How to write a research paper - a step by step guide for lazy students
For many students, there are few assignments they dread more than research papers. However, with some careful pre-planning, even a lazy student can quickly complete a passable research paper. This guide is written to exemplify the motto “work smarter—not harder.” It will help you write the fastest possible paper with the least possible effort.
Step One: Choosing an Easy Topic
The most important part of topic choice, for the lazy student, is how much information there is out there to research on it. If you need to have ten sources, for example, per your instructions, you want there to be ten immediately available and accessible sources. For once, hit up the library—you might prefer using the internet, but finding acceptable sources will probably take a little less work at the library. (Bonus points if you have online access to an academic library through school.) Your first search should yield dozens of results that look good as research sources. If not, broaden the topic a bit.
Step Two: Gather Your Main Points
Now, choose the most comprehensive source material, and make a list using this source of the main points your paper will follow. You won’t be plagiarizing, because you’ll cite this source (as well as others), but this is the fastest way to get to the most important part of writing a lazy, fast research paper. Depending on the length of the paper assigned, you’ll need between five and ten main points. Two “main ideas” per page assigned is usually enough.
Step Three: The Outline
While lazy students like to skip this part, it’s a mistake. The outline is where ninety percent of the very little effort you’re putting into this paper should go. It will make writing the paper a breeze. Research and write the outline at the same time, using shorthand to show which sources you use for each point. Be detailed. Once this is done, the rest of the paper practically writes itself. Don’t skimp here.
Step Four: Write the Paper
Now, just open up a blank document and write the paper line by line from the outline. If it’s not long enough on the first pass, just go back through an add a sentence or two to each main point. And that’s it—you’re done. Of course, it’s a good idea to proofread and edit, as well.