Top 10 Research Paper Tips

September 28, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Yup, it’s that time again. You have to write a research paper and you have no idea where to start.

You have a couple of ideas, but you’re not sure any of them will work. Maybe you remember the last time, when you put it off until the last minute, hoping inspiration would strike. Or maybe this is your first term paper in high school or college.

No matter why you’re searching for research paper tips, I have some ideas that can help take the pain out of term papers.

10. Think about the guidelines

Before you check out a single book, run a Google search or write down a single work, make sure you know the guidelines for your research paper. In addition to the due date (which should go onto your calendar right away), pay attention to the length, style and content guidelines.

Many teachers provide details about sources and documentation, so look for that information, too.

9. Think about the professor’s biases

Every teacher has their biases…subjects they love, subjects they hate. Most are pretty clear about their attitudes towards their subject.

Before you start your research paper, make sure you’re aware of how the topic you’ve chosen is likely to be viewed by your instructor. A good teacher will welcome opposing opinions, but you need to make sure you’ve backed up your unique perspective with good data.

8. Are you excited about the topic?

It’s very difficult to write a great paper if you have no interest in the topic, so try to pick one that appeals to you.

That being said there will be times, especially in required classes, when you really have no interest in the subject. Do your best to find some aspect of the subject that interests you. Even if it’s just about the way you approach the topic, finding that point of interest will make your research paper easier and better.

7. Is the material available to you?

You may have a great idea for a research paper, but if the materials you need are not reasonably available to you, you need to pick a different topic. Check for availability before you turn in your topic, and don’t depend on inter-library loans or materials that will require you to travel.

6. Is there enough to say?

Some research paper topics sound great upfront. But once the research begins, you may find that there’s just not enough to say.

One way to avoid this problem is with an outline. If you find yourself running short of line items in your outline, pick a new topic.

5. Keep it narrow

This is the opposite of the previous tip, but it’s another common pitfall in term papers.

It’s easy to pick a topic that’s too broad – one that’s better suited to a book than a class paper. And that will prevent you from getting into the subject in any detail.

Make sure your topic is narrow enough to be covered well in the number of pages you have to work with.

4. Do you have something new to say?

One surefire way to get a poor grade on a research paper by regurgitating the same old information everyone knows.

Make sure your topic lets you say something new and original. And while we’re on the topic, make sure it’s 100% your own work. Cutting and pasting is not writing a paper. It’s plagiarism.

3. Do you have the time?

Before you select a super-challenging topic, make sure you have the time to do the research and writing it will require.

If you have a full load of classes and several papers to do, make sure you select topics you can do well in the time you have available.

2. Do you have a clear thesis statement?

If you’re not clear on exactly what question you’re trying to answer with your research, your paper will lack focus and wander. That will not get you the “A” you want.

After you pick your topic, write it into a clear, focused question form. Then focus your research on answering that question. Use resources like style manuals and tutorials to help you keep your writing succinct, focused and clear. The easiest way to get frustrated with a research paper is to get lost in bad grammar and poor sentence structure.

1. Can you learn something from your topic?

It’s amazing how many students never stop to think about this one. A research paper is more than just an assignment to be exchanged for a grade. It’s a chance for you to learn something new.

While it may be simpler, avoid picking a topic that you already know well. Take a chance and learn something new.

Top 10 Ways to Get Past the HR Department

September 22, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Job hunting is tough. Applicants are out there in abundance, and openings are few.

And to have a chance at that rare job opening, you have to get the right information to get your resume in the right hands.

That means getting past – or at least around — the HR department.

But with the right information, you can get past the HR department, get to the people who need to see your resume, and increase your chance of getting that much needed new job.

Here are the top 10 ways to sidestep the HR department and find out who whose name needs to be at the top of your cover letter.

10. Search the news

Sending out press releases is a great way for a company to get noticed. But did you know they’re also a great source of information for job seekers?

Search for news about the company, and you could find out what who’s in charge and which projects are hot. That could be the information you need to tailor your cover letter to current needs and address it to the right person.

9. Spread the word

Let family and friends know where you’re applying. Just like in the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, odds are someone will know someone who works where you’re applying.

Get that name, and ask them who’s in charge of the job you want.

8. Open houses

Many larger companies have open houses, where members of the public can tour the facility. Find out if the company you’re interested in has one scheduled – it’s the simpliest way to get past the HR department and gather the information you need.

7. Alumni groups

Check out the listings in your college or university’s alumni group and find out who works at the company. Contact them for advice on who is making hiring decisions and other information you’ll need for your resume and cover letter.

6. Religious groups

If you’re active in a church, temple, mosque or other religious group, find out if anyone works at the company. People are often more willing to trust members of their place of worship, so they share more critical information.

