Imagine 30% of your final grades are based on your research paper, and you are just staring at your blank page because you have no idea where to take a start. Research paper, no doubt, is the most challenging task in a student’s life, which demands proficient writing skills. A research paper is a way of expressing one’s genuine research on a specific topic, supported by the qualitative and the quantitative results of different experiments and analysis. It may look complicated and intimidating at the start but, an organised and pre-planned start can make it work in the end. You have to follow this simple guideline to write an effective research paper. Use the following chain, start with a positive outlook, go along with a meaningful objective and end with a successful piece of work.
Types of Research
There are several types of research papers; each of them requires a different pattern to follow. Some of them are listed below
Analytical Research Paper
In this type of paper, you describe a problem statement and then accumulate your data based on other researcher’s point of view. Analyse the acquired data and make a neutral opinion on the posed question.
Persuasive Research Paper
In this type, the researcher presents both sides of the coin and tries to persuade readers on his point of view. It should be done with proper quantitative data and logical arguments rather than personal emotions and opinions.
Compare and Contrast Research Paper:
Sufficiently describe two points of different researchers and make a comparison between both arguments. Write the conclusion in support of any one of them.
Interpretative Research Paper:
In the interpretative Research paper, the writer presents his opinions after studying thoroughly and provides logical data in favour of his statement.
Cause and Effect Research Paper:
It is also known as an explanatory research type that investigates the causes of a phenomenon and its effects and their relationship with each other. For instance, “If Harry works hard at his job, he might get a raise in his salary”.
Experimental Research Paper:
It explains an experiment, its outcomes, and analysis of the gained output. Most of the time, experimental research papers are scientific. For example, conducting an experiment to learn the causes of disease and conclude solutions and preventions for the issue.
Survey Research Paper:
This paper presents the collected data from a specific survey and quantitative analysis of the collected information. Conduct a survey using different modes like online questionnaires, phones, and face-to-face surveys and draw results in the form of graphs and tables.
Steps to writing a Research paper:
Here are specific steps that will help you on your way to writing your research paper. Search for your topic read through authentic sources, write down your research statement, design an outline and create your draft. Yes, your paper is ready. Proofread and submit it to your concerned supervisor.
Step 1: what should be the topic of my research?
Identify the type of research:
Here comes the first important step to initiate your research. Make yourself familiar with your research type. Most of the time, the teacher explains the aim of your research like it should highlight the causes and the consequences of a particular phenomenon or compare and contrast the results of an experiment. Try to stick with your given plan and avoid inappropriate topics. For instance, your teacher asks you to explain the causes and consequences of a particular situation. Your task is to describe the range of expected results from a specific action and the reasons behind that action.
Choose the topic of your interest:
If you are not provided with a suggestion about your research, go with your interest and pick on your own. The problem can be a general situation in your daily life. You have to think about it in a researchable manner. Like Newton and his famous apple tree story that leads to the introduction of gravitational force. Other than these daily life situations, you can do extensive research in your field of interest.
Squeeze down your topic:
Try to narrow down your question to a specific issue. If you start working on a broader term, it will be hard to tackle, and by including all the aspects of your topic, your research paper will look like a general review paper. Also, it is hard to defend a broader term as compared to a narrow subject. For instance, if you chose “online video games” try to squeeze it to” Impact of video games on teenagers” or something like that.
Search for authentic sources:
If you are writing for your school assignment, go through with your textbook references first. Then scroll through online sources, books, and articles related to your topic and gather all relevant data according to your research topic. Always check the authenticity of your online sources before taking any information from them. Also, check the dates of your source articles and make sure your data is up-to-date.
Evaluate the amount of work that has already done on your topic and analyse other researchers’ points of view. Look for the gap that you can fill with your research.
The audience of your content:
Who will be reading your paper? Who is the targeted population of your content? It will help you in gathering relevant information and data on your topic. Try to be specific in your search that is understandable for your audience. For example, if you are writing a paper for a general audience, try to avoid technical terms and use inclusive language that is easy for your audience.
Keep track of your sources:
Most probably, you have to do the referencing at the end of your research paper. So, list down your sources in the assigned format and organise them accordingly.
