Students dread sitting down long hours to research and write papers. However, the education system requires that students complete different term paper or research paper writing tasks as part of course requirements.
The writing process is, therefore, inevitable. Besides, writing perfect papers will earn you a good GPA and equip you for the career world. Be prepared psychologically that before eventually graduating, you will most likely churn a bunch of research papers.
There are conventions that guide writing of every type of paper. And 'Good Lord of Grades' let us agree that the entire process is intensive, especially if you have never done it before. Be easy though, we have your back!
We know how professors/lecturers grade research papers, and we are here to help. Our ultimate guide on how to write a good research paper will transform you to a pro writer. Executing our tested and proven stepwise approach guarantees you a great grade.
Let your research paper be used as a sample of the best research paper in class! Let us get started already.
In this comprehensive writing guide, we will walk you through the entire process of writing a kickass, effective, outstanding, and gradable research paper. After all, everybody is after the excellent grades for research papers.
Our guide is dedicated to students who want to revamp their grades by learning how to write strong research papers. Luckily enough, we have a checklist to ensure that you have written a good paper.
The article is also meant for professionals who seek to refresh their minds on how to write the best research papers. Mostly, this information benefits millions of people, both students, and professionals. Our delight is to see you prosper in high school, college, and university level academic writing.
Before learning how to write a research paper, let us delve into the definition of a research paper. Getting the research paper definition is another critical aspect in developing a good paper.
Well, a research paper is simply a form of academic writing that succeeds through thorough and in-depth research by the author on a specific topic, analysis of data, and interpretation of the findings of the research.
A research paper can be a term paper, a master's level thesis, or a doctoral-level dissertation. A well-written research paper is meant to:
Although writing a research paper can be intimidating, if you grasp the rigor and conventions of academia, it becomes as easy as licking ice cream. We know it contributes to quite a huge chunk of your final grade and your diligent professor cannot just give grade where there are no efforts.
In the rubric, every student craves to write a paper that will earn him or her a distinction or excellent grade. Only a good research paper does such, and it takes mastery and patience.
Remember, a research paper is a scientific paper that has an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Besides, it must have an original, brief, and clear thesis of the research.
Within the body, every argument, claim, or stance has to be supported by facts and must connect to the thesis statement. So how then does one write a paper worth good grades?
Considering the different sections of a research paper, here are the specific steps required to write a top-grade research paper.
One mistake students do from the onset is to fail to consider the prompts and rubric from class. However, being that we are professional research paper writers, we will always insist on either or both to give you customized writing services.
It is important to go through the research paper instructions religiously before you commence the research process. If you skip this step, unfortunately as many students do, you might end up with low grades on the papers you write.
Allocate the greatest time to going over the requirements of the assignment or homework. It sets you at the same level of understanding as your professor or teacher and is a great way to attain the full grades.
While reading, take notes or use color schemes to highlight the most important points of the assignment. Find out whether there are specific topics given for you to choose or you are to develop a topic you deem fit. In case of any issues, schedule appointments, call or email for clarification from your professor.
For this assignment, you will write a 1,200:1,500-word Research Paper that traces the evolution of one theme (such as an aspect of religion, society, class, childhood, etc.) over two consecutive literary periods (Neoclassical, Romantic, Victorian, and Modern) by focusing on a comparison of two works, one from each period. The author(s) and work(s) must be selected from those listed on the Course Schedule. Other works from the course may be mentioned, but they must not be the focus. Examine how this theme is treated differently in these two works and connect these observations to an argument about the period's reaction to (or against) the previous period.
Writing a research paper can flow. Unfortunately, without choosing the best research paper topic, you can find the entire process repetitive, monotonous, and stressful.
Getting a great topic, like settling for the best business research topic for instance, you can set the tone and attitude from the word go. Besides, when you have the research topic ready, you cannot be bothered by how to start a research paper. It helps you build enthusiasm to put yourself in the research status.
When selecting a research paper topic, students can have problems developing concepts. It is critical to rake your mind and brainstorm about the research topic you want to use.
Even though the topic is contingent on the course you are pursuing, it is important to go for narrow topics.
Mostly, we recommend that you choose a narrow topic related to the subject of study. It should also be an interesting research topic and one that has information. Always consider the topic that you are passionate about.
A good approach is to list the research paper topics you have identified. Afterward, eliminate the ones you feel are not fit for your research paper. Hitherto, you should be able to narrow down to a specific research topic.
