What is a Research Paper?

What is a Research Paper?

What is a research paper? This is a question that many students often ask. However, you should not be bothered anymore because a research paper is basically an academic paper just like the ones you are used to writing. For the best results, it is always advisable that you not only know the definition of a research paper but also how to write an outstanding one. Read on to find out more about what a research paper is, guidelines on how to write one and examples of well written research papers.

There are lots of ways through which you can benefit from knowing how to write a research paper. In fact, skills on how to craft research papers can also be applied in writing other academic papers including, essays, reports, and dissertations among others.

So, what is a research paper?

A research paper can simply be defined as an academic paper that requires the author (you) to study a given subject or topic, analyze it and then give a logical explanation of it in writing. On the other hand, a research paper can be used to explore and identify scientific, technical and social issues.

Features of Research Papers

Research papers have certain elements that distinguish them from other academic papers. The following are the basic features of research papers that can also assist you in gaining a better understanding of what is a research paper.

Discuss a topic

Research papers hey generally describe a topic or subject and explain how they fit into your area of study.

Highlight a problem

Research papers also introduce and describe a problem in a way that readers can understand and relate to. A good paper also presents a review of literature used in making the argument therein.

Present an argument and proper discussion of processes

Good research papers also have hypotheses, and clearly illustrate the methods used in the study. Besides, the paper should also give a comprehensive discussion of the hypothesis as established in the study. The body paragraphs of a research paper should give logical and clear information to explain the study.

Conclusion and references

Finally, a good research paper also presents a compelling summary of the study with regards to the thesis. The paper should also show references to the information cited therein.

What is a research paper and how can I write a good one?

After getting the definition of what is a research paper, the next step should be knowing how to craft one. The following guidelines can assist you in writing outstanding research papers on different subjects.

Understand the requirements of the paper

Before you start collecting ideas for writing any research paper, always take time to carefully read and understand the question. This is the only way through which you will be able to know what is expected of you.

If there is something that you do not understand in the question, make sure that you ask in advance to avoid making mistakes.

Choose a topic

In some research papers, you will be instructed on a particular topic or subject to discuss. However, there are also instances whereby you can be given the opportunity of choosing one on your own. In such a case, it is always advisable that you settle on a topic which is interesting and easier to work on. It should be a subject that you will enjoy writing about and can appeal to your audience. Besides, it would also be advisable that you find a unique topic or something that is original and not many people have talked about.

Gather information about the subject

Although a topic may seem simple and easier to cover, you should take time to do a little research on it. This will enable you to get more information from various sources, which could be useful in giving your paper a unique appeal.

Try to dig deeper to find out what other authors or experts have said about the topic. Research can be conducted from a wide range of sources including, web pages, articles, other research papers, books, interviews, journals among others. However, you should be keen to obtain your points from reliable sources.

Create an outline

After collecting ideas for the paper, it is advisable that you first create a ‘blueprint’ showing how the different sections of the paper will be handled. An outline should briefly highlight the points for the papers, introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion in the right order.

Procedures on how to write a research paper

The following steps will direct you on how to write a good research paper.


Begin writing the paper by giving a brief relevant background information to indicate the context. Besides, it is also important that you define terms or concepts that will be used in the paper and may seem challenging to readers.

In the last statements of the introductory paragraph, you should give the focus of the paper and your specific purpose or thesis statement. It would also be advisable to give a plan of how the paper is organized.

Body paragraphs

This is where much of the work lies since it should give a comprehensive explanation of the study, materials involved and also findings. The paragraphs should be built around the points that you had highlighted in the outline, in support of the thesis.

While writing, your points should be well backed by evidence from the study or other sources. Every paragraph should present a clear summary, analysis and evaluation of published work or study, instead of simply reporting it.

Clearly explain the study, the processes involved and outcomes as established. It is then that you should table your discussion based on the findings or expectations.

To enhance clarity, try to use short statements and simple language in making your argument. Avoid vague statements that may end up confusing readers. Each paragraph should highlight a new idea that reflects the hypothesis and coherently links back to the others.

It is advisable that your sources are cited within the paper according to the style of writing for your paper. However, you should remember that the sources will still need to be listed at the end of the paper.


The conclusion of a research paper should be short but subjective enough to leave the audience with something to think about. If the argument presented in the paper is complex, you may need to summarize the discussion just to remind readers of the purpose of the paper.

You should also tell the audience about the significance of the research’s findings. You can use your own words to briefly explain the relevance of the study. Besides, you can also move further into suggesting any further studies that could be required for development or proper understanding of the topic.

Examples of Research Papers

In order for you to effectively get what is a research paper, it is important to also read samples of well written research papers. The following are some examples that you can refer to.

Example 1

Sample Research Paper about Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness

‘’The economy of the world is growing at a rapid pace and it is the aim of every public corporation to deliver products that are of high quality in regard to services and goods to international and domestic markets. There is urgent need to produce products that are highly competitive and which give consumers the highest satisfaction level. This has led to increased competition among private and public corporations for international and domestic markets…’’-Read the rest of this sample paper here.

Example 2

Research Paper on Challenges Faced During Data Mining

‘’Data mining is an act that involves releasing fascinating facts that are usually gathered from huge databases logs, data warehouses, anomalies, important structures, associations, changes and patterns among others (Galloway and Smirnoff 3). Although to a researcher data mining might be a tool that entails database awareness ventures, to others it is a major step in awareness discovery. The focus of this paper is on the evaluation of challenges that are faced by data miners…’’Continue reading the sample on this link.

Example 3

Research Paper on Jobsite Discrimination

‘’Discriminatory practices impact the operations of organizations in various ways. Going by the definition of discrimination at the place of work, it takes various forms and occur at all stages of employment. Statistical evidence shows that jobsite discrimination mainly affects minority populations. A review of the moral dimension of discrimination points out that it is immoral and can cause harm to the society. The practice contravenes the provision of various ethical theories that guide behavior. This paper recommends that affirmative action needs to be taken towards addressing the negative impacts of discrimination. Through affirmative action programs, victimized populations will be able to benefit from natural resources which can in the end enhance their lifestyles…’’Follow this link to read the whole sample paper.

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