How to Write an Undergraduate Essay Like a Master’s Student: Part 1

I was originally going to write an e-book on how to write an awesome undergrad essay, after all I spent four years writing some amazing essay’s and I even completed a 200 plus page honors thesis my junior year. To say I have experience in essay writing is an understatement. As it turns out the market is flooded with all kinds of essay writing how to books. So instead I’ve decided to turn each section into its own blog article. I hope you find this series useful. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments in the box at the bottom of the page.

Picking The Right Topic

As an undergrad you will not always or even often be given the option of choosing your research topic however on occasion you may be given the option of choosing the angle or side of a topic you are being asked to write. It is important to consider the following  questions as you choose your research topic.

Does it interest you?

Any project you will be spending more than a week on should be able to keep and maintain your interest. Even when you do not get to pick your topic finding a way to enjoy the research you are doing is essential when working on a long term project. When you are uninterested it can cause you to procrastinate or not do as in-depth  research as you could if you were interested.

What do you already know?

It is important to consider topics with which you already have some basic knowledge of. By choosing a topic you have some familiarity with you are giving yourself a leg up in the research portion. By having some first hand or previous knowledge you are able to choose keywords and phrases that will best assist you in locating literary research supporting or negating your thesis.

Do you have any preconceived opinions or assumptions that might bias your opinion?

It is important to consider your misconceptions or assumptions as you embark on your research exposition. You do not want your bias to bias the paper or the research.

How much research is out there on the  subject? Is it well explored or is the research thin/scarce?

Before choosing a topic it is important to visit Google Scholars or a reputable Scholarly database to do some cursory research for example say you wanted to write a report about Teenage mothers who graduated from a  four year College. You might find that there is a large amount of research on the subject. Whereas simultaneously if you choose a topic like Vitamin C’s effect on Cancer you will likely find little to none. The amount of research that is already out there on the subject could be helpful or detrimental depending on the type of research project you are doing. If you are doing a research project that requires an experiment it would be nice to have other research out there that completed the same or similar experiment having other research could be supportive or it could also hinder your experiment as others might compare your research and claim that because of the different aspects within the experiment your results are flawed. Now if you are simple wanting to complete a qualitative study dependent more upon historical documentation and the social implications of a subject then having more research already out on the web is better.

How well does the topic fit within the assignment?

After a short 30 minute cursory research session you should be able to determine whether the topic you are considering  is the right fit for your research project. Should you determine that your original research idea is not the right fit for the project then reconsider the direction.

For example if you were originally considering researching early childhood obesity and how it may positively affect individuals as adults, change your  angle to how childhood obesity may affect the child’s future academically. I. E how likely is it for a child who struggled with childhood obesity to go to college and complete a four year degree. All in all reconsider how you define the meaning of positively.

There are many questions science has not yet been able to answer either through social or scientific theory. Consider your audience, consider the available research, and most importantly consider your interest.


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