In our Fall 2015 Instructor Engagement Insights survey, we asked: “What advice do you have for students beginning their first extensive research assignment?”

We’ve selected thirteen of those tips and shared them below. If your students are about to embark on the process of writing a research paper, pass these tips along!

Starting a research paper with confidence: Thirteen tips from instructors

1. “Start early and be patient with finding information.”

2. “Be sure you understand the assignment before you begin; set a schedule for completing the work; develop an organization method to keep track of all research, notes, and materials; ask questions.”

3. “Keep the objectives and guidelines of the assignment on mind at all times.”

4. “Break the research assignment into steps and complete the steps in order.”

5. “Be patient; ask questions; be curious; approach research like a treasure hunt.”

6. “Talk to the subject specialist at the library if you’re confused about where to begin.”

7. “Locate people who can help you, such as the writing center, or other on-campus resources.”

8. “Read, read, read, and then brainstorm their topic, talk it out loud, do diagrams, consult an expert and ask questions.”

9. “Seek academically respected resources, and to gather as much information as possible, and decide what material actually supports what the student is trying to convey, support, or defend. Allow yourself ample time to read your sources thoroughly.”

10. “Think about what you want to talk about. Skim some of the materials available on the topic and select three to five main ideas or characteristics that are the most interesting to you. Focus on finding materials on those subsets and create a paper talking about your area with specific information on the selected subtopics.”

11. “Take notes on the readings and include quotes and summaries. Note your own ideas as you read. Write the bibliographical information even if you do not know you will use the source. It just saves time. I also tell my students to go find some articles they are interested in and read items off of those bibliographies.”

12. “Capture citation information first.”

13. Because it can’t be said enough: “Don’t leave all of the work until the last minute!”

What suggestions do you share with students who are starting a research paper? Share them in the comments.