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Scheduling your project

A time crunch could be one of your biggest challenges in completing a successful research paper. Take the time now to plan your deadlines—it will help you get going and tell you when to wrap up one step and move on to the next.

  Step by Step Research & Writing Percent of time* Date you will finish this step
Books STEP 1 - Getting started: planning the process 5%  
Books STEP 2 - Discovering and choosing a topic 10%  
Books STEP 3 - Looking for and forming a focus 20%  
Books STEP 4 - Gathering information: detail research 25%  
Pencil STEP 5 - Preparing to write 10%  
Pencil STEP 6 - Writing and revising 30%  

*Suggested times for each step

The suggested percentages of time are to give you an idea in general how you may want to divide up your time between now and the time your paper is due. As you can see, the research steps are projected at 60% of the total time, while writing is 40%. Depending on how complex your topic is and how much you know about it at the beginning, your time could be more or less heavily weighted toward research versus writing.

Research and 'reflection' time

As you work through the Step by Step approach, you will find that you'll need time for reading and research at almost every step. This means a trip to the library, or an internet session on your computer, so be sure to plan enough time for those activities. Also, the whole process works best if you have time for reflection, thinking—time for you to put the project aside and "sleep on it." If you possibly can, build these times into your schedule. Your paper will be a better product and you are likely to be happier with the whole process.


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