Are you fed up with staring at that blank screen and confused about writing a research paper? If so, then this article will make this process a lot easier.
Research papers are tough, complicated, and time-consuming projects and the worst thing is that they account for a significant portion of a student's final score in every course in which they are assigned. Academic writing is supposed to be tough, but it’s not a secret why this skill is so important. Written communication skills are essential to your success in college, graduate school, and your career in the future. Today’s corporate system relies on this skill heavily to communicate with clients and to negotiate deals. So, to master this art and boost your online knowledge, there is no alternative to writing research papers.
If you do not know how to approach it, then this article will help you to learn all the effective strategies and make this process as painless as possible. We broke this down into simple steps to help you understand the basics of writing a paper fast, no matter how long it must be.
Pick a Topic
In college, students are assigned their topic of research in most courses. But if you are lucky enough to choose the topic, pick it wisely. First, think of a challenging topic that you find interesting. This will help you not to get bored while you are doing your research since you will be looking for new information about your area of interest. Choose subjects that are neither too general nor too technical.
Your research paper is less likely to be successful if your topic is too broad. It will look like a basic overview of the whole topic. You should narrow down your topic focusing on a certain concept, idea, or aspect, and make it manageable and specific. For instance, if you are writing about “Global Warming”, you should bring the focus to a more specific subject like “The Impact of Global Warming on our Nature” or “The Reasons Behind Global Warming”.
Come Up With a Good Thesis Statement
You need to prepare a working thesis statement before categorizing your research, this way you will not get lost while doing your work. This statement will guide you with your investigation and will keep you focused on the issue. Your thesis statement should be to the point and should reflect the kind of paper you are writing. Research papers can be put into three categories:
- Persuasive or argumentative if you are debating the conclusion;
- Expository, when you intend to explain or describe your information;
- Analytical, when you use your analysis or logical reasoning of certain information.
To give your project a clear purpose, you need to devote enough time to come up with a strong thesis statement. You should have a debatable thesis that is narrowed down to a certain idea and supported with reasonable evidence. You will need more evidence if your claim is broad to convince the readers that your argument is justified. To get a better idea, here is an example of an argumentative thesis statement:
Unemployment rates are going to increase due to automation in the near future.
Do Adequate Research on your Topic
You need to find enough credible sources on the topic to back up your theory. Carefully go through all of them and look for relevant evidence to support your cause. When you come to this stage, you should examine your sources, take notes of important points, and start documenting your sources in a citation style specified by your instructor.
Make sure that you are using the latest edition of a specific style. Use your notes about the references when writing your paper and making your bibliography. It is very important to avoid any plagiarism by citing all the sources you used for paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.
Make an Outstanding Outline
You should have done your research already at this point and have tons of great ideas. All you have to do now is to organize them for an impressive presentation. Don’t skip this crucial step because without it, your project will lose its focus, and you will have a hard time drafting your thoughts into a frame that would make sense. This is why you need an outline. After finalizing your thesis, make a working outline which you need to cover, and that will serve as a roadmap and help you to keep focus.
Write down the key points that you have to develop to back up your thesis statement. Use these points as subheadings for the body of your paper. Go through your notes and organize them under each sub-heading. Only include the relevant information that elaborates the sub-headings and directly supports your argument. Avoid the urge to include extraneous material that has nothing to do with your plan, regardless of how fascinating it is.
A typical research paper is structured into these sections:
- A title page;
- An abstract;
- An introduction of the topic;
- A methodology section;
- Results or findings;
- Discussion of your idea;
If your research paper isn't long enough, bear in mind that the format may consist only of an introduction, body paragraphs defending your thesis, and a closing paragraph defending your explanation. Consult your instructor and follow the specific directions given, and you should be OK.
You have come to the middle of the thesis at this stage. Now that you have a direction laid out, it is time to create a draft with a title, in-text citations, and a reference page.
Always remember, the first impression is the last impression. So the title is very crucial to make a good impression on your readers. It creates a perception of what they should expect from your research paper. Make a list of the keywords that represent the topic of your thesis, the methods you used, and the results you have accomplished. Now make a sentence using all the keywords that you have just listed and delete all the unnecessary words. Once you are done with that, link the remaining ones. And then, delete all the unimportant pieces of information and organize the leftover words If you want, include the subtitles but make sure that your title is concise.
At last, you will have to write an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Don’t forget, these are the main parts of your thesis, so here is an elaborated detail on how to write that effectively.
How do you write an introduction for your thesis?
When writing an intro, always remember the introductory paragraph should start with an attention grabber that may include:
- A provocative question;
- Unusual facts;
- An anecdote.
Just because you are writing an academic paper, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. After that, you will have to provide the relevant information, describe your goals, and how you plan to approach your research paper idea. Finish your introduction with your thesis statement.
Writing Compelling Body Paragraphs
This is where your outline will come to play. Do not be repetitive. It is supposed to evolve, and you are free to make any changes and revise them. Its sole purpose is to keep you on track and help you to focus on the topic. You should provide all the points to support your main idea in this section.
While writing the body paragraphs, start each of them with a topic sentence followed by the arguments and the relevant evidence to back it. Remember to write as many body paragraphs as the key points.
How to Conclude your Paper
All’s well that ends well. You might get exhausted at this point, but it is crucial to keep focus when writing the conclusion. The majority of researchers conclude their articles by reinstating their thesis statements. You may also do so, but refrain from reproducing it verbatim. Concisely summarize or paraphrase the paper's main arguments. Additionally, you may discuss the importance of your findings. A good approach is by suggesting some pathways for further research or providing some recommendations based on your findings.
Congratulations! Your rough draft is complete. Wondering what to do with this draft? It’s time to make it perfect.
Perfecting your Paper
There is literally no one who can write their first draft perfectly. So, if you want to get a high grade, then there is no alternative to revising it. Make a good impression on your instructor by revising your draft thoroughly. You might need to make changes to your writing and go through it again because remember hard work always pays off.
Edit, Revise, and Proofread the Draft
You may need to make large-scale changes to keep the logic, transitions, flow of your paragraph in order. Don’t hesitate to bring any changes in the structure and order if required. Go through the ideas and check if they are fully developed, and whether all the claims are supported by adequate credible sources.
The next step is editing your work. You will have to check for any improvements in your word choice, delete filler words and phrases, and look for any mistakes in grammar and punctuation.
Look for these common mistakes:
- Intricate sentences;
- Words or phrases that can create confusion
- Dangling modifiers;
- Spelling mistakes;
- Grammatical errors;
- Proper citation style;
- Incomplete sentences;
- Apostrophes and comma use;
- Delete any contractions.
Re-read the paper several times before submitting your work. An effective strategy is to read your thesis backward. In this way, you will lose orientation and will be able to find more errors.
Now that you have become a pro, get your research paper published and make your loved ones proud.
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