Many students often struggle with academic write-ups and how to write a research paper. However, if you have ever written an essay, then a research paper is well within your ability. Think of this document as an extended essay with much more information.
If you are in school and studying for just about any topic, you will ultimately have to face your fears on how to write a research paper. It is not a difficult task once you get the process right, and after some practice, you will soon be an expert when it comes to creating such pieces.
What Exactly Is A Research Paper?
Before you begin writing a new research piece, you need to understand what it is all about. In its broad sense, a research paper is used to present your beliefs concerning a particular argument. These beliefs must, without a doubt, be backed by substantial evidence.
Usually, your instructor will require you to embark on a fact-finding mission seeking out the relevant data and information that supports your point-of-view.
Academic papers are typically backed by data hence their authority. Therefore, if you want a trustworthy essay that will convince others about what you believe to be accurate, get ready to gather meaningful information.
Writing a research paper is not a smooth-sailing activity. However, if you have some experience with academic essays, then you will be familiar with the process.
Writing A Research Paper: Process
when creating a research paper, there is a general process that every student must follow. This allows you to plan your steps accordingly and, in the end, be able to quantify the results and know whether you found the ‘answer.’
The process is substantial and involves several steps; patience is critical as this document is significantly longer than your regular essay.
So here is how to write a research paper.
1. Break Down The Assignment
contrary to what many students believe, topic selection is not the first step when writing a research paper. Ideally, you ought to get familiar with the assignment first. After that, you will be able to select a topic that fits the bill.
Tutors will give out assignments for which you will write a research paper. Find out the objectives you need to fulfill at the end of the research process. Isolate the goals and specific tasks required and note them.
Besides the goals, find out the timeframe for completion. Mark the deadlines on your calendar, as this will ensure that you are working within the schedule set out. Moreover, late submission is quite rude, more so among the academic community.
Finally, look out for anything confusing and seek clarification for the same. Remember, writing a research paper is a long process. Before you start the journey, make sure every item is spelt out in the assignment sheet.
2. Select A Topic
once you have a thorough understanding of the task ahead, picking a topic follows. You can accomplish this task in many ways, either by yourself or through engaging your comrades.
If you are alone, try brainstorming with a pen and paper. Choose a relatively broad topic, write down the main points for some time, and after that, seek out relevant items in the required in the question. It is challenging to settle on a specific issue quickly, so cast you net wide. From there, you can narrow down your search for the ideal topic.
Always ensure that you go with original ideas. It would be pointless to research on a topic that has already undergone scrutiny. In fact, you would seem lazy once you follow that path.
For instance, topics on the second World War have been extensively covered by different scholars. In this case, narrow your focus to individual countries that participated in the war to land on an original idea.
Besides self-brainstorming on your own, you can still engage with your mates. Get some of your pals together and start discussing your field of choice. This discussion will ultimately reveal specific issues and areas of interest.
Once you have identified these, narrow you focus even further and seek out original content. You will always get a lot more done when in a group. Remember, different people do not think alike, and once you put your heads together, you are bound to land on a super topic.
The research section is the hallmark of any research paper. It is here where you embark on gathering as much information as you can to support your argument. Different people do their research differently. Nevertheless, you need to stay focused throughout the process since you still have a paper to write.
Research allows you to use a variety of resources like websites, books, journals, articles, etc. however, make sure to find reliable sources, especially web pages. These days you can find just about any info on the net; it doesn’t matter whether it is right or wrong.
While you will be looking for data to support your argument, don’t overlook the contradictions. Get an alternate view about the topic in question so that you can broaden your perspective.
At the research stage, you might also need to come up with research questions. These will guide you as you take on piles of books and journals. Usually, your research questions begin with ‘I want to know why/how/what…’
While conducting your study, there are a couple of research tips you need to follow:
· Skimming Through Available Resources
Usually, you will encounter mountains of books and information wherever you seek it. While it is not humanely possible to devour all this, you can still identify the crucial points and arguments without having to go through everything.
· Ensure You Work With Reliable Resources
always consider trustworthy resources. Wikipedia is a standard reference website for just about anything. However, while writing an academic piece, there are many more authoritative pages out there.
This does not mean you cannot use the popular website. The website is a perfect place to plan your research as you get familiar with the topic. Also, you will be able to find noteworthy keywords and, at the same time, easily understand large amounts of information.
