Research papers are some of the most common final projects college students will have to do. Writing a good research paper isn’t just about using proper grammar and spelling. That’s just the basics! By the time a student reaches the college level, they should already have a firm grasp on basic writing skills. There are always things students can do to make their writing better. But, there are some of the most common Activities to Improve Research Paper Writing Skills
What’s the best part of all of this? Students can use any of the activities on this list on their own time. No office hours or professors are required! All students need is a few minutes of free time here and there, some helpful friends, and (in some cases) a reliable Internet connection.
Activities to Improve Research Paper Writing Skills
Below are several activities that students can use to improve their research writing skills at the university level. Luckily, improving research paper writing skills isn’t all about rewriting and editing papers; although, those are great things to do. Instead, the activities in this article can help students to improve their writing skills without seeming like doing extra homework.
1. Read More Research Papers
One great way to improve research paper writing skills is to simply read more research papers. By doing this, students can see proper examples of what a research paper should look like. Of course, students need to make sure they’re looking at professional research papers, not just something their friend wrote in a previous semester. Reading scientific journals, and other similar professional works is a great place to start.
2. Take a Writing Workshop
English and writing classes teach the basics, but there’s so much to learn about writing. Taking part in a writing workshop can help with both academic and creative writing. Even if a college doesn’t have a writing workshop group or if students don’t have time to go to a physical writing workshop, they’re still in luck. There are many online writing workshops that are entirely free to use.
3. Peer Review Papers
One of the easiest ways to improve one’s research writing skills is to get help from friends. Of course, it’s best to ask friends who are getting high grades in English classes or similar classes. If nothing else, having another person look at a paper can help students to see mistakes they might have missed earlier. As a bonus, their friends may have suggestions of their own about how their research paper can be improved.
4. Make Paper Outlines
Writer’s block is a student’s biggest enemy when it comes to writing research papers. One great way to prevent writer’s block, and to know where the paper is going, is to write an outline. Typically, outlines use the following structure.
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraph(s)
- Main Idea
- Supporting Evidence
- Paragraph Conclusion
- Restate the Thesis Statement
- General Paper Summary
In most cases, research papers will require more than one body paragraph. Each body paragraph should cover one main idea. The body paragraph doesn’t need to be only one paragraph long. Take as much space as needed to convey the “paragraph’s” idea. However, if an actual paragraph is more than five or six sentences long, then it would be best to divide it into more than one paragraph. This will make the paper look cleaner. It will also make the paper easier to read.
5. Expand Vocabulary
Learning new words is something students can do at any time, anywhere. Making flashcards, playing vocabulary games, or even using pre-made online vocabulary cards are all great ways to improve one’s vocabulary words. By using more eloquent words, research papers will seem more professional.
While professors aren’t likely to mark down students for using casual language, it does help to show off a student’s writing skills. Using mature words is especially helpful when working on art history research papers, or similar projects, in which using descriptive language is important and can add beautiful imagery to a piece of writing.
6. Practice Editing
It’s a cliché saying but it’s true—practice makes perfect. The first draft of a paper is often called the rough draft. It’s fair to say that this is simply because it’s rough. For this reason, students should always proofread and edit their research papers before they turn them in.
To get even more practice with editing, students can help their friends edit papers, look through student newspapers to try to correct any mistakes that could have been made, or even take online editing tests. Any of these activities can help students to practice editing without forcing them to stare at their own papers for hours on end.
Improving academic writing at the college level doesn’t have to involve taking writing prep classes or asking for extra credit assignments. Instead, students can take matters into their own hands and practice improving their writing skills outside of the classroom. The writing tips in this article not only help with academic research paper writing like professional research paper services – they can also apply to any other type of academic writing or even creative writing!
Students would do well to use the tips and links in this article to improve their research writing skills so their writing is part of what professors expect at the college level. We wish students the best of luck in their research writing endeavors!