How to Write an English Research Paper: Asking Your Lecturer for Help

It’s OK to ask your lecturer for help when writing your research paper, but do make sure that you are only asking for help, and not expecting them to write the paper for you or to guide your every word. You need to be very clear what help you are asking for.

  • Schedule an appointment with your lecturer. Do remember that they have teaching commitments and preparation. Let them know what you want to discuss.
  • Do not be surprised if your tutor suggests a time that is outside your usual scheduled timetable. If you finish classes at noon, they may very well be teaching until 5. They may not be able to see you until then.
  • Think what actual advice you need from your Lecturer to enable you to write your research paper – and write this down. Check through the notes you have made a few times before your meeting. Be clear what you are asking. The clearer your thoughts, the more valuable the dialogue between you and your tutor will be. You may consider emailing these notes to your tutor a few days before the meeting so they have chance to think over your topics.

On the day of the appointment, make sure that you arrive on time. There is nothing worse for a lecturer than arriving for work in the morning at about 7, teaching all day, and then having after hour’s meetings that are delayed.

Remember also that the Lecturer will already have given you all the information you needed to complete the paper, you are asking for more of their time, be respectful.

If, you have already provided your Lecturer with your thought, ideas or concerns (through your email), then you can start the discussion straight away. Make sure that you are prepared to take notes and do stay focused and ask questions during the meeting.

Their advice may open up even more ideas and dialogue during the meeting. Use their expertise, but don’t expect them to provide you with all the answers.

After the meeting.

  • Write an email thanking your Lecturer for their time and advice.
  • Précis what was covered in the meeting and how you are going to use the information and advice they have given you.
  • Do not assume that they will be available to answer any other questions you have about the paper, ASK if they would be happy to briefly comment on your plan for your research paper in the light of your meeting.