How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step
A research paper is a written work containing scientific research, experiments, and other topics of a scientific nature. The purpose of a research paper is to expand existing knowledge and obtain new knowledge, to test scientific hypotheses, and to establish patterns that are manifested in nature and society, scientific generalizations, and scientific substantiation of projects.
Scientific research is a purposeful process of cognition, which is carried out to reveal the patterns of changes in objects depending on certain conditions of the place and time of their functioning for their further use in practical activities. It is an organized process of mental labor, directly aimed at generating new knowledge. The acquisition of new scientific data is a social need of society which has grown in recent times, in the era of scientific and technological revolution.
What Is So Special About a Research Paper
Each research paper can be attributed to a certain direction. The scientific direction is understood as a form of science or array of sciences in which research is conducted. In this regard, technical, biological, social, historical, and other areas with possible subsequent detail are distinguished. The basis of the scientific direction is a special science, as well as its inherent methods of research and technical means for their implementation.
The structural units of the scientific direction are complex problems, topics, and scientific questions. A complex problem is a set of problems united by a single goal. From a social perspective, the problem is a reflection of the contradiction between the social need for knowledge and the known ways of obtaining it, and the contradiction between knowledge and ignorance. Depending on the scale of tasks that arise, there are global, national, regional, sectoral, and cross-sectoral problems. The topic is an integral part of the problem. As a result of scientific research on a particular topic, answers are received to a certain range of scientific questions covering a part of the problem. Summarizing the results of studies on a set of topics may allow for the solving of the scientific problem. Scientific questions are understood as small scientific tasks related to a particular topic of scientific research.
If you want to understand how to organize a research paper, you should know that specificity of scientific work determines the purpose of a research paper. The purpose of scientific research is a comprehensive, reliable study of an object, process, or phenomenon, as well as the structure, connections, and relations on the basis of the principles and methods of cognition developed in science, as well as obtaining and implementing useful results. Modern scientific research has certain features that affect the effectiveness of a research paper:
- Slackness characterizes the relationship between living and mature scientific works in previously performed studies. The student writes, using the past works, which avoids parallelism and errors in a research paper.
- The likely nature of the results of the research is manifested in the fact that it is aimed at creating new information. In this regard, the results of scientific research can significantly exceed the expectations of the researcher, but they also may be miserable. This feature of scientific research requires strong-willed and moral qualities from students.
- The uniqueness of research is reflected in the restriction of the use of many conditions or standard methods and normative materials that facilitate the organization of work in material production. This requires the researcher to be independent, responsive, and initiative.
- The complexity of research increases the requirements for students – for their abilities, professional qualifications, and organization – and creates additional difficulties in the cooperation of researchers in different fields. First of all, this refers to the economic aspects of the problem being investigated. They require not only an expansion of the economic worldview, but also the use of knowledge of related professions and the attraction of qualified economists.
- Scale and laboriousness of research are based on the study of a large number of objects and experimental verification of the results obtained.
- The duration of the research requires the student to clearly plan the work both in time and in space.
- The connection between research and practice is conditioned by the necessity of turning science into a direct productive force. It provides for constant contact of scientists with practitioners and the cooperation of their work.
How to Do a Research Paper: Steps
1. Work with the supervisor by solving several test problems and/or reading several articles on the topic of future research if you want to know how to start a research paper in the right way (look through the list of good research paper topics). Then you will be given the main task, which in the future should grow into the theme of the final work. After receiving the assignment, do not hesitate to ask for additional explanations. It is much worse if you do not start the work on your research for a long time, as nothing is done on time.
Usually the teacher expects that your work will join the general research and expects certain results by certain dates. If you cope with the first task quickly, then you may get complications, but by the next one it will be worked out, and by the end of the study, you will get tangible results. If the student only begins the research paper at the end of the semester and begins to solve the initially simple task, then the work will be too simple and nobody will need it.
