Fulfilling a class assignment got Carly Henry, a student in the paralegal program, more than an “A” grade—it won her $100 and a Kindle Fire! Carly won the Early Fall 2012 Research Paper contest at Globe University-Madison East, and then went on to win the first research paper contest amongst all campuses in the Globe University network of colleges!
So what does it take to write a successful research paper? Let’s talk with the author herself…
“Writing a legal research paper is like solving a puzzle,” Carly explains. “You have to take the current case at hand and determine what the issue is in the case. Then you have to find older cases that address that same issue. Just as you have to see if the puzzle piece you are holding in your hand fits into the larger, partially-completed puzzle, you have to see if the older cases fit with the current case.”
A puzzle a great way to think about research projects. Another good metaphor is a mosaic. In both of these scenarios, you need to hunt for the right piece, compare it to other pieces, and figure out where it will fit in your picture. The Globe-Madison East Campus Librarian, Cynthia Bachhuber, has a few tips to share on how to write great research papers:
- Make sure you fully understand the assignment expectations. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor questions or run thoughts or sources past him/her.
- Talk with the librarian! Your librarian is the research expert on campus.She or he can help you decide what kind of information to look for, how to search for information, and how to start fitting those pieces together.
- Be a smart information consumer. Check your research sources for how current they are, who wrote them, if there is any bias, and if they cite where they found their facts.
Great research papers can earn you A’s, fabulous prizes, and best of all, an advanced understanding of the subject matter and sharpened critical thinking skills.