How to write a research paper
This is a form of academic writing that involves research, analysis and interpretation of information by an individual and the consequent presentation of such information in a term paper, thesis or dissertation. A research paper consists of several sections namely; Cover page, title page, abstract, table of contents, body, findings, analysis and discussion, conclusion, bibliography and appendix. These sections differ with each type of research paper but they provide the guideline to the general outline of your work.
Steps to writing a research paper
- Research topic identification
Identify your topic of research. It can be a topic you are interested in, an emerging issue of concern, where you believe to have an existing gap or a topic related to your current study or work. Be flexible in identifying your topic and avoid discussing over-researched topics or very recent topics that lack background information to base your research on. On top of that, write on a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow; your topic should be such that you fully address its issues without repetition.
A research paper is written in a format based on the author’s choice or as directed by the professor. The commonly used formats are APA and MLA format. Only one format can be used in a paper. Certify that you follow the format requirements to the latter by downloading a guideline. The format may require the use of headers, footers, specific spacing and font requirements, title page format and so on.
- Find information and develop a title
The topic doesn't necessarily mean you have a title to your work. Research on the topic identified using credible sources such as books, articles and other publications. This will provide you with the baseline information needed to fully understand your topic and guide you in developing a title. Ensure to develop an interesting title to captivate your audience and encourage their further interest in what you have to say.
- Conduct further research on your title
This research is more critical and guided as you have already developed your title. The research is within the scope of your paper and is guided by keywords you have generated while doing background for information. If you find that you are beyond the expected number of pages for your paper based on information acquired you may narrow down your scope by changing the title and vice versa.
- Develop a proper thesis statement
A thesis statement presents the actual scientific problem that you seek to address. In addition, it acts as a guide as you write your paper. Lastly, it not only presents the problem but also your position in relation to the problem
- Make an outline for your work
An outline is where the author notes down their key points and arranges them in an order in which they seek to address. When arranging it is vital to make certain that each point builds up to the next. This provides flow to your work and promotes a reader's understanding of your work.
- Write down the first draft
Do not expect perfection from your first draft. It acts as a tool for measuring how good and authentic your research, analysis and interpretation is. The first draft allows you to identify errors in your flow of work you would have otherwise missed.
The draft should follow the research paper format and involve in cite quotations where necessary. Additionally, the draft should also include a bibliography that outlines your sources.
- Revise your work
This involves the draft and the outline. Guarantee that your work presentation is done in a logical sequence. Errors identified in your draft are corrected. Moreover, revision safeguards that the body conforms to the outline presented.
- Type final paper and edit mistakes identified from your revision
Ultimately, avoid generalizations, ambiguity, plagiarism and exceeding word limits.