Before introducing the parts and technical aspects, let’s take a look at the definition. A research paper is a substantial piece of academic writing in which the author thoroughly researches and analyzes a topic to present their results.
- How To Pick A Topic
- Researching Process
- Title Page
- How To Start
- Post-Writing Process
Thorough and extensive research work in libraries and online sources must be made. Then, you should be able to analyze your point or defend an argument. Your writing should be focused and must present clear sources. Be careful of the sources you use: a proper research paper distinguishes reliable sources from non-reliable ones.
Learn how to structure a research paper before it's too late.
Interesting Research Paper Topics
There are many interesting topics to write a research paper on, but the topic should be captivating on more than just an academic level. Ideally, the topic should relate to you or trigger your inner curiosity. If you don’t want your paper to be boring and robotic, then follow our instructions to find the most suitable topic.
Even though you can be limited by specific requirements or guidelines, selecting a topic is one of the most important steps in writing. Answer these questions before selecting a topic.
- Do I have enough sources to create a proper research paper?
- Is the topic new or unique enough to bring fresh ideas?
- Is it relevant to my class/occupation?
Pick something you feel passionate about
If it’s possible, choose a topic that is close to you. Writing about something you like will not only make the process faster but will also naturally improve the quality of your writing. Moreover, your audience will feel that you put a piece of your soul into it.
If you are writing a research paper for your class, consider your classmates. Consider several methods of approach to make your paper as unique as possible, especially if everyone is writing about the same thing.
It’s never too late
If you choose a topic, start researching, and understand that it is not the right topic to write about, don’t worry. Of course it will take much more time to rethink everything, but still, you can change your topic even if you begin researching other.
**TIP:**Mention that if you have one day left before the deadline, changing topic is not the best option.
After you have finally decided on a topic, begin the research process. Use different sources of information including web pages, articles, books, encyclopedias, blog posts, etc. Try to find professional sources which offer valid information for your research. Use at least five sources for researching. The more sources you use, the more interesting and trustworthy your information will be.
Visit the library
Yes, it may seem to be old-fashioned, but libraries might full of required materials from books to journals and newspapers.
Surf the net
If you think that first three pages have the best information on your topic, then you are wrong. Use your critical thinking to thoroughly read through every source and determine if it is authentic.
Use websites that end with .edu, .gov, .org. as they are safe and contain reliable information.
Use Academic Databases
The best place to look for information are databases. They have a lot of peer-reviewed or scientifically published journals, magazines, and books available for you. The other side of the coin that many of these databases require a paid membership if you want to get access.
- Find databases that mainly cover your subject.
- Go to the school library and ask the librarian for access to the databases if they have one.
What is the goal?
Actually, there are two types of research paper: an analytical research paper and an argumentative research paper. Each of these requires a slightly different approach and writing style. Identify your type of paper before writing a rough draft.
- An argumentative research paper takes a position on a controversial issue and covers the most important arguments for and against.
- An analytic research paper should present your point of view about an important issue. This is not only a reduplication of ideas from your research but a presentation of your own unique thoughts based on what you have learned through research.
The title page, also known as a cover page, will be the first thing your reader is going to be exposed to. This is why it's very important to follow the already established format. The following things MUST be included:
- Your Name
- Class Name (teacher name optional)
- Your contact information (phone, email, address)
How To Start?
It is also highly recommended to work with an outline. By creating your outline, you will be narrowing down the positions to research on and build the skeleton of your text. A complete outline makes it a lot easier and faster to complete the final draft of your paper.
The first step of writing is the research process. Once you have chosen a subject and decided upon a position, it is easy to know where to start research. After gathering a good amount of information and sources (some teachers will require a specific number of sources for your project), you can go on and start to create your outline. Once your sources have been included in the outline and you know where you’re heading, you can begin drafting your paper. Then comes the editing and revisions, and finally it will be ready to hand in.
Read more: How to Start a Research Paper
Determine the main points
The body of your paper will be based on ideas that you mark as the most important. Go through your paper and highlight the main points and ideas that you can write a paragraph about and ideas that have plenty of solid facts to back them up with evidence.
Now let’s talk about how to write an outline. You can find some templates and outlines on the internet. But in some cases, instructors will give out their preferred outline. These are the fundamental parts:
- A cover page, or title page
Of course, you must also include a list of sources in a rubric at the end of your paper. They must be ordered and written according to the MLA research paper format. Some teachers refer to an APA format when recording your sources. Be sure to verify according to which method your work must be done. It is very important to include your sources, and if you would not do it, your work will be considered plagiarized.
