Did you know that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp process roughly 60 billion messages per day? Have you ever thought where the statistics come from? The answer is obvious: in-depth research, and to get an accurate result, people should know how to write a research paper. It is one of the essential skills in any professional field: from legal areas to online business activities.
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- What is a Research Paper?
- Picking A Topic
- Researching Process
- Thesis Statement
- Research Paper Outline
- Writing & Editing Tips
- Research Paper Checklist
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Such papers serve to debunk biased or outdated theories or research.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 Best Research Paper Topics
The rule of thumb here is to go for the research paper topics that will captivate you and sustain your interest. Keep in mind the simple rules of choosing a topic:
Find a topic related to personal hobbies or future career. its is better to come up with the list of great ideas to pick the most powerful example in the end.
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!)
Decide whether enough sources are available to initiate the research.
No matter what a student does, the final topic should be related to both field of study and specific subject.
Avoid trivial, unoriginal, boring ideas.
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?”
10+1 Excellent Topic Ideas
It is impossible without having the list of the best research paper topics in front of your eyes. Look at the offered samples:
- 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 samples 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?
You will never learn how to write research essay without understanding the way to conduct in-depth research.
Start off with websites to gain some background info - googling your topic can be a great starting point.
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.
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 are the recommended sources. Primary sources are (and not limited to):
- Academic journals
- Books & e-Books
- Government publications
- Official reports
- Online libraries
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.
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.
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
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.
A research paper 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. Make sure the outline follows the required research paper format.
How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?
After developing a thesis and research paper 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.
Related Article: How To Start a Research Paper
Working on the Research Paper’s Body: How is It Different from Essay?
A research paper outline 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 research paper format 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:
- Restated thesis statement (written in words different from the introduction)
- Summary of the main arguments (summarize every main point of the paragraphs or sections)
- Ways to implement findings in real life
- Forecasts for the future
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.
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.
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.
- Every paragraph starts with a captivating topic sentence.
- Each body paragraph has at least one example to illustrate the writer's main idea (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.
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