Research Paper Writing: A Guide From Expert Writers for Student Success
A research paper might be the most challenging assignment college students face. It requires utmost attention to detail and dedication to research the topic fully and organize all findings in a compelling text. No wonder why many students are struggling with it. But our guide is meant to help you.
Defining a Research Paper
Before you start working on the task, it’s crucial to understand what exactly is expected of you.
What is a research paper? This task is a special kind of academic writing. Its purpose is to examine the topic and provide its in-depth analysis, evaluation, and interpretation supported by empirical evidence.
In some ways, this kind of paper is similar to an analytical essay. However, a research paper is more extensive and requires the use of more statistical and factual data. You can check out compelling research paper examples to see what these papers should look like.
This kind of assignment plays a significant role in education and science. Such complex tasks enable students to hone a variety of pivotal skills and deepen their knowledge through extensive research.
What Is the Length of a Research Paper?
Apart from the definition and purpose, you need to know the appropriate length of this work to understand how to write a research paper like a pro.
The length of a research paper can vary significantly. It might be affected by:
- Academic level;
- Teacher instructions.
Traditionally, it’s believed that the standard length of such work should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words. This is the most common range. However, it’s not a rule.
Sometimes, students might be assigned shorter, 2,000-word papers. Other times, the researched topic might be so all-encompassing that it requires 10,000 or even more words to elaborate on it. So, it’s crucial to check the required word count in the teacher’s instructions.
Importance of Writing a Research Paper Well
It’s not only about the grade. First and foremost, while getting through all the steps in writing a research paper, students increase their subject comprehension and hone a variety of other skills, such as:
- Critical thinking;
- Ability to find evidence;
- Language proficiency, etc.
Apart from improving your knowledge and skills, you get a head start to acing future scholarly works, such as a lengthy report or dissertation. And, of course, each paper you submit affects your overall academic performance.
How to Prepare for Writing a Research Paper
Before you can get straight to crafting your paper, it’s crucial to take a few preparatory steps to ensure the best outcomes.
First and foremost, you need to clearly understand the assignment and all requirements. To do this, carefully read the prompt provided by your teacher and keep an eye on important technical requirements, such as word count, citation style, formatting, etc.
Once you fully understand the task, move on to the following steps to prepare for the writing process.
Selecting a Strong Research Paper Topic
Sometimes, students are provided with specific research paper topics by their teachers. However, if you receive an open-ended assignment, you will have to choose a topic on your own. And it’s not as easy as it seems.
The choice of the topic plays a huge role in the overall success of your work and writing process. In fact, this is one of the most important decisions at this stage, so you should choose wisely.
Here are some tips from expert writers for coming up with good research paper topics:
- Pick something you are truly interested in;
- Ensure there is enough scope for discussion;
- Avoid too superficial and general topics;
- Ensure that your topic isn’t too broad or too narrow.
Formulating a Research Question
A research question is the primary question that a study aims to answer. Typically, this question addresses a problem related to the topic that’s being discussed.
Formulating a clear research question can help you a lot in writing a research paper. As a result, it will be easier for you to stay focused on the information that matters most. So, be sure to dedicate enough time to this step.
Do some preliminary dig-in on the chosen topic to discover possible directions for further research. Based on your findings, start asking questions that you want to answer in the course of your work. Evaluate your options and pick one that matches your topic and purpose best.
Formulating a Firm Thesis or Hypothesis
A thesis statement is the core idea of your research that succinctly summarizes what the paper will be about. This statement is typically included in the introductory part of the paper to give readers an idea of what they will learn about further.
If you are wondering how to write a thesis for a research paper, one of the best tactics is to take your primary question and answer it using the findings from your preliminary research. It should be a brief and logical statement that hints at the content of your paper without disclosing too many details.
Pro tip: To make your hypothesis sound good, find a good thesis statement example for research paper and formulate yours based on it.
How to Conduct Research for Your Paper
The preliminary research you did for formulating your topic, research question, and thesis will help you get started on the key part. When you finally get to it, you need to keep a few simple rules in mind:
- Locate materials on your topic. Look for information in electronic periodical databases, academic search engines, libraries (online and offline), and other trusted resources.
- Bookmark sources where you find helpful or interesting information.
- Evaluate your sources. Use a critical approach to distinguish trusted ones and double-check facts.
- Take plenty of notes at every stage.
These simple rules suggested by a professional research paper writer from Writer24 should help you conduct quality research and find plenty of valid and useful information for your paper.
How to Organize Your Research Paper
After the preparation is over, you can start writing your paper. Below is a list of steps that you should take to craft a high-quality piece.
Write a Research Paper Outline
Writing an outline for a research paper allows you to make the process simpler, more controlled, and less time-consuming. Besides, it will help you ensure that you address all issues and include all important ideas in your paper.
To craft a solid outline:
- Organize all your findings and claims and define the best order to present them in your paper.
- Place your thesis at the beginning of the outline and then list all major ideas and findings in the predetermined order, labeling them with numerals, and complete each with relevant supporting data.
- Revise your outline to ensure it’s fully developed.
