Understanding how to write a research paper
Most students struggle with writing an impressive, good quality research paper, even if their writing skills are excellent. That is because there is more to research papers than colorful, eloquent language. Some of them are so complex that they require you to do your own studies, which may or may not involve extra costs. To cover those costs, at least partially, many students apply for some type of sponsorship like a fellowship or grant. Winning those depends on how good your research proposal application is.
Is your head spinning already? Hang in there. We’ll address everything step by step, starting with the research proposal.
How does a research paper differ from a research proposal?
A research proposal does not go into your paper’s main idea; instead, it is simply a pitch for why you’re choosing to write about it. Your professor may require it as part of your assignment, even if you don’t end up using it for anything. You can look at it, perhaps, as a practice for the future when you’ll need to request extra funds. It can also help you keep on track with every step of your research and writing process, as you’ll have to review it all briefly in your proposal.
Understand the assignment requirements
When your assignment deadline is hunting you and giving you nightmares, it may get quite difficult to focus on all its requirements. If you haven’t taken detailed notes in class, you may have already forgotten your professor’s instructions. Confusion during this first, essential step can mean additional challenges when formulating ideas for your paper or when developing a thesis statement.
An in-depth look into your assignment’s requirements will help you put together a solid paper as you’ll know exactly what angle to tackle and how to meet your professor’s expectations. Ask for clarification if you have to. You will stand out even more in your professor’s eyes if you do so. However, what will truly impress him/her will be you speaking about your topic with authority. That can only happen if you’ve spent enough time understanding your subject, understanding your assignment, and understanding the idea of a research paper.
Choose a research paper topic that stands out
Your topic will make or break your paper. You should tackle your research paper writing process with passion and curiosity. A poor topic choice will stifle your ability to do so. You have to be genuinely interested in it yourself before you can gain your readers’ interest. If you can’t find that kind of fuel within yourself, it might be best to use a research paper service that will do the entire writing for you. If interested in that, keep reading; we’ll address it in a bit.
Conduct preliminary research
Just about as important as your topic is how you back up your paper’s arguments. You might decide to launch your own studies; however, no research is complete without secondary resources. You can’t possibly find all the answers on your own. So, before you go creating surveys and holding focus groups, find out what other research paper writers like yourself have already done. Obviously, make sure you only use legitimate sources of information that don’t end up devaluing your paper’s worth. What you find out from this preliminary research will guide you on deciding whether or where you need more research, as well as on building a good thesis statement.
Now, if you don’t believe you can be an excellent research paper writer, for whatever reason, then you can always buy research paper assignments, tailored precisely to your needs, from us. Our team of professional writers complete over 150 academic papers daily, and research assignments are some of their favorites.
Develop a thesis statement that says it all
You found a gap in the research you’ve gathered from secondary resources. Now it’s time to mold it into a thesis statement, a statement that clearly captures the essence of your entire paper. Try to make it brief but impactful. You want to say it all without using every word in your vocabulary. A mistake lots of students make is writing too long of a thesis statement. Keep it under 15 words and bring up in the very first paragraph of your paper.
Create a research paper outline first
Now that you have a focus for your paper, see how you can break it down into 3-5 subpoints. Use your already accumulated research to investigate what those could be. Here’s a brief list to help you brainstorm:
- Importance / relevance to society
- Possible uses
- History and progress
- Innovation / disruption in society
If necessary, conduct further research in areas that you haven’t explored yet to come up with even more ways to break down your main point.
Establish a proper paragraph structure
If you haven’t seen a good research paper yet, you may look online for samples. However, keep in mind that online research papers may be written by anyone. So, when you search for a research paper online, try to go for websites specializing in academia-related topics, like university blogs, writing software blogs, and the like. Only on sites like these will you learn detailed, accurate information about everything related to writing academic papers.
For example, do you know how to best structure your paragraphs? If so, feel free to skip this part. However, if not, then let us tell you. The most important part is consistency. You don’t want one paragraph to have 2 lines and the next one 7 lines. You also don’t want one to talk in first person and the other in the third person. Fairly similar paragraphs, as far as structure goes, will make your paper easier to read, regardless of the subject. So keep that in mind.
Write a first draft of the research paper
As you start writing your first draft, don’t worry too much about which subpoint from your outline you begin addressing. You can jump in between them if you wish. At this point, simply focus on putting words down on paper. Elaborate on your research, your thoughts, and your conclusions. Ignore clarity and paragraph structure for now. You’ll get the change to correct that later. Also, if you can’t come up with any unique vocabulary, don’t worry about it either. Again, there will be more chances to change it up.
When to write the research paper introduction
Have you ever considered that beginning with the beginning isn’t always the best idea? As you’re writing the body of your paper, you might find yourself changing the direction of your content. Be open to that. Be even open to changing your thesis statement. Give your creative and reflective process the space to develop something unparalleled. That’s why it might be a good idea to leave the introduction ‘til the end. Only then can you address it the proper way.
After you’ve written your first draft, imagine another reading going through it. Imagine how they would answer the following questions:
- What is this?
- Why am I reading it?
- What do you want me to do with it?
Are his/her answers what you want to hear? If so, then include them in your introduction. If not, keep working on your draft until the essence of your paper starts coming through.
Write a compelling body of text
After you’ve gone back and forth between your introduction and your body, it’s time to make your content stand out. Is your language descriptive enough? Even if your paper is technical, you can still use figures of speech like alliterations or metaphors. It will be more fun to read.
This is also the point when you want to recheck clarity, focus, logic, structure, and terminology. Additionally, make sure to use your sources appropriately. Don’t introduce each one the same way, and don’t just give large chunks of quotations that go on for a few lines. Try to paraphrase and synthesize.
Write the research paper conclusion
Yes, the conclusion should be written at the end. This is because you want to quickly remind your readers about all your subpoints and thesis statement. It strengthens the cohesiveness of your paper. You want to also bring your reader back to your introduction and reiterate how you’ve helped them answer those questions we mentioned above.
Dedicate time to the revision process
You are almost there! By now, your content should have been manipulated and changed a few times. So you’re only left with small adjustments like checking spelling and punctuation, correcting grammar, ensuring smooth transitions, and citing your sources. It might not be a bad idea to get it reviewed by someone else as well, especially if your paper touches on some sensitive matters. In that case, you might want to get it revised by people specializing in those topics. For example, some global concerns can be a gray area to get yourself into without professional guidance. So make sure you cover all your bases.