No matter what program you’re in, there will come a time in university when you’ll be faced with writing an extensive research essay. While it may seem scary and intimidating at first if you’re not used to a different type of essay, once you get the hang of it it can actually be very straight forward and easy to do well on, I promise! I’ve picked up on a few strategies that have helped me immensely through the process of writing a few university level research essays, and you’re super lucky because I’m sharing them with you! Here’s some key things to remember when embarking on this new challenge.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS START YOUR RESEARCH EARLY!!!!!!!
This. is. crucial. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve underestimated the amount of work that’s required from a research essay and tried to cram it all in while I was in the writing process. I’ve come to realize that the best thing you can do when writing on a topic, especially something you don’t know very well, is to do your research ahead of time so that you can start forming your argument based on what the experts are saying, rather than trying to find specific research that fits with your thesis.
DO LOTS OF IT
Starting early is the first step to success, but you also have to make sure you’re drawing from a wide range of sources to find different perspectives on your subject. You might end up changing your whole argument once you read a specific person’s take on it! Don’t stop until you’re exploding with information and your ready to teach a comprehensive class on it.
KNOW YOUR RESOURCES
We have a bunch of amazing resources available through the Ryerson library that will help you conquer your research, including:
RULA: The Ryerson University Library and Archives offers tons and tons of e-books and scholarly journals that can be easily searched for.
Google Scholar: This is also a great way to filter your search for proper academic sources. Unfortunately, the days are gone when you could get away with citing a random website from google. But, good news, google scholar only shows you all the best scholarly sources that relate to your topic.
The Writing Centre: Through the library, we offer one-on-one help with essays and assignments. All you have to do is book an appointment online and get constructive feedback for improving your work!
Research AttendantS: If you want to do your research at the Ryerson library, there’s staff members there that you can go to directly with help on finding information on your subject. You just tell them what you’re looking for, and they’ll give you all the best sources available in the library!
ANALYZE YOUR PANTS OFF
It’s not enough to have the best research and well supported arguments, profs want to hear the big picture of what this all means. Writing about the significance of your research, or just what you personally think of the topic will take your essay to the next level.
I hope this helps those of you who are nervous about that switch from high school to university expectations like I was. Don’t worry, *group hugs all of you* we’re in this together. If you give it you best, you’ll surprise yourself at just how capable you are!!!