Research Writing

An Essential Guideline on How to Write a Research Paper

Research Paper Definition

A research paper is an academic writing assignment. It requires a student to gather information about a topic, directly answer a research question, and support the answer with evidence in a predefined format.How to write a research paper


Research Paper Format

All research papers follow the following basic format:

  1. Title page
  2. Introduction
  3. body
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Lengthy research papers often follow a more extensive format, as follows:

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Methodology
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Limitations
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. References
  10. Tables and figures

Note that the above structure useful only for lengthy research papers. Short research papers may include only three sections: an introduction, body section, and a conclusion. Always follow your instructor’s guidelines.

The introduction of a research paper tells readers what to expect. It includes a compelling opening to draw in the reader, a summary of the ideas that the paper presents, and a thesis statement that puts forward the main point of the paper. The body is where you flesh out your ideas using concrete evidence, and the conclusion wraps up the research paper.

How to Start a Research Paper?

Choose an interesting topic that challenges you. A topic you like will keep you motivated and inspire an attitude that drives you to invest the required time and energy into your research. Make sure your research topic is laser-focused. Let your teacher approve it before you begin your research. Carefully read your assignment sheet and ask your instructor to explain anything that’s not clear. Avoid extremely specialized or technical topics. Instead, give preference to manageable topics that have a wide range of source materials.

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

Introduce the topic to your reader with an intriguing opener and give them a background on the paper. Tell the reader how you did your research and the rationale behind it. Show the importance of your research. Finally, state your hypothesis.

How to Write a Research Paper Outline?

Your research will generate several ideas, which you need to present them in a well-organized format. A good outline keeps your research paper focused and ensures you don’t have to do multiple revisions down the line. It’s best to create the outline after you finalize the thesis for the research paper. The outline serves as the roadmap for the entire paper.

Start by coming up with the main points to support your thesis statement. These points can be the subheadings in the body of the research paper. Prepare notes that you will use to flesh out your points into paragraphs under each subheading. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that puts forward a single idea. Follow it with supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence and cite credible academic sources. Your paragraphs should include only information that fits into your research paper outline.

How to Write an APA Research Paper?

Introduce your subject matter and main ideas in the opening paragraph. Give the reader some background on the research topic. Conclude your introduction with your thesis statement, which presents the main point for which the research paper makes a case.

Present the evidence for your thesis in the body of your research paper. The type of evidence varies depending on the type of research paper you’re writing. For example, argumentative essays require research whereas personal essays can rely on the personal experiences of the author.

The order of points in the body of the research paper should be logical. For instance, the chronological order works well with historical essays. For argumentative essays, you can make them emphatic by presenting the least important points first and building up to the most essential ones.

Don’t shy away from making bold statements in your paper provided you back them up with solid research. Make use of citation tools such as EasyBib and Citation Machine to properly cite your sources. Use reliable plagiarism checkers to identify missing or incomplete citations. Your instructor will definitely be checking for plagiarism.

Finally, wrap up your ideas in the conclusion by clearly restating your thesis in different words. A good conclusion leaves the reader with a useful takeaway or something to ponder on.


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