When you hear about research paper, what comes to your mind? Perhaps, you find it challenging while others may find it boring. Whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to learn how to start a research paper. It is one of the requirements in academics. Thus, you won’t have your degree unless you know how to write and submit your research paper.
There are easy ways how to write the perfect research paper that we will be discussed in this article. Moreover, you will also learn about the research definition, the difference between a college and high school research paper, and how to choose the best topic to investigate.
What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is one of the most common types of academic writing. When you conduct research, you need to identify a problem or issue, make a stand about it, gather data or evidence to support your claim, make a thorough analysis and discussion, and make a conclusion.
It is like an academic essay but is more in-depth and longer. It is designed to develop the writing skills of the students. When you do a research paper, you must study and be knowledgeable about the topic and read many related research papers through journals, books, websites, and e-books to contribute an original thesis statement.
What are the Parts of a Research Paper?
After knowing the research definition, you must also understand what composes your research paper by identifying its parts. The four main parts of a research paper are the introduction, body, conclusion, and references. Let us specify them one by one.
You may neglect the importance of an introduction, but it determines whether your readers will continue reading your entire paper. Thus, it may be the most crucial part. It should directly state the main topic or problem.
An introduction should also consist of a hypothesis – a scientific guess or question. A hypothesis is what the author aims to discover.
- Frequently playing online video games can disrupt students’ study habits.
- Online learning affects the growth and development of kindergarten students.
- Creating a policy limiting the use of plastics can help save the Earth.
The body contains the main content of your research paper. It can be specified into three parts: the methods, results, and discussion.
- Methods – there are several methods how for conducting research. It can be through experiments, focus group discussions, interviews, and many more. It would be best if you could specify the methods you’ve used to gather information. In this manner, your research paper will be considered credible.
- Results – After using the research method, what have you found out? This part includes the findings of the study. Make sure to present it systematically to make it comprehensive.
- Discussions – this is the part where you could elaborate more and explain your stand based on the result. You may include in this part the relevance of your findings to the original hypothesis. You may also have citations from other research papers to support your claim.
It is the final part, and it can be specified as follows:
- Summary – the first few paragraphs should contain the summary of the entire research paper. This part is important for the readers to grasp the information completely.
- Significant findings – this is the part where you explain the significance of the study and how it is related to other studies. You may even include here the need for further research if necessary.
This part is where you will put all your citations, which are mentioned in the paper, and the references you use. Make sure to write uniquely to prevent plagiarism – it is copying ideas as your own without the permission and acknowledgment of the original author.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Research Paper Topic
Some teachers will provide you with a list of topics, while others do not. That’s why it is important to determine how to choose the right topic. But before that, let us first determine its importance.
Why is a research paper topic important?
A research paper topic is important because it is the basis of all the efforts that you, as a researcher, will put into the study. If you don’t like your topic, you may find it difficult and frustrating to organize your ideas. However, if you love your topic, writing a research paper can be less painful or not painful at all for you.
How to choose a research paper topic?
- Choose a topic that interest you. Your topic should fascinate you, and you want to talk about it. Of course, you don’t want to spend your time writing about a topic that you find boring.
- Choose a topic that is creative, unique, and significant. A lot of topics have been written about again and again. You may find something that is new. After all, most new things are exciting. A significant research paper can also help other researchers by making your study support their thesis statement.
- Choose a topic that is not too broad. You may consider the number of pages you are supposed to write. If you are limited to only five pages, then choosing broad topics that lead to the next is not recommended.
How to narrow down your research paper topic?
Narrowing your research paper could give you more clarity on what to write and what information to exclude. Thus, you will be able to submit a research paper based on the number of pages required and on or before the submission deadline. You may narrow down the topic by:
- Demographic characteristics – age groups, religions, occupations, gender, etc.
- Location – worldwide or international country, local province, city, etc.
- Event – pandemic, world crisis, holiday season, history, etc.
- Causes of issues – gender inequality, climate change, pandemic, poverty, etc.
