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Common problems university students face when writing their research papers


Getting structured

This is not always easy, when you were at school everything was structured and all you needed to do was turn up and be educated.

At university, you have to take more responsibility fro yourself and more responsibility for your learning. Its not as easy as you thought coming finding your research topic and writing up your paper.

Being a great researcher

  • You need to read a lot of research papers.
  • You need to discuss ideas with your professors and also your peers.
  • You need to stay motivated.

How to stay Motivated

  • Keep track of what you are doing. How best to do this? Write things down. When you have a good idea - write it down. Read a piece of research that is relevant to your work - write it down.
  • Don’t read everything, only read documents and papers that are relevant to your interest.
  • File things. When you get copies of the papers or documents that you may be using to support your research paper, make copies, if you have found them on the internet, you may not always have access to them - so take a hard copy.

Talk to your peers

  • Not just about what is on TV, but abut your research interests.
  • Learn from them. Learn about their research papers.
  • Discuss your research paper, by verbalizing your ideas, it helps focus your ideas. It also helps you hone your critical thinking skills

Get organized

  • Write everything down - yes its already written above - but write everything down in one place. Use a Project diary or journal.
  • Write down your plan, your timetable, what you need to find out, any random thoughts that may be related to your research paper.
  • Don’t just write down things and not go back to your journal - use it as a planning tool as well as your reference tool. You will find that you are already compiling, your Bibliography (which is going to save you al lot of time and frustration later).

Be Selective

  • Don’t read everything, be selective. Ask for suggestions from your supervisor / tutor / professor. Talk to the university librarian. Be Critical in your selection.
  • Make summaries - you don’t want to keep reading the same paper several times, and also by making summaries you will avoid the plagiarism issue.
  • Don’t be drawn in by buzz words. You may spend a lot of time reading something that has no relevance to your work.

Good Luck !

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