A very common assignment in college is the analytical research paper. This writing assignment requires you to view an issue from multiple angles before coming up with your logical conclusion.
It may sound easy enough from the viewpoint of a seasoned professor. But if you are like most students, especially those in courses where academic discussion or debate is not essential, an analytical paper can be quite tough. Take a look at the following advice to help you with your paper.
Advice #1: Pick an interesting topic (if possible)
Depending on the professor, you may or may not be allowed to select your topic. Some teachers give a list of debatable questions to choose from, while others allow you to pick something connected to a particular theme.
If you are given a choice, be wise and pick something you are interested in researching. Since lots of reading will be required, the process will be less stressful if you are intrigued about the topic.
Advice #2: Get multiple sources
A good paper requires several resources that discuss the different angles of the problem. These need to be credible sources such as journals and books, not personal blogs or the editorial of a newspaper. Oftentimes, your teacher may require 3 to 5 sources per side.
Although these sources are mainly for or against the issue, there may be additional views out there combining both thoughts or introducing something unique. Consider all of them as each viewpoint will give you a better understanding of the topic.
Advice #3: Use formal language
Academic papers require formal language. Don’t include slang or colloquial terms, and you should avoid idioms and clichés. Your paper must also be in the third person.
Part of formal writing also means adhering to a style guide (APA, MLA, or Chicago Manual of Style). Take note of this at the start to avoid needless revisions later on.
Advice #4: Stay objective
As an analytical paper, you need to remain objective when you discuss the different sides of the issue. There is no need to insert your emotions or personal thoughts about the matter.
Advice #5: Be logical
A good analytical paper makes sense logically. To ensure this, you need to first write down the different viewpoints and organize your thoughts.
It helps to make an outline before writing. With an outline, you can easily see the strengths and weakness of your paper. And as you write, the outline will keep your argument straight and true compared to figuring things out as you type.
Advice #6: Edit your work
In a big writing assignment, errors are inevitable. While grammar checking programs are helpful, they don’t always catch everything. You need to read your paper again to ensure you locate mistakes, including ambiguous statements that will confuse your reader.
The thought of making an analytical research paper can be quite overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult if you follow the given advice.