· Don’t Leave Anything Behind
While researching for your paper, many students often dismiss some piece of information for another. Avoid this, as everything you come across is essential to your final essay. Remember, if it doesn’t support your argument, the same could bring out a different point of view about the topic.
4. Organize Everything
Once you have gathered all the information you intend to use, sorting follows. Ideally, you want to have some order, and one of the best ways to do so is by creating a bibliography.
Make sure you bookmark your digital resources or even create a digital bibliography that will allow you to link your web sources. Besides the index, write down anything relevant to the entire paper. Have a notebook beside you and even a couple of sticky notes.
5. The Thesis Statement
You will draw your thesis statement from the assignment task as well as your chosen topic. A thesis is simply a way for your readers to get an idea of what the essay is all about. You will generally form the statement by answering the question, ‘What is the research paper about?’
- My paper is about the involvement of Spain in the Second World War
Once you have an answer, you need to change the layout slightly. The thesis ought to be definitive and not merely about what you want.
- The impact of the Second World War was devastating all around Spain; service members were significantly affected in the frontlines, and those who made it back home were never the same as when they had left for war.
If you are getting to grips with academic papers, then work towards eliminating self-centered terms like ‘I believe’ or ‘My research is about.’
Your thesis statement must not be vague. Since you have a topic in mind, you are allowed to make a strong statement. This way, it is also arguable and creates some room for debate. Through the research, you will want to solve that debate and provide accompanying information to back up your point of view.
Once you have your thesis statement sorted out, ensure it is specific to the selected topic, can be argued and definitive. Once you have that in place, you might want to seek out your tutor for guidance. Always ask for professional help before embarking on the rest of the research.
6. Generate An Outline For The Paper
Before writing a single word on the research paper, get yourself an outline for the entire document. Some instructors will ask for this plan or a draft before you begin writing the essay. If that is the case, ensure that you follow the laid-out rules for the outline.
Your research outline generally draws out the paper’s structure. It will guide you as you write. The basics of any academic write-up include an introduction and conclusion. However, your research paper is much more detailed.
Organize the section between your intro and conclusion. Create an outline that will allow the proper flow of ideas from start to finish.
7. Start Writing
Once you have a framework for your research paper, you can begin to write. In the run-up to this point, you might feel as if you spent too much time on the other introductory sections. However, without the necessary framework in place to guide your writing, you might as well as write without a goal.
The writing stage is simply about writing. You don’t have to be perfect or use any unique words from the get-go – just write. Follow your outline on a step-by-step basis since it is your roadmap.
Also, do not write directly from your research. While it provides a helpful guide, you do not want to transfer ideas onto our paper. Strive to reproduce original content while avoiding plagiarism. If you wish to quote something as it was said or written elsewhere, use quotation marks. These indicate that the statement is not your own.
8. Review And Editing
Once you arrive at this stage, pat yourself on the back. The editing and reviewing stage is one of the last phases when writing a research paper. However, this step will allow you to find any errors you might have missed during the writing and further submit a flawless piece.
While editing, use your outline as you go through the paper. Check if it still makes sense in the now completed paper and, if not, fix those errors.
Editing involves several aspects like the wording, length, structure, and organization of the entire write-up. Hence the need to have an outline that will guide you on how your research paper should appear.
If it is too long or short, make sure you adjust the length accordingly. This means working on your wordings, and at this point, you need to be careful to take out the meaning of the research in search of one hundred words or so.
9. Grammar Editing
A research paper involves a lot of research so much that some students will ignore the grammar part of the write-up. Do not be one of those people because even if you have a well-researched paper, the sub-par language will make it difficult to understand.
If your tutors can not get past the poor grammar, expect a discouraging result. Some applications will assist your grammar editing and even check for plagiarism in your paper.
10. Final Examination And Submission
after getting past all these steps, you deserve a rest. Use a day or two to rest before the final step. Once you feel that you have made all the necessary edits in your paper, go through the document one last time. It isn’t ideal, but you don’t want to get caught out with a mistake.
Some people create a printout of the document to inspect for the final time, while others prefer it to remain as a digital copy. But always opt for the method that works best for you.
However, make sure that before submitting, you are 100% certain the paper is the best representation of your argument. Also, it has all the relevant supporting information and data. If this is the case, you may submit. Remember to follow all paper submission guidelines.
The Take Away
a research paper is no doubt a piece of work. However, the process is essential because it allows you to carry out writing in an orderly fashion. Also, chaos is the last thing you want when writing a research paper. So check out this guide on how to write a research paper, and your academic essays will never be the same again.