If you’re a student, you’ve probably written a research paper before. However, you may have never written one, so you’re probably completely lost on what to do or how to begin. Nevertheless, this post will provide you with the basic steps to writing a fantastic research paper.
In most cases, your research paper assignment will be chosen for you. But if you have the opportunity to pick your topic, take your time and do it wisely. You might consider choosing an intriguing topic that you would be happy to explore and conduct research on. Aside from the pleasurable research experience, you’ll also enjoy writing the paper. Be careful not to choose a topic that is too broad, as going for a broad topic will make it hard to write a concise and focused research paper. Keep in mind that the main goal of research papers is to provide well-explained, researched answers to a single argument or question.
Many students are intimidated by the thought of writing thesis statements. However, they are not as hard to write as they seem. A thesis statement is simply a sentence or two that states the main point or claim of a paper. And everything in the paper must support the thesis statement. After reading your thesis, someone should tell what the paper is all about. Failing to formulate a good, strong thesis statement will cause you to lack focus on the main subject and purpose of the research paper. As a result, your paper will be incoherent and inconsistent in its goal to prove your intended claim. To write a good thesis statement, you need to ensure that the statement is not merely a statement of fact or observation, but a statement that is clear, arguable, and specific.
To show that you know how to write a research paper and conduct quality research, you should use primary and secondary sources. The sources should be credible and relevant so that they provide great support to your paper and your thesis statement. Your instructor won’t find your paper to be strong and credible unless you support your thesis with relevant and accurate information. Carefully evaluate your sources and annotate them. Read your sources thoroughly so you can better compose your paper. And be aware that the research stage does not end before actually writing the paper. You can still research and find more sources as you write.
Unless your instructor has specified what citation style to use for the paper, choose the citation style that best correlates to the subject of the paper. Frequently used citation styles include MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago. Once you choose the appropriate citation style, be sure to use its latest edition to ensure that all citations are correct. Failure to cite correctly is typically considered plagiarism.
From your research, you’ve acquired a lot of ideas. But before you start writing, you want to organize your ideas by creating some type of outline. The outline acts as a road map to keep you on the right track throughout the paper. Again, you can’t afford to skip this step; otherwise, your paper may lack focus and consistency. And there is no right way to outline. You can simply jot your ideas down, and you can organize those ideas into headings of or topics for the paper’s paragraphs.
Now you’re ready to start the actual process of writing the paper. Since you have a clear direction from researching and outlining, you need to develop your first draft. Don’t stress too much over the first draft, as it’s the first time you’re actually formulating your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. You’ll have time to revise and edit the draft. Just make sure that you are following the instructor’s guidelines for formatting the paper, as well as including all the necessary elements that the assignment requires. Also, make sure that you are citing any summaries, paraphrases, and quotes from your used sources correctly.
After completing the first draft, you should begin revising and editing it into the final draft. Make sure the thesis statement matches the ideas you have shared on the paper. Check the body of the paper to ascertain that you have coherently presented the ideas. Be sure that everything is cited correctly and that nothing is missing from the paper. Also, make sure you have no grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors, as such errors can ruin the credibility of an otherwise well-written paper. It helps to have another set of eyes look at your paper before it’s submitted, so you may want to ask a peer or colleague to look over it, as well as schedule an appointment with your school’s writing center.
Writing can be a daunting task. Writing research papers can be even more daunting. Consider this guide when writing your research papers. And keep in mind that all the best tips for research papers will not provide help to a person who is unmotivated, stressed, and anxious about composing a paper. Keep a clear mind and try to view writing research papers as an opportunity to hone your written communication skills and build personal professionalism as opposed to it being an inevitable, miserable task assigned in school. Happy writing!