At the high school or collegiate level, students often encounter the task of writing research papers, ranging from short assignments to extensive theses and dissertations. Regardless of the level of complexity, the process of writing a research paper follows the same fundamental steps. In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing a research paper, including conducting research and citing sources properly.
What is a research paper?
A research paper is an academic piece of writing that presents an author’s research on a specific topic. Its purpose is to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the subject or to present new findings based on the conducted research. Academic scholars provide the information gathered from previous research, and the author of the research paper gathers supporting or opposing research to present their argument effectively.
How to write a research paper:
1. Decide on a topic:
Choose a topic that interests you, or if assigned, ensure it’s a subject with abundant research available to support your argument effectively.
2. Write a thesis statement:
Compose a clear and specific thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph, stating the main idea and viewpoint of your research.
3. Find multiple credible resources:
Gather information from reputable sources such as academic journals, educational websites, scientific publications, and reputable books. Avoid using resources with public edit access to ensure accuracy.
4. Organize the information:
Compile information that supports your thesis statement and categorize it into subtopics for clarity. Ensure proper citation for each source used.
5. Write the outline:
Create an outline that includes your thesis statement, main points, and supporting details. Cite the sources appropriately within the outline.
6. Write the introduction:
Craft an engaging introduction that presents your purpose and topic, leading to your thesis statement.
7. Write body paragraphs:
Develop coherent body paragraphs that present your main points and supporting evidence from your research. Provide background information and explanations of terminology for reader comprehension.
8. Write a conclusion:
Summarize your research, restate your thesis statement, and provide a general overview of your findings and their significance.
9. List your resources:
Include a comprehensive list of the sources used in your research paper, following the appropriate citation style (APA or MLA). Arrange the sources alphabetically by the author’s last name.
10. Edit and revise:
Thoroughly edit for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, while revising the flow and coherence of your research paper.
Follow specific rules for in-text citations and references on the works cited page. Use either APA or MLA format for proper citation:
– Narrative citation: (Author, Year) or Author stated that…
– Parenthetical citation: (Author, Year).
Reference list (APA):
– Journal article: Author, A., & Author, B. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), page range. DOI.
– Book: Author, A., & Author, B. (Year). Title of book. Publisher Name.
– Website: Author. (Year). Title of page. Retrieved Date, from (insert website URL).
Reference list (MLA):
– Journal article: Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.
– Book: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
– Website: Author. Name of Site. Version number, Name of organization, date of resource creation, URL. Date of access.
Research papers versus research proposals:
A research paper presents the completed research and its data, while a research proposal outlines a planned research project.
– Choose a topic of personal interest for a more engaging paper.
– Craft a precise and reflective thesis statement to guide your writing.
– Observe grammar rules to ease the editing process.
– Keep sentences thorough but not overly long, ensuring paragraphs have at least four sentences.
– Always cite sources properly to credit original authors.
– Use reputable and current resources to ensure accuracy.
– Take note of all resource information for proper referencing.
– Include all referenced resources in the list of references.