How to Manage Time in Writing a Research Paper

You need to be a little skillful to be able to manage time in writing a research paper. It isn’t necessary that you have a lot of knowledge of your research topic to manage your time and other resources while writing the research paper. A person with lesser knowledge of the research topic can manage time in writing a research paper if he knows how to use his time with planning.

All you need is to make a plan, as the actual research process begins, and during the research process, you have to keep control so as to follow your plan. You need to make a flexible plan so if you need to make any changes you are ready to adapt to it. You also need to organize and discipline yourself to stick to your plan and in the end, you can evaluate whether your plan worked and what were the flaws in your plan that you can improve next time. This is a general method to work on any project and by following these simple steps you can manage time in writing a research paper.

Step#1: Planning/strategy

As a student, you are given a limited time to complete your research paper and to complete your research paper in that time you need to have a workable plan.

Be practical: The first thing to consider while making a plan is that be practical and think about what you can do and what you cannot. Think about your resources and the way you can maximum utilize them.

Be flexible: Flexibility is also necessary for your plan to keep it in mind before you start to plan. You might think that you will do this in the first week and that in the next week and that in the other week but not all weeks will be same when you will start working. In real life, there are unanticipated situations when you have to change your plan and work on more pressing issues. A flexible plan is a realistic plan while a strict plan may or may not work.

Steps in your research: Now write down each step in your research process and decide when do you want to start each of these steps and when do you want to end it. Keep in mind that these dates are flexible and some changes are obvious due to external or internal circumstances. Make a plan that is suitable for your personal work habits rather than following a pre-planned routine.

Step#2: Timetable and checklist

Making a timetable and a checklist is helpful in keeping track of your performance as a plan is only good if it is followed. The timetable will help you keep on track but do not let your timetable make you get depressed if things are not working. There might be a time in your research writing when you feel low about your creativity and imagination and you feel like you will take longer than? the expected time. Ups and downs are common in writing a research paper just like writing anything else. When it takes more time in one step of the research you can adjust it in the later steps of the research but try to finish your research writing a few days before the deadline so that you can check it out for any improvements.

A checklist of all the important things that you need to do during your research should be made at the beginning of the planning. For example, you need to have a well-kept record of all the sources that you have used in your research.  It will make it easier for you to write the references in the end otherwise everything will seem unorganized.

Note taking is also very helpful and according to Turabian (2013) when you take notes on a source thoughtfully, you engage not just its words and ideas but its implications, consequences, shortcomings, and new possibilities. Note taking and keeping them secure will help you if you have some problems understanding any step in your research.

Step#3: Don’t procrastinate

During the research, you need to follow your plan effectively by not delaying any step without any reason that you do not have control. Any delay will make things difficult to manage in the end also with delays you feel more pressure on your mind that will also affect your creativity. On the other hand do not be in any hurry or panic but concentrate on what you are doing, on the current step, once you are done with that step think about the next step. Thinking about multiple steps at a time will also cause delays in your performance.

Rather than delaying your steps, you should finish your project before the deadline and it will give you time to make any changes. This small time will help you make big improvements in your research.

Step#4: Regular work and time

Keep it regular and it will help you be punctual and disciplined regular work on the regular time will aid in the success of your project. Keep your work get regularly checked by your supervisor so in the end it is not dumped and you get late to finish your writing. When your teacher or supervisor advises you about some changes follow them so that you save your time in multiple checks done by your teacher. Give your mind some relaxation time when you feel that things are not working and it will help you think productively.

Step#5: Evaluate your performance

As you complete your project successfully evaluate your performance in terms of how successful you were in managing your time and other resources. Do not miss this step as it will help you in planning your other projects in the future.


  • Turabian, K. L., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, The Univ of Chicago Press, Chicago, Eighth Ed., 2013, Pp- 37-46, 73-80
  • Roth, A. J., The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content, Wadsworth Publishing Co., Eighth Ed., 1999, Pp- 10-15



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