Like any other student, you will have to write a research paper more than once. You cannot secure yourself from its risks, because research paper writing is an indispensable component of all undergraduate and graduate studies. Unfortunately, most students become so anxious about their research paper tasks that they lose their reason and fail to meet their professors’ requirements. It is also due to anxiety that students put off their research paper tasks, until it is too late to begin. It is time to change the situation. We want to boost your confidence and persuade you that you can produce a perfect research paper without any difficulty. Moreover, we want to prove that research paper writing can be rewarding and self-fulfilling. You simply need to try. This wonderful experience will guide you throughout your learning and professional career.
You can become an outstanding researcher and a skilled writer, if you spend enough time practicing your research and writing skills. You will hardly find too many people who were born to become writers. Most famous researchers and writers have spent days and years refining their practice and scholarly skills. You can become one of them, if you decide to learn the basics of research paper writing. Once you set out for writing research papers, you will not be able to stop. This process will keep you fascinated to the depth of your soul. However, you will also need patience and perseverance, as they will pay back in the form of advanced grades and improved academic standing.
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What Is a Research Paper?
“A research paper.” Is this word combination frightening you? What images come to your mind when you hear about a research paper? You imagine yourself locked in the room with dozens of books and journals analyzing and interpreting ideas of other people? Yes, research paper writing is impossible without proper research. However, research is not the only thing that should be considered. Along with gathering various pieces of information on a certain topic, a researcher should be able to review these pieces, point out the main strengths and weaknesses in the approaches of other scholars, as well as interpret their findings. A research paper often suggests an argument and proves it by different means. No matter what type of research paper you are going to write, it should be based on credible academic sources. Along with analyzing the ideas stated by other scholars, you need to provide your own observations that should have theoretical and practical value.
For example, a history student should read a lot of information about the Cold War before he or she suggests some argument and develops it from different perspectives. A lawyer should find and study a lot of similar cases in order to explain his or her own legal case. When suggesting some new principle, a scientist should consult with many reputed scholars, who worked within the scope of this topic.
In other words, a research paper is an extended essay that presents the author’s interpretation or evaluation of the arguments suggested by other researchers. When writing an essay, you may base it on the things you know or your previous experiences. However, when writing a research paper, you should focus mainly on the findings of the reputed experts. Research paper writing requires thorough surveying of the specific field of knowledge in order to figure out the most valuable ideas. Sometimes, it is pretty difficult not to get lost in numerous materials. However, being able to select the most important viewpoints from multiple pieces of information is a great skill that should be developed by the goal-oriented student. Below, you will find many helpful tips for writing a research paper gathered and systematized by our experienced writing specialists. Examine them carefully and become successful!
Common Research Paper Types
You probably know that there are various types of research papers and if you want to succeed in your educational institution, you need to know the essential similarities and differences between these types. Below, you will find the types of research papers that are frequently assigned to students in all colleges and universities:
Argumentative Research Paper
Such a research paper is also called persuasive because it should analyze a controversial issue proving why one viewpoint is more reasonable than another. The main purpose of such a research paper is to persuade the reader to share the author’s position. When writing a research paper of this type, you need to support both positions by reasonable arguments, however, favor one side without being too emotional. Pay attention that your decision should be based on logical arguments instead of your personal preferences.
Analytical Research Paper
When working on an analytical research paper, you need to suggest a question and collect relevant information interpreting the findings of other researchers. First, you need to focus on data obtained by other scholars and then you need to state your own argument proving it. Pay attention that it is critical to stay neutral without demonstrating your personal attitude to the subject of discussion.
Compare and Contrast Research Paper
As you can guess from the title, such a paper focuses on the investigation of the essential similarities and differences between two or more subjects. To write a great paper, you need to dedicate enough attention to each subject without favoring any of them. For instance, you may be asked to write a research paper comparing the paintings of two artists, who worked in the same genre. Alternatively, you may compare and contrast two major historical events, etc.
Definition Research Paper
The definition research paper aims to provide information about one issue, fact, concept, theory, etc. Basically, you need to describe all the facts you have learned about the subject without providing your personal evaluation.
Cause and Effect Research Paper
A cause and effect research paper is, perhaps, the most frequently assigned task in all colleges and universities because it allows developing the student`s analytical and problem-solving skills. When working on this paper, you need to analyze a specific issue tracing its causes, as well as potential effects. For example, a student pursuing a degree in Business may be asked to write a cause and effect research paper to figure out what consequences a specific business decision may have.
Experimental Research Paper
Such a research paper should analyze a particular experiment in detail. This research paper is a common assignment in fields like physics, chemistry, or biology. An experiment is usually taken in order to explain a certain phenomenon whereas a research paper should present findings in a clear and concise way.