Therefore, to compose a good research paper, choose a topic that:
So, now that you have the topic, the next step is to research and get insights and evidence about it. Scholars generate millions of content published either online or offline. Depending on your choice, you can either do offline or online research. The latter is preferable due to the availability of volumes upon volumes of information.
When researching for your paper, you are on an important fact-finding mission. Rubber only meets the road when there is a purpose. Yes, there is one here!
Here is where iron and iron sharpen each other. You can only ace your research papers through proper research. How do you research before writing your research paper? Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to conduct your research:
Note: you can use Magazines such as the New York Times, Guardian, CNBC, Atlantic, etc, when researching for a topic that is trending. Mostly, journalists have a way of going in-depth to get credible stories, but beware of fake news.
When gathering the sources to use in your research, you can organize the full bibliographic information, including URLs, names of authors, titles, publisher, journals, DOI numbers, page numbers, and publication date, among others.
There are online websites such as Citefast or Citethisforme.com, or BibMe that can help you organize the sources and cite information as you write.
These resources can help you organize the bibliography, works cited, or reference pages for your Chicago, MLA, and APA/Harvard research papers, respectively.
Primary sources are reliable given that they are based on first-hand research.
They include speeches, transcripts of interviews, official reports, movies, film encyclopedia, personal journals, legal documents, academic articles, e-books, books, surveys, government publications, and periodicals.
On the other hand, secondary sources are based on primary sources.
They include books, newspaper articles, reports, reviews, movie reviews, book reviews, and magazine articles, etc. Still stuck on how to write a research paper we can help. You can always access research paper examples in APA from our website.
Here are some hacks in finding credible/scholarly resources
Related: how to find free books online.
Every great research paper writer understands the power of making a thesis statement. It helps provide a snippet of what to expect in the entire paper.
The introduction portion of any academic writing always features a thesis statement. The thesis statements are necessary in the introductory paragraphs of research papers.
A thesis statement comes in the last part of the opening paragraph. Moreover, it can be a sentence or two.
Developing a persuasive thesis statement shows your authority in academic writing.
It is important that you research your research paper topic to gain insights. The thesis is the main idea or the central point in the research paper. Besides, all the arguments in the research paper are based on the thesis. When writing a thesis statement, you should be open-minded, engage critical thinking and reasoning, and write a thesis statement that is comprehensive yet not bluff.
Since the research paper thesis statement is a declaration of your perspective, you should defend it through the entire research paper. Every topic statement, facts, and concluding sentence must trace back to the thesis.
The process comes after researching and internalizing the gist of the academic paper, and it hugely determines the scope of the research paper. It reflects the essence of the paper and needs to be clear, concise, and compelling.
Once an audience reads your thesis statement, they definitely engage with you as the writer. A professor hooked to your thesis statement is a satisfied one, and that means a good grade.
Avoid the archaic or fuzzy arguments for a thesis statement. Here is what your thesis should do:
A strong thesis works the magic of making your research writing process easier; our research paper helpers always attest to that.
A research paper outline is a blueprint or the skeleton that holds the entire paper.
When it reaches the point where you want to make a research paper outline, you must be keen not to leave out the important components of a research paper.
Here are some tips on how to make an outline.
An outline can help you properly organize and structure your research paper.
A good structure means a good research paper destined for the best grades. In academic writing, professionals always begin by outlining the research papers, term papers, or essays : it is a norm.
Before finally writing an outline, it is imperative that you have a great thesis for your paper. In this sense, you have two powerful tools to help you create the best research paper.
Mainly, the thesis gives you a snapshot of how your paper should look as it is the main idea of the paper.
It is best that you now write an outline. It has bothered many people how to write a research paper outline. However, the outline should encompass:
Your research paper introduction should feature a thesis at the end. It is advisable to have a hooking opening line to attract and keep the readers.
Here is the anatomy of the introduction:
Typically, the body of your paper should not follow the classical essay body format. Instead, it should include subsections such as the Purpose of the study, methodology, findings, and discussion subsections.
The literature review section presents the findings from the literature. As you research, you will identify the research gaps, theoretical frameworks/constructs, theories, and concepts. Usually, it is a standard practice to have peer-reviewed journal articles, textbooks, and scholarly publications as your sources.
