All the college and university students are assigned to write some kind of research papers. The aim of research papers is to discover and identify scientific, political and social problems. It seems like a difficult task, but if you are organized and concentrated, the process becomes much easier. Writing a research paper involves several steps: selecting a topic, doing a research, making an outline and actually writing the paper. With good planning and preparing you will do a great job.
Research Paper Writing Stages
Stage 1. Selecting a Topic
- Choose the topic you like. If you have a chance, work on the topic that you really love. When the writer is truly interested in his paper, the writing sounds creative and passionate.
- Be original. If you are working on an essay for a class, consider other students. What is the chance that they will also select similar topic? Find the way to keep your paper unique and interesting even if all the other students are writing about the same thing.
- Ask for an advice. If it is difficult for you to choose a topic, ask someone for advice. Your professor, friends or parents will likely have some great ideas which, even if they are not the best for you, can inspire you with new bright ideas for writing a research paper.
- Do not be afraid to change the selected topic. It is possible that you realize topic you chose is not working for you, so do not be afraid to pick something else. It takes time to find the perfect topic and you may have to change the topic even after you start doing a research on others.
Stage 2. Conducting a Research
- Undertake your research. Once a topic is chosen, it is time to begin your research. It comes in multiple forms such as books, journal articles, encyclopedias, web pages, blog posts, and interviews. Do not know how to write a research paper? This problem can be easily solved – just go to professional resources and you will find valid research and insight into your topic. It is recommended to use at least five sources to ensure your information is diversified.
- Go to the library. Do not consider it old-fashioned. Almost every library is full of useful research materials such as books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. You should also ask the librarian for help – they are trained in research and will show you where everything related to your topic is located.
- Browse the Internet. Do not choose the top five browser results because this information is not enough for a good research. Instead, carefully read each source and determine whether it is corresponding to your topic.
- Get creative. If you are lucky to find one really great source that fits your topic perfectly, look in the reference list at the end of it. You will probably find there a lot of sources that are related to your topic, too.
Stage 3. Making an Outline
- Make an annotation of your research. When all the information is gathered together, print it out and highlight key phrases you will use in your paper.
- Take your notes and organize them. Gather all the important phrases into several categories on your topic. For instance, if your research paper is an analysis of famous literature work, the research can be organized a list of notes on the characters, a list of presented symbols, a list of references to some plot points, etc.
- Compile a preliminary bibliography. While you are looking through your notes, make sure to mark down the author, page number, title, and publishing information for every resource. You will use it later when working on the references page. This is one more tip on how to write a research paper.
- Identify the goal of your paper. In general, there are two main kinds of research papers: an argumentative one or an analytic one. To write any of them, you have to use the proper writing style and make a focus that must be identified prior to starting a rough draft.
- Write a thesis statement. It is the statement which states the major goal of your paper. You can actually write a thesis statement during the final stage, but you have to establish the main goal of the essay before writing it. Each of body paragraphs will revolve around it so it has to be clear.
- Clarify the main points of a research paper. The body paragraphs of your paper will revolve around the ideas you consider the most important. Look carefully through your research and define which points are most pivotal. Write them down and do a thorough research on each.
Stage 4. Actually writing
- Write the body paragraphs. If you start by writing the body first, instead of introduction, you have the opportunity to slightly modify and manipulate your ideas and commentary.
- Write the concluding paragraph. When you have worked through the evidence, it will be easy for you to construct the concluding paragraph which shortly summarizes them for the reader and provides a sense of closure. You can briefly restate your thesis and remind the reader of each of the main points. End with highlighting the larger implication of your research.
- Write the introductory paragraph. In many respects, introductory paragraph is similar to a conclusion but written in reverse. First, introduce the entire topic, then orient your audience in the area you are concentrated on, and finally, supply your thesis. Do not repeat exact phrases which are already used in the concluding paragraph of a research paper.
- Revise the first draft. The best option is to ask someone for assistance in editing. Usually, writers do not notice minor mistakes in grammar and spelling, thus look from the outside will open to you some new issues or perspectives of your research.
- Work on the final draft. When the entire essay is edited and re-edited, formatted and all the main points are finalized, the time has come to work on the final draft. Look through it and fix all the mistakes, format the paper properly and make sure it meets all your professor’s requirements.