Beginner’s Guide to Write a Killer Research Paper

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Do you dread them? Well, you are not alone. Most students find writing a research paper daunting. 

However, it is inevitable to face a research paper since it is mandatory. Therefore, you ought to write at least one college/university level paper before graduating.

Are you thinking how to carry out such a mammoth task without prior experience?

Worry not. We will help you write an impeccable research paper that fetches you a good grade in this article. A typical research paper writing involves selecting a topic, conducting research, exploring research questions, writing a thesis statement. It also includes answers to the questions you explored..

You may find these as strenuous tasks that are so impossible to do. But, we are here to assist you, so keep your worries aside. We will break down the massive task of research writing into easy and manageable steps that you can follow.

But, before going through the steps, let us cover some basic concepts such as – what is a research paper? What is the primary purpose of writing a research paper?

What is a research paper?

It is a piece of academic writing that involves in-depth original research on a particular topic. Research writing also includes analysis and interpretation of the research’s findings. It is similar to writing on an academic essay topic but is longer and more detailed. 

What is the purpose of writing a research paper?

Writing a research paper serves two purposes – to enhance your knowledge on the subject at hand and contribute your share of expertise/work to the body of knowledge. It brings together evidence, facts, and multiple viewpoints about a topic from various sources-books, journals, articles, interviews, etc.

Types of research paper

Research papers are of two types:

  • analytical and
  • argumentative.

The argumentative paper is written to persuade the reader to support the writer’s stance/perspective. The paper comprises a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph which hints at the writer’s stand.

In contrast, an analytical paper usually begins with a writer’s question to write a thesis statement. Then, the article is written in a way that supports the thesis statement.

Now you have understood the basic meaning of a research paper. So, let us guide you through the steps of research writing. 

7 step guide to writing a killer research paper

1)Go through the assignment: The first thing to do as soon as you are given an assignment is to go through the guidelines, instructions, constraints, and all other information provided along with the task. Yet, most of the students skip this step and get into topic-hunting, which results in low grades.

When you get yourself familiar with the assignment requirements, you can tune in to your search according to the prerequisites. This step also helps to streamline your search.

2)Select a topic: Choose research topic ideas that interest you. Ditch vague topics which do not have much information about it. And make a list of topics that you can write about.

For example, you may want to write about ‘mental health in high school students.’ Though a good research paper topic, It is a very broad term, answer and you can try to narrow it down further.

You can do so by turning the topic into a pertinent question that most people are trying to find an answer to. Then, you can support solutions to schoolgoers’ mental health issues and some factors such as location, timeframe, or culture to get more specific.

When you apply the time frame factor to the above topic, it may be narrowed down further. What are the severe mental issues faced by high schoolers in the last five years? You may select a factor that you are interested in.

Tip: a) Never select a research paper topic that does not have enough information or is relatively new.

b) If your topic is in the form of a question, you must answer that in an appropriate format. For example, in the question mentioned above, you must provide some solutions to tackle mental health issues in schoolgoers.

3)Conduct research: Start researching right after you have selected a specific topic. Some of the vital things to remember while researching are: 

Learn how to identify critical points and arguments without being overwhelmed. If you need to get into more detail, then do so only when it is absolutely necessary. You do not have to read every word. 

While you are researching, make sure you search only credible sources. Search an academic database for scholarly articles and journals, specifically peer-reviewed articles. And finally, do not ignore any worthy information that you stumble upon.

Tip: a) Research multiple viewpoints and go through various schools of thought. 

b) Organize your research by having a bibliography

4)Write a thesis statement: Having a thesis statement is crucial for a research paper. It must be clear and concise. Try including a thesis statement at the end of your introduction in one simple sentence.

The thesis statement must briefly explain what your research paper is all about, so do not be vague. 

Tip: Create a specific, solid, arguable, definitive thesis statement.

  • Create an outline: Write an outline before you begin the actual writing since an outline keeps your writing on track and organized. The typical outline/structure consists of three major sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. 
  • Introduction: This section tells what the reader can expect in your paper. It usually has two parts – a thesis statement and an introduction to supporting points. Please keep this section exciting and straightforward. Try including hook sentences in your introduction, and do not go beyond one paragraph.
  • Body: This is the section where you put forth your arguments, facts, and pieces of evidence one by one in distinct paragraphs. There are no restrictions on the number of paragraphs. It depends on the word count defined by your professor. 

However, having at least three supporting points/arguments helps explain, prove, or defend your thesis.

  • Conclusion: This section must again be one paragraph. It must summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. 

5) Start writing: Once you outline the research paper, it is time to craft your first draft. However, before writing, make sure you do not plagiarize someone’s content. It is a severe offense and calls for punishment. 

Do not think much about grammar or punctuation while writing the first draft. Instead, try writing with your own words by making use of your memory. However, you can refer to the sources to get an idea, but do not copy them. If you want to quote something as it is, use quotation marks and citations to attribute the text to its source.

6) Revise and edit: After completing the first draft, take a break and begin revising the content after some time to make your paper coherent. Fix the typos, eliminate the errors by editing, and check grammar in this step. Usually, editing is done in two stages: developmental edit and line edit.

Developmental editing helps you check the logical flow of your content, make sure your thesis statement is concise, and check whether your paper is organized. There is no repetition, and ensure your content is plagiarism-free.

A line edit is a step where you check grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. You check whether your language is clear and whether you have avoided filler words and phrases. 

7) Organize the sources: Your work does not end with revision and editing. There is one more crucial step. The final page, the “works referenced” or bibliography page, is still to be created. 

Before submitting your research paper, make sure that every single source is included on this page, no matter how big or small. Plagiarism might occur if you fail to cite something or do not properly cite it.

Tip: Use the right style guide (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.) to format your text once you are done writing. Usually, the formatting guidelines will be given along with the instructions, so go through them to get formatting guidelines.

These are the 7 steps to writing a research paper. While it may seem daunting to write a research paper as it takes a lot of time to write. However, it is not that difficult. Just follow the steps given in this article and give yourself some time. 

Take one step at a time and do not rush. You will surely succeed in presenting a perfect research paper.

With the help of a fascinating research paper topic, thorough research, meticulous organization and presentation, and attention to detail, you can create a compelling research paper that will surely fetch you an ‘A.’

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