Whether you have plain and simple forgotten about this paper or you just want to free a weekend for some fun, you are not the first and not the last student who wants to know how to quickly write a research paper.
We have no time to lose either, so let's define what we mean by "quickly." Average estimates for a 5-page research paper written on normal speed are anywhere between 14 to 48 hours of work. Granted, only about 2 to 4 hours of that time will be taken by writing (or typing), depending on your skills. The rest goes to research and processing data. This ratio is valid for research of every length. It doesn't matter whether you have to hand in a 3-page or 10-page paper. The lion's share of your time will be devoted to pre-writing.
That is why to write a research paper really fast, your first priority should be reducing this preliminary stage. Our first round of tips will be targeting this issue in particular. The second section of this post will give advice on how to speed up the writing as well. Ready? Steady. Go!
How to Write a Research Paper Quickly and Efficiently: Choosing Topic and Researching
If you have decided to finish a compelling paper on time without any writing help, the trick is to choose a topic that can be explored quickly – genuinely, not just for show. This is how you can do it.
Choose a topic you are familiar with
The first and most obvious way to do it is to tap into a sphere where you already have thorough knowledge. For example, you are a comic book buff, R'n'B music enthusiast, or you've read all Jane Austen's novels three times over. That's a golden opportunity for research because the material for it is already gathered in your head. You will still need to look for citations or count the instances a particular word appears in the text. Yet you already have an idea of what to look for and where to look for it. Maybe you have your own theory you've been dying to prove. This is your time to shine.
Choose a project that will be quick to implement
Depending on how much time you have left, you can build your research paper around the event that's easy to arrange or material that is readily available. For example, spend an afternoon in the local historical museum gathering information on how current exhibitions present events from the past and how they can be improved. Alternatively, you may base your research on the stacks of magazines found in the attic of your house. Study design choices, representation, the portrayal of women, etc. – something that can be relevant in the context of your course.
Harness the power of the internet
Internet, perhaps, is the easiest way to mine tons of information effortlessly in a matter of seconds. The number of results a particular search engine returns in response to a particular query, fluctuation of meaning a certain hashtag experiences over time, the evolution of a meme, Facebook users' commenting shorthand, most gif-able celebrities – everything can become a research question. Spend 15 minutes brainstorming a topic you can gather data on by quickly searching Instagram or Twitter and – voila! – you have your quick research paper. Of course, you will still have to spend some hours analyzing the results and writing them up, but at least you've cut the preliminaries to the bare minimum.
Use ready-made data sources
No one said you must do your own survey. You can – and should! – use official statistics and data obtained from open sources. Go to the US census website, Statista, Pew Research Center, and other trustworthy resources. With the right research questions and the goldmine of data they offer, you can churn out a decent analysis in a matter of hours.
Use data-processing tools
Another time-consuming stage is data processing. Many researchers still do all the data sorting and calculations by hand and don't realize how many automated tools are available for this purpose. One of them is probably sitting on your hard drive right now. Excel is perhaps the most underestimated piece of software ever created. It's not just a spreadsheet app – it's a data-crunching juggernaut. However, to tap into its potential, you must first devote some time to studying the functionality. What if you don't have time for that?
Luckily for you, numerous enthusiasts have been creating and sharing handy Excel formulas for years. Lurk on the forums for half an hour, and you will be able to process your data in a couple of clicks instead of days or even weeks.
How to Write a Good Research Paper Fast: Writing and Editing
Now you still have the writing to tackle. First of all, let's cover the basics:
- You must avoid distractions. Leave your phone charging someone you can't see and hear it.
- You should keep healthy snacks and water handy to avoid trips to the kitchen.
- Have 5-minute breaks every 45 minutes to give your eyes and brains a rest.
- Outline that paper. In the name of sanity – this will save you time.
You probably knew this all along, but it never hurts to double-check. Now, for the less evident.
Don't count the words
If you have the built-in counter in your word processor, disable it for now. It's just another distraction you will inevitably end up obsessively checking while losing track of your thoughts. Follow the outline and keep spitting out those statements and facts. You don't really think you can accidentally write too much, do you?
Don't edit what you write
Let your fingers fly over the keyboard. The worst thing you can do right now is to break the flow of your thought. Type, type, type away. If you aren't sure about something, or you've lost your thought, mark this place with a "TK" and continue to the next paragraph. TK is a journalism reference used in printed media to signify that the material is yet to come. Why "K" instead of "C"? Simple! TK is a letter combination seldom seen in English, so you can easily spot it when scanning the text. Now we use Ctrl+F, but the principle remains.
Use automated editing tools
When it finally is time for editing, don't rely on MS Word to get it right. Use fine-tooth online editors like Grammarly or Hemingway to comb through your text quickly and efficiently. They will point out if you've mixed up homophones, used the wrong word for the context, or were inconsistent in spelling the terms.
Use bibliography tools
EasyBib, ZoteroBib, Cite This For Me, and the like are your greatest helpers in cutting the time-consuming hassle of editing your citations and compiling the reference list. Open one of them while you are still researching and then use it every time you need to cite a source in your paper. Not only will you get perfectly formatted citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Oxford, or whatever. You will keep an automatic record of your sources that can then be arranged and re-formatted in a click to make up a perfectly complete bibliography.
The Last Resort for Those Who Have Despaired
Finally, if you have read all of the above and realized there is no way you can finish your paper on time, there is still one option. If this assignment is really important and you don't want a failing grade to ruin the work you've done so far, get professionals to write it for you.
At PaperHelp, you can get any kind of assistance you need:
- order a full-fledged paper sample written from scratch at a deadline as short as 3 hours
- if you want us to use your notes – just send them our way
- outsource research to us and get a ready-made literature review to speed up the writing process
- send us your draft for editing and proofreading if you feel too tired to finish this marathon