get information from online resources. You can even ask your brainiac kid brother some questions. But whatever you do, don’t go Lindsay Lohan on your paper:
- Don’t throw away a promising start. Lindsay Lohan, who was recently crowned “Dumbest Celeb in Hollywood” by New York Daily News, partied away a once-white-hot career. Not something that anyone would want to duplicate, especially not in a research paper. Don’t throw away a nice idea that you may have as you begin your paper. Mold, pound, and beat this nice idea into a strong thesis statement or main idea. You can do that by first figuring out what exactly your professor wants you to do or accomplish in the paper. From that info, you can further tweak that little idea you had at the beginning and start fashioning an outline.
- And now, you are ready for that great entrance — the introduction section of your paper. A good intro and, especially a good thesis statement, is a preview of things to come in your paper. Remember that it should be a reasonable preview, don’t make promises that you can’t keep later on in the paper. Or, in Li-Lo’s case don’t keep on being a delinquent as if you still haven’t been to posh Malibu rehab facility — you guessed it — Promises.
- Li-Lo seemed to have gone from cute, lovable, freckle-faced brunette into a reed-thin party diva with flaxen locks overnight. You can’t do that kind of makeover-as-you-go-along with a college paper. The tone should be consistent and you should stay focused on supporting your main idea or thesis statement.
- Don’t be the poster girl (or boy) for bad behavior and bad choices. Before you start typing away, make sure that you know the rules, and follow them. Know the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation. Be prepared by doing good research, which in turn would help you make that rocking outline.
- Find good sources and cite them properly. Know how to use the resources available to you. I mean if you’re a million dollar-earning celeb and you seem to total your car every chance you get, hire a driver, for crying out loud.
- Don’t think that a mugshot is a good way to show off a great hair color job. Appearances, surfaces, exteriors — they certainly aren’t everything. Your professor would know that and he or she would definitely read your paper thoroughly and with the BS detector on. So your paper really has to make sense. It should have a solid structure. The best way to go is to edit or proofread your work before you turn it in. Think: Do I have all the chapters covered? Do I need to add more supporting information to make my thesis statement more convincing? Do I really need to play a stripper in a B-grade thriller like I Know Who Killed Me to show the world that I’m all grown-up? Can’t I play a grown-up role in a grown-up movie and keep my clothes on? Like I said, think. It’s always the best way to go whenever you have to a choice to make.