If you are a university student, then you might have to write at least one research paper before you graduate. Writing a research paper for the first time can be a challenging task. But it can become an amazing experience if you follow the proper procedure.
Here is the complete guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about writing an effective, and impactful research paper.
A research paper is an expanded essay that presents the author’s own evaluation or interpretation or argument. In a simple essay, you can write everything that you know about the topic regardless of the authenticity of that knowledge, but in a research paper, you need to present the authentic information.
It is a writing assignment that is written on the basis of the author’s original research on a specific topic. The research paper contains a discussion on the existing literature, its analysis, and the interpretation of research findings.
A research paper is not just a review of the existing literature but an analysis of a perspective. The analysis should be backed up by authentic facts and reliable data and information.
The purpose of drafting a research paper may vary from person to person or discipline to discipline, one might want to:
A student writes a research paper for a single or a combination of reasons presented. No matter what the reason for writing a research paper is, it should be based on the following steps:
A research paper can be drafted for any field. Whether you belong to an arts or sciences background, a research paper can be drafted.
There are mainly two types of research through which students gather data and present it in the form of paper. They are the following:
Qualitative research is the method of observation which refers to the concept, characteristics, definition, and description of things. This type of research is concerned with non-numerical data.
Quantitative research focuses on facts and figures. It is a process of investigating a phenomenon through mathematical, statistical, and computational techniques. For example, a survey conducted to get the total population of a country. The final number will be based on that survey.
When writing a research paper, it is important to draft an outline to provide a logical structure to your document. An outline includes different sections and each section should be perfectly and professionally developed.
The following are the major parts of a research paper outline:
Each of the parts will be discussed further in the content.
Every paper requires a specific formatting and citation style. Here are some of the common formatting styles:
The below table provides the formatting guidelines of MLA and APA style guides.
|Requirements||MLA guidelines||APA guidelines|
|Margin||1-inch all side||1-inch all sides|
|Font style||Times New Roman||Times New Roman|
|Alignment||Left aligned||Left aligned|
|Paragraph indentation||Tab or 0.5-inch space||5-7 spaces|
|Page number||In the header, right side||In the header, right side|
Your research paper should be formatted according to the guidelines provided by the instructor. Make sure to choose one style and follow it throughout your paper. The formatting gives strength to your research and makes it effective.
Many college students fail to draft a quality research paper as they do not focus on the starting of their paper. If you wish to write an effective paper, make sure to draft a plan and work accordingly.
The following are the steps involved in starting your research paper:
The first and foremost thing to do when taking a start on your research paper is to understand the instructions provided. The guidelines present which format to choose the type of paper, the length, and the parts that are to be included in your paper.
Read every detail provided and alter all your processes and paper accordingly.
Topic selection is the most crucial stage of the whole research process. The research will revolve around the paper topic, and if you have chosen an inappropriate topic, your all efforts will be in vain. If you are not assigned a topic, choose a topic that is researchable and arguable, so that you can get enough information to write a paper.
The research paper requires a writer to conduct a deep and conceptual research of the chosen topic. Research is a well-organized process of gathering and examining information to increase your understanding of the aspect about which we are concerned or interested.
The research you are carrying out should have the following qualities in order to make the paper impactful:
A thesis statement is the main idea of your research paper. The whole research revolves around that idea. It is a single statement that tells the reader what they should expect from the paper.
Write a thesis statement is both essential and challenging. Think of ideas to develop a strong thesis statement as all of the content will be drafted to support this one claim.
Initially, the selected research questions were investigated and rejected for many reasons. For example:
If your research questions are not clear you can go back to the previous step and modify you a conceptual and theoretical model, or you can also go back to the first step and change the topic and study area. But, after this stage, there is no going back. So, if your research questions are not clear, do not move forward unless you get clarification.
After collecting all the supporting material, it is time to create an outline. Drafting an outline is important if you wish to create an effective paper. Organize your research and arrange all the gathered information into different parts of the research paper. An outline will act as a backbone of your paper because of which your content will stand firm.
The outlining will make the actual writing process of the paper easier. It will provide a pathway making it easier for the writer as well as for the audience to stay focused and understand the major argument.
Develop a good research paper outline keeping in mind the guidelines provided. Once you have created an outline for your research paper, start writing it.
The process of writing a research paper and a general paper is similar, the only difference is that the research paper is controlled, and requires caution. While writing a research paper you need to be very careful about what you write, how you write, the words you chose, the ideas you express, and the validity of your conclusion.
