Everything You Need To Know About Research Papers
If you are reading the article, you have probably faced some difficulties with completing a research paper but let me assure you that once you get familiar with the task, you will see how simple it actually is!
Of course, it can’t be compared to a book review or a lab report and requires additional skills and instruments to succeed. Just remember: if you devote enough time to collecting relevant information and learn by heart how to structure a research paper, you will definitely get a high score!
If you are genuinely interested in the subject, have new and fresh ideas – it will be enjoyable to work on the assignment and will keep you motivated in the long run. Just relax and think of yourself as being a Sherlock in academic life… At least for a while!
Format of a Research Paper
Basically, the structure of a research paper is similar to the one of a common essay but is a bit more difficult. In this article, you will not only get familiar with the format of the task but will also learn about different hooks and examples, which will help you to simplify your life.
A research paper should also consist of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. There should also be a title, list of references and additional content if necessary. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, when it comes to practice, the majority of students are anxious and don’t know where to start.
The main goal of this article is to help you with understanding what a research paper is and how to write it with ease. Here are the main principles of completing a research paper:
- Your paper should always have a title;
- Plan your work beforehand, as it makes half of your future success. With a coherent plan it will be much easier to write the paper;
- Stick to a single writing style. Remember that your research paper should consist of clear and simple sentences, which explain the topic to people, who may have no idea about the subject you are discussing;
- Familiarize readers with your main ideas and subject in the introductory section. Explain the audience what you are going to discuss in body paragraphs;
- Body paragraphs should consist of credible information, references, examples, and quotations. You should also support your thesis and give an explanation of why your writing is relevant;
- When working on the conclusion, you need to paraphrase your thesis statement. Generalize everything you have discussed in your work and explain the text in common words;
- References and all the additional information should be written after the conclusion;
- Ask your tutor what formatting style to use, as they greatly differ from each other and choosing the wrong style may influence your grade.
Working On The Title
Most of the students think that writing a title page is surely the simplest part of the assignment. However, it is not entirely true, because the title page is the first thing the reader sees, and its quality makes the first impression. If you make it interesting and appealing, it will be much easier to hold the attention of the audience.
Once your first page is completed, don’t hesitate to congratulate yourself with the fact that the beginning is done! Next, you need to write the contents of all the chapters your work includes, and other boring but important organizational moments.
Don’t neglect using auto numeration, as it will greatly save your time. If you are not sure how to do it, just ask Google!
Research Paper Introduction and Conclusion
These sections are the Alpha and Omega of your assignment and are tightly connected to each other. When working on the introduction, you should already think of what your conclusion will consist of. What words will be strong enough for the introduction and which – for the conclusion?
Don’t worry, all of these words will come to you in the writing process, so simply start typing, and you will surely catch the flow!
In the introductory section, you need to introduce the reader to the topic. What is the goal of your research? Why do you want to cover it? What are you willing to share with the audience? However, remain brief and try to make your introduction not longer than two pages.
In this section, you just speak about the basic expectations and plans of the paper — no special information and details.
Your conclusions can be a bit longer. Unlike the introduction, the main goal of the conclusion is to highlight and show the key results of the research. Don’t forget to remain objective and never rewrite your introduction using the same words.
The main part of your work will consist of chapters and their subheadings. The number of chapters depends on the professor’s requirements, so you need to know the recommendations in advance.
However, in some cases, students can write the plan on their own and simply discuss it with the tutor. Sticking to such a plan will help you to remain focused on the key ideas and not to lose the main topic. As it was mentioned above a solid plan makes up a half of your success.
After it you need to gather and analyze information, writing down all the details in your own words and referring the sources. Make sure all information is carefully allocated according to chapters and subheadings to make your work look consistent and smooth.
Formatting of Research Papers
In most of the cases academic assignments should be formatted according to a particular formatting style. Two of the most popular ones are APA and MLA.
APA or American Psychological Association Style is applied to works on social sciences. It is mostly used for research papers, course works, literature analyses, surveys and so on.
MLA or Modern Language Association Style is applied to format references and documentation in humanities.
The main differences between these two styles include:
- MLA doesn’t always require a title page. Everything depends on your tutor’s guidelines;
- In addition, you need to indicate the first and last name of the author, as follows: Last name. First name. Work’s Title. City, State: Publishing. Year;
- Main words of the title are always capitalized, and the whole title is underlined;
- Reference page is called ‘Works cited’;
- When quoting, MLA style uses the author’s last name and page number;
- It is not necessary to use commas if you want to separate material;
- If you are using an APA style, the title page must consist of five main elements: running head, title, your name, name of the university and note of the author (if it is required by your tutor);
- When citing a source, you need to indicate only the last name of its author, while the first name is abbreviated. For example, last name, F. (Year). Work’s Title. City, State: Publishing;
- You need to capitalize only the first words of titles, as well as subheadings. A title is italicized;
- The reference page is called ‘References’;
- When citing, indicate only the author’s last name and date;
- If the numbers of pages are known, you need to write p. or pp.
Repeating and Editing
By now you know almost everything, what is necessary for creating a solid research paper. The only thing I would like to add is that every paper you complete requires editing. Even if you are sure that your draft contains no mistakes, don’t be in a hurry to deliver the assignment without checking it.
Before sending your paper to the professor’s mail or printing the work, make sure it is worth attention of the audience. Every time I completed a college assignment, I spent days reading it over and over again and eventually always found more mistakes. This brought me to understanding that only thorough proofreading is capable of making the assignment close to perfection.
This stage may seem quite boring but it is essential for academic writing. Remember, all of the words and sentences must be suitable, and in place, so there should be no room for boredom and postponing.
Once you notice that every element of your work is on its proper place, you will feel satisfaction and pride. The whole process is quite challenging and complicated, sometimes leading to despair but it is totally worth it, and the moment you are praised with your teacher and given an A, you see that everything was worth it!