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Research Writing (How to Write a Research Paper)

Leave your first draft alone for a while. Don’t reread it immediately after you write it. You need time to see your writing with fresh eyes or you will miss errors. Come back to it later and take a very critical look at it. A rough draft gives you the opportunity to think freely as you write. Now is the time to organize that thinking. The rough draft can show you where some gaps exist in your research and ideas; where information might be missing.

Get your details correct and consistent. Check sentence structures, tense, punctuation, spacing, etc. Don't rely totally on a spell checker. It will help catch repeated words, reversed letters, and many other common errors, but it's certainly not foolproof. 

Read your paper in ways you ordinarily wouldn’t:

  • Read it out loud to see how your words sound. If you find yourself stumbling over phrases or sentences, rewrite them.
  • Read it backwards, paragraph by paragraph. You can often find errors when you’re looking at things in small snippets.
  • Then, have someone you trust do the same thing. Be prepared for criticism.
  • Make revisions and check the paper again.