How to Write an Autobiographical Research Paper

This may sound a bit obvious, but the most important thing to remember about writing an autobiographical research paper is that it is all about you. You are going to be using your own life experiences as the primary source material for an essay that connects your life with the rest of the world. As a result, both you and your readers should understand both you and the world better. Your story is what is driving the research. For instance, you may have had a traumatic experience in your life that few people share, such as losing a loved one to violent crime. In that case, you’ll recount your own experience as well as conduct research on the experiences of others. You can look at violent crime statistics, or you can follow up on the lives of those involved. Readers can get the same information they would get in an objective piece of journalism on that topic, as well as getting the subjective first-person perspective. There are many ways to approach your story, and tone and content are entirely up to you. Be creative, and use your writing style (always in the first-person “I”) reveal who you are.

Here are the 3 steps for writing a great autobiographical research paper:

  1. Brainstorm. What interesting events or facts about your life come to mind? If nothing jumps out at first, just start writing what you know and remember about yourself from birth until now. Eventually you will find something compelling and worth writing about. Everybody has a story worth telling!
  2. Research. What are all of the ways in which the experience you’ve chosen connects to the rest of the world? You might go to the library or internet in search of statistics or histories. You might want to interview other people involved in the same events or people who have had similar stories. Be open. You never know where the research is going to take you.
  3. Draft your paper. The most important thing is to try and integrate what you’ve discovered in your research with your own experience, so that they seem part of the same story. Perhaps not all of the information you’ve gathered turns out to be relevant. It might not work at first, but good writing always requires multiple drafts. Have someone else read your draft and give you feedback.

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Posted by December 3rd, 2014