How to Write a Research Paper – Tips and Examples

A research paper is a writing type in which an author conducts original research on a chosen topic and then analyzes and interprets the outcomes. It comes in three core types, namely: a term paper, a doctoral dissertation, and a master’s thesis. In this chapter, we outline the logical procedures needed in writing an excellent research paper that meets the expected academic standards.

In life, achieving excellence is much more than just being knowledgeable. Having a positive attitude and self-belief is the first step towards writing a high-quality academic paper. You need to develop a mindset to learn and have faith that you can achieve excellence.

Writing Research Paper Guide

At high academic levels such as college or university, you are often required to prepare a research paper. Such a paper can explore social, technical, or scientific issues. As a first-timer, the process of preparing a research paper can be difficult. However, proper organization and concentration can make the whole process simpler for you. There are 6 key steps on how to write a research paper, namely: choosing a topic, making research according to your topic, making a thesis statement and outline, writing the first draft, revising your work, and writing your final paper.    

1. Choose Topic for Your Paper

1. Contemplate important questions

The first significant phase in a research paper project is selecting a suitable topic. While you may be limited by your coursework guidelines, a topic can determine if your research paper will be excellent. Thus, it is worthwhile considering a few key questions on the topic: Is the topic relevant to your subject/coursework? Is it a new or controversial topic that would allow for novel opinions? Is there enough content on the topic to write on?

2. Choose something you like

When writing about something you love or enjoy, your paper will be successful. You would also have enough content to write about.

3. Be unique

When writing research in class, you should be wary that other students can write about the same topic. Thus, strive to be unique whenever choosing your topic.

4. Seek advice

Students may always find it difficult to select appropriate topics. In such a case, you should seek advice from your professors. They can inspire novel ideas in you. Thus, do not be intimidated in approaching your professors since they also wish for you to prosper in your academic work.

5. Consider changing your topic

When you start your research and feel that it is headed in the wrong direction, it is never too late to change your topic. Focusing on an inappropriate topic may affect the quality of your academic papers.

2. Make Research According To Your Topic

After you select your topic, you should begin your research by looking up relevant sources. Some of the sources that you should look into include books, journals articles, encyclopedias, blog posts, interview, websites, and many more sources. Care should be taken to look for professional sources with relevant, credible, and valid resources. It is also important to research as many sources as possible, typically five or more sources, which can offer more insight into the topic leading to a good research paper.

3. Make a Thesis Statement and Outline

Nearly all research papers require a thesis statement. However, when unsure, it is prudent to ask your professor of the paper needs a thesis statement.

In its simplest definition, a thesis statement is the focal point of a research paper. It is the core idea that you support and defend in the body of the essay. It is often contained in your research paper’s opening paragraph. However, for longer projects, it can be contained in the second paragraph. To develop a good thesis statement, conduct your research and critically think through the common ideas in the sources. Choose the one you would like to support and write it in a single, clear, and concise sentence.

The thesis statement should be a basis for formulating a research paper outline.Normally, an outline includes the points that support the thesis. They are written in order of importance with the strongest points contained at the beginning and towards the end of your paper. The weak points should be contained in the middle. In addition, the main points can be discussed in several papers depending on the research paper’s length.

A final outline should be a skeleton of your research paper. It should adhere to the formatting guidelines or paper rubric. For instance, an outline in APA should have a research paper format with the following headings: introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.  Cite the main points in the outline using the required citation. 

4. Collect All Data and Write the First Draft

Having your resources ready, you should collect data that supports the points stated in the outline. You should write the first draft to follow the outline. You should analyze the suitability of the information required to make a good paper.

5. Checklist to Help You Revise Your Work

Always make it a point to read your first draft for any errors in content. Double check if the facts and figures in your paper are correct. If necessary, reorganize the points with your thesis statement in mind. Utilize online grammar checkers.

Checklist 1

  • Is my thesis clear and concise?
  • Does my paper align with the outline?
  • Does my paper have a logical flow?
  • Have I cited sources properly?
  • Are my supporting arguments strong enough?
  • Are my intentions in the paper clearly seen?

6. Write Your Final Research Paper

Your final paper should be typewritten. You should then engage in proofreading thoroughly for repetitions, missing words, punctuation, and spelling. Make your work as attractive as possible. Then, ask your friend to read your paper to determine the logical sequence and completeness of work.

Research Paper Examples

A range of research paper examples is available to write on and take different formats. Here is one example:

How Standardized Tests can Improve Education

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