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How to Write a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper

What is a research paper?

Research papers are basically academic writings of a bit higher level, in any field of studies. They are generally longer than the custom term papers or the essays and are required for the presentation of any observation or inference. A research paper is also required for the exploration and identification of any technical, scientific or a social issue. The basic rules are same as that of writing a general essay but certainly with some additional inputs.

Normally a research paper that is more commonly seen as a form of assignment or a presentation of ideas, is basically an extension of the study program in the university level. It primarily includes a thorough and broad study and research on the topic with its related points and, of course, a clear perspective and creative writing style with an interesting pattern. Therefore, proper investigation and information on a given topic from any source possible under the sky, focusing on the important and useful points and then coming out with an innovative pattern and accurate and proper citations and references all on the part of the academic writer, is probably the key to writing an effective and interesting research paper.

Format for writing a typical research paper

A research paper is known to serve several purposes all at the same time. A typical research paper includes a basic format of writing and some important general rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed although there are certain variations. One of the primary aims of a research paper, apart from presenting and introducing to the readers in the academic world the academic writer’s own ideas, conclusions, views and study results, is also to allow to enlighten and thus enrich people on certain subjects and topics. It also helps in advancing a given or mentioned concept or theory in that particular stream or field of academy and creating an impression of the academic writer on his or her readers’ minds. Thus, the form of a research paper is very vital to the point that it has to reach out to a large number of readers and ensure their proper understanding of the research topic. The general research paper writing format, therefore, includes the following points:

  • Title Page: Zero in on a catchy title and mention the names and addresses of all the authors, if multiple. It generally requires one single sheet.
  • Introduction: It should not exceed two pages and must include the significance of the study and the experimental design.
  • Materials and Methods: Although there are no officially specific page limit, still it is always good to keep it concise. The sections should be reported under separate subheadings.
  • Results: The page limit depends on the number of data and reports. However, it should be precise and made in tables, charts and figures.
  • Discussions: The official limit is maximum five pages and thus economy of words is an essential tool here. The content must be typed and double-spaced.
  • Literary or academic citations: It is important to document and mention every source of information for the research paper in alphabetical order to form a good image and impression. If there are no such references or citations made, even that too needs to be mentioned.

Points to note while writing a research paper

Writing a research paper is hardly an easy task although it might become somewhat manageable once an academic writer has got a good hold of the important and essential points that are necessary to writing a proper and effective research paper. Before starting to write the academic paper it is, therefore, always vital to remember those tips and use them wittily in one’s academic writing. Those tips or points are as listed below:

  • It is necessary to follow a standard and uniform writing style and font like Arial, Times, Calibri etc.
  • Each section must start on a whole new page or otherwise it looks clumsy.
  • The pages must be numbered consecutively. This is a very common mistake and is often neglected.
  • The research paper must not exceed the recommended page limits including each section.
  • A figure table has to be confined to a single page and should never continue to the next page.
  • A text heading at the end of a given page with the body on the next page is an absolute no.
  • The first line of each para must be indented.
  • Informal wordings, superfluous facts, slang or jargon terms and offending images must be avoided.
  • Using the present tense for the stating facts is always advisable.
  • Presenting the argument in a logical order and manner is important
  • Making separate paragraphs for each point makes a writing look compact and orderly.

Steps to follow while writing a research paper

Writing a proper and well-researched research paper is an important aspect of an academic writer’s career and it should be given the adequate thought and significance. Rushing into a topic and beginning to write on it without a proper and thorough background study, may quite often than not result in a bad research paper that provides several chances of loopholes. In fact, such incidents are not quite uncommon in the academic field. In order to avoid such mishaps, the following steps can be followed for the best results:

  • Create a list of topics you want to do.
  • Focus mainly on what you love.
  • Feel free to take advices from others.
  • Try to stay as much original as possible.
  • Try to choose an unusual or offbeat topic.
  • Never hesitate to make last minute changes in choosing your topic.
  • Begin your research at the grass root level.
  • Try to move gradually from your known to the unknown areas and aspects.
  • Try to look for the empirical researches.
  • A visit to the library on a regular basis is a must.
  • A thorough online research is also very helpful and essential.
  • Try to incorporate various academic databases.
  • Try to make your writing creative and interesting.
  • Then make proper annotations and organize the writing pattern.
  • Zero in on the target readers and the goal of your research paper.
  • Jot down your main points and finalize your draft.

What is a research paper?

What is a research paper?

