How to get started and stay motivated writing a research paper

It has happened to all of us—you have to write a research paper, but the topic, or the class, is something you hate. So how to get started and stay motivated when writing that research paper?

There are some tips and tricks that will help you blast through your dreaded task, hopefully with flying colors.

How to get started

When it comes to how to write a research paper on something you hate, often the hardest part is simply getting the ball rolling. “How to choose a final paper topic for a class you hate” by Stefanie Arr on December 8, 2011, for, discussed the best ways to get started when you are in this difficult situation. 

  • “Start thinking of how this course relates to your focus of study, as a whole: how does this course fit into your major or concentration?” Arr wrote.
  • Try to think of at least one thing that you have found interesting about the course or subject matter so far.
  • If you are stumped, figure out what it is that you understand best about the material and use that as a jumping off point.
  • As a final resort, talk to your professor and see if he/she can offer any insight that will help you get started. 

Writing is work

Let’s face it—writing is hard work even when you are fascinated by the topic or class at hand. Factor in something you hate, and the task can seem impossible. How to power through? Annabel Candy posted “Motivation Tips that Actually Work: 6 Sure-Fire Ways To Get Writing and Keep Writing” to that could help you tackle your research paper.

  • Create some imaginary deadlines. Having that one final deadline can sometimes make it hard to even get started. Everything just seems too big. So instead, make up smaller mini-deadlines to give you a feeling of accomplishment. (Prewriting due one week in; rough draft, two weeks; etc.)
  • Ditch distractions. When you don’t want to work, you will look hard for any little distraction. Suddenly doing laundry seems so fun and important! Remove everything that will tempt you away, set a timer for an hour and when that time is up, then and only then, take a break.
  • Find a motivational partner. If you have a friend in the class, use each other as a means to get started and stay motivated. Engage in a little friendly competition and compare how far along you each are.

Benefits of writing

Writing a research paper on something you hate may have you questioning why writing is even important. But according to Christina McCarroll’s article for the August 7, 2001, issue of The Christian Science Monitor, To Learn to Think in College, Write — a Lot: Study Links Writing to Intellectual Growth,” there is more to the practice of research paper writing then merely hoping for a good grade.

McCarroll wrote about Dr. Nancy Sommers, head of the expository writing program at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has studied undergraduate writing. “Sommers launched her study wondering what role writing plays in undergraduate education, but quickly realized that the role changes yearly, as students embark on increasingly intensive writing projects,” McCarroll wrote. In the article, Sommers shared that writing is academically beneficial for college students, but also it can help students get some much needed affirmation and adjustment help, especially in their first years at college.

Consider the long-term goals and implications that writing a research paper on any topic provides to your education, even if it is on something you aren’t necessarily interested in. This is especially helpful when you’re searching for how to get started and stay motivated.

Want to learn more about student motivation? Check out Questia—particularly the section on paper writing

Have you ever had to write a research paper on a topic you hate? How did you make it through? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

7 replies
  1. César De Lucas Ivorra says:

    La escritura es muy importante para la documentación científica.Todo estudiante universitario debe conocer el esque de: Introducción, material y métodos, discusión y conclusión.por otra parte cuando se quiere realizar una novela de literatura hay que empezar por una introducción que puede tener un prólogo anterior, después una trama y luego el final o desenlace.

  2. Dr Mohan Lal says:

    Dear sir
    This article is giving me a idea to think about to write based on discriminatory and sexual violence in our society . It is necessary to awake people for their rights sothat they can become strong

  3. Moses Kamaghe says:

    Prof. please advise me on these topics
    1.Impacts of Big Results Now on Non Tax Revenue collection in the Ministry of Water ,Tanzania
    2. An Assessment on Non Tax Revenue under Big Results Now at Ministry of Water, Tanzania
    3. Treatment of Depreciation in the Accounts of Tanzania Central Government

    • Nicole Reinard says:

      Hi Moses,

      By visiting Questia’s Topic Categories page, you will be able to browse thousands of books and millions of articles for your research. Consider searching the Politics and Government page to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can easily get started by clicking this link:

      Best of luck to you!


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