After learning more about your topic, build up a concise and precise problem statement. This statement is not just an opinion or an accepted fact. Instead, it is a defendable claim from your side. This is the basis of your entire framework, that will guide your research and help you to concentrate on your subject. For instance, “Player’s unknown battle ground-field mobile, online video game, is officially banned in different countries because of its dangerous consequences on teenagers”.
Step 2: Create a draft of your Research Paper:
Outline your framework:
Write down a raw outline using disperse ideas in your mind. Start with the introduction of your paper. Write down the problem statement (thesis), and briefly explain key points of your evidence that will support your argument. Then write down your main body and later conclusion. This is the basic framework of your research paper. Now you need to fill in the details under each heading and try to use relevant data only.
Introduction to your paper:
Use a catchy line to draw the attention of your audience and to introduce your topic with your readers. Then write your problem statement (thesis) to present your argument that you will be defending in this paper and add a general overview of the facts and logic that you will use in your research to support your statement.
For instance, the catchy line could be, “In this modern era of technology, not a single person is unaware of video games.” Or something like this.
Body paragraphs of your paper:
Create a background for your readers first. Then shoot your arguments. Make sure your explanation is in a flow. Like the output of one idea must be an input of another. That will help the readers to understand your research and the information you are trying to convey with this paper. For instance, if you are explaining the cons of a particular video game, talk about that video game first. Then its revenue and effects etc.
Try to retain your track and stay focused on your thesis. This is the variable section of your research paper. You can add and remove data in this division till the end of your submission date. Add your evidence in detail and explain each logic adequately. Defend your main idea and write all the relevant arguments in support of your central theme.
Try to be precise in your explanation. Avoid unnecessary drag of your argument. Try to be confined in your assignment; explain your idea in a minimum amount of words with clear meaning. Ask your teacher for the length of your assignment and if you are not given any limitations, go for 4 to 5 paragraphs.
Explain from another perspective:
Write another argument that will be opposite to your defined idea. It will work in your favour as the opposing argument will strengthen your statement. Elaborate the opposing argument after writing your evidence, and explain why your idea and evidence is more accurate than the opposite one. Use a strong counterargument that will be efficient enough to make a fair comparison and use logical reasons to justify your point. For instance, if you are presenting the benefits of salt in your toothpaste then show the cons of toothpaste that lack salt in it.
Conclusion of your paper:
Mostly writers conclude their paper by rewriting their problem statement. It can be done but, try to avoid repetition by copying the statement as it is in conclusion. Rephrase your main idea and write a summary of the whole scenario. You can write some suggestions after your thorough research that what measures can be taken to avoid the effects of individual activities or what will be the future of this issue? What upgrades can be made further? Moreover, what can we do to eliminate the issues at an individual’s level, etc?
Step 3: Revision is a critical element of research writing:
No one is perfect with their work no matter how talented and over-achiever they are. There is always a possibility of a mistake. So, to avoid these mistakes and make a good impression on your readers always revise your research paper two to three times. You can make changings in your content, your word formation, sentence structure and order of your explanations. Make sure your content is coherent and linked to each other. Don’t jump from one perception to another. Start with the basics and continue at a nice pace.
Now, look for incomplete sentences, grammatical mistakes, punctuation mistakes, better vocabulary, and spelling mistakes. Edit your paper according to the requirements. Read your paper again and again and find out your mistakes. Make sure you have used active voice in your sentences. Remove unnecessary data. Ask your friends and family members to review your article and give suggestions about your paper. Ask them to evaluate your thesis and the arguments you provide and take their feedback. It will help you to improve your writing skills and give you a better understanding of your work.
Proofread your paper and highlight all issues, including typos. Read it out loud and focus on your content. Is it making sense? Are my paragraphs connected? Answer these questions and take a print of your research paper.
Writing a research paper is as essential as conducting a research. If a person does his research and does not write a paper, he will not be able to share his knowledge with the rest of the world. Writing a research paper is undoubtedly hard to do, but it can be done with these simple steps. Search thoroughly and use help from scholarly articles, government sites and magazines, and published articles. Staying organised at the start is the primary key to research writing because it will be hard to keep track of unorganised data and gather all disperse information to write a sensible research paper. It will result in the neutrality of researchers, and they find it hard to complete it efficiently. Always try to complete your paper days before the submission date so, you can revise your paper with a fresh mind each time and make changings in it accordingly. To be a proficient writer, keep writing and practicing because practice makes a man perfect.