Apr 17, 2014 6:00:00 AM
John dreaded writing his research paper on local history. He read a few encyclopedia entries at the library, checked out a few books and wrote his paper writing as many of the facts he could logically fit in, in an organized and very readable format. The truth? John's paper was boring to write and boring to read.
In the 21st century, ample personalized learning opportunities make it possible to learn about subjects through video, audio, infographics and more. When writing a research paper, take it a step beyond the traditional encyclopedic list of events and create a paper that is enjoyable to write and that others will enjoy reading. The following tips are essential for writing a research paper in the 21st century.
5 Tips to Become a Master Writer
- Know the difference between MLA and APA. MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) format are two citation styles. The biggest difference is that MPA is used for humanities (e.g., communications, literature and media), while APA is used for social sciences (e.g., psychology, business and economics). It's important not to mix styles, but to use one or the other consistently throughout the research paper. Differences in MLA and APA format vary from title page to citation style.
- Use OWL.OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a free online resource developed by Purdue University that contains everything from citation style information to grammar and research tips. For individuals who are writing their first research paper, need a refresher and don't know where to start at all, OWL is an essential resource. It's a great place to find how to cite the latest forms of media. In addition, it has tips for writing instructors and tutors and parents who want to help their middle and high school students.
- Vary sources. A great way to make a research paper more engaging is to vary its resources. These days there are podcasts, video clips and e-zines produced by reputable organizations (check out Smithsonian's Online Collections) to make the research process more interesting and engaging. These resources will surely make the research paper more engaging for a reader as well. Using a broad variety of resources gives the writer a rich background and understanding of the topic before delving in to write a paper.
- Choose the topic wisely. The topic of the research paper varies just as much as content. If the instructor takes a personalized learning approach that gives students the opportunity to choose their topic, it's important to verify this topic with the instructor. A poorly chosen topic can make research very difficult and leave very little information to write about. Choose the topic wisely to ensure the best possible scenario for writing the research paper. This tutorial by Sophia is an excellent resource for narrowing down a topic.
- Presentation style. Take advantage of 21st century resources to create a varied presentation style when writing a research paper. Charts, graphs, infographics and more can enhance the paper. If turning in the paper electronically or for an online course, an accompanying video may even be an option. Applications such as Piktochart allow individuals to create a completely free infographic that can enhance a research paper or report with additional data.
When writing a research paper it's important to take ample time to prepare. Put time and effort into every step of the process from choosing the topic to writing the final draft.
What is the best advice that you have received about personalized learning and writing a research paper? We would love to hear your thoughts below!