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Find Out How to Write a Research Paper of A+ Level

April 26, 2018 Types of Academic Writing
Find Out How to Write a Research Paper of A+ Level

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Table Of Contents

What is a Research Paper?

Research papers are academic papers assigned by the college teachers that require students to research & review data. A research paper aims to:

  • Analyze and present inventions
  • Offer solutions
  • Suggest original approaches

Such papers serve to debunk biased or outdated theories or research. Students need excellent research, reading, writing and analysis skills.

Learning how to write a research paper can be valuable. This task appears throughout university life and prepares the student to face the challenges of real life, especially business. Term papers, senior thesis papers, and dissertations are the essential research papers on a bigger scale.

Remember: It is no coincidence that in ‘Research Paper’ - the word ‘Research’ comes first.

Hunting for the Top Research Paper Topics

The rule of thumb here is to go for the topics that will captivate you and sustain your interest. Keep in mind the simple rules of choosing a topic:

  1. Find a topic related to personal hobbies or future career.
  2. Check whether the topic you are interested in, is up-to-date based on various types of sources (they should be no older than 5 years!)
  3. Decide whether enough sources are available to initiate the research.
  4. No matter what a student does, the final topic should be related to both field of study and specific subject.
  5. Avoid trivial, unoriginal, boring ideas.
  6. Start with something broad and narrow it down. Example: narrow ‘Cinema’ down into ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Film Noir.’ Try answering the questions “How did film noir shape the conventions of Hollywood?” and “Are the traces of film noir still present in modern-day cinema?”

narrowing the topic down

10+1 Excellent Topic Ideas

It is impossible without having the list of the best topics in front of your eyes. Look at the possible ideas:

  • The pros and cons of homeschooling
  • Alcohol’s implication on violence and crime
  • Medical research implications on animal rights
  • Does the internet make children smarter?
  • Should children wear school uniforms?
  • How the use of tobacco affects the human body
  • The influence of online social networks
  • The effect of the first moon landing on culture
  • Comparing cyber-bullying to face-to-face bullying
  • Does the LGBT community need special rights for protection?
  • Does the internet need to be censored?

Selecting a topic is an art in itself. Pick several options and ask yourself these questions to find the best one.

  • 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?

Performing Research

You will never learn how to write research essay without understanding the way to conduct in-depth research.

  1. Start off with websites to gain some background info - googling your topic can be a great starting point.
  2. Exclude useless websites from the list. Government websites (.gov) or educational websites (.edu) usually contain reliable information; avoid using open-source platforms like Wikipedia or Quora, and mind that commercial (.com) sites are less trustable (they try selling stuff instead of providing objective information). Learn more about domain name extensions can help you avoid misinformation and malicious content.
  3. Critically evaluate selected sources. Sites may contain information with an aim to fulfill a certain agenda while the authors may be biased and one-sided, especially when talking about things like politics.
    Teachers usually instruct to divide the collected sources into two categories: primary & secondary.

Primary Sources

Primary are the recommended sources. Primary sources are (and not limited to):

  • Archives
  • Academic journals
  • Books & e-Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Government publications
  • Official reports
  • Films
  • Speeches
  • Online libraries
  • Interviews

primary sources

They can be hard to find, but they contain the most accurate and well-supported information.
Primary sources can include statistics and analysis. They are conducted by scholars who have studied your topic extensively.

Secondary Sources

While being easier to find than primary sources, secondary sources need to be triple-checked by the author to ensure their reliability. Sources like educational YouTube blogs will usually reference their primary sources for transparency.

secondary sources

Many such blogs aim to generate traffic on their channel. The frantic pace at which they pump out videos doesn’t exclude the possibility they have misread or misinterpreted their primary sources.

INTERESTING HINT: Use a highlighter and sticky notes to save hours of unnecessary work and help you organize your sources.

How to Write a Killer Research Paper Thesis?

To begin with, a thesis statement appears in the introductory paragraph of a research paper; its length can range from one sentence to a small paragraph in length. Include it at the end of the introduction.

Remember: a thesis statement should contain the core argument/point of your writing. All arguments and findings in the rest of the paper should be traced back to this central idea.
Start brainstorming on a thesis: before settling on a thesis statement, it is important to do a good bulk of research. The thesis is something that is subject to change. That is why it’s best first to have your sources in order.
The thesis must concisely show your interpretation of the subject to the readers, telling them what to expect. No generalizations are allowed. Thesis statements are disputable in nature - if they weren't, research papers would remind of the boring summaries of facts.

Here are some “Make Sures” to help you craft the perfect thesis:

  • Make sure that your thesis statement clearly answers the question of your assignment.
  • Make sure that your thesis is debatable. You need to write an argument instead of making a summary.
  • Your thesis must be related to your body paragraphs: don’t be afraid to change your thesis while writing your research paper. Changing parts and reviewing is alright.
  • Make sure that your thesis passed the “so what” test.

Free Thesis Example

An example of the killer thesis could be:
“Numerous studies discovered an average person checks personal social media account minimum 14 times per day. It proves the harmful effects of social media on modern generation. The negative consequences include the lack of face-to-face communications skills, loss of private information, possible mental health diseases like anxiety, increased threat of cyberbullying, sexting, and addiction/obsession. Thus, governments should limit access to social media accounts.”

