Research paper should be based on a research you have done along with your own arguments and opinion on the topic at hand. A research paper differs from reviews, summaries, or critiques, therefore, it might be a real challenge to create one from scratch, especially if you are not a wordly-wise academic writer. Below we have created a writing guide to help you in composing outstanding research papers.
This point can be one of the most difficult ones. You need to focus and conquer your fear of a blank page. The temptation to check your Facebook feed or incoming email folder can be stronger than ever, but you must fight if off! These are the steps to keep you concentrated on your work. Firstly, you have to make sure that you understand the task and then set up a schedule:
Define what type of a research paper you are writing
Make sure to stay organized. Forget about the mess in your notes, research sources, and thoughts. Write down everything you deem important for your paper while reading through study materials and books. And don’t forget to clearly mark your notes, such as the book titles, author’s name, and number of pages. Iit is better to have a plenty of information and use only a half of it than to be scratching your head trying to remember the title of the book you read with some important ideas.
These tips and ideas can help you make better decisions when you are choosing a topic for your research paper.
Coming up with a topic idea
Generally speaking, your topic is the main theme of your paper. Literally, this is something you are going to write about.
Look through the paper instructions and think what interests you the most in the assignment you’ve been given. For instance, if your topic is 19th century English Literature, think about the time period that interests you most. Is it related to modernist novels? British drama? Late modernism? Then check out some sources, like encyclopedias, books, magazines, newspapers, Internet, and talk to your classmates – a good topic idea can come up from an unexpected place.
How to determine whether a topic fits your paper
You are interested in this topic.
If you are passionate about the topic, you will have a better time writing your paper. The process will be much easier and faster.
If the topic is broad, it should be narrowed down.
Your topic should be broad enough to let you find enough materials for a research, but it should be specific enough to let you cover it completely in your paper.
The First Lunar Landing Programs in the USA
British Literature of the 19th century
The Concept of “Love” in British Literature of the 19th Century
21st Century French Philosophers
Central Ideas in French Philosophy of the 21st Century
Is it possible to find enough sources to compose your paper?
Are there enough accessible books and articles on your topic?
Do you have some thoughts to express on this topic?
You need to briefly state the topic of your paper to move on to the thesis statement.
As a rule of thumb, books contain detailed information and research but sometimes they are hard to work with due to the volumes of data you have to process.
They are useful in getting some general insights into the topic, but they are not your primary sources.
Scholarly, specialized and deeply focused articles on specific topics are very useful. A relevant journal article can significantly strengthen the depth of your paper.
Include popular information on the most up-to-date events and general topics. However, not all of them are accepted as academic sources.
The same as for the magazines, newspapers can include information about the current events, conferences and scholarly meetings.
It offers a plenty of information. A great part of online sources is valuable and can be used for your research paper, but there are just too many unreliable websites. Choose carefully.
If you can interview a person of authority on your topic, this interview could become a valuable part of a detailed expert insight in your paper.
Once the topic is decided, the time is right to write a strong thesis statement. This is a brief declaration of the main argument you are making.
What makes a good thesis
You need to outline your thoughts and be sure that you remember every detail. By outline the work you are about to do you make a writing process much easier. It helps you determine the direction of your thoughts and make any adjustments before you start writing.
How to create an outline?
When you have an outline and a thesis statement done, the time is right to write a first draft. The structure of your paper should be as follows:
Your task is to present your topic briefly, explain your main purpose, include your thesis statement and motivate readers to continue reading.
Body should include your main points you have listed in your outline. Each point should be in a separate paragraph. Include your arguments, evidence, and quotations to support the main points.
In conclusion you have to sum up your previous points without presenting any new ideas. Make sure that your conclusion ties the previous points together.
Some tips for draft writing
Revising means reading through your draft and improving it. If you see that some parts need editing or adding extra information – make sure you do that.
Some revising tips
Use this checklist to make final revisions to your paper to make it better.
It is crucial to give credit for the quotations you have used for your paper to avoid plagiarism. Citations and bibliography will make your readers follow the development of your ideas and the way other authors helped you formulate them.
Always give credit to the following information:
You professor will specify the formatting style to use. There are several widely used styles like APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian and Harvard. Make sure to check with your professor on a style you have to use.
You can use online citation generators to create your bibliography in one of the common styles mentioned above.
Try some proofreading techniques listed below and choose the one that works best for you.