It is almost impossible to do something worthwhile in a couple of weeks. It is not a surprise if a quickly written research paper gets a low grade. It is necessary to work on the research paper constantly. Good ideas appear as a result of repeated joint discussions, and not immediately. It takes time to understand the reasons for the failures of the first experiments, to come up with a better algorithm, to gain understanding, and to prove its properties.
Therefore, a good research paper can be done objectively only in a couple of semesters. Your teacher has the right to be busy, not taking the time to read the material you sent for a whole week (or two or three), once again postponing the meeting for a week later, and providing other signs of inattention. This is normal.
Spend the time to understand on your own what to do next, and educate yourself. No one will give the student a topic on which there is not a single publication in the world. The name of the theory, or algorithm, or formulas that you discussed with the supervisor are already keywords for searching. Find the sites of top scientific conferences in your area and find out what problems the scientific community is currently engaged in.
Be prepared for the fact that even a superficial acquaintance will take a lot of time, and much will not be clear. But you will have the right questions. Find the latest work on your topic – it is an easy way to show your interest and attract the attention of the teacher. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. You are learning how to make a research paper, so no one will judge you if it does not happen all at once.
Remember that the scientific community values creativity, hard work, and a desire for knowledge. It is generally very democratic and very friendly. If your supervisor does not behave in this manner, change your supervisor sooner. Psychological discomfort from communication for some people stifles motivation and harms the work.
2. Make a complete list of questions that you do not understand in order to reach the goal. Write three options for your answers to each question. Discuss them with the supervisor. A conversation on which of the three options is better is always more constructive than the conversation on how to do it all alone. Choose for each question of the three options the easiest in terms of implementation. Complete the entire task from beginning to end, so that at least something will work. If this is a data analysis task, then it is necessary to reach the evaluation of the quality of solutions. Discuss the first results with the supervisor. Gradually, one by one, replace the weak options with more reasonable ones and see what improves.
3. Clarify the terminology. What does it mean when we talk about the topic, the task, and the material – are these notions the same or different things? The topic is a fairly broad line of research. It is assumed that on this topic you will write your research paper. The setting of tasks within a theme can vary slightly in the process of work.
For example, you (or the teacher) can realize that the initially formulated tasks are too complex or too simple, or have lost their relevance. The task is something more concrete. The task has a clear statement. Unlike the topic, the task may have a solution. The task can be simple or complex. No one will give you a very difficult task right away.
Suggesting a simple task, the teacher usually tries to tell what the following tasks may be so that the prospect is guessed. Material can be anything in electronic form: a sketch of the proof of the theorem, the results of experiments, graphics, the source code of the program, the draft of a report, a presentation, or other research papers.
During the study at college or university, the student must master the means of automation of scientific activities and learn how to present information in the easiest form. Each schedule should be accompanied by a description of the conditions of the experiment and your interpretation of the result. These are the necessary measures when communicating with researchers about experiments. You could misunderstand the task, so this is a good way to check the current understanding.
4. You should not only read already known results, but carefully study them, trying to understand everything in them. An important rule: as soon as you read the article, be sure to write an abstract on it. Do it right away, as later it will be more difficult to remember and systematize everything. Written abstracts later will serve as the basis for reviewing paragraphs of the research paper, report, article, course work, or thesis. It is insulting to spend a lot of time to remember in which article you read an important fact, which you now need to refer to.
5. Document your results. For some reason, few people like to immediately document their code, write down the main ideas of the articles read, and make out their results immediately after they are received. There are two reasonable arguments in favor of doing it right away. Firstly, as long as you remember all the details, you will be able to do it better. You will have to write down your results sooner or later, but if you do it later, you will spend more time, and the quality of the research paper will be lower. Secondly, verbal formulation brings thoughts into order and magically enhances the effectiveness of the next stage of work.
6. Write the research paper. Start writing the section that seems most simple and clear to you. Usually this is the section of concepts and notations. In the introduction and conclusion, it is necessary to write the most important thing that you want to convey to the widest possible audience. The introduction describes where the task occurs and why its solution is so important. In the body paragraphs, the approaches, methods, and facts on which the research paper is based, but which may not be known to a wide range of readers, are listed. Here, references to literature are required. Also, you need to include results obtained by the author. How to conclude a research paper? In the conclusion, summarize everything that you have mentioned in the body paragraphs.
