The words “research paper” make nearly every academic anxious. We can help with that. In this article, we break down the steps to writing a research paper.
Dig into the Research Process
The research process is a vital first step in writing a research paper. It involves gathering and evaluating resource materials, such as:
- Online encyclopaedias
- Google Scholar
- Government publications and reports
Make sure to take notes as you read and review the information you find. And keep a record of your references, as you will need to cite them when creating your bibliography.
Organize Before You Begin Writing
Your research will yield tons of ideas, which you should first arrange before starting to write. When you fail to organize your presentation first, your paper will lack focus. Not to mention, the editing process will take longer as you try to make sense of your confused ideas.
A thesis statement summarizes the main point of your essay and gives a preview of your supporting arguments. Most authors place the thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. And although not a requirement, consider writing your thesis statement in the organizing stage.
The thesis statement should also match the type of paper you’re writing. The main categories being analytical, expository, or argumentative. Moreover, your research paper will be less likely to end up jumbled and with an unclear purpose if you take time to write your thesis statement.
An outline helps you organize your thoughts before beginning the writing process. Once you have prepared an effective thesis statement, think about the main points that will help support that statement. These points will serve as your sub-headings, and under each is where you’ll organize your ideas and information.
Writing the Research Paper
Having created a thesis statement and organized your presentation with an outline, you’ll have a clear direction on how to proceed with the writing process. Do not write on any information that doesn’t fall within the structure of your outline or directly support your thesis statement.
Here are the best components of a research paper:
- The introduction
The introduction section is where you’ll present the background and context for the rest of the research paper. Craft an engaging opening statement, then explain the purpose of your paper and how you plan to approach the topic. Then conclude the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement.
In a nutshell, the introduction answers the following questions:
- What is this?
- Why am I reading it?
- What do you want me to do?
To answer the above questions, set the context, state why the main idea is crucial, and state your thesis/claim.
- The Body
The outline you previously prepared will come in handy when writing the body of your research paper. Remember to stay focused on your thesis statement and validating your points. Find supporting arguments for each point you make, starting with the least strong to the strongest.
Most research papers end with a reworded thesis statement. Briefly summarize the points you made in the body, explaining why you believe they support your case. If your research is inconclusive, take time to point out why you believe further research is needed.
Ensure to invest time in revising and editing your research paper’s first draft. A keen edit coupled with thorough research and thoughtful organization and presentation will result in a winning research paper.