A research paper is a type of academic assignment that includes in-depth analysis, interpretation, and argument supported by thorough research.
Research papers are similar to term papers and essays; however, they are usually more detailed and complex, created to assess not only students’ writing skills but also their skills to do independent academic research. Writing a research paper requires writers to demonstrate a solid knowledge of the topic under study, the ability to use several sources at the same time, and contribute to the debate.
Below, we provide you with some simple tips and tricks on how to compose a winning research paper and get the best possible results.
Choose a Topic for Your Project
There are loads of ways to find an idea to write a research project on, from brainstorming sessions to talking it through with your tutor or friend. Some writing experts recommend free writing that includes taking some general topic and writing non-stop for up to five minutes to identify something narrower and relevant that could become your subject of study.
Students are welcome to gain inspiration from researches conducted by other scholars. The recommendations or discussion sections of research projects usually include ideas for other specific topics that need more examination.
When you choose a broad subject area, make sure to narrow it down in order to pick a topic that you’re interested in, that complies with your professor’s demands, and that you can research.
Ensure to give preference for the ideas that are both specific and unique:
- A paper based on the chronology of the American Civil War isn’t specific at all.
- A research project written on the negative effects of the American Civil War on educational enrollment would be specific and original.
Do Preliminary Research
Check all the discussions that are important to the chosen topic. Ensure to find an issue that you can concentrate on and focus your project on. Use loads of sources (both – printed and online) to make sure you don’t miss any important points.
Your task here is to not only verify the ideas you came up with but to also find sources that contradict your viewpoint.
- Are there any hot debates you can refer to?
- Is there anything that scholars don’t seem to notice in the sources that you research?
- Are you ready to provide any unique take on the chosen topic?
At this stage of work, it is recommended to come up with some research questions that will guide you in the process of writing. To put down research questions, the writer has to finish the following sentence: “I’d like to know why/what/how…”
Develop a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a statement of your key argument. Use one to inform your readers of the position and purpose of your project. If you started with a clear research question, ensure that your thesis statement will provide an answer to it. What is more, your thesis statement should also demonstrate the reasoning and evidence that you’re going to use to support your answer.
Make your thesis statement coherent, contentious, and concise. In other words, it should sum up your argument in two or three sentences. Besides, you should also include a claim that requires more analysis or evidence. Finally, the writer should also make a coherent point that is related to every other part of the project.
As you do more research, you will definitely have to refine your thesis statement. However, you will use it as a map for the whole writing process. Each segment should aim to back up and develop this central claim.
Build an Outline
Whether you work on a research proposal, term paper, or dissertation, it is important to create an outline before you dive into the process of writing, editing, and proofreading.
An outline for a research paper is a list of the main topics, arguments, and evidence that you’re going to include. Divide your research paper outline into sections with headings in order to know what your project will look like before you begin to write.
A detailed outline will help you make the process of writing more efficient. That is why it is important to dedicate more time to create a strong one.
Write the Introductory Paragraph
The intro of your research paper should be based on the what/why/how questions. When you’re done with the introduction, ask yourself, “Do my readers know now what my work is about? Is it worth reading? How should I build my arguments?”
Make sure to be specific about the topics of the research papers. Give some background info and specify the key concepts and terms.
This question is the key. At the same time, it is the most difficult one to answer. Ensure to give short answers to the following questions: What new insight or material are you about to offer? Are there any crucial issues that your research paper answers or defines?
In order to inform your target readers on what to expect from your work, it is important to make your intro in a form of a road map that you’re going to discuss. Present briefly the main elements of your project chronologically.
Compose the Body Section
The hardest struggle that most college and university students face is how to organize the information in the right order. Professional writers recommend using your thesis statement and topic sentences taken from your outline. To help yourself compose a research paper free from errors, ensure to check:
- All the topic sentences against your thesis;
- Similarities and logical ordering of all the topic sentences;
- Every sentence against each paragraph’s topic sentence.
Whether you work on your paper in Law, Philosophy, English Literature, Physics, or any other discipline, ensure to avoid paragraphs that discuss the same things. If two paragraphs cover the same issues, it is important to approach the topic differently. Your task here is to include smooth and logical transitions between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.
Write the Conclusion
Use your conclusion to help your target audience out of the research work argument so that they have a strong sense of closure. Follow the course of the project, see how all details come together in order to provide your thesis statement. It is important to provide your piece with a solid sense of closure by making sure your readers understand how you covered the issues mentioned in the intro.
If you have any suggestions for future research, ensure to provide them in your conclusion. If, at any stage of your work, you find yourself stuck, feel free to look for professional help online. There are many cheap custom writing services out there ready to help you. Choose the most suitable research paper service to buy a quality piece from. Pay attention to each service website that you deal with. As a result, you will get to work with qualified experts who are real writing, editing, and publishing gurus.