How to Write a Research Paper on a Book: Useful Hints for Freshmen
There will come a time in nearly every student’s career when they will be assigned a research paper. Writing a research paper on a book largely falls in one of the many humanities disciplines. If you find yourself in one of these college courses and you have been assigned writing a research paper on a book, here are some useful hints:
Determine if you will need additional resources. Your thesis and topic will focus largely on a single book, but this doesn’t mean you can’t bring in outside sources to support your argument. If you decide to use outside sources be sure that they relate directly the book you are writing on and fit your argument. It doesn’t make sense to use sources that discuss feminist literature in the 20th when you are writing on Homer’s Iliad.
Conduct your research. Read through all of the resources you have collected. Pay close attention to interesting arguments or analyses, especially as they relate to your topic or where they seem to be offering contradicting ideas to your own argument. Be sure to take notes in a way that feels comfortable for you. Use this as an opportunity to engage in a conversation with the author you are writing about. What would he or she think of the material you have just researched?
Write a debatable thesis statement. You need to remind yourself that when you are writing a longer essay, like a research paper, you are still essentially making an argument. You have to have a specific, detailed thesis state that shows your perspective, and one that can be argued against. This mean that you need to write on a topic that will have a lot of detractors, it means you should write on something that can be genuinely debated in order to further the topic.
Create an outline or mental map of your ideas. Both ways help you visualize the relationship and how the pieces of evidence you’ve collect work with one another. Neither the mental map nor your outline are just for you. While they certainly help you organize your thoughts and help your reader understand your logic much easier. The more organize your argument is the more your reader will enjoy your research paper.
Follow these hints and you’ll have an easier time writing your research paper. Give yourself plenty of time to revise and edit your work, because now that you are writing in college you shouldn’t settle for writing last minute research papers filled with errors.