As a college student, you come across several types of papers to write. However, a research paper is the one paper that matters most as it is graded as a unit on its own. For most students, they have to write the paper before they graduate, hence essential to learn how to do it. This guide will take you through the process of writing a research paper, highlighting the essential steps and resources you need to write an effective research paper. Following this guide will help you formulate a strong research paper guaranteeing a good grade on the research paper.
Step 1: Pick a topic
Picking a topic for your research is probably the most daunting task. To select an appropriate topic, there are two things you need to consider.
1. Instructions from your professor. This might seem unimportant, but the professor’s instructions are the most important. This is because they guide you on what the professor requires from you. Ignoring them will guarantee a low grade, as you may not be able to know what your professor is looking for in your research paper. The instructions also provide a ground for you to approach the professor if you get stuck in the process.
2. Your area of interest. As much as you follow the professor’s instructions, your interest goes a long way in making the process easy. This is because your interest will focus more on your passion and, therefore, low chances of getting stuck in the process of writing the research paper. You may also have a wealth of information in your area of interest; thus, identifying a gap to tackle your research paper becomes easy. As a result, you can come up with a topic with ease.
Your topic should be unique, interesting, and relevant to your area of study. Picking a controversial topic may be ideal since you will have different angles to approach.
Step 2: Research
It is one thing to be familiar with the subject in general, but it is another to get the nitty-gritty. Research allows you to understand the subject in detail. Understanding the subject further gives you the material you need to write your research paper. It gives you different perspectives on the topic from various researchers. However, before you dive into research, you first need to know where to get the information you need and what sources are acceptable. You can use the library, but most people prefer the internet. Some sources on the web are reliable, while others are not. An acceptable source of information is peer-reviewed. An example of these is the journals. Scholarly databases contain a wealth of these. Inappropriate sources of information are personal blogs, Wikipedia, and other encyclopedias available on the internet. This is because some of these sources contain unverified information as well as personal opinions. After identifying your sources, the process of reading through may be tiresome. This is why you need a strategy to cover more. The key to getting a lot of information within the shortest time possible is skimming through the papers and never ignore any information. In addition to this, you can talk to an expert in the field and get their perspective on your topic. This is, however, possible if you have enough time.
Step 3: Write an outline
Like every other assignment, a research paper needs an outline to guide you on writing and where. A research paper follows a specific structure, which is as follows.
• Research paper methodology
Your research paper outline needs to have the subtopics mentioned above and under each, a summary of the main points to be discussed in the main paper. Writing an outline simplifies your work and makes it possible to go back on various things as you write the paper. The best way to get all the information you need is to write the contents of your outline as you research. It is also at this point that you formulate your thesis. A good thesis needs to give a simplified background of the topic and tell the reader what the research paper will be about.
Step 4: Write the first draft of your research paper
Now that you already have all the information you need, it’s time to write the research paper. Since you already know what your paper is about, your first instinct is to write the introduction. However, this should not be the case. Begin with the body of your research paper that is the methodology, results, and discussion. This will give your writing process flow such that when you come back to write the introduction, you will do that without any struggle. After the introduction, write your conclusion and then the abstract. At the beginning of your writing process, you will feel the need to use perfect grammar, but do not worry yourself with such details. Write down your thoughts as they are because you will have plenty of time to perfect the grammar when editing. When you are done, review your work and submit the draft for review.
Step 5: Review the corrections.
Once the professor sends back your draft, you will have the opportunity to review and make the necessary changes to your paper.
Step 6: Write the final draft
After reviewing the draft, rewrite the final paper putting in mind the professor’s corrections. Putting your thoughts in a logical manner will guarantee that your paper shows the effort you put into it.
Step 7: Edit your final research paper.
This is the last stage of the writing process. Reread your entire paper to spot any possible grammar and punctuation errors. It would help your case ask a second person to review your work before submitting the research paper to your professor.
Above are the seven steps to follow when writing a research paper. When followed to the letter, it will guarantee a persuasive research paper. When unsure of something, you can always consult with your professor.
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