 A research paper is a kind of an elaborate essay or a type of an academic writing that allows you to research and then present your own ideas and opinions regarding a particular argument or a topic. It is not just an assemblage of different ideas borrowed from different sources crammed in a paper. It must present your new and original argument backed by relevant ideas from other sources. It involves a great deal of research and hence the name.

There can be two types of research papers:

  • Argumentative research paper: In this paper, one needs to choose a debatable topic. The writer must mention his stance in the very beginning of the paper itself. And throughout the course of the paper he must persuade the reader using his own arguments as well borrowed ones. There is no middle way, if you choose this style then you have to take one side and be consistent about it. It has three important steps that every academic writer must follow and they are:
  1. Give a general picture of your topic and present your arguments.
  2. Then explain your stance in a very compelling and convincing manner.
  3. Take ample support from different sources to make your point clear.
  4. Do not forget to discuss the opposing opinions as well. This will only help you to compel the readers.
  • Analytical research paper: This paper generally begins with a question. The writer must then critically analyse, interpret the question, and present his fresh opinion in the end. Unlike the previous kind, there is no need to persuade the reader; just presenting a new outlook is enough. Things one must mention while writing an analytical research paper are:
  1. If you ask a question your answer should be objective you cannot let your preference or thoughts colour your paper.
  2. Evaluate thoroughly and analyse properly and then conclude your paper. Make sure the facts are 100% correct.
  3. Be critical and think seriously about your topic.

How should a research paper be?

There are a few features, which must be present in every research paper.

  • Truthful- a research paper must contain facts and only facts. No fictitious information must be used while writing a research paper.
  • Empirical- any idea you incorporate must be based on facts that you have seen and known.
  • Objective-objectivity is a must because it lends the paper a more scholarly tone.
  • Original- originality is important and the way any topic is dealt with should be new and different.
  • Specific- one shouldn’t ramble too much while writing a research paper. Talk about only those things that matter.
  • Clear- it must not be too complex so that it is barely understandable.
  • Well organized- haphazardly scattering information will hamper with the clarity and hence is not advisable.
  • Properly cited- a research paper must have all the sources properly cited both within the text as well as in the bibliography or the reference list.
  • Complete- a research needs a proper conclusion. It mustn’t end abruptly.

Parts of a research paper

The following parts constitute a research paper :

  • Title: Title is a very important aspect of a research paper since many people judge a paper by its title. It should describe the paper very well at the same time it should be appealing.
  • Abstract: It gives a short and crisp summary of your paper. Thought added in the beginning it should be written in the end.
  • Introduction: Give a general introduction of your research paper and show why your topic is important or worthwhile. Then mention the purpose of your paper and briefly describe how you propose to go about the research. Do not forget to give details about the research background. This part must also include RESEARCH QUESTION, RATIONALE and the THESIS STATEMENT.
  • Definition of terms: Describe the acronyms phrases and words and explain how they have been used to suit the context.
  • Review of the literature: This part contains a detailed tabulation of the books relevant to the topic you are researching. First, mention all the available literature on the topic. Further mention how your research is adding to and expanding on the literature that is already present. This part highlights the uniqueness of your work.
  • Delimitations: Here you may explain the limits that you have put in your research. This includes explaining- things that have not been done, literature that has not been analysed or research processes that haven’t been used.
  • Analysis and Substantiation- This forms the body of the research paper. Analyse and interpret the data, which is available, use the available material to back your thoughts and pay attention to all the Ws.
  • Methodology: Describe the different methods that you have employed to achieve you aim.
  • Results: This portion includes the details of the results you have achieved after your research. It may include graphs or tables. It may also include a more detailed discussion.
  • Discussion: Discuss your paper; show how it is related to previous papers, also mention if there is any further scope of study, etc.
  • References: This part includes the bibliography or the reference list. In this portion, the sources that have been referred to in the text are cited in either an alphabetical order or a numerical order. It is a very important part, as it makes sure that you are not accused of plagiarism.

Importance of research papers

Research papers are significant for the writer as well as the subject.

  • Allows you to express your understanding of a field or a topic.
  • It allows you to present your ideas and observations in a new and different light.
  • It helps you to teach better and more effectively. Since researching about things increase your knowledge.
  • It helps you to widen the avenues of a field by exploring the uncharted regions.
  • Sometimes when the topic is something revolutionary then it changes the course of a particular subject, it changes the different viewpoints.
  • Research makes a person think critically.