Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead —Gene Fowler.
Research papers are a common assignment for students, especially at levels above high school. Writing a research paper is, therefore, an important skill for any student to develop. Unfortunately, your teachers and professors do not teach you how to write a research paper. They only assign you the papers, and you have to learn on your own how to write them.
Oral and written communication skills are universal skills required by institutions of higher learning and many employers. It is upon you as a student to develop those skills on your own to a very high level to become a good fit for your institutions of choice. Here is a comprehensive guide teaching you how to write a research paper from start to finish with a downloadable template that you can use when writing.
A research paper is a comprehensive piece of writing that aims to provide students’ interpretation or evaluation of an argument. When writing a research paper, a student must build upon the subject by not only using what they know but also by finding out what other experts know and have written about the topic.
Regardless of the discipline, a research paper should ultimately present your thinking on the subject backed by information and ideas from other scholars who have researched and written on the same topic.
A research paper is not the same as a term paper, although they share many similarities. We might even consider the term paper to be a form of a research paper. However, there are some differences between the two. Most noticeably, a research paper focuses on answering some arguments and theories. In contrast, a term paper focuses on discussing current issues discussed over the term.
A research paper can be assigned at any time, whereas a term paper is only assigned during a term and is due for submission at the end of the term. The length also varies between the two. A term paper is usually shorter and typically contains between 3000 and 5000 words. A research paper usually contains over 5000 words. The teacher, however, is the one that determines the length of the paper.
Now that you know what a research paper is and what is required of you when writing a research paper, how do you write one? Here are the steps to follow when you want to come up with an excellent research paper.
The first stage when writing a research paper is the prewriting stage. You are not yet writing anything in this stage, but you are preparing and setting the ground to start writing the paper. This stage is very important in creating a successful paper but one that many students get wrong. It might seem like something you can do without any plan, but it is important to plan for this stage because it actually, takes lots of time. In this stage, you will have to;
You need to read through the assignment instructions and the rubric given to understand what is required. This is important because it will guide your research. Look at the length requirements, the deadline, formatting required, and, most importantly, the assignment’s goal.
After you understand what is required of you, it is time to choose a topic. Brainstorm on the topic you would like to write about. You can use previous research for inspiration. Check the further research sections that are recommended in other research papers. Start by finding a broad topic in an area you are passionate about and then narrow it down until you have something suitable for research.
It is now time to read and research on your paper based on the topic you have chosen. Ensure that you use a variety of sources to conduct your research. You can use books, the internet, journals, and other research papers. Ensure that you are keen during research, so do not miss anything. Also, ensure that you are using recent sources in your research. Check whether there are any recent developments on the topic that you can use for your research.
The thesis statement is the main argument or idea for the paper. The thesis statement should be concise and coherent. Every paragraph you will write in the paper will provide support or develop this central theme that you have come up with here.
Therefore, when writing the thesis statement, you should make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis in one sentence or two. When you get the thesis statement right, the rest of the paper will flow easily for you.
As you research and find information, you need to decide where it goes in the paper. This is where an outline comes in handy. Your paper should follow a basic structure. Ensure that you include all the parts of a research paper as required.
Many students skip this part because it is not mandatory. However, an outline makes your work really easy, and it ensures you do not miss anything. We, therefore, recommend that you write one.
You have started writing the paper now. However, when writing the first draft, you are not focused on perfection. You are more focused on progress and getting the paper done. You will perfect the writing when writing the final draft. However, you need to ensure that the paper sections are organized and your paper has a logical flow. Also, ensure that the ideas are clearly expressed. It will help you to understand what the paragraph was about immediately when you come back to write the final draft.
Most importantly, when writing the first draft, ensure that you are also citing the paper. Citing will reduce the chances of plagiarizing. Take note of where the information is coming from as you write the draft. This way, you will not need to go back to all the sources later, trying to find where you extracted certain information. This process will also make it easier to write the reference list required at the end of the paper.
After you are done writing the first draft, you can take a step back and relax. This will clear your mind and remove the flow of the paper from your head. As such, you will see the paper with a fresh mind the next time you are looking at it. When writing the second draft, you pay attention to the arguments you have made. Are they advancing the thesis statement? Are they substantial?
Arguments that cannot be substantiated should be removed. Also, check that the paper has a logical flow and rearrange paragraphs that might feel misplaced. If there are any ideas you feel do not fit in well in the paper, you should remove them and expound on those points that really make your paper stand out.
After you have finished writing, you are not quite done. It is now time to revise your paper. This ensures it is highly polished and free of errors and grammar mistakes. Proofreading and revising the paper should be done several times until you are sure the paper is perfect. You can also ask a friend to help you proofread, or you can use a professional proofreading and editing service. Never skimp on this final stage because it might just cost you the hard work involved in the paper’s research and writing.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with writing the research paper on your own? Not to worry, you can get professional research paper writing help from experts. Imagine people who have been writing research papers for over a decade? They are masters at the craft of writing research papers. They can help you develop a quality paper that will impress your professor.
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