Hi Angela and welcome!! happy birthday!! I suffer from social anxiety as well. I didn'nt used to as a child but after I began having panic attacks I became scared of everything, including new people and places. It got to the point where I was using alcohol to get through social events and even job interviews because I shake and stutter in front of strangers. Even kids.
My recovery from this kind of anxiety is coming in the form of counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and the occasional valium. I think in some parts it's genetic, my aunt has it too, and in other ways I believe a bad experience can set it off. Or make it worse. I wish you all the best for your paper!! Sounds like quite a task.
I alone can do this, but I cannot do it alone.