Writing a research paper: 7 steps to well researched papers
7 Steps in Writing a Research Paper: Enjoy Your Student Life
What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of
academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic,
and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either
a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. This Chapter
outlines the logical steps to writing a good research paper.
To achieve supreme excellence or perfection in anything you
do, you need more than just the knowledge. Like the Olympic athlete aiming for
the gold medal, you must have a positive attitude and the belief that you have
the ability to achieve it. That is the real start to writing an A+ research
How to Write an APA Research Paper
We’ll break down the writing process into easy steps to help
you understand how to write a research paper fast no matter how long it must
Step 1. Choose a Topic
Sometimes college students are assigned with their research
paper topics, but if you are fortunate enough to have such an option, choose
your topic wisely. First of all, think about choosing a challenging topic you
are interested in. Then, you won’t be bored when doing the research because you
are sure to discover something new and you’ll enjoy the writing process. Don’t
select subjects that are too technical or general.
If your topic is too broad, your research paper is unlikely
to be successful because it will look like a general overview. You should
narrow your topic down to a certain aspect, concept or idea and make it
specific and manageable. For example, if your topic is “Global Warming”, you
should narrow it to “Causes of Global Warming”, “Impact of Global Warming on
Human Health” or something like that.
Step 2. Write a Working Thesis Statement
Write a Working Thesis Statement
Prepare a working thesis before you actually organize your
research because it will guide your investigation and will help you stay
focused on your subject. Your thesis statement should be concise and reflect
the type of paper you are writing. All research papers can be divided into 3
Argumentative or persuasive if you are arguing the
Expository when you explain information;
Analytical when you present your analysis of certain
You have to devote enough of your precious time to creating
a good strong thesis statement so that your project has a clear purpose. Your
thesis should be debatable and narrow because your claims should be supported
by evidence. If your claim is broad, you will need more evidence to convince
your readers that you are right. Here is an example of a debatable thesis
Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing the
Step 3. Do Research on Your Topic
You should find enough secondary and primary credible
sources on the subject of your paper, carefully read all of them, and find
relevant evidence to support your thesis. At this stage, you should evaluate
your sources, take notes, and start documenting your sources according to a
citation style specified by your instructor (APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.)
Make sure you use the latest edition of a specific style
guide. You will use your notes about references later when writing your paper
and building your bibliography. It’s crucial to cite all sources that you used
for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing to avoid plagiarism.
Step 4. Make a Good Outline
Your research has given you tons of great ideas. Now you
have to organize them for your impressive presentation. Don’t skip this vital step
because without it, your project will lack focus and you will need more time
for revising your draft trying to make sense of your jumbled thoughts. That’s
why you need an outline. You have to finalize your thesis and create a working
outline that you plan to cover and that will serve you as a roadmap and keep
In your writing a research paper, think about key points that you’ll need to develop to support your thesis statement. You can use them as subheadings for the body of your paper. Look through your notes and organize the information under each sub-heading. Make sure you include only relevant information that fits under your sub-headings and directly supports your thesis.
You should resist the temptation to include any information
that doesn’t fit into your outline no matter how interesting it is.
When writing an outline, you should keep in mind a typical
research paper structure that commonly includes:
- A title page;
- an abstract;
- An introduction;
- A methodology section;
But if your research paper is not long, its format may
include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In any case, you
should follow specific guidelines provided by your instructor.
Research paper an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion
Step 5. Create the First Draft
This is the middle of the process. You have a clear
direction and it’s time to create the first draft with a title, in-text
citations, and a reference page.
While writing a research paper, the title is very important if you want to make a good impression on your readers because it’s the first thing that they see. It forms their view on what exactly they should expect in your paper. Writing a research paper, you should list the keywords that present the topic of your paper, methods you used, and results that you achieved. Now create a sentence that includes all the keywords that you have listed and delete the unnecessary words. After that, you need to link the remaining ones. Finally, you have to delete non-essential info and organize the remaining words in the logical order. You can also include the subtitle. Make sure that your title is concise.
Afterwards, you need to write an introduction, body
paragraphs, and a conclusion. These are the main parts of your paper so let us
provide you with some details on how to do it right.
How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
Start writing an intro. The introductory paragraph should
begin with an attention grabber that may be:
- A provocative question;
- An anecdote;
- Unusual facts, etc.
You are writing an academic paper but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Next, you need to provide the background information, explain your goals, and how you plan to approach your research paper topic. You should finish your introduction with your thesis statement or research question. This section of your paper is not long so you are sure to finish it fast.
How to Write Body Paragraphs
Your outline will help you to complete this part of your
paper. But you shouldn’t think that you must strictly follow it. It may evolve
and you are free to revise it and make changes. The key thing is to stay on
your track and focus on your thesis. You should provide your points and support
your main idea.
Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence and provide
arguments and relevant evidence to support it. You should write as many body
paragraphs as you have the key points.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Most research papers end with restarting their thesis
statements. You can also do it but you shouldn’t repeat it word for word.
Paraphrase it or summarize the key points of your paper. You may emphasize the
significance of your findings as well. A good idea is to provide some
recommendations based on the results of your investigation or suggest some
directions for further research.
Your rough draft is ready. Wondering what to do next? Go on
reading to find some tips on how to revise your research paper.
How to Make Your Paper Perfect
No one can write their first draft perfectly. So, if you
want to make a good impression on your professor and earn a high grade, you
should revise your draft to make sure that your project is on point. Be ready
that you may need to revise your project more than once because it is really
Step 6. Revise, Edit and Proofread
Revise, Edit and Proofread
You have to make large-scale changes and check the logic,
flow, transitions, make changes in the structure and order of your paragraphs.
You should make sure that all your ideas are fully developed and all the claims
are supported by credible evidence. You may need to add some section headings.
The next stage is editing. You have to check and eliminate
filler words and phrases, improve word choice, and correct mistakes in
punctuation and grammar if you find any. You should look for:
- Incomplete sentences;
- Dangling modifiers;
- Easily confused words (such as to, too, and two);
- Spelling mistakes;
- Apostrophes for possessives and plurals;
- Quotation rules obeyed;
- Comma use;
- Eliminate contractions.
You will need to re-read your paper several times. A good
strategy is to read your paper backwards. In this way, you will feel a little
disoriented and will be able to catch more mistakes. You should start reading
the last sentence, then check the second to the last one and continue doing it
until you get to your first sentence.
You should ask your friends or family members to review your
research paper and express their opinion about it. They should evaluate your
argument, transitions, and the balance and look for any inconsistencies with
usage, grammar or mechanics. Ask your friends to provide their feedback and
make suggested changes if you think they make sense. Finally, you may print
your paper and proofread it to eliminate minor mistakes or typos and ensure
that your amazing research paper is flawless.
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Writing a research paper: 7 steps to well researched papers