The first sign of getting older in terms of education is a new writing assignment known as a research paper. Compared to a regular high school task - writing an essay, college research paper requires much more time and effort. For example - you don’t have to add an abstract and appendix to your essay, while a scientific research paper usually requires these sections to be included.
A research paper is any kind of academic writing based on original research, usually assigned to the students of scientific classes like Biology, Physics, Astronomy, etc. It occupies more than 1 page. When writing a research paper, it is critical for a student to stick to some other writing style than simple MLA. That is why students often get stuck with the writing process and turn to a pro online writing service.
Essential Tips on Writing a Research Paper
Please read this section with major tips on how to write a research paper to help you benefit with your writing before you move on to your first draft. There are some things that make a process of writing a research paper different from writing a typical essay. You should consider these nuances first.
1. Select the research paper topic wisely.
There are times when your tutor does not assign a specific topic to discuss. It means that you can decide on your own, but you can only choose any topic related to the studies subject. Go through your in-class notes and lecture writings – perhaps, you will find something interesting over there. Another great place to look for good ideas is the media. Select only up-to-date resources as your primary sources. Under this term, we mean resources that are no more than 5 years old.
2. Always prepare an outline and keep it.
You can come up with the table of contents or detailed outline – anyway, you need an action plan not to get lost in your research paper. An outline is a detailed plan which includes all steps you have to take to finish the process of writing a research paper. Every point describes the questions you discuss in separate sections.
3. Start writing your first draft early.
As soon as you begin to write the first page, you’ll get to the point. An early start makes it possible to have enough time for review and corrections later. You need to have at least a couple of months ahead to catch up with the final deadline. The first month should be dedicated to finding resources and making notes. Pay attention to all related in-class readings too. Take advantage of the time at your disposal – remember that in-depth analysis demands a plenty of effort.
4. Try to use only official language while writing.
English slang and jargon words are forbidden. After all, we are talking about college projects instead of a blog or fashion magazine article. Insert different scientific terms while writing, but make sure to explain their meaning. Do not use words that you don’t know. You risk falling into the trap when your tutor asks you about any of the complex terms. Write the full interpretations of each abbreviation when it is applied for the first time in your text.
4. Show a keen interest in your teacher.
By picking one of the recommended topics from your course syllabus or research paper instructions, you show respect to your tutor. Tutors love to be listened to and to be heard. It makes no sense to pick the easiest topic – usually, it is not curious at all. Moreover, you’ll be having hard times when there will be nothing left to say. Still, you have to obey the word limit set by your teacher. Also, try to find the topic from your list which seems interesting to both you and your teacher. Add innovative ideas to your study – and here we go!
5. Narrow down … Everything!
Although a research paper contains much more pages than an essay, it has to be concise as well. Avoid wordiness and writing complex, long sentences. Talk only about specific arguments in pure English. Explain the details, but don’t dedicate an entire page to a single question. At the same time, don’t write down hooey just to fill up space.
6. Cite background readings.
A research paper has to be cited. It must include direct and indirect quotations to support each point with some evidence. The last step of your research paper writing process is Bibliography. You should list all the applied resources in alphabetical or chronological order once you are finished. A published resource is the best proof of your words. Sure thing, it has to be credible and time-tested. That’s why Wikipedia or Quora are not the most appropriate sources for writing a good research paper.
7. Order professional help from time to time.
It is okay to get tired of the writing process sometimes. In such a situation, you may contact a professional academic writing service to hire the best experts in your field. You may either order a custom research paper (made from scratch) or pay only for the revision of your current draft. In any case, here you can find everything on writing help you deserve.
Writing a Research Paper Step by Step
It is time to move from listing the general rules to the discussion of the paper’s major parts and step-by-step writing process itself.
Step 1. Developing Introduction
Just after reading all those creepy articles and textbooks, picking your topic, and preparing an outline, you should work on the most important part of any academic paper – introduction. A research project has to possess a powerful thesis statement. In addition, a first paragraph must explain why the particular ideas were chosen, how society can benefit from studying the chosen topic, which methods and sources were applied to the research, and what kind of results the author expected to obtain. Pose a research question clearly to provide an answer at the end of your project.
Of course, potential readers can learn everything they need from a summary which precedes introduction. This summary is called an abstract. Research papers supposed to have one. It has to occupy no more than 1/3 of the page, but it has to give answers to all disturbing questions like introduction does with the only difference that an abstract also recalls the results. Pretend that you are not the author of the research paper when writing an abstract. Write it in the form of an independent review like this:
Ten Lessons from Biotechnology Experiences written by three representatives of such organizations as Food and Agriculture Organization and Research and Extension Unit offers a review of nineteen studies that proved the effectiveness of biotechnologies used to meet the requirements of smallholders.
