Tips and Tricks for a Successful Research Paper


Spring semester. The semester of Spring Break, prom, and research papers. The research paper process of researching, outlining, drafting, and turning in your final paper can be a daunting task, but it is a critical grade. Research papers are a great opportunity to bring up your grade as the end of the school year nears; therefore, it is important to put time and effort into the process and your final paper. As you embark on this task, here is some advice from fellow Blessed Trinity students and teachers on how to produce your best possible research paper.

Do Not Procrastinate

Procrastination is your worst enemy when trying to write a successful research paper. If you procrastinate, the deadlines will catch up, and you will be rushing through the process. 

English teacher, Ms. Davies, says, “Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute even if you have step-by-step assignments.” She also recommends “teaming up with others” to help hold each other accountable throughout the process.

Ms. Ammons, an English teacher, suggests saying, “If you are someone who tends to procrastinate, write a schedule for yourself. If your teacher does not give you time in class, you need to make your own schedule and hold yourself to that. For example, working on it a little every day.” She also provides advice saying, “I recommend a youtube channel called Thomas Frank. He runs a youtube channel devoted to productivity and tricks to keep yourself on track.”

Use Credible and Helpful Sources

Having credible sources that support what you are trying to argue or to convey to your audience is key. 

Junior, Emma Alderman, emphasizes saying, “To a student just approaching their first research paper, I would mention the necessity of collecting proper, credible sources that provide beneficial information. Without this, you are making it harder on yourself as you attempt to pull quotes from improper sources that add nothing to your paper. It is also a waste of time and energy to continuously search for information and collect a surplus of irrelevant quotes and data.”

The Gale Database is a great resource to use when researching. Gale’s databases contain reliable sources separated by different subject areas and topics. Everyone has access to this database in your BT Links under “BT Gale Resources”. 

Listen to Feedback

Any feedback you receive on your research paper is important, especially from your peers and teachers. Teacher feedback is extremely valuable because you are receiving direct and personal advice to improve your paper from the person who will be grading it. 

Ms. Ammons emphasized saying, “I wish students read and listened to teacher feedback. With a virtual setup, it is easy to get a grade back and move on. Everything builds during the process. It is important to read feedback and understand what they are saying. This same thing also goes for peer feedback.”

Peer editing is a great opportunity to hear someone else’s perspective on your research paper. Alderman highlights the importance of saying, “Prior to writing my research papers in the past, I wish I knew how influential peer edits can be. The feedback of peers can lead you to better understand how your writing sounds to others and help you catch ideas that you were unable to explain clearly.”

Be Thorough 

It is easy to make small, careless mistakes on your research paper. Ms. Davies agrees to say, “The most common mistakes I see are careless errors with grammar, spelling, and citations.” 

It is easy to correct these errors by reading your research paper aloud. Reading aloud will allow you to recognize confusing wording, grammar errors, and spelling mistakes. Ms. Davies also suggests taking the time to do “good proofreading” and “paying attention to detail” before submitting your final paper. 

Remove the Pressure

Although the research paper is a significant grade during the spring semester, it is important to strive for your personal best, not perfection. Ms. Ammons emphasizes saying, “It is very difficult to do perfectly on [the research paper]. It is a learning opportunity, and you are going to make mistakes. Do not strive for perfection.”

Best of luck with finishing the research process and paper!