The academic research paper is the most common type of paper you’ll write in college. Whether you’re new to writing a research paper or have quite a few behind you, writing an academic research paper is an endeavor that will benefit from effective project management. 

Project management helps you create an organized plan that ensures you complete all the steps and meet all deadlines. What you may like most is the time saved and reduction of unnecessary work. Read on for some advice on the process of completing a college academic research paper.

5 Pro Tips to Help You Stay Focused

There are several pro tips to keep in mind as you are working toward completing a research paper. Our top five tips are:

  1. Work during the time of day and in an environment you feel most productive whenever possible.
  2. Reward yourself for accomplishing tasks to help you stay motivated through the process.
  3. Use a calendar or schedule to block time and to create mini deadlines for the various steps of the process.
  4. Check in with your progress and the deadlines to ensure you are working at a pace that will allow you to meet the final deadline. 
  5. Take a break between the writing/drafting stage and the reviewing/revising stage. 

Use This Time-saving Project Management Process for Completing a Research Paper

Save time and avoid pitfalls by following the process in the UAGC Research Paper Project Management Plan

You can also follow these 10 tips for a successful approach to writing your next academic research paper.

  1. Open and use the UAGC APA student paper template and begin creating section headers that align with your assignment prompt. This creates organization for your paper right away.
  2. While reading through your assignment prompt, create some possible key terms you can use for researching. Write these directly into the sections of the paper you’ve created. 
  3. Avoid searching Google and instead use the UAGC Library to locate credible, scholarly sources. When you find a potential source, skim through key sections rather than reading it through. 
  4. Write as you’re reading your sources. Use your Word document to make notes of information from your sources that you may use in your paper and what source that information came from. Note the new information you are learning and any connections you’re making. Your notes don’t need to be finalized sentences and your citations don’t need to be in perfect APA format at this point. 
  5. As you take notes from a source, include the title of the source, the date of the source, and the author onto the final page of the Word document that will become your list of references. These don’t need to be in perfect APA format for now — just notate them. 
  6. Now that you’ve taken notes from several sources, review those notes, review the assignment directions again, and draft an initial thesis statement at the top of your Word document. Go into the individual sections of your paper and draft an initial topic sentence for each section. If a section will include more than one point, create a topic sentence for each point. 
  7. Don’t expect to use every source or all of your notes in your final draft. Realizing a source no longer fits your purpose is not time wasted – it’s proof that you’re gaining knowledge through research. Remain flexible through this process. 
  8. Your notes from your sources can now become your supporting sentences for your paragraphs in each section. Don’t worry about having polished writing at this point. Your body paragraphs should be almost developed now. Save writing your introduction and conclusion until all other sections are complete. 
  9. Check in on your progress. Review your notes and your thesis. Do you have enough evidence and information from sources? Complete any additional research and add notes to your sections if needed. 
  10. Review, revise, and polish your paper. After writing an entire draft, you will have a complete, yet unfinished paper — and that is OK! Compiling the content is a major accomplishment. And now you’ll need to check your writing for correct academic body paragraph structure and academic introduction and conclusion paragraph structure. Then, you can review for academic tone and word choice, correct grammar and punctuation, and correct APA citations and reference entries. 

Keep Using This Project Management Plan

Each time you write an academic paper, continue to use the UAGC Research Paper Project Management Plan. Adapt it to fit your unique needs if you wish. Before long, you’ll find that managing the project of an academic research paper is now instinctual for you. 

You can master the process of writing a research paper that will save you time and reduce unnecessary or redundant work. 

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