The process of writing a research paper is an inseparable aspect of college and university education. It shows you’ve grown as a student and researcher. It proves you’re capable of creative writing and critical thinking, and you’ve taken your research skills to the next level.
If you intend to carry on with your education through an MA or PhD program, then you should pay close attention to the research paper writing process. In higher education, you’ll face multiple research paper assignments, as well as research proposal and a Master’s or doctoral thesis. The college research paper helps you develop the needed writing skills for such complex endeavors.
The only problem is: writing research papers is hard. Maybe you have the time, but you don’t have the skills. Maybe you have the skills and you want to write this paper, but you have absolutely no time for it. What do you do?
Preparation is the key to success. You have to know how to approach the process of research and writing, so you’ll have the strength to go through all stages. We’ll help with that. Our guide will prepare you for this complex academic challenge.
Step 1. Writing Research Paper Outlines
Before you can start working on the project, there are few pre-writing stages to go through:
- Understand what the research paper is! This is a type of persuasive academic writing project, which is frequently use in literature, history, science , sociology, and other areas of study.
- You’ll need a strong topic for your research paper. You must never copy the title from other research projects. That’s called plagiarism, and it’s strictly forbidden in academia. Your topic must provide unique value to the overall base of research in the relevant area of study. When you’re writing the research paper for college, the rules aren’t that strict. Still, you must never copy the title or any other part from another research paper.
- The research process will be quite lengthy. It’s a research paper, after all. At this point, you’ll conduct just a preliminary research. Find relevant resources in the form of research studies, journal entries, statistics, surveys, and more. They will help you figure out how you’ll formulate and support your thesis statement.
- When you have your topic and your preliminary research sources, it’s time to write the outline. Never skip this step! This template will basically tell you what to write in a research paper. Here’s how the outline of a research paper usually looks like:
|Introduction||The introduction should give the reader an impression of the larger topic. Then, it should direct them towards the specific issue of your research paper. At the end of the chapter, you’ll provide your thesis statement.
The thesis statement, which is consisted of 1-2 sentences, should state the main argument of your research paper.
|Body Paragraphs||In the body of a research paper, you’ll provide evidence to support your thesis. If the content is long, you may divide the body into several chapters, and you’ll think of a descriptive title for each chapter.
Each paragraph or chapter of the body should start with a main point and continue with listing and discussing evidence that supports it.
|Conclusion||The conclusion of a research paper should briefly summarize your findings and the evidence you provided. It should leave the reader with a sense of closure.|
Step 2. Perform Thorough Research through Different Types of Sources
You already have a base of resources, which you collected during the stage of preliminary research. However, at that point, you did not focus on reading the entire journal entries, books, or research articles. Now, it’s time to do that. If you cannot read entire books because of lack of time, you may just read the summary and find the chapters of your interest. Then, you’ll focus only on those chapters.
Keep in mind: the outline is flexible. You can always edit and expand it as you dig through your sources and you find more evidence to include.
It’s important to take notes during this process, so you can later provide references in the adequate formatting style. Depending on the requirements, you’ll format the research paper in MLA, APA, Harvard, or other citation styles.
Step 3. Writing the Research Paper
So you have your outline, and you have plenty of notes that tell you what sources you’ll include. You formulated your ideas and you’re sure you have a strong thesis statement. At this point, you’re more than ready to tackle the writing process. The good news is that after all that preparation, it would not be too hard for you to write the research papers.
Here are few straightforward tips to help you with the writing part:
- Write the body paragraphs first! The logical thing to do is start with the introduction, but that’s not the easiest approach to research writing. First of all, you need your thesis statement. Then, you should write the body paragraphs to prove it. Once you have that base, you can write a captivating introduction that will convey the essence of your paper.
- It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a research paper with a topic from literature, science, economics, or any other area of study; every single claim you make must be supported by strong evidence. Whenever you make a statement, turn it into a convincing argument by providing at least one fact that you located through the research process.
- Use clear, concise language. You won’t sound smarter if you write unreadable content.