5. Social and sports activities

You won’t need to worry about getting past the HR department if you can get the information you need on the ball field or in the society pages.

Look for team rosters in company-against-company softball or basketball leagues. Check out wedding announcements, charity events and other social event reports for mentions of your target companies. Use online search engines on newspaper sites to make the search easier.

4. Service organizations and community groups

Groups like the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce are wonderful for getting to know who’s who in a company. If you’re lucky the person in charge of hiring will be a member, and they’ll handle the human resource department hurdles for you.

3. Networking groups

Networking groups in your field can yield be a great way to identify who’s in charge, and how you can get past the HR department and into an interview.

Not a member of any networking groups? Check out, professional societies and your local newspaper to find some.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the virtual opposite of the Human Resources department. Where HR throws up obsticles and refuses to tell you the name of the department managers, LinkedIn shares names, jobs and connections.

Use your connections to build a bridge to the right people at your (hopefully) new company.

1. The art of conversation

Once you’ve identified the people you need to connect with, it’s time to strike up a conversation.

Find common ground, and start the ball rolling. If you handle it well, the warm welcome that will be waiting for you on your interview day will be the very best of all ways to get past the HR department’s walls.

Best of … great classroom games

September 22, 2011

best of classroom gamesContributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Games are one of the most effective ways to teach complex concepts in the classroom.

Read more

Top 10 Classroom Themes

September 22, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Looking for some new classroom themes? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Read more

Top 10 Classroom Rules

September 21, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

One of the biggest challenges teachers face is in creating classroom rules. Too many, or too much detail, and students may feel overwhelmed. Too few, and a classroom can deteriorate into chaos.

While the exact rules you need depend on the grade level and your students, here are the top 10 rules you probably should have in your classroom.

10. Treat your classmates with respect

This is a broad rule, so consider having this as part of your classroom mission statement, as well as a rule. Involve the students in defining this classroom rule by asking them for examples of behaviors that support or violate this rule.

9. Come to class with the right materials

Unprepared students waste precious classroom time looking for pencils, getting second copies of assignments or borrowing books, so this rule is important to having a successful classroom.

If your students might not have access to needed school supplies, or if family situations make it difficult to arrive prepared, you may need to modify this classroom rule to include visits to an in-room supply cabinet at the start of the school day.

8. Use polite language

Teaching children to avoid name calling, swear words and derogatory terms is a critical aspect of teaching today. Make sure your students know that hateful or crude language will not be tolerated in your classroom.

7. Respect school and personal property

Students need to learn that other people’s property is not fair game. Making and enforcing rules against taking, using or damaging personal or school property will help students learn respect and boundaries – essential skills for life.

6. Allow others to talk without interrupting

Listening skills are important for students of all ages. Including this in your classroom rules gives you the opportunity to point out both good example of respectful listening, and correct problems.

5. Use indoor voices

Most of us heard this rule at home, but sometimes it can be forgotten in the excitement when other children are around.

Usually a simple reminder is all a child needs to bring the volume down.

4. Do your own work

A rule requiring students to do their own work includes prohibitions against cheating, having other people complete assignments or plagiarizing reports. Helping students understand why these behaviors hurt them might make this rule easier to enforce.

3. Ask for help when you need it


For many students, asking for help is like admitting they’re stupid. Making it a classroom rule removes this stigma, opening the door for students to get the assistance they need.

2. Laugh with people, but never at anyone

Bullying can take many forms, but laughing at another student is one of the most overlooked. This classroom rule is a great way to make students aware of how painful a small action can be.

1. Never hit, push, injure or threaten another student

Of all the essential classroom rules, making your school safe from violence is the most important. And sadly, sometimes the hardest to convey and enforce.

Be sure your students understand that this rule also applies on the bus, at bus stops and at school activities.

Best of … running shoes stores

September 21, 2011

One of the best of running shoes onlineContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

For the runner, there are few things more important than the right pair of shoes.
Read more

Best of … buying seeds online

September 21, 2011

One of the best of buying seeds onlineContributed by Denise McGill, Top 10 Guru

There are more to seeds than meets the eye and these five online stores have what it takes to grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs that surpass your expectations!
Read more

Best of … indoors outdoors living

September 21, 2011

One of the best of indoors outdoors livingContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

A great way to maximize and use space is developing indoors outdoors living and dining areas.
Read more

Best of … kids architecture toys

September 21, 2011

One of the best of kids architecture toysContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

Sit a kid down in front of box of Lincoln Logs, an erector set or container of Legos and they’ll disappear into their own world for hours.
Read more

Top 10 Ways to Learn Guitar Music Chords

September 21, 2011

One of the top ten ways to learn guitar chordsContributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

When it comes to learning guitar music chords there are some good ways, and some, well, shall we say off the beaten path ways.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »