Procrastination is not usually a plan for most students when they begin the school year but considering the busy lifestyle many students have, there will inevitably come a time when an assignment may slip through your fingers and you find yourself scrambling at the last minute to get it done on time. You realize the weekend or night before that your research paper is due and panic sets in. You haven’t even written the first word. A little anxiety sets in and you’re not sure what to do. You want to turn in a quality paper but without enough time, you’re not sure it’s possible.
The good news is that with the right approach to the task, it is possible to prepare a well-written research paper and turn it in even if you only have a few hours to work on it.
Start With Your Topic
While you want your topic to be focused enough for you to deliver a sound argument, you want it to be in an area of discussion where there has already been a lot of research done on it. It’s not the time to start a paper on ‘the search for intelligent life in other galaxies. When you’re dealing with a serious time crunch, avoid the temptation to impress your professors with an entirely new angle or a new subject that will require fresh research or information to defend your point of view.
Do Your Research
One of the quickest ways to get your paper in is to do your research before you write your thesis statement. This way, you know what kind of material you have before you decide on your argument. Ideally, you want to formulate your viewpoint first then prepare your thesis statement but in a time crunch, you want to be sure you have the data to back up your point of view first that way you’re sure that you have the documentation to support your statement.
Look for easy to find resources. While most professors will discourage Wikipedia as a trustworthy source of information what it can give you is an overall view of the subject, a Table of Contents that can serve as a basic outline for your topic and links to more accurate and reliable resources to support your topic.
Build Your Paper
Because it’s a research paper, you don’t need an earth shattering topic but you should have a pretty good idea of what to write about. Your thesis statement should serve as a guide to what you’re writing about and the body should follow the Table of Contents in building your argument.
To introduce your topic make sure that you’re descriptive enough for the reader to get the point quickly. If it’s an individual, write about their background and if it’s an object, briefly describe what it is and how it’s used. The conclusion should be a summary of what you’ve already said in the body of your paper.
It’s important for you to cite your references at the end of your paper. Actually, if you’ve been diligent in your research, you’ll copy and paste the links to your works cited as you go through your research then it’s just a matter of formatting.
Finally, you want to walk away from it for a while. Ideally, you want to sleep on it and get up early on the day it’s due and proofread it. This is always good advice even if you’ve started the paper well ahead of time. Give your mind time to shift off the subject so that you approach the topic with fresh eyes. Make your tweaks and adjustments and you’re ready to turn in your paper.