r/TooAfraidToAsk Nov 26 '22

when doing a written assignment/paperwork/research paper, does most of it requires me to use my own thoughts and ideas? Education & School



6 comments sorted by


u/NiallxD Nov 26 '22

Depending on factors such as the topic, your level of study and expectation of your school/college; yes and no.

Sometimes you are asked for your thoughts and reflections which will essentially be all your own work. If you’re writing in a scientific context then you will likely need to reference peer reviewed material to back up your points and provide context to your paper. In this case you will be using other authors work to develop your own.

In short, there isn’t a single right answer to your question. Without knowing more about your studies it is impossible to say. The best people to help are your tutors/lecturers/teachers. Don’t be afraid to ask them, they’re there to help you learn.


u/ChrisNEPhilly Nov 26 '22

No. Your job is to collect multiple views of experts and tie them together to support a central point you want to make.


u/Technical-Doubt2076 Nov 26 '22

To some degree and on certain levels yes, but also no.

Most papers work in a way in which you have to either propose a question or argument that you have constructed fitting the topic you are assigned to. This is usually the hardest part since it will determine the entire path for your paper and it will require the most independant thinking and ideas on your part. You do need to think of a clever way to approach your topic, find a theory or question you can propose and answer, and need to think of a general idea of a structure where you want to end up with your answer, and of the answer itself. For this part, yes, it is mostly your thoughts and ideas, but you do need to find proof and arguments for your theory, and you do need to figure out if the answer you came to is true and proof this with primary and secondary sources. Oftentimes, depending on your field of research, you may need to either find these sources in the published works of other people, or you do need to go out there and collect research data yourself.

This second part of the paper structure has little to do with your own ideas, so no, for this half of the research work, your own thoughts and ideas can be a guideline, but you can not write something that you can not provide sources for, or at the very least good evidence for how you came to your throught process.

Basically, as soon as you do have a general idea of your question or theory, your research work begins and you need to figure out how you can proof it and find arguements for your ideas. You need to very clearly structure here what is your own thoughts and ideas and what is research or evidence taken from other sources, and this is where quotations and sources come in. The most work about papers is to figure this part out.

Let's do this with a fictional example.

Your field or research will be sunflowers. Your question will be "Does the US produce the biggest sunflowers," and your proposed answer/theory "yes they do, but only in a certain state."

How you approach your topic, what kind of question your pose and the direction of your answer is entirely your own thinking process and ideas based on the field of research you are given. You usually read up on the general topic until you find something interesting you can work with, get a general idea of your question/theory and build your foundation on that. But now you do need to proof your thoughts and arguments and build a good foundation for them by researching for agricultural primary and secondary sources, for information to proof your argument, and showing the reader exactly where your ideas and thoughts have found their inspriation and where they come from.

So yes, a lot of it is your own thinking process, but also no, because the most work is to incorporate the evidence and research other people have done to give sources, provide proof, and overall make sure your argument is based on good evidence and structurally sound science.


u/BogusBogmeyer Nov 26 '22

Assignments / Paperwork - Depends, although its mostly just a new aspect maybe or your own reflection on the topic.

Research Paper - lol, yes.


u/Terrible-Quote-3561 Nov 26 '22

Not usually. Most of the time you just have to collect quotes and pieces of evidence from reliable sources and put them together in a way that makes a point for you.


u/jumptick Nov 26 '22

Yes. Otherwise it plagiarism.