Is your student struggling to write their research paper? Are they enjoying the topics they chose? Here are 5 tips to help your student write a better research and thesis paper. This can be used as a resource while writing the thesis paper for Dave Raymond’s History series. For more instruction, watch Dave Raymond explain even more tips and tricks in the video below.
Subject matter should be enjoyed.
Encourage your student to pick a subject they are interested in. There is no point choosing something because it seems like the smart or easy option. If they are not writing about something they enjoy, then they will not write.
I remember for my first thesis paper, I chose the topic of Constantine and the Edict of Milan. It took me much longer to finish because I was not enjoying my topic choice. Don’t underestimate the importance of an interesting topic.
Read, read, read.
The more your student researches their subject, the more information they collect. This makes it easier for them to begin writing. A trick I have found that makes writing easier is acquiring more research than you think is needed. That way the only task is to sift through the research and decide what you want to use instead of realizing you don’t have the information you want or need.
Topics can be as obscure or obvious as your student wants.
As long as they can find sufficient research supporting their thesis, it does not matter what their topic is. Just make sure it is not too big. If it is too big, it will become overwhelming.
As an example of a manageable topic, I wrote one paper debating whether Abraham Lincoln’s presidency should be as lauded as it is. Another student wrote her paper on midwifery in the nineteenth century. Another wrote hers showing the similarities and differences between the early and modern church.
Don’t worry if one point is stronger than another.
Help your student figure which of their points is the strongest and which is the weakest. This will show them which paragraphs may need more work and subsequently, if their paragraphs are placed in the most convincing order in their paper. Reading the paragraphs out loud is a fail-safe way to figure this out.
Be prepared to revise more than you think.
I have found the best way to get your thoughts down is by simply writing whatever comes to mind about your topic. Writing this way does entail a considerable amount of revision, but it means your thoughts will be on paper for you to see. All your student has to do now is general revision: moving around sentences, reading the paragraphs out loud to see how they sound, checking for grammar, etc.
The teacher’s guide for each history course explains the research paper in more detail!