What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is one of the essential elements of academic writing, comprising of dissertation, thesis or term paper, containing of a systematic array of information and argument to reach a particular analysis or result. The fats and data shared in research papers largely comes from sources which need to be cited.
Research papers are usually assigned at college level but one or two might also be assigned at high school level as well so that students are aware of how to write a research paper along with the basic elements of analytical writing.
Types of Research Papers
There are two main types of research papers:
- Argumentative research papers
- Analytical research papers
An argumentative research paper unfolds a controversial issue and argues on the merit of perspectives. On the contrary, an analytical research paper proposes to the academic community a spanking new look on an imperative issue. The area under discussion may not be controversial but you must challenge to influence your audience that your ideas have worth.
Research papers might also be informative or persuasive. The process of researching and writing for any type of research paper is the same; the difference only lies in the goal.
The elementary parts of a research paper include the sources and citations. Both these crucial factors need to be mentioned actively throughout the research paper.
Basic Elements of a Research Paper
There are a few important tricks and tips for writing a research paper along with the conducting the research. A typical research paper will shed light upon on an event, a person, or current issue.
Topic Research and Selection
Choosing a topic that interests you will help you do a better job. Next, to jot down ideas, brainstorming and free writing can be good techniques. This will lead to more ideas flowing into your mind and then into the paper eventually.
Good writing has a subject, principle and a specified audience. It is primarily important to know whom you are going to address. Bear in mind that your topic should not be too broad, subjective, controversial, or familiar. Such topics lead you off track or might not hold importance for the audience that you are writing for.
After setting the topic, form a hypothesis that you will eventually agree or disagree with by the time you are almost finished with the research paper. A hypothesis can be a sentence or a three to four sentences fused in together. This will precisely tell what your research paper is all.
Compilation of Sources
Next, you need to compile a working bibliography. A working bibliography is the list of writings you essentially will use for a research paper. To put up a bibliography, you need a search strategy. You might start with common sources and step forward to specialized sources.
Review of Literature
A review of the literature is an essential part of your research paper, which is a careful examination of the collection of published research that is relevant to your hypothesis. Next, evaluate your sources. Sources are basically of two types:
- Primary sources
- Secondary sources
Primary Sources: It is first hand data that is collected through interviews, experiments, and questionnaires.
Secondary Sources: Secondary source of evidence is information published about research that is done by others previously. Both of these will add to further information for your research paper.
Citing the sources of your information in your research paper depends on the assigned style. Normally, research papers follow the APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian style guides for citation of resources. You can also check our quick guide for text citation to learn how to cite down your resources.
Working with Your Research Paper Outline
It is time to start writing once you have collected sufficient information and outlined it properly. Plan your research paper in multiple drafts since one draft will not be enough.
Rewrite your preliminary draft repeatedly unless you are able to communicate efficiently and effectively which has to be your ultimate goal throughout the research paper. For this purpose, your research paper needs to be clear, concise, and consistent.
You introduction should appeal to the reader’s interest and it should clearly state what your research paper is about.
Writing Your Thesis Statement
Your thesis statement also goes here but format your thesis statement on a rough basis in the beginning of your write up. Work with the outline of thesis statement initially and then continue to add to it. Follow our simple tips for writing a good thesis statement for your research work.
Modify it according to the achieved results or conclusions as you work on your thesis body and then insert it in the end in this section. Check thesis statement examples to get a clearer idea.
The body of the research paper shall comprise of the evidence, facts, and details. Analyze and evaluate the information that you have gathered regarding your research paper. Point out both the pros and cons of the issue that you are addressing.
Use appropriate drawings, pictures, maps, and diagrams to illustrate your key points. Throughout your written view, you should communicate your knowledge by combining the research with the literature that you have reviewed.
The research question is to be answered in the conclusion of your research paper. This section of the research paper does not comprise of any new information but just informs you about what has led you to the conclusion that you have put forward.
Follow our simple guidelines to learn how to write a conclusion for research papers. The first draft always requires editing and revision. Check your spellings and form another draft. If this one is also not suitable or complete, it is advisable to write a third draft in order to seek perfection.
Document your sources, give credit to every source of information that has helped you while doing the research paper. Check your APA, MLA or Chicago style guides for specific rules applicable to your research paper in order to meet the requirements.
Conclusions can vary, depending on the type of paper they are being written for. For example, essay conclusions follow a somewhat different pattern in their drafting as compared to conclusions for scientific papers.