If you are a university student, you will have to write a research paper before you graduate. Writing a good research paper can be very confusing and time-consuming if you have never done it before. You will see there is so much going on and you will probably have no idea about it. To overcome this, you need a guide to help you. So, the following guide on how to write a research paper will walk you through everything that you need to write a good research paper step by step.
What is a Research Paper?
Before you start writing a research paper that your target audience is actually going to read, you need to first learn what is a research paper and why you need to write one.
A research paper is a piece of academic writing that gives in-depth analysis and argument about research that the writer has conducted on a particular topic. It is similar to an academic essay but a research paper is longer and more detailed than an essay that is used to showcase not only your writing skills but also your research skills. So, while writing a research paper, you have to illuminate your knowledge on the given topic while studying and referencing a variety of sources. Then, present your contribution to the debate.
How to Write a Research Paper – The Step by Step Guide
Here are steps that you should follow to craft a strong research paper. Besides, you can also use the following guide to help you check whether or not your research paper stands in the category of a good research paper.
Step 1: Understand Your Assignment
This may sound obvious. But the first thing that you need to do to start writing your research paper is to understand what you are assigned. To craft a good research paper, you first need to understand what specific tasks you need to accomplish. So, you should:
- read your paper carefully;
- look for anything that you do not understand and seek help from your professor;
- identify your assignment goals, length, deadline, and formatting method;
- and make a list of important points.
Many students skip this step which makes them regret it later. Moreover, we recommend you take a pen and piece of paper and plan things out. Besides, set a realistic time frame to complete this task.
Step 2: Select a Research Topic
Once you understand thoroughly what you are asked to write in your research paper, you are good to decide what you want to write about. This step can be daunting for you. But we have good news for you. You can look for something that you are interested in. So, take a blank piece of paper, write everything that your instructor has instructed you, choose topics that you find interesting, and narrow it down to something that you want to write about.
Choosing the topic that you like can be beneficial in the long run. It will keep you motivated and may provide you the opportunity to learn more about it.
Otherwise, you can also get inspiration from other researches. The recommendation section of the research paper always includes ideas that require further research. So, you can read other research papers to find out what you should write your research paper on.
Step 3: Conduct Your research
This step is quite flexible. Because different people opt for different ways to conduct their research. But it is important to stay focused and get this step over as quickly as possible. To conduct your research, you can consult related journals, articles, books, and authentic websites to make sure that you are covering everything.
Also, try to find ideas that contradict your point of view. Moreover, there are two main things that you need to conduct your research.
- Skim: Find out related sources and quickly go through everything to find out important points and arguments.
- Find reliable resources: Next, you should find related reliable resources to help you conduct a good research.
Step 4: Develop a Thesis
The thesis statement is the central argument of any of your academic papers. It tells you the purpose of writing your research paper. For instance, if your research paper is based on a question, your thesis statement should be the answer to that question. Besides, it should also give a hint of what evidence you are going to use to back up the answer.
Besides, the thesis of your paper should be brief, coherent, and straightforward. So, the thesis statement should summarize your paper, and briefly describe your argument. The thesis that you write in the beginning may not be your final thesis. Because you may need to revise and refine it later. However, the main purpose of this thesis is to give you a guide on what you should include in your paper.
If you do not know how to write a thesis statement, click on the link below.
Step 5: Create an Outline
Creating an outline will definitely help you in writing your research paper even if you are not asked to make an outline. But the way you create your outline will depend on your assignment instructions. So, make sure that you have not skipped the first step. Basically, it is a list of all important points that you need to include in your paper. If you do not know how to make a research paper outline, click on the following link down below.
How to Write a Research Paper Outline in English
Step 6: Write Your Research Paper
The step you have been waiting for. Like a traditional essay, your research paper includes the same three sections: the introduction, body, and conclusion. As you write your paper, you may understand that this is not the final paper that you will hand on to your professor. So, keep writing and do not worry about anything. Because you can edit later to craft the final paper that you will submit.
Write the Introduction
The first section of your paper is the introduction where you need to address the following three questions:
- What: Briefly describe your topic, the background of your topic, key terms, and important points.
- Why: This is the most important part of your introduction. Here you need to tell your reader what insight you are offering on the given topic and how your paper helps to define and solve any important issue.
- How: Finally, you let your reader learn about what they should expect from your paper. It should be a map of what you will discuss.
Moreover, the introduction is also where you include your thesis.
Write the Body
The longest part of your paper is its body. And most students struggle with organizing the information in your paper. To help you in organizing the information in the body of your paper, you should make an outline for your research paper. For that reason, you should not skip step 5. So, you can use the outline as a guide to help you understand what and how to include in your paper. However, you still be flexible.
Moreover, the length of the body of your research paper may depend on what you are supposed to include in your paper. You can add a minimum of three paragraphs. Besides, make sure that your paragraphs connect back to the previous one and your sentences flow naturally. Also, ensure that your arguments are strong enough.
Write the Conclusion
The final part of your paper is its conclusion where you restate your thesis statement and briefly summarize your arguments. However, you should avoid including any new argument or idea, write more than what’s required, and phrases such as “to conclude or in the conclusion”.
Step 7: Review and Edit
The last step is to review and edit your paper. This is also the step in which you read your paper and find out areas that need to be refined. Then, draft your final paper. Also, check your paper and make sure that there are not any grammatical, punctuation, or spelling errors.
Moreover, you can ask somebody else to read your paper to make sure everything is on point before you submit your paper. You can click on the link below to get some tips on how to avoid grammar mistakes in your essay.
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