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Arkansas State University

Starting Your Research Paper: Home

Time for the dreaded paper? Learn how to get started!

The Truth

NO ONE likes research papers. 

Not you, not your professor. 

However, research papers are an essential part of academia. 

So instead of griping and whining about it, try to make the best of it.

Make It Interesting!

You don't want to do a research paper.  Your professor doesn't want to read it or grade it.  So, do you both a favor and make it interesting!

Think about the things that interest you.  Now, think about your paper.  Can you find a way to incorporate the two?

If you come up with an idea for a paper, run it by your professor.  Chances are, your professor is tired of reading the same paper over and over again and may be open to your idea. 

You will be surprised by how many fun and interesting topics there are with just a little imagination.

Example

Let's pretend I have to write a paper for an economics class. I am horrible at economics and business, so I don't enjoy the subjects. However, I love music. Can I combine music and economics?
 

Of course! There are many ways to incorporate music into an economics paper:

  • Study the financial effects of illegally downloading music.
    How much do the record companies really lose? Do people who download music buy more music?
     
  • Study the effectiveness of alternative ways of selling music, including streaming and free downloads. How are the artists making money?
    • MC Frontalot and MC Lars - Captains of Industry: "Look at us, we're in the t-shirt business. I thought that we were musicians - what is this?"
    • Tech N9ne - Over It: "All those streaming services make it nearly impossible for artist to make some real bread...Better pray that they want to come see your show. That right there gonna be your dough."
       
  • Compare hip hop artists during a recession and during a financial boom.
    Do hip hop artists wear less "bling" in a recession? Do rap lyrics change with the economy?
      
    "I Love The Dough": Rap Lyrics as a Minor Economic Literature
    For me, this scholarly article is exciting and doesn't feel like work to read.
    If you don't like rap, you might hate it - and that's ok! Find something that fits your interests!