Here is how to write a great literature review for your research paper:
Although not in all research papers, if your paper requires the method section, this is where you address the methods, tools, procedures, participants, and the setting of your study. Under this:
This subsection has the results and interpretation of research, respectively. The discussion should also connect the findings to the theoretical concepts/frameworks. Besides, the section must connect to the thesis. In this section:
Finally, the conclusion subsection summarizes the research paper. It is an essential segment, albeit many students give it little attention. It should summarize the major points, including the findings, theoretical and professional relevance, and recommendations.
The infographic below elucidates what to include in a research paper outline.
Sample Research Paper Outline
Title: Examination of mental Health of Veterans
I. Abstract (Identify topic & discuss the purpose of the paper) (200 - 250 words)
III. History of the topic/problem
IV. Target population & how are they identified
V. Current trends/issues (how are problems currently being addressed)
VI. What are the available resources/services for this population?
VII. Evaluation-Implications of all the above (I-VI) on:
VIII. What did you learn (1 paragraph)
X. References - should have a MINIMUM of 10
scholarly, peer reviewed journal articles IN ADDITION TO the use of CREDITABLE web-based resources
Note that not all research papers will have a literature review, methodology, and finding section. Some research papers are like long essays, say 7-15 pages. A good example is the sample presented in the outline above.
After the outline, you can now organize the materials or evidence you have gathers online. At least now, you are able to know what falls where.
You now have the thesis statement, the research topic, and it is only a matter of time for you to put rubber on the road.
It is imperative to analyze your research data and findings critically. Also, try to maintain objectivity such that every content within your research paper connects to the thesis.
Focus on credible scholarly sources and choose your topic sentences judiciously. At the same time, meticulously choose good transition words to knit together your content.
Organize all the opposing viewpoints if they support the thesis statement. At the same time, assess the accuracy and verify every information you deem fit to be incorporated into your write-up.
Use a checklist (provided later in this article) to sieve the best information, which will help you in the process of writing a research paper. If you must include a bibliography with your research paper, create a bibliography that meets the respective formatting style (APA, MLA, or Harvard).
Organize your digital bibliography and use it when planning what falls where in the research paper. Usually, we insist that writing a research paper as you cite eliminates the chances of plagiarism. In addition, it helps you maintain consistency of in-text citations, for instance when writing an APA or Chicago, MLA format research paper.
For this step, you can use note cards or sticky notes if you are not writing them on paper, which most students dread in the computer era.
7. Write the First Draft for your Paper
The hallmark of the research paper writing process begins by filling the outline bit by bit. The outline is like a blueprint, just like a plan to a house, and writing the research paper is akin to slowly building the house.
So, are you wondering how to start a research paper or what to include in the conclusion? Well, you have to begin with the introduction first and here is what to include:
The introduction of your paper will hugely determine your grade. Therefore, when writing any academic task, such as a research paper, the introduction must be a piece of work.
You should interest your reader by choosing a great grabber or hook. To do this, understand the research topic you have selected, the thesis statement, and the background of the problem.
The introduction of your paper should reveal the importance or rationale of the topic. You should also offer a good background to the issue to set the context of the paper. For instance, if you are exploring a societal issue such as discrimination, rape, crime, or mental health, make the reader understand your chosen area of focus.
Now that you have the steps for creating a winning introduction to your research paper, you have to move to the body paragraphs.
The body paragraphs combine to form different sections of the research paper.
The literature review should critically review the available literature on the topic that supports the problem statement or answer the research questions or hypotheses.
The research methodology encompasses the research methods used to obtain data including focus groups, secondary research, survey, interviews, experiments, questionnaires, or mixed research methods. Essentially, the research method chosen aligns with your philosophy as a researcher, the research question, and the methods used in previous related literature.
The results should have the results themselves reported as identified during research. There should also be an analysis section, where the researcher analyzes the findings based on the identified findings. A discussion should then follow, where the researcher expounds on the significance of the findings.
If you have any definitions, abbreviations, and novel concepts, be sure to enlist them in your paragraphs. Your primary and secondary sources should be cited if you get these essential components from them.
Research is a cumulative process that encompasses different steps. As you research, you will have to borrow from available relevant literature to develop a body of knowledge.
The literature review is an essential subsection of a research paper. Mainly, it helps to identify the gaps in research, the limitations of previous studies, and the information concerning your chosen area of interest.
A comprehensive literature review sets the pace for the findings and results section of your paper. Besides, it also helps you to connect back to the thesis and make justifications where necessary.
