Brown Bag serves up research paper advice

Student Life hosted a Brown Bag luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in CU1, and talked about writing research papers.

Communications Lab assistants Lydia Rucker and Nick Webb gave students tips on how to go about writing research papers, from start to finish.

Rucker asked participants if they got panicky when their professor tells them they need to have a particular paper done with six or seven different sources, to which various students murmured their agreement.

Afterwards, Rucker asked the audience what about writing research papers freaked them out the most.

Responses were varied, covering word requirements, quote lengths, a good variety of sources and the credibility of sources, time management, grammar, paper topic and thesis statements.

Soon after, Rucker and Webb spoke about how to go get the proper topic for your paper, and various ways of brainstorming such as listing, clustering, and free writing.

Rucker had specific instructions concerning brainstorming.

“Give yourself a time limit during brainstorming,” she said.

Webb took over, and spoke with students about sources and how to find them. “The library is your best friend,” he said

Even if you don’t want to go to the library physically, you can go to the library’s website at any time, he said.

He then spoke about the library’s online resources, such as Opposing Viewpoints and EBSCOhost.

And what would an informative session about research papers be without talking about Wikipedia? “One of the strengths of Wikipedia is that knowledgeable people can add more information,” Webb said.

He continued with the weakness of Wikipedia being that Internet “trolls” can change the information to cause havoc.

Rucker spoke about how to gather information and manage it through the use of note cards.

She recommended employing the use of color coding, writing down the source’s last name and what page the information is found on, a brief explanation of why the information is on the card, and the citation.

“I can write the paper directly from the cards because I have all the information right in front of me,” Rucker said.

The importance of citation came up in the luncheon as well.

“When in doubt, give it a citation,” Rucker said. “You can never have too many citations, but it can be bad if you don’t cite at all.”

The Communications Lab is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and has all the information that was presented in the Brown Bag, and more.

Brown Bag luncheons are hosted every week by Student Life in the College Union rooms.

Students are encouraged to bring their own meal to the sessions.

For more information, contact Student Life at 405-682-7523, or visit

Leave comment