The introduction will be the initial impression of your research. This is where you present your position on the subject. This is called a thesis statement and is very important. The goal of your paper is to persuade the reader that your position is the strongest.
A good example for the introduction would be a fascinating fact or a triggering theory that is going to establish a connection with the reader and invite him to engage with the text. There are several ways of creating good introductions, either by quoting someone who has succeeded in the discussed field or stating a mind-blowing statistics. It’s all about making it sound unique and interesting.
A thesis statement is one of the most efficient ways to establish a coherent base and structure. Now like never you are going to use your outline as a guide for creating your thesis statement.
One of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to writing a thesis statement is filling it with unnecessary information. If your outline includes sufficient information regarding the research paper, then creating a thesis statement should not cause you any trouble.
In chronological order, the state most important to the points. Make sure that there is a transition from your opening paragraph to the thesis statement, as well as a transition out of it. This will grant you a smooth sentence flow.
Finally, if you have placed points in the right order in your thesis, make sure you are following this structure. Switching the points around will only confuse the audience and misguide them.
The body is divided into as many paragraphs as you have arguments. For each argument, present an example, or fact, that is related, and include a reliable source that proves it. You will want to present strong arguments for your position, as well as arguments against your position. In the case of the arguments against your position, your job is to show it isn’t credible by including sources that disprove it.
- Make sure to support any stated arguments, points, ideas, with sufficient evidence. As we try to avoid ungrounded opinions, this will increase the credibility of your work.
- It is welcomed to cite known people who have contributed or succeeded in the field as it will demonstrate your intelligence on the subject.
- Break your paragraphs as often as possible to separate ideas. Massive blocks of text will bore your audience and keep them from completing the reading.
How to Write a Conclusion
Now, let’s look at how to write a conclusion. Conclusions should make a lasting effect on the reader, and it should incite action among the readers. It's quite common to rephrase your thesis statement in conclusion as a summary of every important aspect you have covered.
Make sure to state the subject importance as well as the paper’s general view on it. You need to finish strong. Your concluding sentence must be very precise and relevant. As this is going to be the last thing the reader is going to the reader, try to make an impact so that the entirety of your work will be captured in his mind.
How to Write an Abstract
Quite often you are going to be required to create an abstract. Don’t feel burdened by that. If you ever have written a book summary or any summary, as a matter of fact, it’s going to be an easy ride for you. An abstract is essentially a one-paragraph summary of your entire work, usually ranging from 300-400 words, covering your main ideas, any essential milestones, your discoveries, and your personal statement regarding the matter.
It's important to understand that your abstract should sum up the entire research paper. If a reader was given an abstract only, would he be able to comprehend the meaning of your work?
There are multiple types of abstract, and they suit different types of writings:
- A Critical Abstract: Compares to other possible works related to the subject.
- A Descriptive Abstract: Objectively summarizes the work without opinions.
- An Informative Abstract: Goes more into details regarding results and includes all aspects of experiments, researchers, etc.
- A Highlight Abstract: Not very often used in academic papers as it serves the purpose of engaging the audience to read the paper and does not provide a full summary.
Create the final draft
As you have edited your paper and finished all requirements, it’s time to make the final draft. Take a red pen or pencil and go through your paper thoroughly. Fix all mistakes and delete pieces of information if necessary. Edit the font, line spacing, and margins if you want to meet the requirements.
During your research work do not forget to track and write down your sources or references. At the end, write down your sources in MLA, APA, or Chicago referencing style, whichever your instructor requires.
Read more about How To Cite a Research Paper
Related: Get professional research paper help, and save your time.
Writing Tip From Our Team
The research process is always the more challenging aspect of essay writing. This article adequately articulates how to write an excellent paper. The best research essay writing tip I’ve ever received was to keep track of my sources from the very beginning of your research process.
Another good piece of advice is to start from tertiary sources and build your way up to reliable internet websites or books/encyclopedias. If you know you’re going to use a source for sure, start an annotated bibliography. While you draft your essay, build your Works Cited or Bibliography page as soon as you cite a source in your paper; this is the most important piece of advice I could give you. I cannot stress this enough: college professors and high school teachers hate plagiarism. Proper citation of your sources means everything; there have been cases of expulsion from institutions. To recap my advice for you: keep every single one of your sources in a separate document (as a link or otherwise), start an annotated bibliography to keep track of the information that you want to use in your essay, and start your Works Cited as fast as possible. With these tips, your research paper should be 100% plagiarism free.