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How to Write a Research Paper

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The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Make the first outline tentative. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic.

Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.

BODY — This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion. Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline.

Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis.

This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. Here you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic which is the real purpose of doing a research paper in the first place. You must also be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.

Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words, if possible.

Plagiarism is definitely out of the question. Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page.

Devise your own method to organize your notes. One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e. Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e. This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline. Start with the first topic in your outline. Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e.

Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e. Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline, e. If using a word processor, create meaningful filenames that match your outline codes for easy cut and paste as you type up your final paper, e.

Before you know it, you have a well organized term paper completed exactly as outlined. The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location again.

Delete the symbol once editing is completed. Read your paper for any content errors. Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind.

Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly. Is my thesis statement concise and clear? Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything? Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence? Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing? Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments? Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay?

Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability.

Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence? Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples? Any run-on or unfinished sentences? Any unnecessary or repetitious words? Varying lengths of sentences? Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next? Any spelling or grammatical errors? Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation?

Are all my citations accurate and in correct format? Did I avoid using contractions? Did I use third person as much as possible? Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective? Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader s at the end of the paper? For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr.

Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. The Elements of Style was first published in There is also a particular formatting style you must follow. There are several formatting styles typically used. APA American Psychological Association style is mostly used to cite sources within the field of social sciences.

For most papers, one or two paragraphs will suffice. For really long essays, you may need to expand this. Don't assume your reader already knows the basics of the topic unless it truly is a matter of common knowledge. For example, you probably don't need to explain in your introduction what biology is, but you should define less general terms such as "eukaryote" or "polypeptide chain. Build the body of your essay.

This is the meat of your paper, on which you should place the majority of your focus. The length and detail of your essay will determine the form of its body, but at a minimum this should include any key arguments, any research methods used and results obtained in cases where you performed original research , and your main research findings.

Alternatively, you can consider moving this to the introductory section, but only if your essay is short and only minimal background discussion is needed. This is the part of your paper where organization and structure are most important.

Arrange sections within the body so that they flow logically and the reader is introduced to ideas and sub-topics before they are discussed further. Depending upon the length and detail of your paper, the end of the body might contain a discussion of findings. This kind of section serves to wrap up your main findings but does not explicitly state your conclusions which should come in the final section of the essay. Avoid repetition in the essay body. Keep your writing concise, yet with sufficient detail to address your objective s or research question s.

Cite your references properly. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing a research paper is to fail to properly cite your sources. Passing off someone else's ideas as your own, whether intentional or not, is plagiarism, and it could land you a failing grade or even expulsion from your school.

Take the time to ensure you are citing information the right way by following these guidelines: Always use quotation marks when using exact quotes from another source. If someone already said or wrote the words you are using, you must quote them this way! Place your in-text citation at the end of the quote. To include someone else's ideas in your essay without directly quoting them, you can restate the information in your own words; this is called paraphrasing. Although this does not require quotation marks, it should still be accompanied by an in-text citation.

This section stands apart from the essay body in that it is devoted solely to stating the conclusions you have drawn from your research. Avoid discussing details of your research or presenting results in this section.

You may wish to rephrase your study objective and state how your findings address that goal. You should aim for one or two paragraphs, if possible. Conclusions should directly correspond to research discussed in the essay body. In other words, make sure your conclusions logically connect to the rest of your essay and provide explanations when necessary. If your topic is complex and involves lots of details, you should consider including a brief summary of the main points of your research in your conclusion.

Revisit your thesis or objective. Once you've completed your first draft, you should go back to your introductory paragraph s and evaluate whether your essay accomplishes the stated goals you presented in the beginning. A good essay will thoroughly address any questions or unknowns posed in its introduction. If your conclusions do not logically follow the stated purpose or objective of your essay, then you will need to fix this.

Making changes to the discussion and conclusion sections instead of the introduction often requires a less extensive rewrite.

Doing this also prevents you from removing anything from the beginning of your essay that could accidentally make subsequent portions of your writing seem out of place. It is okay to revise your thesis once you've finished the first draft of your essay! People's views often change once they've done research on a topic. Just make sure you don't end up straying too far from your assigned topic if you do this. You don't necessarily need to wait until you've finished your entire draft to do this step.

In fact, it is a good idea to revisit your thesis regularly as you write. This can save you a lot of time in the end by helping you keep your essay content on track. Construct a "works cited" section. This is a critical element of any research paper, because this is where you give credit to all the sources from which you borrowed information to write your essay.