Interpretative Research Paper
An interpretative research paper requires you to analyze data you obtained from a certain case study. You need to write your paper based on the established theoretical framework using credible supporting evidence to back up your arguments.
Research Paper Writing: Pay Attention to Your Audience
When working on a research paper, you need to take care of the research interests of your audience. For instance, you should clearly understand who will read your paper: an expert or a layman. Knowing this, you will be able to choose the right tone for your paper. Writing a research paper for an expert, you don’t have to explain the sophisticated terms. However, if your target audience consists of the laymen, you have to explain each term or concept that may be unknown for them. In case you don’t know who will be your audience or if your audience is mixed, you need to find a balance that will help you reach the desired outcome. It will allow both the reputed professional and a layman to understand what you are going to say in your paper.
How to Write a Research Paper?
In order to create an impeccable research paper, you need to break down the writing process into several stages. Gradually moving from one process to another, you will avoid stress and anxiety caused by this challenging academic task. Find the main steps to writing a research paper below:
Step 1. Select a Good Topic
Of course, if the professor has assigned the topic manually, you need to work on it. However, if you are allowed to choose the topic on your own, you need to use this opportunity to pick up the topic that fits your research interests. First of all, the topic should not be too simple. It should be complicated enough to explore it from different perspectives. Second, it should be within the scope of your subject area. If the topic is not relevant, you won’t be able to get a good grade for your paper. Choosing the topic that is too broad, you will present only a general overview without exploring it in detail. At the same time, if your topic is too narrow, you may fail to find the necessary information to develop it.
Step 2. Find the Right Sources
You already know that a research paper should be based on the reputed academic sources that should be relevant and up-to-date. When working on your research paper, you may consider the following:
- Use library catalogs, bibliographies, etc.;
- Follow the suggestions of your instructor;
- Search for the books, periodicals, and journals;
- Pick us both primary and secondary sources.
When working with the academic sources, you should not only summarize them tut also group, synthesize, and document the information received. When examining a certain source, make some notes that will serve as a basis for your argument.
Step 3. Write an Outline
An outline is a very important instrument in the researcher’s toolbox since it serves for organizing the thoughts and ideas in the correct order. When writing a research paper outline, you need to answer the following questions:
- What is your topic and why it is important?
- What background materials you are going to use in your paper?
- What is your thesis statement?
- What is the theoretical and practical value of your results?
- Your outline should include three basic parts of any research paper: an introduction, main body, and a conclusion.
Step 4. Write a Rough Draft
Writing an Introduction
How to start writing a research paper? Your introductory paragraph should perform the following functions:
- Present background information on your topic;
- Suggest some terms that will contextualize the topic;
- Indicate the focus of the paper and your goals as a researcher;
- Include a debatable thesis statement.
Writing the Main Body
- Start writing your main body following the flow of ideas indicated in your outline;
- Integrate the findings of other researchers into your study;
- Summarize, examine, explain, and interpret the findings of other researchers;
- Move to your own argument that is based on your findings.
Writing a Conclusion for a Research Paper
- In case your argument is complex, you need to briefly summarize it in your conclusion;
- Explain the significance of your findings;
- Gradually move from the general description of the problem to contextualizing your solution;
- Give some recommendations to other researchers working in this field.
Step 5. Revise the Rough Draft
Do not submit your research paper without its proper revision. In order to get a good grade for your paper, you need to check it thoroughly.
- Check the overall organization of your paper. Is your introduction engaging? Is your main body coherent? Is your conclusion clear?
- Check whether all your paragraphs are organized correctly. Do they have correct topic sentences? Are there smooth transitions allowing you to move from one paragraph to another? Are there summarizing sentences at the end of the paragraphs?
- Check the mechanics of your paper. Are there any awkward sentences? Are there any grammatical or punctuation errors?
- Check the formatting of your research paper. Are all sources cited in your paper per the formatting style indicated in your prompt? Is the reference list organized well?
Final Draft Checklist
When you are done with your rough draft, make sure you revise it properly. A revision is much more than just fixing the obvious mistakes. It is about improving your paper on different layers. Below, you will find a final draft checklist that will help you polish your paper:
- Is your thesis clear and concise?
- Is your paper organized properly?
- Are there logical transitions in your paper?
- Have your suggested concrete ideas?
- Have you avoided generalizations?
- Have your avoided repetitions?
- Have you checked your paper for plagiarism?
- Is the language of your research paper clear?
- Do your sentences flow smoothly?
- Are there any awkward sentences?
- Are there any grammatical, spelling, and punctuation flaws?
We assure you that only the attention to detail, as well as a professional approach to work, will help you create an amazing research paper that will impress the most demanding teacher. However, if you find it difficult to understand the specifics of research paper writing or you don’t have time to write it, let us help you find out one more solution that will help you submit a superb paper without sacrificing your time.
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