Developing a Research Paper Outline

Research Paper Outline

Why is it important to learn how to write an outline for a research paper? Not every prompt tells to do that, but experts recommend having it in front of your eyes.
An essay outline is a useful, necessary writing tool used to help authors with organizing ideas. Can you imagine finding the way out of the woods without a map? An outline works in the same way. It serves as a personal plan to prevent a student from being stuck in the middle of the writing process (facing writer’s block). Treat an outline as the means of organizing sources and arguments into body paragraphs. Arguments along with the supporting evidence are placed in a logical order that best supports the thesis.

free outline example

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

After developing a thesis and outline, it is necessary to discuss how to write an introduction for a research paper. This part has to be impressive and eye-catching. The target audience should WANT to keep on reading the paper after viewing the opening line. That is why experts recommend starting any type of academic paper writing with a powerful hook sentence.
What are some of the best hooks to consider?

  • Famous person quote
  • Literary quote
  • Rhetorical question
  • Simile or metaphor
  • Facts & statistics
  • Joke or anecdote
    Common - make the person interested! See the example of a good hook at the beginning of this article.

Working on the Research Paper’s Body: How is It Different from Essay?

A research paper is different from a typical essay by its structure. It has more sections, and each of them matters.

  • Methodology - The section shows up after the introduction, and it describes the equipment, tools, and methods used during the research. The section may contain particular guidelines. After reading it, a reader should have an overall understanding of how to conduct similar research using the same tools and equipment.
  • Results & Discussion - List the findings of the research. A writer should interpret the results of the study (both qualitative & quantitative data) and discuss the ways such data can be useful.
    If you write a research paper describing the life of a famous person or some historical events, follow the structure recommended in the outline example.

How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion?

When learning how to write a research essay paper, it is impossible to underestimate the power of conclusion. It leaves the last impression. A student will not leave a positive impression without including these elements in conclusion:

  1. Restated thesis statement (written in words different from the introduction)
  2. Summary of the main arguments (summarize every main point of the paragraphs or sections)
  3. Ways to implement findings in real life
  4. Forecasts for the future

What’s Next?

The work is not over - after the conclusion, a couple of other sections follows unless the professor does not mention them in the prompt. a bibliography is a must anyway, but it depends whether your tutor wants to see a common References Page or Annotated Bibliography, which is more complicated to do.

  • Abstract - Even though this section appears in the beginning prior to introduction, professors recommend writing it in the last turn. it should be a ⅓ of a page summary (approximately 250-300 words).
  • Bibliography - A list of all cited sources. If the prompt tells to write an annotated bibliography, list the sources in alphabetical order with respect to the last names of the authors, but add summaries of the sources (abstracts) this time. They should be 3-5 sentences in length.
  • Appendix - It is an extra section, which interprets any of the visual elements included in the paper. Those could be graphics, tables, images, etc.

Writing & Editing Tips from Gurus

After you have established essay outline, you may begin writing the rough draft. Try to make it as broad as possible, including lots of information, detail and description. Later revision stages will have you to narrow down your writing to the most important info. DO NOT worry about your sentence flow or grammar. You will take care of that when polishing the draft. Your aim at the moment is to create a rough draft filled with lots of information.

writing and editing

Edit The Rough Draft

Read through the draft a couple times and take out information you find irrelevant to your thesis. If it doesn’t support your thesis - it doesn’t need to be in the essay.

Fix Grammar

No one wants to see grammar errors in a research paper. Proofread the work to identify problematic areas. Additionally, there are third-party services you may use to help fix up your grammar.

Adjust Sentence Flow

The essay must flow nicely, and be easy to read. Presenting fact after fact without clear transitions may confuse the reader. It is hard to see subtle nuances while being bombarded with info.

Improve Word Choice

Fancy word choice and synonyms won’t impress your professors as much as you may think. Simple language always works best. Also, there are third-party services which can help you spot unnecessary words and difficult sentences.

Get Peer Reviews

Show your paper to a friend or a relative and request feedback. Ask them if the information was clear, and the paper was concise, and easy to read.

Research Paper Checklist

Once you go over your errors and improve your paper the best you can, it’s time for a final checkup. Make sure that you have ticked off all the points on this general checklist:

  • My thesis statement is clear, and to the point.
  • Each paragraph starts with a captivating topic sentence.
  • There are no unnecessary or repeating words.
  • Quotes are written accurately, and cited correctly.
  • The essay is mostly in third person, without using “I”
  • The paper follows my outline.
  • All my arguments are organized in a logical sequence and supported by sources.
  • All sources and references are cited in the correct format.
  • The essay reads smoothly - the reader will definitely get my point.

Examples

Research Paper Essay Example

Writing Tip From Our Team

The research process is the most 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 the research process.

Another good piece of advice is to start from tertiary sources. 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 by sharing summaries of each source. While drafting an essay, build a Works Cited or Bibliography page after citing all sources. It is the most important advice I could give. 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 because of the ignored standards. To recap my advice: keep every single source in a separate document (as a link or else), start an annotated bibliography to keep track of the information that you want to use, and prepare a Works Cited page ASAP. Hopefully, this information was useful, and if you ever need any research paper help - find me on essaypro.com.

Prof. Oscar, EssayPro

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