Reference reports are common writing assignments given to college pupils. Students will likely be required to produce at least one report for each course they undertake. Designed to help supplement the information presented in the course text book, research papers are a way for instructors to ensure that students are keeping up with the material and that they understand the material that is being presented in the course.
In addition to supplementing the material that students will study from the text book, research papers are a way to encourage students to explore subjects which are related to the course material but which may not be directly studied as a part of the course. However, many times, the instructor will use the text book, research paper writing, and supplemental materials present the most comprehensive picture of the topic as possible. In essence, the text book, research paper exploration, and supplemental material such as in-class presentations, lab study, and out-of-class assignments all work together to help students learn.
All research papers have a few basic requirements. Regardless of the type of paper, there should be an introduction, a paper body, and a conclusion. The introduction should include a thesis statement as the last sentence or two of the introductory paragraph. The paper body should include three or more paragraphs designed to support the article’s thesis. And, the article’s conclusion should be a well-written paragraph which pulls all of the information together, restates the thesis, and concludes the presentation.
Other requirements for research papers might include paper formatting. The most common formatting requirements are one-inch margins, double-spaced text, and basic in-text citations. Depending on the type of paper, a bibliography might also be required. Some research paper assignments will require that students create what is called an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is simply a biography that includes the basics of authorship, publisher, and title information for the reference materials used to write the assignment, in addition to a brief synopsis of the source material and perhaps a sentence or two about its usefulness to the project.
Following the guidelines set forth by the course instructor is one way for students to earn the best grade possible for their submission. Students must also take care to pay attention to such aspects as spelling, grammar, sentence composition, and basic writing skills. These skills are rarely mentioned by the college-level instructor because, by the time a student has reached college, such skills are assumed. For students who are having trouble, help is often available in the university writing lab.