Whether you are writing a literature review for a research proposal, a dissertation, thesis, or a term paper, they all take the same shape and approach.
You can search using keywords related to your topic from journals and databases such as Google Scholar, JSTOR, EBSCO, Project Muse, EconLit, PsycINFO, CINAHAL, PubMed, Medline, or any other peer-reviewed journal.
You can evaluate the suitability of a source by skimming through the abstract. Another criterion is to evaluate the date of publication. It is standard practice to use sources published within 5-7 years.
While reading each source, you should mark the major points. Most of the PDF readers have the function where you can highlight major points using different colors. Sometimes, you can be asked to write an annotated bibliography before writing a research paper. When that is the case, provide full bibliographic information of the source and a summary of the source.
Remember to cluster your ideas from different sources together to aid in critical writing. Identify the trends, patterns, themes, gaps in research, contradictory views, conflicts, and points of view from the sources.
Majorly, a literature review can be theoretical, thematic, chronological, methodological, or systematic.
In a theoretical literature review, your focus is on the theoretical or conceptual frameworks (definition of concepts, theories, and models).
The methodological literature review evaluates the different research methods used by different authors in their research and finding the most suitable one for the current research.
The thematic literature review focuses on the themes, which are always organized in different subsections.
When writing a chronological literature review, an author could focus on the developments on a topic through time. However, do not fall into the trap of being overly descriptive. Make sure you analyze the patterns, debates, contradictions, conflicts, and matters that shaped the current state.
Finally, a systematic review looks at all the factors discussed above. It focuses on the chronology, methodology, themes, and theoretical constructs of each study.
Your literature review paragraphs should have a topic sentence, background, the pivotal publication, chronology of the topic, a critical evaluation, and the concluding sentence. Again, this varies depending on whether you are writing a dissertation/research paper literature review of a stand-alone/independent literature review.
Whatever the case, make sure that you:
Now that you have slain the dragon, only one thing remains; to declare victory over it. The conclusion is the last of the content of your research paper. Sometimes, it is written as a conclusion and recommendation subsection.
A good research paper can be understood by a glance of the introduction and the conclusion. Here is one secret: most of the professors or instructors focus on the conclusion and introduction when marking.
If written well, systematically, and with precision, a conclusion paragraph should give a snapshot of the entire paper.
So then, how do you conclude a research paper? As visually illustrated in this article, the conclusion should entail:
There you have your rough draft ready. The next step entails now revising what you have written
No one is super special to avoid making mistakes however small. Proofreading and editing your research paper help spot grammar, coherence, and syntax errors. It also enables you to reinforce your word flow and correct the flow of sentences.
Remember, passive writing is almost a grave crime in academic writing. This is a chance to correct anything in the paper for a seamless flow of ideas.
You can choose to use another person to review your paper. It is good to use a friend, classmate, brother or an essay writing service to read your research paper and spot any mistakes. Based on their recommendation make changes as necessary.
Good writing will automatically earn you an audience and probably the best grades. When proofreading the paper, check for Clarity. Your points should communicate clearly without unwarranted mental efforts on the reader. You should also ensure that you have Coherence in your research paper by making ideas flow. This is best achieved through transitional phrases and words. Finally, focus on the Conciseness of your paragraphs. Avoid writing long and ambiguous sentences. Maintain 25 words or less per sentence.
The bible of research paper writing is your rubric or prompt. You should rethink the whole paper and ensure you are consistent with every step required to complete the paper.
A research paper that is devoid of errors scores great marks. Therefore, you have to check spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Also, upload your work to RefWorks to check the alignment and correctness of the in-text citations. These seemingly flimsy mistakes cost students grades.
Analyze the tone, style, and approach of your research paper while assuming the position of the professor/instructor. At such an elevated position, you are likely to spot errors and omissions.
Review all the key points and ascertain that there is a logical flow of ideas. Also, verify if you have adhered to all the instructions.
A research paper has a given format that you have to follow.
Here are some of the formatting requirements
In terms of dimensions, write your paper in a clean 8.5 × 11 white word document in portrait orientation format. Remember to number each page of your paper.
Your paper should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. When indenting, use one tab space that is 0.5 inches or five spaces. In addition, use left justifications for the body and references (which must be in hanging indent).
When writing titles of books, magazines, journals, or newspapers, follow the guidelines of each formatting style (MLA, APA, Harvard, or Chicago)
When editing and proofreading your research paper, here are some of the mistakes to focus on:
Begin reading your paper from beginning to end, at least twice to check whether you have adhered to the research paper writing rules.
