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Mastering the Art of Academic Research and Writing

In order to excel in an educational setting, one must develop strong research and writing skills. It is not enough to simply be intelligent and hard-working; you must also understand the methods and practices that make up good academic writing and the research behind it. The good news is that these methods can be mastered with practice and dedication. The following is a list of tips that will help you to develop your skills and start achieving higher scores on your very next paper.

  • Proper Order. The most basic point to remember is that research and writing need to be done in that order – not the other way around. Spend plenty of time in research before you ever begin writing and process will come much easier. If you start writing and then stop to seek out more research, your paper may end up disorganized as you have to squeeze new information into a place where it should not have been.
  • Use What is Given. Don’t overthink the research side of this equation. Generally speaking, and paper that is written for a class has specific resources that it should be researched from. Pay attention to the instructions given with the writing assignment; chances are, those instructions point you in the direction of where to get your research. If not, start out with a web search to get an idea of what materials are available, and narrow it down from there.
  • Start Early. This is a tough one, as it is tempting to put off working on an assignment until the due date draws near. However, the earlier you start, the better the final product will be. Make it a goal to start doing some research the very same day that the writing assignment is given out. This way, you will engage your brain in thinking about the topic, and might find yourself feeling like you want to get started sooner than you would have if you put off the research.
  • Lead with Your Strength. When it comes time to write the paper itself, always open with your most important points within the first couple pages. To make a strong argument, you want to establish right away what it is that your paper is saying. From there, use your research to back up your points and expand on them in the following pages. By waiting to make your statement, you risk losing the interest of the reader, and may confuse them in the process.