What Happens If You’re Stuck With Your Research Paper Writing?

  1. Don’t know where to start? It can be daunting starting a research paper, but I would suggest getting on with it straight away and not delaying. It’s often not as bad as you anticipate once you get started. You could break the essay question down into parts or smaller questions so that it seems more manageable to tackle. Look back at the work you’ve already covered on your course, this should all have been geared to helping you write this research paper and read any course booklets. Try to ensure you select a topic that you’re naturally interested in.
  2. Pick a different research paper question – if you’re not very far in writing your research paper, and you’re stuck; if you haven’t already done a lot of reading round the subject – then you could consider picking a different question that you find easier.
  3. Ask people for help and advice – If you’re a good way through your research paper and then become stuck, the first point of call would be to contact your tutor and ask them for advice, that’s what they’re there for. I would give them a brief summary of the direction that your paper has taken you in, up to this point; the books/journals you’ve looked at; tell them exactly what you’re stuck on and ask for some guidance as to where you go from here. Your tutor is likely to be the most knowledgeable person who can quickly advise you. But, you could also ask your fellow students, family and friends for their advice too.
  4. Read around the subject – if you’re stuck this could mean that you need to know more about the subject in order to proceed. Or, you need to have more theories to compare and contrast. A ‘research’ paper does suggest that you need to be doing research, so ensure you make good use of the actual library for books/journals/archives but also the electronic library for electronic journals and so you can quickly search databases. Don’t be afraid to ask the library staff to help you find useful resources – they’re trained professionals and will be full of tips and hints to make your search for resources more effective.
  5. Communicate with people – I can virtually guarantee that whatever is causing you to be ‘stuck’ – you will not be the first person to be stuck on this before. There are many things that could be causing you to feel ‘stuck’: this could be an academic issue, it could be a problem with referencing or formatting, and it could be a time-issue due to events outside of education. Do speak with your tutors and get help. Staff can’t help you if they don’t know what the problem is. If you contact them, regardless of what it’s about, they will point you in the right direction to ensure you get help.