College research papers can be extremely challenging to write, but any student can confirm that it is easier to write a paper when you have an example. Here are five fabulous resources for finding sample research papers.
1. The Internet
You really can find anything on the Internet these days, including thousands of research papers on an endless variety of topics. No matter what topic you were assigned to, you are almost guaranteed to find a sample essay on the Internet.
Although the variety of papers on the Internet is a major benefit, anyone can upload an essay, so there is often no way to be sure that the essay you are viewing is from a credible source. You should be careful not to use a poorly written sample as a model for your own research paper. Some pieces on the Internet cost money, and not all of these are of such a high quality they claim to be, so be attentive. If you use your best judgement, the Internet is a great place for anyone who asks him/herself, “Where can I find research papers?”
Libraries are filled with books that may offer examples of excellent research papers, which you can use to help shape your own paper. Libraries provide you with far more credible resources than the Internet, so using the library is the way to ensure that you are only using the best and the most qualitative papers to guide you.
However, searching for sample papers in a library may be much more challenging endeavor than finding research papers on the Internet. If you are willing to meet the deadline and effort for the most credible examples, then the library is the right place for you.
3. Friends or Siblings
If your friends or siblings have previously taken the classes you are enrolled in, they may have written about the same topic in the past. Even if they haven’t written papers on the same topic, you may still be able to view a research paper graded by your professor, which will give you an idea of what your professor looks for in research papers and how to structure your own essay the right way.
Of course, you’ll have to make sure that your sibling or friend did well in the class, before using his/her research paper as your example. Although you may use the paper as an example, be sure that you do not copy it outright. Plagiarism is taken very seriously at the colleges and universities, so use the paper as a guide for creating your own original piece.
If you ask your professor, he/she may have examples of research papers from previous students stored in her office. This is one of the best ways to ensure you get a great example—if your professor, who is grading your research paper, recommended the example, then you know it is a good one to use as a guide for your own writing.
The paper will also likely have the professor’s mark and comments written on it, which can give you valuable insight into what the most important point you should cover in your own work is.
You may be able to compare essays with your fellow classmates. Perhaps you can get together with your classmates to brainstorm research paper topics, and later meet to read one another’s essays and offer feedback.
It can be very helpful to listen to the ideas of others in your class for inspiration, get feedback on your own ideas, and receive a second opinion from students who are taking the same class. However, some college students fear sharing ideas or writing with others not to be copied. If you find a group of students you can trust who are willing to share ideas, it will be a great opportunity to get more inspiration.
Next time you are writing a research paper, but you don’t have a sample to guide you, try using one of the resources we have suggested. You will come up with some strong, qualitative examples to help you produce an excellent research paper of your own.