The following are the steps for writing a research paper:
The title page is the first page of your research paper. It includes the following information about the topic and the writer:
The format of the cover page is usually provided in the guideline as well. So draft the first page according to the requirements.
The abstract comes at the start of the research paper, but it is written after when you are done with your research work. This is the summary of the paper which gives an overview of what you are going to do and a brief summary of results and findings.
It should be written in a way that will give a complete detail of the paper in just one paragraph. The brief description of the problem, discussion points, and the final result.
The introduction part will present the overview of an issue which you are going to examine. A short justification of why your target audience should read your paper. Define the scope and the methods you are going to use.
Choose a strong topic sentence to enhance the credibility of the introduction paragraph. Word choice matters, usage of the right words plays an important role in writing an effective research paper, so select some good words to write.
In this part, present the statement of the problem as well. This is to make sure that the readers are familiar with the major thesis statement at the beginning of the research paper. The thesis statement is given at the end of the introduction.
Provide the limitations of the research and study. Indicate what you intend to do and what you will avoid attempting. You may, by choice, limit the scope of your document due to any factors such as gender, age, time, personnel, geographic location, etc.
A research methodology is a process or the methods you are going to use in your research. Define your specific research questions, data collection process, the research methods, and a justification why you chose this particular method.
There are various methodologies that you may use while collecting data for your research paper. the most common methodologies are:
A survey is a quantitative method of collecting the data from a pool of respondents. Survey methodology has a weakness because the respondents might not give their honest opinion.
It is a great method to use if the goal is to collect data from a small group of people without spending a lot of money.
Experiments are performed to extract new information. The results obtained from the experiments are the most authentic findings, providing real and relevant information.
A literature review is a review of existing information and knowledge, as well as theoretical and conceptual contributions to a particular field of study. It is a collection of most relevant and significant publications regarding the topic to provide a comprehensive overview of what has been done on the topic.
It includes journal publications, conference papers, books, articles, and other sources relevant to a particular field of study.
The main body of the research paper contains all the evidence and information that supports the major argument. It is the section where all the details and explanations are provided about the research, analysis, findings, and discussion.
List all the major findings, analyze their significance, discuss their relevance to the previous studies. Use charts and tables to explain and summarize your findings.
Your analysis should be based on the following questions:
A conclusion should support your thesis statement. Give a brief recap of the problem that you have examined. Briefly tell about the original goal of the research and then tell about your accomplishments from your research work. Summarize your argument and provide the final words.
Give some future recommendations for future researchers to expand your work. This section is helpful for the researcher who wants to get some ideas for their research work.
It is important to know that the first draft was never a perfect draft. You have to review it at least 3 times to make sure it is ready for submission. You can ask your friend or somebody to read your draft so that they can help you find problems and shortcomings in your drafts.
The last part of the research paper is the bibliography. A bibliography is a list that contains all the details of references and sources used while researching and gathering information. Any source that you consult or took help from is added to this list.
Moreover, all the in-text citations are elaborated on in this list as well. This section is equally important as the rest of the research paper. This is due to the fact that it helps avoid plagiarism and maintain originality in the content.
Once you are done with your research paper, revise it a few times to make sure that the content is properly formatted and is free from mistakes. Organize your paper is require and make editings.
Professionals suggest to thoroughly check the entire paper and to use automatic spell and plagiarism checker to make sure that the content drafted is original and authentic.
After you are done with the editing and formatting stuff, check your draft for plagiarism. It is important to use a plagiarism checker so that if you forgot to reference a source; it will remind you.
There are a lot of plagiarism checker tools freely available and they provide excellent services. Plagiarism checker scans through the text and finds the content which is similar to the published text.
It is important to avoid plagiarism; otherwise, it may lead to rejection. So, cite your work properly. A work cited won’t be recognized as plagiarism as long as you have rephrased it, or used it within the inverted commas.
Choosing the right topic can be as time-consuming as writing a research paper itself. Select a topic from the list and get started on your research paper.
Choose a topic that works for you and gather strong supporting information to make your research paper effective.
The writing process of your research paper can get simpler if you know what steps to take. Moreover, consult the already existing research papers to see how they are formatted and structured.
Below are the examples of some good research papers:
Sample Research Paper
MLA Format Research Paper
APA Format Research Paper
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