By: Caleb S.
14 min read
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Are you staring at a blank page, unsure where to start with your research paper?
Whether you're a seasoned academic or a curious beginner, the process of writing a research paper can be challenging.
You have to come up with a topic, do the research, and write a perfect paper. It can make anyone want to give up before they even start!
Take a deep breath - we're here to help! Our beginner's guide will show you how to craft a well-researched and effective paper from start to finish.
We'll teach you how to choose a topic that's both interesting and appropriate, research like a pro, and organize your ideas into a coherent outline. Plus, we'll offer tips for effective writing and formatting.
So let's get started on your journey to research paper success!
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A research paper is a type of academic writing that presents the results of a study or investigation conducted by a researcher.
The result should be based on independent work and the writer's knowledge about their topic. Writing a research paper requires you to:
A research paper could either be a doctoral dissertation or a master-level thesis. It depends on whether graduate students or undergraduate university students do them.
The tone of voice for your research paper should be serious. You need to know the basics of writing a research paper, which is essential if you want it to get accredited eventually.
Check out the video below on how to write a research paper to learn useful tips.
Before you start with a research paper, make sure to submit a research proposal. A research proposal (also known as a prospectus) is more like a persuasive pitch used to convince your reader of the value of your project.
A research paper is different from a research proposal, although both have similar writing processes. The goal of both papers is to convince their audiences that they are worthy documents on any subject matter at hand.
Here's a table comparing a research paper and a research proposal:
|Research Paper||Research Proposal|
|A document that presents the results of a study or investigation||A document that outlines the plan for a study or investigation|
|Presents the findings and conclusions of a completed study||Outlines the scope, purpose, and objectives of a proposed study|
|Typically longer than a research proposal, ranging from a few pages to several dozen pages||Usually shorter than a research paper, ranging from a few pages to around 15-20 pages|
|Written for an academic or professional audience||Written for an academic or professional audience|
|Usually requires more time and resources to complete than a research proposal||Usually requires less time and resources to complete than a research paper|
|May be subject to peer review and publication in academic journals||Usually not published, but may be reviewed by funding agencies or academic committees for approval of funding or academic credit|
Struggling to craft an excellent research proposal? Check out this blog to get the help you need!
A research paper is not easy to write; it takes time. You have to conduct research, exert effort, have good writing skills, and think creatively to do it successfully.
Writing one means you have to go through state-of-the-art work to find a potential problem that needs solving or an answer to someone else's question. You'll need facts, evidence, and examples to help make your argument as solid as a rock.
Here are the steps that you need to consider for starting to write your research paper.
When you begin your research paper, make sure you have these things ready. This will make the whole writing process easy for you. It will not only save your time but also help you be on track throughout the writing.
Need a detailed guide on how to start a research paper? Check out this link!
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Here are the steps that you need to follow for writing a great research paper.
1. Understanding the Assignment
You can't afford to mess up your research paper. Make sure you know what you're doing. You'll have an easier time writing a successful one if everything is clear in your head and every instruction has been understood.
2. Choose a Topic
A great research paper always features a topic that will instantly draw the reader in. You don’t want to choose any old, boring idea because your readers deserve better than just another essay with no color or creativity. Make sure you find an original and up-to-date theme for your work so they can enjoy it as much as possible.
There are many research paper topics you can choose for writing, but the topic must resonate with your audience. Try narrowing down on something specific and watch how differently people react.
3. Conduct Research
The objective of this paper is to present you with high standards in academic writing and analytical skills. The more comprehensive your research, the better chance you will extract insightful arguments/strong supporting evidence.
When looking for information on your topic, always make sure that use reputable sources so as not to have any discrepancies within their argumentation or facts presented. These sources include e-papers, journal publications, online encyclopedias, books, newspapers, etc.
The initial research will help you in the following ways.
It is important to take notes of the information you find while researching. Your sources will be necessary for your reference list and bibliography, as well as in-text citations if needed.
Are you unsure of how to acknowledge the work of others in your scholarly writing? Click on this to know!
4. Write a Thesis Statement
After conducting the research, it’s time to create a strong thesis statement that is concise and to the point. It serves as your central argument for the paper - establishing its purpose while providing solid evidence and reasoning in support of your position.
But how to write a thesis statement for a research paper?
A research paper thesis should be concise, clear, and to the point. A writer can further research to revise it if they feel like their original argument needs extra support.
5. Write the First Draft
The first draft of your paper doesn't need to be perfect. You're allowed to make mistakes, and they can be corrected later. Just write a rough draft to have all the information organized into an understandable format for your professor's instructions.
