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Starting Your Research Paper: Home

No matter what your subject area, you'll probably have to write research papers. This guide can help.

Credit Where it's Due

This libguide shares content with a similar guide developed by April Sheppard at Arkansas State University.  Thanks to April for inspiring and influencing this resource.

The Bottom Line

NO ONE likes research papers. 

Not you, not your professor. 

However, research papers are an essential part of academia. 

So let's make the best of it, shall we? 

Keep it Interesting

OK, you don't want to do a research paper.  Your professor doesn't want to read it or grade it.  So, you might as well do both of you a favor and make it interesting!

Think about the things that interest you.  Now, think about your paper.  Can you find a way to incorporate the two?

If you come up with an idea for a paper, run it by your professor.  Chances are, your professor is tired of reading the same paper over and over again and may be open to your idea. 

For Example

You have to write a paper for your economics class.  However, your real interest is music.  How do you combine music and economics?

There are many ways to incorporate music into your economics paper:

  • Study the financial effects of illegally downloading music (i.e. how much do the artists and record companies really lose?)
  • Study the effectiveness of alternative ways of selling music, such as streaming and free downloads.  How are the artists making money?
  • Compare hip hop artists during a recession and during a financial boom (i.e. do hip hop artists wear less "bling" in a recession?).