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.