What is a Research Paper?
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A research paper is an academic writing form providing analysis and personal interpretation of a topic. Based on in-depth research, the work is a valuable source of information on the subject and your skills for a professor and academic community based on in-depth research. Writing this kind of assignment requires a deep understanding of the research topic and the ability to process a variety of sources. Students write papers at some point in their educational process, and many find it extremely challenging. It is essential not to panic and be persistent and patient in making this important assignment.
This article will help you understand how to write your research step-by-step.
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper is a piece of academic writing students are assigned at their educational institutions along with a college paper, and grading papers. It is a combination of writing, source evaluation, critical thinking, and organization. It requires conducting research, taking a stand on the topic, and providing evidence for the position.
Writing the research work is not a summary or overview of the topic. It is a piece of academic writing that presents an individual perspective on the topic based on the conducted research.
There are two types of research works: argumentative and analytical. In an argumentative work, a writer persuades readers of their rightfulness using a thesis statement at the beginning for taking a strong stand on the topic. When writing an analytical paper, a researcher sets a question at the beginning and then explains the topic to answer it.
Why Write a Research Paper?
Writing a research study, in addition to good marks and new skills and knowledge, will bring you a lot of benefits. So try to do it on your own if you want to get a real advantage from completing this crucial assignment.
- You will enhance your knowledge of the stylistic conventions of scholarly writing.
- It improves your research skills.
- You will learn to organize information: review, narrow down, categorize and present it in a clear manner.
- It builds your academic profile.
- It increases your credibility as a writer.
- You will learn to manage your time as this task is rather time-consuming.
- You will have a deep understanding of the subject.
- It makes you generate new ideas and express your opinion on different topics.
- Professional writing of the research work will help you in your future career, like writing a white paper.
- It builds your professional links with other researchers.
Research Paper Topics
Before writing your paper, you should select a topic. There are two possible ways to get it: either your professor suggests a topic, or you choose it on your own. On the one hand, it’s easier when the theme is assigned, and you do not have to spend time looking for what to research in your paper. But on the other hand, you are restricted in your choice, and an instructor may offer you a topic you do not know well or simply do not like. In any case, you should work on the theme that is of interest to you but not the instructor.
Consider that the topic should be relevant to the course. You can read lectures, read textbooks, and other sources of information related to the course program. Once you have a broad subject area, you should narrow it down to choose a specific topic that is interesting to you, meets the assignment criteria, and can be researched.
When choosing a paper topic, make sure there’s enough information to write a complete work. Once you find a good option, consult the instructor if it is appropriate and then start working.
How to Write a Research Paper
These rules will help you do good quality research work. Let’s dive into the writing process!
Understand the Assignment
The first prerequisite for completing your paper is understanding what task is set out for you. Read the assignment attentively and make sure it is clear to you. You should define the goals, formatting, length, deadline, and submission method. Once the requirements are clear to you, plan your time for writing and editing to complete the research in the set time.
Conduct Preliminary Research
You can conduct preliminary research searching for any issue related to the topic. It’s possible to take information from different sources like websites, journals, books, videos, etc. Mind that these data sources are reliable. Here you should look for information that will not only support your ideas. Look also for sources that contradict your viewpoint and can be a valuable point for discussion and proving your rightfulness.
Develop a Thesis Statement
Now you have to develop a central statement of your argument that will establish your paper’s aim and position. Starting with a research question, you should answer it with the thesis statement, showing evidence and reasoning. Make the statement clear, coherent, and concise. It must consist of one-two sentence briefly summarizing your argument. Then there should also be a claim for further evidence or analysis. The thesis statement is your guideline, as every paragraph you write should support the claim.
Make a Paper Outline
Your research study outline makes the writing process faster, more efficient, and meaningful. It is a list of arguments, topics, and evidence that you plan to develop in your paper. You should divide them into sections and subheadings to get a general understanding of how the work will look.
Write the First Draft
It may look messy, but the first draft of your paper is essential for making the final version of the work perfect. At this stage, you have to pay attention to paragraphs and sentences organization and ordering. Know what you want to say to the readers, expressing your thoughts clearly. You should not write an introduction or conclusion in the first draft. Make what is easy for you, outline basic elements, map ideas, and work on them in the second paper draft.
Write the Second Draft
Now, a writer should consider four main points when making the second draft. So firstly, make sure it is aligned with the first draft and corresponds to the assignment requirements. Revise the text to see if there are any assumptions that need to be explained and confirmed. If you cannot substantiate them, it’d be better just leave them out. Rearrange your ideas if you see that they will contribute to a better text organization. You can cut out some ideas if they do not seem appropriate to you.
Revise the Work
During the proofreading phase, a writer has to check if all task requirements are completed. And they need to revise the logical organization of paragraphs and sentences. When reading the final version of the research work, check the content of each paragraph to see if they support claims.
There should also not be not irrelevant information that doesn’t play any role in researching the topic. Identify all terminological units and ensure the text has a formal style. It’s crucial to use spell check, and revise the text on grammatical or punctuation mistakes. And finally, undergo a check for plagiarism to see how the program marks citations and paraphrasing.
Research Paper Guideline
Writing a research work, stick to the outline and follow a paper structure:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Main part
- Bibliography/Works Cited
The introduction should outline the structure and content of the paper. Here you write a thesis statement that should specify what the paper will be written about and how you will approach the topic. When writing the introduction, it’s essential to present relevant background or contextual material, explain the focus of the paper, and reveal your organization plan.
Every paragraph should develop one particular aspect of the topic. One paragraph normally has 5-7 sentences and contains a topic sentence, supporting sentences, examples, analysis, and a concluding sentence. Make sure you have smooth transitions between paragraphs for a coherent paper.
Your paper conclusion should summarize the most important results of your research. Here you can mention the main points of your argument and central issues. It should answer the questions raised in your thesis statement.
In your research, you should document sources appropriately. You can use the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines for referencing.
Writing academic papers requires choosing a good topic, deep research into it, and following special guidelines for writing and structuring the work properly. It sounds challenging and requires much effort and time, but in the end, it will bring you many benefits. We hope that this article will help you in doing your research work and answer all questions that will appear during the research and writing process.