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Keep in mind that there are many ways to approach writing your first draft.
You do not have to start at the beginning. For example, you can draft segments of your paper. Once you've drafted some segments, look at ways to connect them.
At this stage you are not looking for perfection; instead, concentrate on writing down your rough ideas. Also, don't forget to take breaks to keep your brain and your writing fresh!As you incorporate others' ideas or words into your paper, cite your sources. Remember to note page numbers for direct quotations and paraphrases. If you are unsure about which citation style to use (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago Style, and so on), ask your instructor.
As you write your paper, it isn't enough to summarize your sources. A good paper synthesizes, or brings together, the ideas of several authors to support your points.
Need additional research? Review the reference lists in the books and journal articles you already found; for more information, consult How to Find Items Listed in a Reference List.
Start with your Passions
The most successful research projects begin with a topic you're passionate about, and develop into a collection of research questions you're driven to answer and explore. Check out the Mapping Your Research Ideas video for help choosing a topic that connects your passions with your assignment. From there, you’ll learn how to rapidly develop your research questions.
Get Social with your Research
Need someone to talk through your ideas with you, help you develop your topic, and plan out your research? Just let us know - we love talking about research and writing projects, and we can help you at any stage of the process. You can schedule an appointment in the Inquiry Labs in Powell, or visit one of our libraries to ask for help launching and planning your project!
Break it Down, Plan it Out
A research and writing project may seem big at first, but it gets easier if you break it down into a series of smaller tasks. Check out the Research Project Calculator to plan out your paper, oral presentation, or video assignment.
Find your Guide
Research is an adventure, and every adventurer needs a guide, right? To help, we've created research guides for nearly every subject and many courses at UCLA. These guides help you save time by connecting you with the best search databases for your topic and research questions.
Find your Ideal Study Spots
Everyone studies a little differently. For writing and other creative projects, some people prefer an active cafe, others want absolute quiet. Working on a collaborative project? We can do that, too! Check out these UCLA Library study spots to find the spaces that work best for you!
Call in an Expert
Digging deep on a research project? Not finding what you're looking for? It might be time to call in an expert! Our specialists offer extensive experience creating a research strategy in various disciplines. They can also help you search smarter and faster by choosing the right databases and crafting the best search terms for your research questions.
Be a Night Owl
Late night research question? Not to fear, you're not alone. You can get help with your research 24/7 using our "Ask a Librarian" service. Looking for a late-night study spot? Check out our Night Libraries.
Keep it together
We can connect you with research tools to keep your research and writing organized. Citation management tools like Zotero and Endnote allow you to create separate folders for each research project, and when you’re done, they automatically create a formatted bibliography for you. Nice!
Share your Work, Win a Prize
You do great work, and we want the world to know more about it! Check out our Student Showcase page to learn more about the work your fellow Bruins are doing, and the prizes and awards available to you!