This is not something that should be left for the end of your writing; rather, you should build your works cited section as you write, adding citations as you reference them in your writing. Computer software such as EndNote is available for making citation organization as easy and quick as possible. You can create a reference library and link it to your document, adding in-text citations as you write; the program creates a formatted works cited section at the end of your document.

Be aware of the formatting requirements of your chosen style guide for works cited sections and in-text citations. Reference library programs like EndNote have hundreds of pre-loaded formats to choose from.

Put finishing touches on your essay. After you have written your essay, there are some final things to take care of to turn your paper into a polished piece of work that your teacher will appreciate. While not all of these have to wait until the essay is fully written, it is a good idea to take care of the important stuff first -- which is the writing, of course!

Create a catchy title. Waiting until you have finished your essay before choosing a title ensures that it will closely match the content of your essay. Research papers don't always take on the shape we expect them to, and it's easier to match your title to your essay than vice-versa.

Read through your paper to identify and rework sentences or paragraphs that are confusing or unclear. Each section of your paper should have a clear focus and purpose; if any of yours seem not to meet these expectations, either rewrite or discard them. Review your works cited section at the end of your essay to ensure that it conforms to the standards of your chosen or assigned style format. You should at least make sure that the style is consistent throughout this section.

Run a spell checker on your entire document to catch any spelling or grammar mistakes you may not have noticed during your read-through. All modern word processing programs include this function. The first draft of your paper should not be the version you turn in to your teacher unless you are really good at editing as you write. It is usually necessary to rewrite or at least reorganize and tidy up a research essay before it can be considered finished.

Give yourself a day or so away from your first draft to get some distance from your project before going back to revise it. Revisions are done to make sure the content and substantive ideas are solid; editing is done to check for spelling and grammar errors. Revisions are arguably a more important part of writing a good paper.

You may want to have a friend, classmate, or family member read your first draft and give you feedback. This can be immensely helpful when trying to decide how to improve upon your first version of the essay.

Except in extreme cases, avoid a complete rewrite of your first draft. This will most likely be counterproductive and will waste a lot of time. Your first draft is probably already pretty good -- it likely just needs some tweaking before it is ready to submit.

How do I write an introduction with a research question and thesis statement? Begin with either an attention-grabbing hook risky, but has larger payoff or a general statement that provides context for the paper less risky and more common.

This should be sentences before you transition into your thesis statement. Transition into and end with your structure statement, which will set up the framework for the topics of your body paragraphs. Not Helpful 0 Helpful For each body paragraph, write down the main topic, and note the specific points you want to mention. Writing down quotes you plan to use is optional.

For the conclusion, write how you plan to revisit your thesis. Not Helpful 2 Helpful 5. First, make sure that you have a side that you plan to take with your thesis. Start with searching things that are very specific to your argument, then gradually broaden your search. Don't leave any stone unturned. Not Helpful 3 Helpful 2. Answer this question Flag as Can I use headings while research essay? Letter to a member of parliament telling him three things your school need most?

Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Quick Summary The best way to write a research essay is to find sources, like specialty books, academic journals, and online encyclopedias, about your topic. Did this summary help you? Tips Avoid use of the word "I" in research essay writing, even when conveying your personal opinion about a subject.

This makes your writing sound biased and narrow in scope. Even if there is a minimum number of paragraphs, always do 3 or 4 more paragraphs more than needed, so you can always get a good grade. Warnings Never plagiarize the work of others! Passing off others' writing as your own can land you in a lot of trouble and is usually grounds for failing an assignment or class.

Article Info Featured Article Categories: Featured Articles Essays In other languages: Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read , times. Did this article help you? Cookies make wikiHow better. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. JM Judy Moss Jun 11, I am a senior as in age 74 , and so much has changed.


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How to Write a Research Paper. What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation.

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HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE RESEARCH PAPER • Getting ready with data • First draft • Structure of a scientific paper • Selecting a journal • Submission • Revision and galley proof Disclaimer: The suggestions and remarks in this presentation are based on personal research experience. Research practices and approaches vary.

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Writing a Research Paper. This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper. Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide. Steps in Writing a Research Paper A series of steps, starting with developing a research question and working thesis, will lead you through writing a research paper. As you move through these steps and actually create the research paper, you may find that you can't move through all of them in chronological order, and that's o.k.

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Writing Research Papers. Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Gene Fowler. A major goal of this course is the development of effective technical writing skills. To help you become an accomplished writer, you will prepare several research papers based upon the studies. May 14,  · The best way to write a research essay is to find sources, like specialty books, academic journals, and online encyclopedias, about your topic. Take notes as you research, and make sure you note which page and book you got your notes from%(29).