5 Easy Steps to Formulate a Good Research Paper
The tips on how to write a research paper below are specifically for students and not for professional researchers.
Ask your teacher for instructions that will guide you on the dos and don’ts of writing your research paper. Ask for the following details:
- Format – is there a specific format to follow? What is the font size and font style? What is the required margin, size, and kind of paper? Is this handwritten or computerized, single-space or double-space? Is there a specific format on the cover page?
- Length – is there a limitation to the number of pages? If yes, how many pages are allowed?
- Outline – is there a specific outline of the research paper? Does it include a cover page or an abstract?
- Citation style – is it in APA, MLA, or Chicago style? If it is in APA, what specific edition?
- Deadline – this is important because you must determine your timeline for when you can finish the research paper. You must aim to submit it on or before the deadline.
1. Select a topic
The tips on how to select a good topic are discussed above. Moreover, you must consider your audience when selecting your topic. In this manner, you will determine your writing style when you know your target readers.
You may browse online or even go to the library to check on interesting, significant, and relevant research topics which you can work on. You may consider the latest trends, such as modern technologies and current news issues. Do not choose a controversial and sensational topic like politics and culture.
2. Make your thesis statement
A thesis statement is your standpoint that you are to explain and support in the paper. Take note that the primary purpose of your research paper is to validate your statement. It must contain the main idea that will guide you in identifying your needed resources and limitations.
When writing a thesis statement, it should not be an indisputable opinion or fact because you cannot prove this. Remember, a good thesis statement is a key to a good research paper.
3. Create your outline
Your outline will be your guide so that you will have directions when writing. Your outline should also be arranged in chronological order, connecting the first part to the second part. Thus, you will give more focus to the most important matter.
You may begin with your topic and then the introduction. In the introduction, clearly state the points you want to discuss. For your body, divide it according to the three sections mentioned above. Do the same for your conclusion.
In this manner, it would be simpler to insert your ideas until you finish the entire paper.
4. Begin writing
You may still find it tricky to start writing. But once you have made your outline, it can be easier. You may begin by identifying your headings and subheadings. You may also do the following:
- Read more resources.
You must gather more information. You can check the different credible websites online or visit the library where you can read many books. The more information you have, the more ideas you write on your paper.
- Write down your bibliography.
You will avoid plagiarism by properly citing your references and including them in your bibliography. One of the common mistakes that students make is they get overwhelmed in writing and reading, but they forget to write down the references.
5. Edit your paper
Read your paper again and again. In this way, you will keep checking the parts that need revision. You may also have a peer review where you allow your friend or classmate to read and check your paper. Please encourage them to critique the paper for improvement honestly.
You may use software online to check for plagiarism and grammar. However, ensure you know how to write a research paper with perfect grammar. The software is just your guide to polishing your article.
College vs. High School Research Paper
A college and high school research paper come with similarities and differences. It is similar in the way that it gathers and analyzes data. It has the same purpose, which is to train and develop the students’ writing skills. But it comes with differences:
- Length – a high school paper is shorter than a college paper.
- Content – a college research paper is more in-depth, particularly in analyzing the findings in the discussion section.
- Citations – a college research paper requires more citations, like 6-10 or more different resources.
- Argument – a college research paper should be more provocative, logical, and reasonable.
- Data – a college research paper must present more comprehensive data with charts, graphs, and tables as support or evidence.
- Standards – a college research paper has stricter standards regarding plagiarism, format, and grammar. The students must strictly follow these guidelines.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Write the Perfect Research Paper in a Few Easy Steps?
Just thinking about how to write the perfect research paper can be overwhelming. But with proper guidance and determination, surely you will make a good paper. Just follow the steps we have identified:
- Determine the instructions
- Select a topic
- Make your thesis statement.
- Create your outline
- Edit your paper
Once you make sure everything is complete, from the title to the references, submit it immediately.
Did you find this post helpful? Check out our other college study tips here.