How to Write a Research Paper – A Research Guide for Students

In nearly every academic discipline, the words “research paper” induce instant anxiety. Writing a research paper doesn’t necessarily have to be as complex as most students assume. The writing guidelines for the paper may vary among individual professors and academic institutions. Be sure to check the writing lab of your university for more research formatting resources.

Difference between a Research Paper and a Research Proposal

A research paper and a research proposal both have similar writing processes. A research paper aims at demonstrating your knowledge of a particular subject. A proposal, on the other hand, aims at convincing the target audience about the research project’s value. You should view the proposal as the selling point of a research paper (the finished product).

Understand the Research Process

Before knowing how to organize and write a research paper, you must understand the entire research process. Research can help you understand a subject and formulate ideas for a paper, it also helps you develop a thesis statement and speak about a particular topic with authority.

The first step in every research process is to gather resource materials and review them. Examples of reliable information sources include government publications, newspapers, books, Google Scholar and online encyclopedias. Consider checking with your instructor to determine the citation style to use.

Organize Your Work

Start by developing a thesis statement, which summarizes the main points. The thesis statement also helps preview the supporting points and informing your readers about the paper’s main idea. Take time to write the thesis statement since most parts of your paper stem from it.

Writing the Research Paper

You can begin writing the paper once you have clearly-outlined points. Use these main points as the sub-headings of your paper. Divide the paper into three sections (introduction, body, and conclusion) as explained below.

Writing the Research Paper: Introduction

The introduction offers the context and background for the entire research paper. Create a strong opening sentence with an objective of engaging your reader. Use the introduction to clearly explain the paper’s purpose and how you intend to tackle the topic. Your thesis statement should come at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Writing the Research Paper: The Body

The outline you prepared comes handy here since it provides guidelines for staying on track when writing the body. As you keep the research paper fluid, remember to focus on the thesis statement and prove your main points. Consider introducing your sources in different parts of the body once they become relevant. Every paragraph should have supporting arguments presented by strong points.

Writing the Research Paper: Conclusion

A good research paper should end with a restated thesis statement. As you restate your thesis statement, be sure to reword it. Give reasons why the presented points can support your case. Use the conclusion to briefly summarize your main points.

Revise the Research Paper Draft

When revising the paper, check whether your thesis statement is clear and concise. Proof the research paper to ensure that it flows with logical transitions from the beginning to the end. The work should be free of citation errors, repletion, accidental plagiarism, and unsupported arguments.