Anyway, further organization of your research paper often depends on the introduction. Find out which fact or statistics may encourage your target reader. As far as it’s not an essay, you can’t use jokes or proverbs. Research papers imply the usage of scientific techniques only. The main idea of introduction is obvious: present your ideas and start writing the body of your research paper.
Step 2. Body Paragraphs
There can be more than 3 body paragraphs in your paper. When you are describing the methodology, it may take more space than you think. Besides, you’ll have to include findings and discussion.
While each paragraph of the school or college essay begins with some argument which has to support the thesis statement, the body in research papers is rather inconsistent. You may want to write about methods first and then add some information about the tools and equipment used during the experiment. You may be writing about the sample population in more detail in case this parameter is very important for your study. As you can guess, a research paper involves much more steps than any other academic assignment (except for the dissertation which is even bigger and more complicated).
When you’re finished with methodology, dedicate several sentences or even paragraphs to describing materials that were used to complete your research. Remember to refer to your initial outline when you’re getting confused. This way you’ll save the logical flow of your thoughts.
Step 3. Writing Discussion and Conclusion
These two sections appear one after another in your research paper. The discussion should still be done in the official tone. Despite the name of this section, it’s not a forum discussion. Sometimes, students may skip discussion if the research project is not that complicated. If your paper is rather large and confusing, include this part into your outline to make some things clear. For instance, you may stress the importance of the study and give good reasons.
Read the entire research paper before writing a conclusion. You will need to refresh your mind again when developing an abstract and bibliography. The goal of the results part which is the last paragraph of any research paper is to state and interpret your findings and their significance for your community. Mention all points that you have applied in your research paper to defend your thesis. Highlight the basic arguments that support your position towards a particular topic. The conclusion must sound logical and objective without adding your own preferences. Make sure to answer the main question of the study and give explanations to each figure, table, chart, or graph.
Extra Tips on Research Paper Writing
One of the most important parts is a bibliography. In some writing styles, it is called Works Cited, while in APA it is mentioned as a Reference page.
It is better to take notes each time you use another source in your academic project. You have to cite all sources: from those that you quoted to those that simply helped you on the way to your complete paper.
Include all publication information for each source:
- Author’s name
- Title of the book/journal/article
- Date of publishing
- Page number
- Issue, number, volume (if available)
The list of all researched sources has to appear in the alphabetical order. Sometimes, you may be required to keep it in chronological order. Get acquainted with special guides for attributing sources before getting started.
Here are several examples in MLA format:
- Creed, Barbara. “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine. An Imaginary Abjection.” Horror, the Film Reader, 2002, pp. 67-75.
- Freud, Sigmund. “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.” New York: Basic Books, 1962, 24.
Post-writing procedures consist of proofreading and editing your final paper. We don’t recommend submitting the project once you’re done. There can be many different mistakes.
Check the structure of your research paper from the reader’s point of view. Does it make sense to you? Is every sentence logical? Have a look at the word order and other tiny details. Launch some grammar-checking software to see whether there are any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. Often, such apps help to define plagiarism index as well. It has to be minimized in case it is more than 5%. Some professors ask for even higher uniqueness. To have this procedure done successfully, make use of:
- a dictionary or spellcheck
- a thesaurus for synonyms
- a grammar book
Another method is to send your research paper draft to online editing services to have a perfect content free of any mistakes back.
To Sum It Up
To be sincere, there is no single successful formula for writing a stunning research paper. The structure remains the same, but you have to come up with your original voice to gain teacher’s appreciation. In case you are an author in a scientific magazine or academic journal, it is a must to present some innovative ideas. Otherwise, your piece won’t be interesting to read.
We are not talking about writing a magazine article so far. It makes the mission a bit easier. Still, a research paper weighs 20-30% of your course grade, so it deserves more attention than quizzes and small homework assignments.
If you are great at writing common school essays, you have higher chances to cope with the task like developing a research or term paper. It plays a significant role in your self-development and general score per course. That is why it is impossible to ignore the meaning of this task.
Before you start writing your first research project ever, it is recommended to view at least a couple of books on academic writing. It will give you a clue on what structure should look like.
We hope that these tips on writing a research paper were useful for all students and their working colleagues.