A research paper can be defined as the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, organization, source evaluation, and composition. To the “untrained eye” it might seem research papers are super easy to write. What’s difficult about that? You just Google things and write them down, right? Let me tell you something, it’s not entirely correct. Research papers aren’t just about Googling things. Due to common misconceptions about writing this type of work, I decided to give you some tips and tricks for writing an effective research paper. The chances are high that you will have to write this type of paper sooner or later and knowing the basics will make the complex task easier.
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What is and what isn’t a research paper?
Okay, I’ve already mentioned a brief definition of a research paper and before we move on to various tips you should follow, let’s discuss this aspect more thoroughly. A research paper is a result of several processes (mentioned above) and it’s more helpful to think of it as a living thing that grows and changes as you’re interpreting, exploring, and evaluating sources regarding a certain subject.
On the other hand, a research paper is NOT a summary of the topic, book, or an ordinary essay. It is a genre that requires a great amount of investigating and evaluating. The primary goal of a research paper is NOT to only inform the reader what others have to say about a certain topic, but also to create a unique unbiased perspective and objective approach.
Types of research paper
In order to write an effective research paper, you have to know two main types. They are:
- Argumentative research paper – includes introduction wherein you introduce the topic along with thesis statement. The primary point of this type of work is persuasion which is why it usually requires debatable and controversial topics
- An analytical research paper – usually begins with the writer asking a question to which (s)he has to provide an answer. This type of work requires more exploration and evaluation of the topic.
Choosing and understanding a topic
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student or write for a living, you already know the drill – sometimes you get the list of topics to write about, and sometimes you have to come up with your own. Regardless of the scenario, the ability to choose and understand topics is of crucial importance for the success of your paper.
If you get the title to write about, you should:
- Read it thoroughly
- Determine what you have to analyze and explore
- Create a concept
- Contact the professor or client in case you find certain aspects of the topic confusing.
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In case you have to come up with the title, you should:
- Think of debatable or controversial events, studies, literature works, or events from politics to base your research upon
- Read about current society affairs
- Choose to explore something you’re interested in
- Write down all ideas you come up with
- Read your list thoroughly and check for the type of ideas that appear the most.
Remember, when creating a title for your work; don’t think of it in terms of whether it’s going to be easy to find resources on Google. The reason is simple; research paper is fluid and you may approach it from several different angles. Plus, thinking about Google results constantly will prevent you from fully developing your ideas.
Now that you know a research paper isn’t a mere summary of the info you find, types of research papers, and how to come up with your own title, you’re ready to move on to the next stage – writing your paper. Although research papers aren’t that easy to write as they require a great deal of organization, research, and time it doesn’t mean you can’t conquer this obstacle. Here are a few tips that will help you:
- Analyze the title you get/create a title following the tips listed above
- Think critically
- Research and find as many sources as possible making sure they are reliable
- While researching, write down notes in order to easily create concepts later
- Create an outline or concept for your work from introduction to conclusion
- Write first draft without stopping to edit or check for grammar or spelling mistakes
- Once you’re done with the first draft, check your work to see whether you should add something
- Edit and proofread
- Mention references.
When writing a research paper you should bear in mind that the information you enter, regardless of how big or small it might be, should contribute to the overall paper i.e. it should have its purpose.
It is also important to be honest. Sometimes the process of researching and investigating or developing the argument throughout your paper will lead you to a conclusion that you don’t really agree with. But, instead of coming up with a conclusion that is incorrect or based on facts that aren’t there, you should be honest and complete your work with integrity.
And finally, don’t rush! Research papers require more organization and evaluation than other types of work and if you get a reasonable deadline to write them, there’s no point rushing in order to finish it as soon as possible.
Research papers aren’t just summaries of events, Google info, or book reports. They put you in the role of a detective who has to solve a mysterious murder (or some other crime). Tips from this article showed you tips and tricks you should bear in mind when writing this type of work. Once again, don’t rush, create a structure, and opt to approach the topic from different angles.