Prepare a Title Page and Abstract
A title page is basically the cover of your paper. It should contain the paper’s title, author’s name, a running head (an abbreviated version of the title), and a page number. Most likely, you will need to include a title page when writing a research paper in the APA style. So be sure to check with your teacher’s requirements if you need it.
The following section is called an abstract. Typically, it must be present in every research paper, regardless of the required style. It should provide a brief but informative summary of your work and grab the reader’s attention.
Write an Introduction Section
After you have a title page (if needed) and a research paper abstract, you can start writing your introduction. It should get readers interested in reading your paper fully and explain what they will learn from it.
The introduction section should consist of four elements:
- Topic overview;
- A research method that was used;
- General overview of the findings;
- Rationale (how your paper contributes to the field).
Additionally, an introduction section is where your thesis statement should be placed. To make it look good, make an introduction sharp and straight to the point. At the same time, make sure it’s engaging.
Find a good-looking research paper introduction example to see what it should look like.
Writing a Research Paper Methodology Section
The next element is the methodology section. Here is how to write a good methods section of research paper:
- First, introduce the methodological approach you used to delve into the topic;
- Explain how your methodology connects with the overall design;
- Mention the specific instruments that you used in the process of working on this paper;
- Tell the readers how you analyzed the results of your research;
- Provide additional info if you were using methods that might be unfamiliar to your readers;
- Describe how you organized your sampling procedure;
- Discuss all existing and potential limitations that might be there.
Writing the Main Body
The body section contains the bulk of your paper. Simply put, this is where most of your research ideas and findings should be located, like in an essay. However, unlike in an essay, you should divide the body into sections instead of small paragraphs.
While writing a research paper body, carefully follow your outline to ensure that you don’t miss anything. Include many details to support your claims, stay on the topic, and use smooth transitions between your ideas. However, don’t try to get it perfect right away. You will have time to refine your draft later.
Structuring Your Arguments
Your arguments are the most important elements of your paper. Thus, it’s crucial to structure them right.
Use the following step-by-step guide to disclose your argumentative research paper topics through solid arguments:
- Start with the introduction of the problem;
- Explain your perspective;
- Provide an opposing perspective to add depth to your research and refute counter-arguments with the help of logic and statistical data;
- Provide your evidence;
- Make a logical conclusion for your argument.
These simple guidelines will help you formulate persuasive arguments for every section. So be sure to keep these instructions at hand when working on your paper.
Incorporating Additional Elements to Your Research Paper
Apart from providing your findings, ideas, and arguments, you need to complete your paper with additional elements, such as tables and figures, to visualize your statements. These elements must be properly labeled within the main body and then featured in appendices.
Also, you need to include references to external resources that you used and cite them appropriately. To learn how to cite a research paper, you need to know what citation style you are supposed to use in your work and find a relevant style manual. Once you do that, follow the citation rules for your style described in the manual.
There is no secret that teachers don’t tolerate plagiarism in any form. Thus, when writing any academic paper, you must ensure that it will be fully original.
Doing so is easy. Here are a few tips for avoiding plagiarism from a professional research paper writer:
- Keep an eye on the sources of information that you use and include them in your reference list;
- Paraphrase or quote your sources instead of simply pasting the information from them into your text;
- Credit authors of original sources inside your text;
- Use a reliable plagiarism checker to confirm originality or make the necessary adjustments.
Refining Your Research Paper
Before you move on to a full-scale proofreading and editing stage, expert research paper writers recommend taking some time for an initial refinement of your paper. Read it fully to see how your ideas and arguments sound together, how they are connected with each other, and what can be improved.
Also, pay special attention to your thesis statement. Often, it can change multiple times in the process of writing as you uncover more and more details of your topic. So, when your final draft is ready, look at your thesis once again and refine it if you find it necessary.
Proofreading and Editing
After refining everything, let your paper sit aside for some time. This will let you distract and get back to it with a fresh sight.
Carefully proofread all sections of your paper for grammar, stylistics, spelling, punctuation, and other mistakes. Try to focus on a single group of errors at a time to ensure that you don’t miss anything out of sight. And fix all mistakes to make your paper look flawless.
At this stage, also pay special attention to your research paper conclusion. Remember that your intro makes the first impression and engages the reader. But your conclusion defines whether your paper has a sense of completion and whether it will be remembered.
Peer Review and Feedback
Finally, when you finish writing a research paper, it’s time to let others see it. In a nutshell, peer review is the process of evaluation of your work by one or more people who are qualified in the same field. In college, this is your professor.
Pro tip: It can be very helpful to ask for other people’s feedback before you actually submit your paper in college. For example, you can ask your friends to review it for you and share their thoughts. This can let you notice some issues or areas for improvement that you’ve missed.
Crafting a research paper is a long and draining process that consists of many steps and details that you must pay attention to. After reading this guide, you have an actionable plan with expert tips that should help you handle the task.
But what if it’s just too much for you to handle?
If you are still unsure how to craft a brilliant piece, feel free to request help with writing a research paper from professionals. At Writer24, you will find a large pool of qualified writers with competencies in all academic fields. Let experts handle the hard work for you and get a deserved high grade!