A research paper is a type of academic writing that provides an in-depth analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a single topic that relies on empirical evidence. It is similar to analytical essays, although it emphasizes the use of statistical data as well as preexisting research in line with strict code for citation. A research paper is considered the backbone of modern science and an effective way of sharing information across a wide network. Some people familiarize themselves with research papers right from school; colleges use them when testing students’ knowledge in certain areas. It uses formal, bland language to avoid bias. Researchers write their findings plainly with corresponding evidence such that it can be used by other researchers in their papers. There is no definite length of a research paper but it depends on the topic or assignment. Hence, this article looks at the steps used in writing a research paper and giving conclusive findings.
Best Online Writing Jobs in Kenya 2022 (Top 10)
How To Start Academic Writing in Kenya
How Much Should I Charge for Proofreading Per 1000 Words
Steps To Writing a Research Paper
For students who want to write a research paper, below is a step-by-step guide to help you write a perfect and conclusive research paper. These general guidelines will keep you on track when writing.
Understand Your Assignment
Before starting to write any research paper it is important to first understand the assignment well. It is surprising how most students start a research paper without reading the guidelines of the assignment. Therefore, your first step is to carefully review and understand the writing prompt. Focus on the technical requirements such as length, formatting requirements (single vs double spacing, indentions, etc.), and citation style. Consider whether you need an abstract or include a cover page. After understanding the assignment, you follow the laid process to continue without missing any points.
Choose Your Topic
When it comes to open-ended assignments, choosing a topic is the most important aspect since it determines all that follow when writing a research paper. It may seem simple but it is the most important decision you will make in writing a research paper. The main priority when choosing a topic is whether it will provide enough content and substance for the entire paper. One would choose a topic that has enough data and complexity for a richer discussion. However, avoid general topics and stick to specific topics while covering relevant information without cutting too much. Find something that you are comfortable with when handling and has enough amount of content.
Gather Preliminary Research
Once you have a topic, start immediately for the better of the research. Find out what research is available for your topic. Early research clears away any misconceptions you may have about the topic while revealing the best paths and approaches to find more material. You can find sources online or in a library. If online, ensure to use credible sources like science journals or academic papers for easy and direct writing. When gathering preliminary research, keep in mind the difference between primary and secondary sources when searching. Primary sources include published articles or autobiographies while secondary entails critical reviews or secondhand biographies. It is important to skim through sources rather than reading each fully. Sometimes, a literature review is required which explains your sources and presents them for confirmation.
Write A Thesis Statement
After finding relevant research sources, write a thesis statement that precisely summarizes what your research paper will be about. It is the first statement that makes it your reader’s introduction to the topic. Other than preparing your reader, it makes it easier for other researchers to ascertain whether or not your paper is useful to them for their research. A good thesis mentions all the important parts of the discussion without disclosing too many details. If you have trouble putting it into words, you can phrase it like a question and then answer it.
Guide To Academic Writing
What To Look for When Starting Academic Writing
How Proofreading Works
Determine Supporting Evidence
This is the stage where now you tackle the real topic and do actual research. You go through all the sources collected earlier and find the specific information you would like to use. Separate information that is relevant to your topic. Don’t marsh your paper with unnecessary context, however interesting it may be. Ensure you write down the page numbers, not only for your later use but use them during citations. Aside from the normal highlighting text and writing notes, you can use bibliography cards (These are simple index cards with facts or direct quotations on one side and bibliography information on the other). They also help you stay organized when writing a paper outline.
Write A Research Paper Outline
A research paper requires a methodical and systemic structure to ensure all issues are addressed outlining very important steps, unlike informal essays. It is essentially a list of key topics, arguments, and evidence you would wish to include which are divided into sections with headings to help you know roughly what your paper will look like before starting to write. The paper outline makes the writing process more efficient and relevant.
Write The First Draft
After coming up with a research paper outline, it is time to start the actual writing. This is the longest and most involved step, but if you are well prepared, it becomes smooth. Starting your writing with a thesis statement reduces the bulk involved when writing the body. Unlike essays, research papers usually divide the body into sections with separate headers to enable browsing and scanning which are detailed in the outline. Ensure you follow your outline and go paragraph by paragraph with less fear of making mistakes since it is just the first draft.
Cite Your Sources Correctly
What makes a research paper different from other casual nonfiction like personal essays are citations. Citing your sources validates your data as well as link your paper to the scientific community. Since they are important, they need to follow precise formatting rules which are more. Academic citations follow either MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association). These links help explain specific formatting guidelines for each style. Others include CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style), and AMA (American Medical Association), among others.
Edit And Proofread
This is the last bit where you need to go through your research paper to ensure it is correct by proofreading. It can be done twice; the first step is for structural issues like adding/deleting parts or rearranging paragraphs and the last step is for word choice, grammatical, and spelling mistakes.
A research paper is a piece of academic writing that gives analysis, interpretation, and arguments based on in-depth independent research. It is similar to an essay although, it is a longer and more detailed assignment to enable assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Research writing is an important entity to engage in since it deals with factual arguments and discussions.