Bullying in school is an intensely popular topic among middle and high school students in their English classes because it is something that they can be immediately connected to. When thinking about writing a research paper on the topic of bullying, there are a few things to consider, and you should consider them in the following order as a best practice guide.
Step One: Determining what style of paper you are completing. This is vastly important because it will guide the formation of your research question and your thesis statement. Is this paper simply informational? Is it a task given to you simply because a teacher wants to know about bullying in schools? Or is the assignment argumentative? Perhaps the teacher wants to know if there are enduring effects of bullying or if schools are responsible for dealing with bullying.
Step Two: Think about all the exploration you can do and what different types of sources you can use. Considering the broad scope of the topic we still have, you have all kinds of options to pull information from, including any combination of the following:
- News Articles
- Movies and Documentaries
- Personal accounts
- Books and Journal Articles
Step Three: Form your thesis statement/claim and your research question. This will help guide the type of investigation you do and where you get information from.
Step Four: Organize your findings into categories. Maybe you have a documentary and an interview that discuss personal accounts of bullying. Group those together. Then, maybe you have a plethora of facts and other charts and statistics that need to be included, those get grouped together. And, in doing these groups, you are starting to form paragraph topics for your research paper!
Step Five: Outline your paper. This may seem fairly easy, but it is something that you should do to further organize your thoughts. Sometimes, I find it tedious, but it can be a crutch when you decide to put off writing until the very last minute!
Step Six: Cite your sources as you write! You should go ahead and make an unofficial works cited page as you write and then just alphabetize that document at the end of the writing process. Remember to cite in the text as well, that way you cannot be accused of cheating on your paper.
Hopefully, these six steps will help guide your work throughout the assignment and make the job just a little bit easier. Remember, no matter how good a writer you think you are, it is always a process, and you can always get better. Just make sure you have the fundamentals down pat!