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Every college student has to write a research paper at least once during his/her college life. In most colleges, it is mandatory to submit a research paper before getting graduated. But not all of us are practiced writing this before. So what to do? How can we approach this difficult task? This blog will explain how to write a research paper effectively step by step.
Research papers are more similar to academic essays that say about your understanding of a particular topic, depending on a variety of sources as references. It depicts what is your contribution to the research and how you are supporting a debate or an issue.
Here is a step-by-step guide that helps you in writing an effective research paper.
Understand your assignment
Before choosing any topic first, you have to understand the assignment or the research work completely. This is the most essential step that helps you get good scores. Without having a clear understanding of your work, it is very difficult to proceed with writing. Read the instructions given to you in the assignment or ask your teacher/ professor for instructions.
Be clear with what they expect from you through this assignment or research. After understanding the assignment clearly, take notes and highlight what is important. Because you can choose a topic only after getting a clear understanding. Don’t skip this step, because it is going to lay a foundation for writing an impressive research paper.
Choose a topic
It is time to choose what you are going to work with and produce a research paper out of it. You can choose a topic you are interested in. You will not get bored when you work with your favorite or an interesting topic. But not all the time, your interests match with the assignment.
In that case, you can get help from your teachers or friends to choose a topic. This gives you an opportunity to learn something new throughout the research. Choose a topic, see whether it matches with the guidelines provided. If not, choose another one, since it is important to choose a topic relevant to the assignment given.
Don’t choose a topic that is more general. Then you will have so many things to research about. Narrow your topic as much as possible, so that you can work into that topic deeply.
Start your Research!
You understood your assignment, you have your topic ready, then what’s next? Research! This is the most important step to focus on properly. If you want to write an effective research paper, you have to do your research effectively. The three important steps to follow while researching are i. Scan ii. Find resources and iii. Use the information.
To begin with, you have to skim all the information you have noted down. You have to look into all the instructions provided. You are not required to read every line but you have to know what you are going to research. Understand what your topic is about and let’s start digging the resources!
The resources play a major role in research. You have to find the most reliable resources for your research. Wikipedia can be a good resource to start with, but it is not the only one to completely depend on. Instead of using general sources, it is always better to use academic or credible sources such as
- Google Scholar
- Government websites and publications
- Online encyclopedias
- Scientific studies and more.
Use these types of resources for reference, and take notes while you read them.
Use the information provided in the resources properly and cross-check if they are true. Since you have to use precise and accurate information on your research paper, be specific and true about them. Don’t forget to maintain the track of resources you used for the research.
So you have collected all the information to draft your paper. How to effectively put them in order? This is the step for it. You would have collected information from numerous resources. Organize them all and decide how to write them in order.
Organize the information according to your teacher’s guidelines if provided. Otherwise, organize them according to your convenience or in a way that makes your paper look neat.
This step helps in having the essential information and to declutter the irrelevant ones. You can easily find out the unnecessary information that is irrelevant to your topic and eliminate them while organizing. Organizing the information will guide you on how to write the research paper effectively.
The topic is ready, sources are ready, now what? You have to prepare a thesis statement. The thesis statement says about your entire paper in just 2 to 3 lines. So be careful while writing it. The thesis statement articulates your argument or opinion about the topic you have chosen.
Be more specific while writing a thesis, rather than generally mentioning a fact. Writing a thesis statement forms the basis for your research paper. The thesis statement depends on the type of research paper you write: analytical, argumentative, survey paper, and more.
Take more time in writing the thesis statement. Because it is the one that gives a short intro to your entire paper with few lines.
An outline is essential, as it gives you a blueprint for your paper. This step helps to provide a structure to your paper. Think about what information you are going to communicate through this paper. Decide how to point them in order.
Generally, a research paper contains many segments. Decide what are all the sections your paper is going to have. For example, some paper will require more tables and some will require more pictures. This is what structuring means; having a sequence of what your paper is going to present.
Write your paper
This step where you will find a boost up to work. Because you are finally going to write your paper now! It is time to write your paper without any difficulties since you have all the information, sources, and even the thesis statement ready.
The entire research paper contains only three major segments. They are the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Each segment should be drafted carefully and engagingly. Below are some tips that would tell how to write research paper segments.
Time to edit
Congrats! You are done writing your paper! Here is a simple step to check whether your paper is perfect. Editing should be done in two ways: Content editing and grammar editing.
Scan your paper entirely and look at whether the structure, sentences, wording are correct and concise. Check whether the statements are clearly understandable. Shorten the lengthy sentences and make the necessary corrections like this.
The structure of your paper is perfect now. Then what about the grammar? Check for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. You can rely on online tools for checking your document and correcting grammatical mistakes if any.
Re-read your paper
This is the step where you are going to read your paper from a reader’s perspective. Check whether your paper is easily readable and understandable. Look at whether the flow is maintained right from the starting till the end. You will get to notice so many things when you are reading your paper from the first to the last page. It is the final step where you can correct the errors if any.
Read the instructions provided again and see whether all the requirements are fulfilled in your paper. Everything is done? Then what’s more? Submit your research paper before the deadline with the hope of getting higher grades!
In this blog, we have seen how to write a research paper step by step. Follow the steps properly and you will never be afraid to write a research paper in the future.
Frequently asked questions
- What is the format of a research paper?
You can use a standard font style and size such as Arial or Times New Roman at 10 to 12 pts or you can follow the standards provided by the APA, MLA, or Chicago format.
- How do I start writing a research paper?
- Understand your assignment
- Choose a topic
- Start your research
- Develop a thesis statement
- Create an outline and
- How do I find a topic?
- Go through your assignment
- Check for any recent news on the subject
- Ask friends or teachers for help
- Delve deep into your interests.