A research paper is where you write an essay based around a research question. It’s important to find and present relevant information and analyze it, which will require some serious research. Writing a research paper requires knowledge of formal essay writing, but with the right information, writing a good research paper is not difficult.
Writing Your Academic Research Paper
Writing a good research paper isn’t just about your writing ability. You should be able to take dry research and turn it into something that is interesting to read about. The ability to inform your readers and leave a lasting impact is what makes a great research paper. Look at a research paper sample or two and note what makes them stand out. Then implement those elements (without copying) into your own work.
Start out by doing some research on your topic. You will have a question that needs to be answered and all of your research should focus on providing answers for it. Focus on looking for high quality information that will answer the question and prove your point.
This will help you decide what your main points will be. All your research should come from highly reputable sources, as opposed to wikis or personal blogs. Scientific studies and well-known sites, universities, and organizations are all good places to find your information.
Write down each of the main points you come up with and make sure you take the time to keep track of the sources of information, as well. All this will be added to the Resources section of your essay. Anyone reading the research paper should be able to find exactly what you are talking about by looking at the links to your sources.
Finally, write an outline for your paper. It will help you organize the information and keep it readable. Fit your research into the outline, making sure that everything you plan to write about is based around a single main point and answers the big question you have decided on.
Research Paper Format
Writing well also requires you to follow the research paper format. The most common styling is to have an introduction, three to five body paragraphs and a conclusion. This is the simplest method and it is the easiest way to ensure that your essay is properly formatted. Look at any research paper example and you’ll see that they are all written in this manner.
Each part of the essay has a special role to play:
Introduction: This paragraph doesn’t need to be very long, but it does need to introduce the reader to your research paper topic. You’ll want to include the question you will be answering in your essay in this section.
The introduction also includes a hook to draw your reader in and keep them reading, as well as a thesis statement. The thesis statement should be your main topic, or the point you intend to prove in your essay. Make it clear in this section why your topic is important and necessary for the reader.
Body: The main section of the research paper will give the reader all the information they require in order to understand the topic. You can make this part of the essay as long as it needs to be, but keep in mind that each paragraph should focus on a single main point. These main points will support the thesis stated in the first paragraph and should all work toward answering the research question.
As you write, incorporate facts from reputable sources in your work. This will make it easier for the reader to understand and believe what you are writing about. Without any evidence, you are just writing a personal opinion essay, so be sure to add plenty of evidence. All the resources should be tracked and you can list your sources at the end of the essay.
A great online resource for citation is Easy Bib. EasyBib's citation generator will let you cite in popular formats such as APA, MLA etc.
Conclusion: The final paragraph in your research paper should address the research question and provide any final evidence to wrap up loose ends. The conclusion must give the reader a sense of why the issue is important. You can also recap the rest of the paper here.
While the concluding paragraph is fairly short, it contains a lot of information. Keep in mind that this is the final impression the reader has of your research paper. Make it a good final impression so that they’ll keep thinking of it long after they’ve finished reading.
Types of Research Papers
Research papers are bucketed into two main formats: Argumentative and Anlaytical.
Argumentative Research Paper: Taking one side of an issue or topic is the central point of an argumentative research paper. Your stance is built into the thesis statement, which makes the argument you feel is more logical for the given topic. The biggest goal of this type of paper is to convince your readers to agree with your point of view by backing up your position with a logical argument supported by facts and information from credible sources.
Analytical Research Paper: A research question forms the basis of an analytical research paper. The question is neutral and provides direction for you to evaluate and explore the topic as it relates to answering the question. Your thesis statement presents the research question, and the remainder of your paper supports your thesis. Unlinke an argumentative research paper, you do not need take or argue a position in an analytical research paper.
Choosing Research Paper Topics
The topic of your paper is essential to its success. Good research paper topics will be relatively simple to research and should have at least a couple of studies done on the topic. This will give you plenty of information to use in your writing.
You can get research paper ideas from just about anywhere. Basic topic ideas may come from a research paper example or a class that you’re taking. While it’s not necessary that you be familiar with the topic, it will certainly help if you know the basics or are at least very interested in the research topic.
When writing a research paper, it can be rather difficult if you have no interest in the topic at hand. Choose something that you would like to know more about or are already familiar with and you’ll find it far simpler to write on a subject that you find interesting and you’ll need less research paper help.
The right research topic is the first and most important part of writing a good research paper. There are plenty of options for research topics. The most popular ones are:
Any topic you select should be one that you will be able to write about well. Obviously, you can’t always choose what to write about, if you are given a specific assignment, but in cases where you can, select something that you will enjoy writing about.
Finishing Up Your Research Paper
Once you’ve completed your research paper, it’s a good idea to let it sit for a day or two before revising. This allows you to come back with fresh eyes and you’ll be able to read over it and catch mistakes.
Another option is to have someone else you trust read over it. They can pick out any discrepancies and errors that need to be fixed before you send it off to your professor. In the end, you don’t want simple spelling or grammatical errors distracting readers from the actual content of your research paper.