One of the most intimidating assignments for any new college student is the prospect of doing a long research paper requiring extensive outside research. Few high school students are faced with the daunting task of completing a 15-20 page paper requiring a unique thesis and independent thought. However, there are a number of helpful tips to keep in mind to make the task easier, if not easy. First, allocate enough time for the project. This is not an assignment that you can complete overnight fueled by a few extra cups of coffee. Second, take advantage of the library staff at your school and ask them questions about how to more effectively use an academic library and library databases to conduct research for peer-reviewed sources. Thirdly, have a working thesis and outline. Even if you change both over the course of your research (and you probably will), having a sense of focus can make the process less overwhelming.