How to Write a Research Paper

A research paper is a paper that was done through the research process, using critical thinking, organization, and composition skills. If you want to know how to write a research paper, we’ve prepared some tips and steps to make this process easier for you.

Tips on How to Write a Research Paper Properly

  • How do you write an introduction, and what is unnecessary information to include in it?The purpose of the introduction is to make your research paper writing interesting to the reader. Tell readers about yourself, about what you are interested in, and how you came to the subject of study. Do not be afraid to be sincere. Papers from those who are truly passionate about the topic are different from formal, boring papers. Having caught your passion, the reader will follow you patiently along the winding paths of your research.
  • A good way to attract attention is to start your research paper writing with some unexpected fact or event that made a great impression on you. You will need a little bit of the skill of a narrator and the reader will be intrigued. Though not everyone can boast about having the skill of a narrator.
  • After “hooking” the reader, begin the main part – tell readers what you have researched, what sources you have used, and what kind of story you want to tell and why. It doesn’t matter how you are going to do it. The main thing is to not be too annoying, and to be brief. Talking about the research goals, it is not necessary to say what is directly related to it.

Note: most people don’t want to read a long introduction.

  • The logical question is: how should I deal with such “mandatory” items as “methodology”, “hypothesis”, “relevance”, and “practical value”? This is exactly what shouldn’t be included in the introduction in any case. These items are required only for theses and dissertations. Even experienced writers get out of this bureaucratic clutter with the loss of common sense.

Note: If you want your research paper to be read, delete bureaucracy from the text. There are no “mandatory” parts, only logical research is important.

  • The aim of a conclusion is to remind the reader of your findings that you’ve included in the main chapters of the paper. The proven way is to write a few general suggestions related to research in general, verify the written text with the “objectives” set forth in the introduction. Such a conclusion does not cause complaints, but will make no impression on the readers.
  • Anyone who read your research paper till the end, besides the results of the research, will be interested to see what thoughts have arisen in your mind about the topic, what difficulties you’ve encountered while writing, and what you want to do with the results. Perhaps there is something special that you would like to tell readers. All of this will find its place in a good conclusion. Do not be afraid to go beyond research and write only your thoughts!
  • Another option may be a kind of epilogue to your story. Perhaps your research took an unusual turn, which remained in the shadows – this can also be good material for the final part.
  • When writing an academic paper, it is important to understand that you write it not for you and not for your supervisor, but for a reader who has no clue about what you are describing, and who doesn’t understand even the simplest concept, if you don’t explain it in detail.
  • Often, you may get the impression when the idea is written in simple language, without difficult words and constructions, it loses in “weight”. This is not true. The idea, which can not be explained simply, often turns out to be closer to a sense of the intellectual movement than to a clearly formulated thesis. Do not be afraid of simplicity. It is your key to success.
  • Remember that there are no claims to which all must agree. Often, papers that have phrases like “it is obvious …”, and “everyone knows that …” actually consist of ambiguous thoughts. Your view of things or what you think is a position which needs to be well explained, no matter how difficult it would be. It is absolutely necessary to do so if such thoughts that are “obvious” for you have direct relevance to the content of the paper. Criticism (and sometimes identification) of “non-obvious things” is the most important task of your work.
  • Researchers have to deal with specific scientific terms, or names that are not used in ordinary speech. The first mention of each term should be explained. This is important not only for the slow-witted reader, but also for you: while explaining the term, you can make sure that you understand it. The same applies to people mentioned in the paper. Each time, the introduction of the new name must be accompanied by a brief description. In the simplest case, this can be the date of a person’s life, and the indication of the relationship with the previously mentioned characters.

Steps for Writing a Research Paper

1) Write an outline. It is required if you want to complete a paper in a clear and coherent form. Your outline will serve as a skeleton of your research paper. When you are crafting an outline, remember the questions that were set.

2) Write an introduction. One way to write an introduction is to expand your abstract and write from it. You will probably come to the introduction and rewrite it later, but at least you will have a point to start from.

3) Write the first draft. Include all related facts, evidence and examples. Ensure that you told your story fully. Remember that each new idea should be included in a single paragraph. Don’t check mistakes at this stage, you will have time for revising and editing later.

4) Write a conclusion. There are a lot of variants on how to finish your paper impressively and in an interesting way. The main thing here is not to be tempted to write formally. Restate everything you said in your introduction.

5) Revise and proofread your paper. Leave the paper for a while after you finish writing, and come back to it later. If you don’t have enough skills to proofread your text properly, ask someone else to do it for you.

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.

How to Choose Topics for Your Research Paper

Students are sick and tired of writing research papers on topics about smoking or gun control. Actually, professors are tired of reading papers on those topics as well. So, how do you select a topic that will enhance your chances to get the highest grade?

First of all, a professor expects you to provide new insights into a topic while writing a research paper. That’s why you will not have anything to include if you choose one of the older topics. Your professor has most likely already heard everything before.

Start with a new and original topic. One of the best options is to write about some local issues. In this way, you will not only get informed but complete a decent paper. Before the actually writing a research paper, look for these local issues in the local newspapers or use the Internet. Though they may not offer you many details, they will be a good starting point.

By the way, researching local issues gives you the opportunity to improve your interviewing skills. Get inside the scoop by interviewing the parties who were involved in the issue. For example, you can write about local political scandals, university dramas, or small business struggles of and triumphs.

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