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9 Tips for Writing a Research Paper
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There are many academic concerns students experience during the college years: from waking up early to meeting deadlines. But when it comes to academic writing, the majority of students find it too difficult to put down their thoughts so that other people will evaluate their knowledge and skills. And the situation is even direr when students need to deal with a research paper.
Even the best students need assistance from time to time as it’s impossible to know everything about essay writing. Writing a solid research paper requires knowledge, practice, patience, and a willingness to learn and improve your writing skills. To write an effective research paper, you need to know everything about this genre, tips for writing and finding sources.
What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is a type of essay when students need to find information, explore, interpret, and evaluate it. When writing a good research paper, the author needs to investigate and evaluate sources to provide readers with the final thoughts on the topic. It’s not just the sum up of sources, but a combination of information on the topic with a review of the literature in a field. It can either analyze a perspective or argue a point.
There are two main types of research papers:
- Argumentative: when writing this type of research, an author introduces the topic and tells the audience about his or her position. Persuasion is the main goal of this research, so the topic should be debatable or controversial.
- Analytical: this type of research is based on exploration and evaluation. An author uses the facts and information to analyze the topic idea, providing pros and cons to make a critical evaluation of the material.
Once you know what a research paper is, it’s time to understand the writing process in order to optimize it and create an A+ paper.
Here’s the list of tips for writing a research paper at each stage of the process:
- Read about the requirements for a research paper: while most academic essays require a formal tone, the third-person perspective, a clear focus on the research, and proper word choice, it’s important to pay attention to for the format of your research paper. Page numbers, margins, text formatting, work cited – all of these elements matter. To ensure you can create a high-quality paper, it’s better to read the requirements before writing.
- Choose a topic: If you want to write a good research paper, you need to ensure there’s enough information on the topic. Thus, you need to find a research topic, interesting for you, that has been investigated by other scholars. Since you need to study different approaches, hypotheses, and techniques, never choose a topic you don’t feel passionate about.
- Do research: When it’s time to tackle research, you need to start with the list of libraries you can use. The more books and articles it has, the better. To write a good research paper, you need to have a lot of information on the chosen topic to read, analyze, and evaluate. For a variety of reasons, students start with Googling the topic. If you’ve decided to search for the information online, rely on websites .gov or .edu extensions.
- Write an outline: When working on research papers, students deal with a great amount of information so it’s easy to miss out something significant when it comes to writing. Thus, you’d better create an outline that will help you stick to your idea while writing the research paper. On average, any essay has 5-paragraphs structure that can be divided into three categories – the introduction, the main body (3 paragraphs), and the conclusion. When working on your outline, group your information into these categories to ensure you use all the evidence you have.
- Create a strong thesis statement: To hook your readers and inform them about your research idea, you need to start your paper with a debatable thesis statement. It must be specific and simple, and the claim should fall into one of the following categories: fact or definition, cause and effect, value, or solution. If you want to write an effective thesis statement, you need to make a claim about a topic and justify it with specific evidence.
- Write a rough draft: When it comes to writing your research paper, rely on your outline as it can hint you at what information you should add. Write your rough draft as free as possible: don’t let your thoughts distract you from the writing process. At this stage, it’s important to put down your thoughts and materials. Then, check out accuracy and completeness of facts and rework on the sentences that sound awkward.
- Add bibliographical information: If you don’t want to fall into the plagiarism trap that can lead to bad consequences, make sure you cite all the sources accurately: create the list of works cited at the end of your paper and cite all material throughout the paper. The format depends on your writing style, but you can always find tools that will help you organize your bibliography and check your paper for plagiarism.
- Proofread and edit: We all make mistakes and it’s absolutely normal for all people. When you write your research paper, you’re focused on your ideas, not the word choice, grammar mistakes, or typos. Thus, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t have any mistakes before submitting the final draft. No matter what technique you choose for proofreading and editing, whether reading it aloud or using apps like Grammarly, it’s important to give your paper time before editing it.
- Format your paper: From creating the title page to using the right font and spacing, formatting isn’t that easy. Moreover, it affects your final score, so you’d better pay attention to the basic requirements in order not to sacrifice your points.
- Times New Roman of 12-point font
- Double spacing
- Margins may vary, depending on the writing style (MLA, APA, Chicago)
- All tables and illustrations should be labeled and titled, given an Arabic numeral
- The upper right-hand corner for numbering all pages
- The list of works cited appears after endnotes
NB: although the above-mentioned tips are common for research papers, your teacher may have specific requirements for the formatting, so pay attention to it before submitting your final draft.
Although the above-mentioned tips for writing a research paper should help you understand key principles of doing research, it’s important to know that you can turn to professional writers to get personal assistance when needed.
Don’t hasten to rely on experts to improve your writing skills effectively.