7. Proofread and edit the paper. At the end of writing a research paper, plan to devote a whole day to multiple attentive readings of your work. Some formulas or whole phrases will most likely be omitted. You need to correct all mistakes and add what is missed.
Research Paper Example
If you decide to conduct research and write a paper, then the following research paper example will help you with this task. Now you have the opportunity to get some ideas on how to deal with your own writing. Here is a shortened college research paper example that can serve as a template and can help you with your own paper.
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How to Write a Scientific Research Paper: Tips
If you want to learn how to create a research paper, you should know that it should be written according to strict rules:
- After writing, check the paper for mistakes in style, grammar, and spelling. The main part should not exceed six pages in length. The text should be printed with 1.5 line spacing and 12-point font. The numbering of pages should be done in Arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the page.
- Graphs, diagrams, and tables should be used for the presentation of the material. Also, you should know how to present a research paper in the proper way. It is better to place additional information in an additional section. All tables should be numbered with Arabic numerals within the section.
- The style of references for sources must match throughout the paper. When using direct quotes, they should be placed in quotation marks.
- When working on the title page, place the name of the organization on the top of the page. The title of the research paper is indicated in the center of the page. A little lower, write your name, as well as the supervisor’s name and his/her position. At the very bottom, the city and the year of work is indicated. In any case, before writing a research paper, be sure to review examples of finished works or ask for a sample of previous years from your supervisor.
- Applications start with a new page. In the upper right corner, the word “application” is written. Each page must have its own heading.
- The bibliography should be made in alphabetical order of the names of the authors.
How to Write an APA Research Paper: Choosing a Topic and Implementation of Research
The choice of the topic of a research paper is one of the crucial stages if you want to know how to start off a research paper. The topic that the student chooses for research should be connected with the main directions of the study and scientific researches that are conducted in the university. The scientific direction is understood as the sphere of scientific research, in which, during the relevant time, a particular problem should be solved.
The scientific direction is divided into separate scientific problems, and they are solved by several scientific teams for two or more years. Each scientific problem consists of a number of topics. The topic is a scientific task that covers a certain branch of scientific research. It is based on numerous scientific questions.
Scientific questions are understood as smaller scientific problems that belong to a specific branch of research. Studies on specific topics can be individual, or conducted by a group of researchers for one or several years. In each topic, scientific issues are singled out, which are solved by one or more researchers. Let’s consider how you choose a topic in management, tourism, or economics as an example.
For example: the main scientific problem at the University of Tourism, Economics and Law are:
– Tourism as a social phenomenon: problems of theory and practice. The faculty topics are:
- Globalization of the world economy and problems of the development of international tourism;
- Increasing the efficiency of the development of the tourist and hotel industry;
- Legal support of tourism in the USA.
The choice of good research paper topics for individual or collective research is carried out by students independently according to the approved subject of the department on the basis of the following criteria: the relevance of the topic, the novelty of the topic, the prospects, the correspondence of the profile of students’ education, the development of students’ topics in university conditions, the degree of correspondence of the topic chosen by students, and the thematic focus of the scientific work of the departments.
The relevance of the topic is understood by its value – that is, the necessity and urgency of its solution for the needs of the development of the sphere of study. Thus, the department of management and marketing may develop a list of topics that require priority research. These may include:
- The economic risk of economic activity of tourism enterprises in the market conditions and offers on their property.
- Rationale for the volume of services offered at tourism enterprises.
- Analysis and justification of the number and staff of workers in the hospitality industry.
- Perfection of the personnel management system in the organizations of the tourist industry.
- Analysis of the effectiveness of innovative activities of enterprises in the hotel industry and tourism, etc.
An important requirement for choosing a research topic is its prospects or stability: the researcher must understand the trends in the development of the phenomena and processes that he/she is going to explore. Prospectivity requirements determine the parameters for selecting the survey object, selecting the appropriate research methods, and the characteristics of the conditions for which the implementation of the results of scientific work will be carried out.
The topic chosen by the student should correspond to the profile of study and the arsenal of methods that a specialist after graduation will have the opportunity to use in practice. But this does not mean that in the process of research the topic can not go beyond the main discipline. On the contrary, when choosing a topic, the student can conduct research on the issues using related disciplines. The correspondence of the chosen topic to the profile of the student’s education is most often dictated by the necessity of using the main results of the research when writing course work, dissertations, and reports, and making presentations at seminars, conferences, etc.
When choosing a research topic, it is also necessary to take into account the possibilities of its development directly in the educational institution. First of all, we mean the time that a student can allocate for the development of a topic, taking into account the entire educational process. In addition, all the opportunities for developing the topic should be taken into account in terms of the costs of material and financial resources. Experience shows that a major role in choosing a topic plays the degree of its relevance to the thematic focus of the research work of the relevant department. For example, the topic is developed by a student under the guidance of a teacher or supervisor, so he or she can get qualified help only when this teacher has carried out research in this direction for some time.
In addition, with the coincidence of the scientific interests of the department, the teacher, the head of scientific research, and the student, the interest to research by the student is significantly increased, of which the process of searching for working methods and the presentation of results are accelerated. It should also be borne in mind that the choice of the topic should be preceded by a thorough familiarization of the student with the relevant literature sources of his/her specialty and a related one.
At the second stage, the student, in accordance with the chosen topic, independently selects appropriate literature sources (books, brochures, articles), official documents, and departmental materials on the topic and processes them. The third stage is the clarification of the problem (topic) and the compilation of the content of the research paper. In drawing up the content of the paper, first of all, it is necessary to make a substantiation of the topic and determine its relevance and novelty, and set a goal, develop tasks, etc.
The purpose of the research is necessary to achieve the final result of the study in the most general form. The formulation of the goal usually begins with the words: “develop a methodology (model, criteria, requirements, basics, etc.)”; “justify …”; “discover …”; “reveal features …”; “identify opportunities for use …”; etc.
The fourth stage is the formulation of a hypothesis, scientific foresight, an assumption put forward to explain any phenomena, processes, and causes which caused the present investigation. The hypothesis is a compass that determines the direction of the research activity. The goal and hypothesis of research logically define tasks that need to be solved in the process of the work. Most often they sound like this: 1. study; 2. identify; 3. develop; etc. It is desirable that the answer to the tasks posed is the content of the relevant sections of the paper.
The sixth stage is the definition of the research methodology. In a research paper, methods of observation in its various forms, analysis and generalization of one’s own practical experience, and experience of other researches are primarily used, as well as a scientific experiment, an analysis of the results, various special research methods, methods of mathematical statistics, and modeling are conducted.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Research Paper
- Forgetting about formatting instructions. When you get an assignment, you also receive specific requirements about fonts, spacing, citation styles and so on. There are some basic rules in academic writing, but try to be focused on your professor’s instructions.
- Forgetting about the title. Have you ever read an article or a book without a title? Your professor will not read a paper called “research paper #1.” Write a catchy title which will be relevant to your paper.
- Using cliches. Delete the first sentence if it can be used for the beginning of another paper. Starting with unclear writing that gets more specific will not work in an academic paper. Grab the reader’s attention from the very beginning.
- Forgetting about the thesis statement. Any paper should have an argument. Without a good argument there is no need to write a paper at all. Try to avoid writing research papers that attempt to establish what is already a fact.
- Not including enough evidence. You will not prove your argument without plenty of evidence. Be careful with using quotes – make sure they show what you need to prove.
- Plagiarizing. It is no a secret that a student can be potentially expelled for having plagiarism in a paper. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how often we tell students to avoid plagiarism, every year there are such scholars who are expelled for having papers which are not unique.
Now you know how to write a good research paper. Our guide will help you at all stages of researching and writing. On the basis of this guide, the samples, and the topics that you will find on our blog, you can write a high-quality paper. We hope that you will get the best result, so good luck with your writing!