You know, the one where you throw in every bit of interesting research you uncovered, including the fungal growth in the U-joint of your kitchen sink? Everything you learn may be fascinating, but not all of it is going to be relevant to your paper.
Invest time in writing your thesis statement—it’s the main idea of your paper, from which everything else flows. Without a well-thought-out thesis statement, your paper is likely to end up jumbled and with an unclear purpose.
Spend time going over the assignment. Look at everything your instructor has provided you with. Carefully read the writing assignment, prompts, grading rubric, or any other materials you’ve received. It might even be helpful to highlight and take notes on the assignment.
If you have the freedom to choose what your research paper could be about, take advantage of the situation and choose a topic that you are interested in or a topic you are curious about. By doing this, it gives you motivation to do necessary research for it. Be specific when selecting a topic because most writers make a mistake in choosing a topic that is too general.
Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach.