How To Write a Research Paper
Getting to write your research paper correctly is one step to a guaranteed graduation. As much as this sounds like an easy task, to many students, the process of writing the research paper is tricky and confusing. Many times the professors appear to be too strict making the process even more tedious. There are several steps however that you can follow and master as student in order to write an excellent research paper!
What is a Research Paper?
This is a write up that is built on the processes of collecting background information on the topic, data collection and analysis then the publication of the results. To gather this information, collect data and analyze it then publish it is a time consuming process that requires a lot of concentration. It requires you to apply data collection and analysis skills as well as the writing knowledge gathered in class. To come up with an outstanding research paper, a student needs much more than just writing skills.
First Step in Writing your Research Paper
As earlier mentioned. The process of writing your research paper will be long and sometimes boring. To avoid getting bored and losing your motivation along the way, start on the right footing.
Start on a high note, by find out what drives you. Start by identifying what interests you and keeps you inspired. That thing that makes you want to do more. As you try to figure that out, consider your Professors guidelines and requirements. That way, you will be able to find the middle ground between what is required of you and what you want to do. Once you find your mojo, you have a great start!
In some cases,the professor will assign you with a topic for your research paper, but normally students have the chance to select their own research topics. The process of selecting your research topic should be easy and simple based on step one above. As a golden rule, always choose a topic based on what you enjoy to do. If you love music, you can choose a topic related to music.
For instance, you can write about the history of a city’s musical culture. e.g A research on the City on Memphis and it rich Music Culture, or the Evolution of Music genres in America. You can take this further and do a study on music personalities, a perfect example would be “What makes a musical Legend? A case study of the Life of Stevie Wonder”.
Depending on your interests, ensure to pick a topic you are interested in and is easy to research on. An easy to research topic has relevant information that is easily available for you.
Choosing a hard topic or one that you are not interested in will limit you in terms of information access and make the process long and tedious.
Information is the basis of a good research paper, the more you read, the easier it is for you gather all the information you need to complete your research paper.
While gathering information, always ensure to use credible data. While of may not be easy to verify the credibility of data collected on the web, you can use online sources gatherings and public libraries for more reliable data. Some of these include:
- Google Scholar – this free search engine will give you comprehensive information for all scientific publications.
- SweetSearch– created by librarians and scholars, this source will give you reliable references.
- gov– if carrying out a research that requires you to use federal data, this site will be more than useful. This service browses more than 60 databases and 2000 scientific sites to provide information on federal data.
- JURN– for ejournals, this free online tool will provide information in different field.
- EBSCO– offering access to over 70 libraries, this community will help you present a quality research paper with good sources and reliable data.
These sources will give you relevant and incredible data for your research paper.
This is a sentence written at the beginning of your research paper to give an idea of what the research is about. It should be a clear, one or two lines sentence. It states the main purpose of the research and may be presented as a problem, an issue or an opinion.
The thesis statement forms the basis of your research paper with the rest of the section being built from it.
Research Paper Outline
Start this step by stating why you chose this particular topic for your research. Briefly describe the purpose of the research. State what you expect to find out from the research.
Writing a draft is a perfect way to build up your research paper. Your first draft may not be a thorough and detailed as you would like your research paper to be. Not to worry though, the good news is that you can always build up your draft over time.
To begin with, make an outline containing all your primary points then add these points with time as you get more ideas based on your research topic.
Maintain these points by creating facts and arguments around them. This you do by making a list of ideas for your research. Ensure that each idea is directly connected to the topic, then state facts that support these opinions or arguments against them.
Using this idea of facts and arguments, create a text that gives a flow of your thoughts and conect your fact and arguments in the main body. Add examples from the books and researched work to show the relevance of this information.
Review the Draft and Outline.
Revise the outline and the draft when they are ready. Bit by bit revision is better. Do not wait to do the revision when the whole text is done, you are likely to miss out on some errors.
Examine the ideas you have presented and ensure they remain connected to the topic of your research paper. If you need to make changes, always ensure your opinions match the ideas you had outlined.
Check the structure of your paper too. Our next article in this series will detail about research paper structure. In simple terms, ensure that your thought flow in a logical and seamless way.
Let each paragraph present a different thought process or idea and that each idea is connected with the previous and related to the next one.
Always ask for a second opinion, in most cases, you may miss out on some of your misstates so it is always wise to ask someone else to review your work for you.
Checklist – Get out Your Rubric!
Remember the guidelines your professor issued when you started on this process to write a research paper? Now is the right time to read them. These notes are very important as they guide you on what was expected of you in the research paper assignment. Check your written paper against these instructions. Ensure your assignment has fulfilled all the stated requirements as per the instructions.
This process will help you establish if your selected topic is related to the arguments you have presented. Reviewing these notes also help you know if you have fulfilled the requirements of your tutor.
This is a list of the information sources that you have used all through your research. This part is added at the end of your research paper.
One thing about this section is the possibility of missing out on some of the sources you referred to through your research. To avoid this pitfall, always build your the bibliography as you write your research paper. If you prefer you, can note them down on a separate piece of paper then use this to write this section later.
Re – Read your Work!
Proofread your work. This step is very important. Check out for grammatical errors, simple errors that can cost you much.
Proof reading your work makes it easy for your tutor to focus on the more important points that will earn you more marks. Once again, you can as a friend to help you out with this step.
Type the Final Research Paper
Once you are comfortable with your draft, type out this work. To type all these pages may seem like some tedious task but remember the hard part is all behind you now. Take time to type the work, then take a break. Rest and do a fun activity. One your mind is clear and you feel refreshed, format your work.
Formatting will depend on your tutors’ instructions. Depending on these, you may format your paper in MLA, APA, Chicago or any other style as instructed.
That is it! Your research paper will be ready to turn in.
If you follow the steps above, writing your research paper will be as easy task. But sometimes you just do not have the time to go through it all, in that case;