Now that you have a checklist of what to include in a research paper, you can submit it and get the best grades. However, since the process can at times be stressful and laborious, you can delegate your research paper writing to experts.
Dictionaries and thesaurus help you write correct English words and find the right vocabularies to use in the papers. Each of the online dictionaries helps you get the best words and synonyms to use in academic writing. You will understand how to maintain a scholarly tone when you use the two. Word program has an inbuilt Thesaurus, where you can search for synonyms. Caution is necessary when choosing words to use in your papers.
Grammar checkers such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, or Ginger help you spot some grammatical mistakes. They are programmed to scan the paper and recommend the most suitable changes.
Plagiarism can cost you a grade and a spot in college/university. These tools help you avoid plagiarism by checking contents that were not well paraphrased or lifted verbatim without citation. Always give credit when you use work from other scholars to avoid the consequences of plagiarism.
Writing in the early age must have been a tiresome undertaking. The advent of citation machines such as Zotero, RefWorks, PaperPile, EndNote, Citethisforme, BibMe, or Mendeley saved the day. You can also use your computer word processor to format the in-text citations and bibliography.
If you are writing a research paper in a hurry, a title page generator can come in handy. The same applies to when you are done with the paper and need a research paper title page that resonates with the formatting style. These tools generate the research paper title pages in APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard styles.
Although not recommended, you can use a conclusion paragraph generator in your first draft. You will feed it with the topic, title, and text to summarize and it will give you a summary. You should either do your conclusion or hire someone to read your paper and write the conclusion. A machine does not do it to the standards.
If you are analyzing the findings from research, you can use tools such as SPSS, STATA, and Microsoft Excel to manipulate and analyze the data. These tools also help in presenting findings in visuals such as charts, tables, and graphs.
MS Word remains widely used software by students. It has many inbuilt features that can be useful. Some of the features include word counter, proofreading tools, and highlighting capabilities to help you highlight areas you need to change later. You can also convert the word document to PDF for printing or submission.
Your professor, instructor, or teacher is always instrumental when writing a research paper. They are the ones that set the instructions and ask you to write essays for what reason they know best. Although students fear them, they appreciate being asked questions, clarifications, and directions regarding an ongoing essay or research papers. When you hit a snug with your research paper, always consult with your professor or instructor. As we stated earlier, also ensure that you consult with them when choosing a research topic. While most students disregard the teacher as a resource, they are the most useful asset when writing academic tasks.
Many colleges and universities have writing centers housed in their libraries. The writing center staff, like librarians, know about writing academic papers. Therefore, they can help you write your research paper, the same way a research assistant would. Find some time and book an appointment with the tutor or instructor who will advise you through the writing process.
When you cannot quite put a point across or you are struggling to interpret the instructions, the writing center staff can come in handy. Mostly, it is a great move to consult the writing center before turning in your paper. Most of the ESL students have benefited from these centers, which has made them submit near-perfect research papers.
Which is the most expensive or beautiful library in the world? Well, people would not invest in libraries if they are not valuable.
Research librarians are vital staff. While you can simply boast of getting online materials and tons of books on your own, do not demean the role of librarians. Research librarians are specialized in research.
Depending on your field of study, you can always access expert help with your topics. They can help you identify the best sources, connect you with experts in your field, and suggest a given direction for your research.
The next time you feel tired writing a paper, ask a research librarian for help.
Yes, you read that right. Even though we always state that Wikipedia is unreliable and unscholarly, it can be a great starting point in understanding your research topic.
It is true that Wikipedia gets edited and citing it is a crime just like Encyclopedia. However, both are excellent grounds when writing research papers. Focus on the reference section of Wikipedia, which is a hidden gem, and you will get excellent journal articles and sources to include at the end of your research paper.
You will access peer-reviewed journal articles, governmental publications, industry publications and you name it. Such sources are an excellent primary source to integrate in your research paper.
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) has raised researchers and great writers. The resource at Purdue University offers a bunch of useful information on how to cite resources, choose a topic, and how to write an A+ research paper for any academic level. The fact that it is free, you only need to use your time as a currency to get the best.
Our guide is simplified, and one of the best research paper writing resources online. With it, you can now create a winning research paper in a few hours. If you were wondering how to write a research paper fast, understanding the process, parts, and guidelines makes you write a research paper faster.
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