Writing a research paper can be one of the most intimidating assignments you can get. There is so much to keep in mind when you write, like formatting; citations; finding credible sources; etc. The resources below will help to make this process a little easier.
Planning a Research Project
The first step you'll want to take is to enter your assignment data into the Research Project Calculator offered by the Electronic Library of MN. Once you enter your due date and a couple other fields, this will tell you which steps of your project you will need to have completed by which date. It breaks up your big research project into manageable chunks and allows to to use your time most efficiently. It also provides handouts for each step along the way.
Here's another good resource for just getting started.
Evaluation of Sources
You will often hear your teachers use words like Credibility, Reliability and Validity. Here are some quick things you can do to help make a decision about whether or not your resource meets the requirements:
Some of you may think that if you put someone else's writing into your own words that you are no longer plagiarizing: This is not the case! When you take an idea that someone else came up with it belongs to them and you have to give them credit.
Some information belongs to all of us and you are free to use it in your projects. This kind of information is in the Public Domain. You may also hear the term Creative Commons. Resources found with these attributions can be used most of the time for non-commercial purposes (you're not making money off it). Even information and items taken from the Commons still requires attribution.
So to be on the safe side, CITE EVERYTHING!
Citing Your Information
There are multiple ways of citing information in your papers. You'll want to check with your teacher to see which ones are required for your course. Do they want in-text citations? Footnotes? Is your paper supposed to be in MLA or APA format? Do you need an Annotated Bibliography?
If you are practicing in-text citations, remember, even paraphrased information should be cited.
MLA In-Text Citations (More examples from Easybib)
Citing Electronic Information- from the Internet Public Library.
These sites will help you get started, but they often do not format things quite correctly. Use them to get your info. down, but make sure you double-check the citation to make it correct or you may find yourself losing some credit:
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
Here's a sample MLA research paper
Each of the examples show you how the document is formatted as well as offer explanations for why items go where they do.