What is a research paper?
First, it is crucial to be aware of what a research paper is. A research paper can be defined as academic writing that offers a detailed study, evaluation, or interpretation of a single topic based on empirical findings. Research papers are comparable to academic essays, but they are usually more prolonged and more extensive assignments used to evaluate an individual’s writing and scholarly research abilities. Individuals must exhibit a deep understanding of the issue, engage with various sources, and make a unique addition to the topic in question when writing a research paper.
How long should a research paper be?
The length of a research paper depends on the topic or assignment in question. Research writing experts advises that a typical research paper should have between 4,000-6,000 words. However, it is common to have short research papers with 2,000 -3,000 words or even long ones with 10,000 words. As a student and you are writing a school research proposal, the recommended length is outlined in the instructions. Otherwise, the topic of the research paper dictates the length as complicated topics tend to require more extensive research as opposed to more laid-back topics.
How to write a research paper
The step-by-step guide below outlines takes an individual through the entire writing process of a research paper.
Understand the assignment.
Before diving deeper into the research topic, it is crucial to understand the assignment. Most students tend to start a research paper without having a more profound understanding of assignment instructions and guidelines. Having a poor understanding of what the assignment entails makes it challenging to have thorough research of the topic in question. Therefore, the first step should be reviewing the assignment carefully and understanding the instructions outlined.
When reviewing the assignment instructions, it is essential to look at the required length, the citation style, and the formatting requirements. Besides, it is also important to note whether or not to include an abstract and a cover page. The moment you understand the assignment more profoundly, it will be less tedious to write the research paper. Besides, understanding what the assignment is about helps you consider your time frame and thus plan for enough time to research, write and edit.
Choose the research topic.
Students must choose their topics, especially when it comes to open-ended assignments. Basic writing demands that even though choosing a topic may seem simple; this is the most critical decision you are bound to make in writing a research paper as it determines the flow of the paper. When choosing a research topic, it is essential to analyze whether it will provide enough content and information for the entire research paper. Choosing a topic with enough information and complexity is crucial for a detailed discussion. It is important to note that when choosing topics, it is better to avoid general topics and instead focus on specific topics in which you can cover all the relevant information.
There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming to discussing it with your fellow students. You can also gain inspiration by looking into other research as this can help you narrow down on specific topics that require deeper analysis. Besides, it is also essential to choose a topic you are interested in as this helps keep you engaged; thus, you can provide a precise amount of content in your research paper.
Carry out preliminary research
It is important to start researching your topic as soon as possible. It is crucial to find out the available research for your topic as soon as possible, as this gives you enough time to refine your topic and your thesis statement. Besides, early research makes you aware of the best approach to the topic content. In carrying out research, it is important to note any discussions that seem essential to the topic and what you can focus your paper on. It is important to use a wide range of sources, including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure that you do not miss anything that would be important to your topic. Besides, if you are conducting your research online, it is crucial to look up different search engines that allow you to browse accredited sources and academic databases.
As you carry out your research, it is essential to consider the difference between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are firsthand sources like published articles while secondary sources are more critical reviews. It is also essential to verify the ideas you have and look for sources that contradict your point of view. This will help you have a more profound understanding of the topic from different perspectives.
Develop a thesis statement
The ideal way to begin a research paper is with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is the central argument of the research topic, and it establishes the purpose and position of the paper. A thesis statement should show the evidence and reasoning that you will support your answer in the research paper. Aside from prepping your reader, the thesis statement also aids other scholars in determining whether or not your study is relevant to their research. It would be best to examine the thesis statements of other research papers to see whether they are relevant to you. An excellent thesis statement covers all of the significant points of the debate without revealing too many specifics. If you’re having difficulties putting it into words, consider framing it as a question and responding to it.
Choose supporting evidence.
When finding your supporting evidence, it is essential to find the directly relevant information to your topic. At this stage, you do the actual research by going through all the sources you had gathered earlier and finding the specific information you will include in the paper. By doing this, you can isolate any unnecessary information in your paper.
Create an outline for the research paper.
A research paper outline is essentially a list of the main themes, arguments, and evidence you want to include, separated into parts with headings to have a general idea of how the paper will look before you begin writing. It’s worth devoting some time to creating a structured plan because it can make the writing process much more efficient.
Write the introduction
Three questions should be addressed in the research paper introduction: what, why, and how. After reading the introduction, the reader should have a good idea of the paper, why it’s worth reading, and how you’ll support your claims.
What? Be explicit about the paper’s topic, provide background information, and describe important terminology or concepts.
Why? This is the most vital portion of the introduction, but it’s also the most challenging. Answer the following questions as briefly as possible: What new information or perspectives do you have to offer? What significant concerns does your essay contribute to the definition or resolution of?
How? The opening should include an outline of what will be discussed, briefly outlining the topics to help the reader know what to expect from the body of the work.
Write your body
One of the significant struggles that students face when writing a research paper is organizing the information presented in the paper. This is why an outline is essential, as it acts as a guide in writing the body of the paper. In writing the body of the paper, it is essential to stay on track through the use of your thesis statement and topic sentence. Besides, when writing your body, you should ensure that you create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.
Write the conclusion.
The research paper’s conclusion aims to guide the reader out of the document’s argument by providing a sense of completion. Follow the flow of the paper, focusing on how it all comes together to prove your point. Make sure the reader understands how you’ve resolved the difficulties stated in the opening to give the article a feeling of closure. You might also talk about the argument’s broader implications, highlight what the paper has to offer future students of the subject, and propose any problems the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not attempt to answer.
Cite your sources correctly.
Citing your sources verifies your data and establishes a connection between your research article and the larger scientific community. Citations distinguish academic articles from more casual writing, such as personal essays. Citations must adhere to strict formatting guidelines due to their importance. To determine whether formatting style is necessary, consult the assignment.
Edit and proofread
It is essential to proofread the research paper. This ensures that you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the people are well articulated and detailed. Besides, proofreading helps check any form of grammatical error that may be present within the paper. In proofreading, it is essential to check whether you have used the correct choice of words and used transition words and phrases to show the connection between your ideas. Lastly, proofreading allows you to check whether your paper has been formatted correctly according to the instructions that you have been given.
It is essential to have the basics of writing a research paper. This is because these basics give you the direction for writing your research paper. Besides, these basics help you articulate a quality research paper as you are already aware of what is expected of you in writing the paper.