Revise and polish it up in future drafts until it's more clear according to their requirements.
6. Write an Abstract
Any idea how to write an abstract for a research paper?
The abstract is the summary of a research paper. You should explain each section and highlight your key points while keeping it under 250-300 words to write one.
Abstracts make up around 50% of a research paper's first page. Therefore, it's crucial to choose words carefully and be mindful of the word count. This helps ensure that the most important information is presented upfront to readers.
7. Write the Introduction
The introduction of a research paper should address 'What,’ 'Why,’ and ‘How’ questions. It should be without any arguments so that the reader can easily answer what the paper is about after reading this section.
Below you can find a detailed description of each question if you don’t know how to write an introduction for a research paper.
Take a look at the easy to follow flowchart below for introduction writing:
General Steps - Research Paper Introduction
1. Start with a hook to grab the reader's attention (e.g. interesting fact, anecdote, or provocative question)
8. Compose a Perfect Literature Review
Let’s dig an answer to another question: how to write a literature review for a research paper?
The literature review is a crucial section of the research paper. It's where you get to discuss, compare and analyze other studies that have been done on your topic.
It also helps the reader to understand how this study builds upon or differs from previous work in the same field. It would be important when they assess its validity later on.
Here are some essential steps to follow while composing your literature review.
9. Compose Body Paragraphs
The research paper outline is a guide to help you present the information, supporting details, and arguments logically. It will also make it easier for readers to follow your train of thought by keeping track of the thesis statement.
Each paragraph in your body section needs to start with a compelling topic sentence in its introduction. So, there's no confusion about what point you are trying to get across while still presenting only one idea per paragraph.
Look for smooth transitions between paragraphs within each section when building out these sections into their own individual bodies themselves. The use of transition words and phrases will help show the connection between ideas.
Here's an example of a body paragraph from a research paper on the effects of social media on mental health:
|"Studies have shown that excessive use of social media can have negative impacts on mental health (topic sentence). One study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health found that social media use was associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep (Evidence). This may be due to the constant exposure to unrealistic images and curated content that can make individuals feel inadequate or insecure (Explanation). It is important to note, however, that the relationship between social media use and mental health is complex and multi-faceted, and not all individuals may be affected in the same way (closing sentence). "|
10. Write the Conclusion
Wondering how to write a conclusion for a research paper? Heres how!
It is the last part of your paper that provides a sense of closure and summarizes all arguments in just one or two paragraphs. Do not introduce new discussion points at this point, as you have already made clear how you proved what was important about each research question.
You can also end by suggesting possible courses for future work on an issue raised throughout your writing draft. Also, you can conclude by offering potential solutions if applicable.
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11. Write the Second Draft
Once you are done writing your first draft, start writing the second draft of your research paper. The second draft should be perfect. It should focus on the following points.
12. Revise Your Paper
Revision and proofreading is the final step. This process helps you ensure that your paper has no errors or flaws. Here you need to make sure your paper includes everything the assignment prompt asked for.
Here's a basic flowchart of the steps involved in writing a research paper:
General Steps - Research Paper Writing
Choose A Topic
Need assistance constructing your research paper outline? Check out this resource for detailed formatting tips and examples!
Don’t know how to write a research paper review? Then, have a look at this helpful research paper example for getting started.
Here are tools and resources that could be helpful for writing a research paper:
Google Charts - Google Charts is a data visualization tool that can help you create charts, graphs, and other visual representations of your research data. It is easy to use and provides a range of customization options to help you create effective visuals for your research paper.
Research Databases - Access to research databases such as JSTOR, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar can provide access to academic journals, articles, and books on a wide range of topics.
Citation Management Tools - Citation management tools like Mendeley, Zotero, and EndNote can help with organizing references, citing sources, and creating bibliographies.
FocusWriter - FocusWriter is a distraction-free writing tool that provides a clean and simple interface for writing. It can help you stay focused on writing and avoid distractions.
Writing Communities - Joining a writing community, such as a writing group or workshop. They can provide helpful feedback and support throughout the research paper writing process.
There are several important skills that are necessary for writing a research paper, including:
In conclusion, writing a research paper can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the steps we've outlined in this article, you can ensure that your paper is well-structured.
Remember to start with a strong thesis statement and outline, conduct thorough research, and use credible sources.
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Helping students achieve their academic dreams is what brings Caleb S. the most fulfillment. With his Master's degree from Oxford University, Caleb has plenty of experience with writing that he can utilize to benefit those who seek his help. Prioritizing his client's needs, he always goes above and beyond to provide top-notch service.
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