How to Ace Your Next Research Paper

If your next research paper is looming in the distance, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with the best resources and tips to make your paper writing journey go as smoothly as possible. 

Start with University Libraries

University Libraries has various resources to help you get started writing your research paper, from research guides to databases to citation guides. 

University Libraries offers guides for just about every major and department to assist you in your research journey. From English to engineering, there’s probably a research guide to send you on your way into the world of literary journals and academic studies. 

If you’re looking for lots of information, Scout is the tool for you. It searches the library’s entire catalog, and if UA doesn’t have it, there’s the option to request an interlibrary loan. Other libraries across the country will mail the requested book at no cost to you, and you can keep the item for about a month — so you’ll have time to spare if you need it for your research. If you request an article, it will be sent via a digital download link, and you’ll sometimes receive it as quickly as a few minutes. 

University Libraries also provides citation guides to help keep you on track and organized while writing your research paper. Some options include Zotero and EndNote, which can assist you in creating in-text citations and bibliographies. 

Scout is your one-stop shop for all things related to research…It’s definitely the place to go when you’re starting out.

Michael Pearce, University Libraries’ Director of Strategic Engagement 

If you’re lost and have no clue where to start your research and need assistance, you can ask a librarian a question online, or set up a face-to-face appointment with a UA librarian. 

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Bruno Library, UA Libraries, students, studying, study, library, libraries

Get the Words on Paper

If you need help drafting or refining your paper, the UA Writing Center is a great asset. 

The Writing Center is a great resource to help brainstorm your preliminary ideas and outline or polish your final draft. The trained staff can help you with any piece of writing. You can meet in person, on Zoom, or send them your drafts for their experienced consultants to edit asynchronously. 

Pay Attention to Your Health

Make sure you’re taking care of your mind and body during this busy time. 

Whether you are in the library at all hours of the day or have a meticulous study schedule, it’s important to fuel your body and mind to perform your best. It’s important to give your body a variety of nutrients, and having snacks that include a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats will fuel you best.

“A great golden rule of thumb is avoiding going longer than 4 hours without eating. If you have an early dinner but are staying up late to study, consider having an evening snack to fuel your brain during those night hours as our brain is one of our body’s hungriest organs,” said Sheena Q. Gregg, MS, RDN, LD, assistant director of Student Health Promotion in the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness.

It is also vital to monitor your water intake, as hydration is essential for healthy brain activity and function.  

Consistent hydration of 64 ounces or more of water daily is also important for top academic performance. 

Sheena Gregg, Assistant Director of Student Health Promotion for the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness
two women talking to each other
The UA Counseling Center is an important resource for feeling your best during your academic journey.

Your mind and mental health may also need some tending to during this time, and the UA Counseling Center offers great resources if you’re feeling anxious or depressed about your coursework.

Another tool that can help you work through stress is Togetherall, a community of peers where you can share experiences and process your feelings confidentially while receiving support around the clock with a wide range of tools and free mental health and well-being courses. 

Writing your first, or even twenty-first research paper can be a challenge, but with the right resources, writing tips and self-care, it can be a breeze!