Research paper writing can be a daunting task for even the most well-educated student. Regardless of what subject or topic is being studied, there is a plethora of information that must be researched, gathered, and included in order to satisfy the teacher’s requirements. To get the grade you are hoping for, it is essential to prepare yourself for what is being expected. The best way to do this is by getting organized.
After gathering all of the details, it is time to start working on the main point surrounding writing a research paper. As long as you start at the beginning and work your way through, you should have no problems completing a research paper that will get the high grades that you are eager for.
The steps are as follows:
- Deciding what your topic is going to be based on what is required for the assignment.
- Doing all the necessary research to gather enough information to complete the research paper.
- Preparing and organizing the research before starting the outlining process.
- Writing an outline to get down all the main ideas surrounding what you want to include.
- Taking what you have collected and writing down into a cohesive research paper.
Start Your Research Paper by Selecting a Topic
Somewhere in the assignment that your professor handed out you will find a basic idea of what your research paper writing is supposed to be about. First, before you start to write, you have to decide what you want your essay to be about. Selecting a research paper topic may be the most important part of the entire writing process. This is what you are going to be working on for the next while, and what you are going to try and grab the reader’s attention with.
Think about several different ideas before deciding on a final one. Some things to consider before you make a selection include if there are enough sources to research surrounding the topic, if it is something recent enough that will be appealing to read, and if you will be able to find enough facts to support your findings.
When going through the research topic decision process, you want to take into consideration many different factors. First of all, if you can pick to write about something that is important to you, do it. Your excitement and energy are more likely to come through in a paper that you are writing because you want to versus one that you write because you have to. Second, try not to pick a general idea that everyone is going to write about or one that has already been written several times over. You want something that is going to stand out. This is how you are going to make an impression on your instructor and grab his or her attention.
If you come to a point where you just cannot come up with anything, it’s okay to search for ideas online, to ask friends and peers, or even go straight to your teacher. These avenues may be just what you need to stir up your imagination enough to come up with the perfect topic.
Researching for Your Research Paper Writing
Research is an essential part of writing an essay that can be viewed as academic whether in the subject of English, science, history, or any other area. You cannot just sit down and start writing without having any facts or details to back up what you have come up with. There are several different avenues to look at. Even though it is easy to just sit down at the computer and look for all your information there, remember there are other ways to get sources. Think about these areas when doing your research:
- Magazines and Journal articles
- Discussion groups
- Academic or public libraries
- Online resources
After finding a few quality research sources, don’t stop. You want to have at least five credible different articles, books, online resources, and other selections to include somewhere within your research paper. If you only include one or two, it isn’t going to appear very researched, and the teacher is likely to score you lower because of your lack of doing the required research.
When you are looking for research in a library, online, or anywhere else, don’t be afraid to ask for help and alter your search methods. If something isn’t working, you have to switch it up a bit. This is the only way you are going to come up with the evidence you need to support your topic. After locating a really good book on the topic, look in the back at the bibliography. You may be able to find some good research sources that you can use for writing your research paper there too.
Preparing for Writing Your Research Paper Outline
The first step to writing an effective outline for your research paper is organizing all of your actual research. If you have found good sources online, print off the pages that you plan to use. Make sure you gather all of the necessary information so that you can adequately source the evidence in your own bibliography. While you are gathering the details for your reference page, go ahead and make a rough draft of it. This will keep you from having to scramble at the end to ensure you have included all of your works cited.
After you have done this thoroughly, start putting it all in order. Decide where you want to put what in your paper. By doing it up front, you will have a base from where to start your writing. You will also be able to create a logical flow in what you are trying to say. If you can write certain points on notecards, that’s a great way to be able to move ideas around while having a visual of where they are going to land in your research paper before you even start writing.
Think about who your audience is going to be before you start writing your research paper outline. This is going to make a big difference on what angle you take your topic. You are going to want to include different main points when relaying your message to an expert in the field you are discussing versus talking to your peer who has no prior knowledge of the idea.
Know What the Goal of Your Research Paper Writing Is
There are different kinds of research papers that may be assigned throughout your academic career. It is up to you to identify what kind of paper you are supposed to be writing. Take a look at what may be expected, and put yours in the property category:
- Argumentative – where you clearly have to state your opinion on the topic that you have chosen.
- Analytical – when you only have to analyze and describe the topic that was either given to you or that you decide on.
Start Writing Your Outline for Your Research Paper
Your next step is going to be actually writing your outline. You want to start by picking out all of your main points. Decide what ideas you can write the most on, and make those your main ideas. Put them in order from most important to least important. You want to start off as strong as possible and leave the less essential facts as secondary support.
After you have all your main points in order, you can start categorizing your subtopics and placing those in the proper spots. Make sure that you know what kind of paper you are writing in terms of format. Guidelines can be different depending on what is being asked for. For example, an APA style paper would look something like this:
- Main point
- Sub point
- Main point
- Sub point
- Main point
- Sub point
- Main point
It is significant when you are jotting down all of your main points and ideas to include a notation of where your reference is for that point. You can use whatever method works for you, just don’t leave this step out. It will save you a great deal of time scrambling around at the end trying to figure out where you got your information from.
Start Writing Your Research Paper
Now comes the big part, writing your research paper. Make sure that you have a definite opinion formed or thesis of where your paper is going to go. You can start by writing this part of the paper first. Then, move on to your main points. This is the largest part of your paper, and you want to support everything you say with evidence and facts. Your main points may be more than one paragraph; it just depends on how much you have to say about that certain area. Any sub points that you have should be included only after the main idea has been clearly stated.
When you are moving from one idea to the next, make the writing flow in a way that is easy to follow. If you stop too abruptly, it can be confusing to the reader that is receiving the message. It also doesn’t make for a professional read.
After you are done with all your main points, you can start working on writing your conclusion. This is where you can reinstate your thesis, main ideas, and give the reader a feeling of closure. You want your reader to feel as though they have learned something that they can take away after reading your research paper writing. It may seem a bit backwards, but it is recommended to write your conclusion prior to writing the introduction. You want to use strong points and language in the writing of the conclusion so that you can leave a lasting impression. What is written at the beginning is likely to be forgotten by the time the reader reaches the conclusion.
To finish off writing the entirety of the paper, write the introduction last. You can, in essence, take the conclusion and re-word it to explain what the topic is, what you plan to explain throughout the paper, and what your point of view is that you are going to be supporting with evidence.
Now, go through your entire research paper writing and make all the necessary notations so that you aren’t accused of trying to plagiarize any of the information you have included. The way your notations are made is going to depend on the style. There are different ways to cite for MLA, APA, and Chicago formatting. Once that is done, your rough draft writing is complete.
You finally have the writing of your paper, but you aren’t quite done. There are strong chances that you have left important details out, made spelling and grammar mistakes, or forget certain formatting or citation aspects. Step away from the paper for a bit so that when you come back to do the editing, you have a fresh mind. You will be able to pick up more mistakes this way. Go through every part of your paper making corrections.
Now, take everything you have, and complete writing your final draft. This is what is going to be handed in, so you want to make sure that it is absolutely perfect. Don’t forget to include your bibliography in the end.
Research Paper Writing by Professionals
There may come a time when you just don’t have the ability to complete the writing of a research paper on your own. There are professional writing companies that will do the job for you for a price. Instead of taking a zero on your paper, explore this option to see what can be done to get you a paper you can hand in with confidence.