As a student, you are often assigned research papers, which are academic works that require you to gain knowledge about a certain topic or subject and then formulate your own point of view about it, argue and sustain it through hard data and examples. In today’s article, you will find our best advice on how to write an effective research paper.
Investigate the Subject
Choose a topic. Sometimes, when you are assigned a research paper, you are given a specific topic by your teacher. However, there is a chance that you were given a broader topic, which you are going to need to narrow down on your own.
- When choosing a topic, make sure you opt for something that interests you.
Gather data. After choosing your topic, you should do some research. To do this, look for information online or go to the school or public libraries to get books on the chosen topic.
Consider interviewing someone. During the writing process, you can interview a person who is knowledgeable about the subject, although you should avoid turning to your family members unless one of them is an expert in the required field.
Devise your thesis statement. You must come up with a good thesis statement before you start writing a research paper. A thesis statement is your point of view on the subject expressing the main idea of your topic.
Write Down an Outline
Come up with a research paper outline. An outline will be useful when it is time to actually write the work and, in addition, it will help you not to deviate from the topic of your research.
APA formatting style. In the case your research paper has to be written in accordance with the APA format, the outline should include such key sections as the abstract, the methodology and the discussion.
- The abstract page consists of a concise summary of the key points of your research and should include the topic you have researched, the research questions, the participants involved, the methodology, the results, the data and the conclusions that you have reached.
Organize your notes. After devising a research paper outline, you can review all your notes and organize them so that each part of your research corresponds to a certain part of the outline.
- If you organize your notes in chronological order, this will speed up the process of writing the work, since you can find the required source quicker.
Check your notes and your sources. Once you have organized your notes and your sources in a way that corresponds to the outline, check that everything coming from sources is academically reliable and that the number of sources you have is enough to support the thesis.
- Check whether your research is accurate and that all the information is up to date and based on facts, especially if your work is about a contemporary issue.
Write a final outline. Having everything in place, make sure to polish up your outline.
Writing a Research Paper
Format the paper. Most likely, your research paper needs to be written in either the MLA or the APA format, since this is the case with most students. If you need help, though, you can buy a research paper online. In general, formatting is something that you will need to talk about with your teacher to ensure that your research paper is properly formatted.
Write the abstract page. If your research paper needs to be written in the APA format, it must contain an abstract, which will contain a concise summary of your research and your findings.
- This should include all the academic knowledge and information relevant to the work and should serve as a preview of it. In addition, it ought to contain the sources, the people you have interviewed, the statistics and the findings. The first line should not have an indentation and the summary should have a length of between 150 and 250 words.
Start writing the introductory paragraph if you opt for the MLA format. You must place the introduction paragraph after the title.
Write the body of work. Following the introduction, the first paragraph of the body begins. Press the tab key to indent the first line. In many cases, the regular research papers you must write for school will contain three paragraphs of the body, each of which has a supporting argument.
Write the conclusion. The conclusion should have an indentation, as with all other paragraphs. The conclusion, similar to the introductory paragraph, should be a summary that briefly addresses the question or problem around which your work revolves as well as the methodology or arguments you used to address the problem. You will also need to repeat your thesis statement.
Check your work. Take a break once you have finished writing the first draft. When you feel that you have recharged your batteries, make sure to read your research paper again to see if you spot errors in content, data, sources, and quality. We recommend you review your work a couple of times until you get your final draft.
Make references to your sources. Depending on whether you adhere to the rules of the MLA or the APA formatting, there will be a different format for referencing your sources.
- You can ask your teacher about how to format the work and ask them to give you examples;
- The pages should have margins of 2.5 cm (1 inch) on each of the sides; double spacing and 12-point font for both the MLA and the APA format;
- If you need to, you can ask for help and get someone to check your work before you hand it in to your teacher;
- First, build your bibliography and gather as many sources as possible, since it will be easier to discard them in the future if you do not need them as opposed to finding more new sources.
We hope that you find our advice on how to write an effective research paper quite comprehensive. If you have any questions, please leave your comments below, and we will do our best to answer them!