How to Start a Research Paper
At least once during the student years every high school or college student has to complete a research paper. Unlike an essay, it can become a real challenge, as it requires not only personal thoughts on the subject but clear information, backed with credible sources and a logical structure. That is probably one of the main reasons why students want to know how to write a research paper.
Unfortunately, there are no classes, which would teach students the main aspects of completing academic assignments, so you will need to be very careful, while conducting the task on your own, as your paper will reflect your knowledge and an ability to analyze a huge volume of information.
Before learning how to start a research paper, it is better to find out the main tips and advices in order to eliminate the most common mistakes:
- Choose proper research paper topics. Make sure other students don’t choose the same subject and always try to stay original. You may ask your professor for help if you are not sure what to write about. Remember, the best way to provide an interesting and catchy paper is to be genuinely involved into the topic;
- Devote enough time to the research. The main goal of the whole assignment is to show your professor how well you can gather and analyze data, so it is always important to spend time at the library and surfing the web to find the best examples, important details and interesting quotes to back your ideas;
- Follow the structure. Unlike essays or reviews, you need to follow the structure of the paper accurately. Download a research paper example online, as it may greatly help you to build a proper structure;
- Use lively language. Despite the fact that it is an academic task and requires a scientific approach, you should try to make the language more vivid and dilute the paper with examples and other details, which will grab interest of the audience.
APA Research Paper Example
APA Research Paper Format
Research Paper Examples
Research Paper Outline Template
Research Paper Samples
Sample APA Research Paper
There are also a few common mistakes, which may greatly lower your overall scores and cause you a few sleepless nights, so you need to be very careful trying to avoid them by all possible means:
- Absence of credible sources. A big mistake is to copy information online without checking its relevance. Use only academic sources, like books, scientific articles and so on;
- Providing a sample research paper instead of original work;
- Wrong formatting. There are usually clear guidelines about what formatting style to use. Your professor may ask you to use apa or mla format research paper style, so pay careful attention to all the requirements.
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Research Paper Examples and Samples
When writing a research paper most students decide to use all the possible means to simplify the assignment and save some time and nerves. That is why they download a research paper outline template or a sample to follow the structure and tailor their own works according to a proper style.
Such examples may greatly contribute to the result and help the student to provide a proper assignment without any additional investments of time and money. However, you need to make sure that you download a sample only at a reputable website, which checks every paper properly. In such a way, you will protect yourself and won’t simply copy someone else’s mistakes.
Research Paper Outline and Format
It is impossible to write a such a task without creating drafts and outlines. That is why you need to pay careful attention to the research paper outline, as it will greatly simplify your future work and make the process of creating an assignment much simpler. The outline may greatly differ depending on your professor’s requirements, so you should first obtain all the guidelines. However, there are a few common rules and a regular structure of a research paper has the following pattern: introduction (thesis statement), body with arguments and conclusions.
If you want your paper to contain all the necessary information, have a clear structure and grab attention of the audience, you will need to follow a clear structure and provide all the necessary details to make sure your paper will be taken seriously. A proper structure consists of such elements, as:
- Title and authors. Use keywords and mark the main aspects of your topic;
- Abstract and table of contents. Help the reader understand the main goals of your research and provide him with relevant information on the structure of your work;
- Methodology, which was used throughout your research;
- Conclusions. Make sure you have marked the key points and goals to convey your ideas to the audience;
- Appendices with charts and images to back your information.
Research paper is quite a challenging task to complete but following a clear and proper structure will help you avoid all possible mistakes and will teach you how to gather and analyze information in a simple and fast way.
Writing a research paper outline is a rather challenging but usual part of student’s life. Every student has to spend a lot of time in order to create a successful well thought out research paper. A research paper has to reflect your position on the topic and persuade the readers in its accuracy and truthfulness. A research paper outline is a helpful point-by-point plan, which makes your research paper writing easier. However, before proceeding to an outline you will have to take some pre-writing steps. They will be helpful in composing the best quality outline and, as a result, a great academic work.
Before writing an research paper outline:
- Select an appropriate topic. Selecting a topic is a crucial factor for a successful research paper. Whether you select a topic yourself or not, it should work to your strengths and not weaknesses. An appropriate topic should be interesting to you and appeal to or provoke readers. As to choosing the best essay topics for your research paper, we have professional writers, who offer personalized help or even essay writing service if you need it.
- State your argument. After selecting a topic, take some time to figure out what kind of argument you want to support. You need to understand why it is important to you and why it might be important to others. Ask yourself – what is the aim of my thesis statement? Can it provoke a meaningful discussion that might change the world? How can I build a research paper on this argument? As soon as you have answers for these questions, you are almost ready to create a good outline for a successful research paper.
- Define the audience. Of course, most of the time only your professor will read a research paper you have created. However, you need to understand readers of your paper. Will the professor support your argument or will he have a counterargument? When defining your audience, you will comprehend what type of language is better to use: will the use of jargon be appropriate or is it better to stick with formal language? The overall style and tone of your research paper depend on the audience it is aimed at.
- Conduct a research. There is no research paper without proper and thorough research. You will have to investigate a lot of resources in order to find effective evidence to support your argument. Firstly, you will have to find general information to support your thesis statement, then you will have to dig deeper. You will have to be aware of any counter arguments and evidence supporting them. This way you will master the topic and comprehend the pitfalls of your thesis statement better.
- Organize references. References are the evidence of each of your arguments and the research you have conducted. You should prioritize them according to the importance and relevance to your thesis statement.
Writing a good research paper outline
When you are finished with pre-writing activities, created a good research paper topic, you are more than ready to make an effective research paper outline. An outline is a basement of your research paper from which you build up the whole paper. Each outline consists of three main parts the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion. For a successful and high-quality research paper, however, the more detailed outline you use the better. The simplest diagram of an outline looks like this:
- Define the audience.
- Thesis statement.
- An argument to support the thesis.
- An argument to support the thesis.
- An argument to support the thesis.
- Summary of arguments.
- Call to action.
A research paper outline: step-by-step guide
The introduction is an important part of every academic work. It determines whether a reader is going to continue with your paper or just give it a rest. An introduction should be intriguing, engaging, and informative, although without giving away too much. There are three main points that make an impressive Introduction:
- Hook. Depending on the overall volume of your research paper, a hook can be from one to five sentences long. This the part that persuades readers to read the paper. A hook should be interesting and provoking – you need your readers to want to read your research paper.
- Define the audience. In your pre-writing activities, you had to define the audience for yourself – you had to understand who would be interested in reading your paper. Here, however, you need to explain to your reader why she or he is your target audience. The Introduction and the whole text, for that matter, should be relatable.
- Thesis statement. Here you state your argument. You make a clear point about what you are going to discuss and why is it important. Your thesis statement should be clear and simple but never dull. You want the readers to read your paper especially after the research you have conducted and materials you have gone through.
The Body is the main part of the research paper outline you are writing. It has no volume limitation, as it is the biggest and main section of the paper. The quantity of paragraphs for this part depends on overall requested volume of the research paper: the more arguments you have to support the bigger Body section there should be.
All the evidence you have found during the research should go here. You state each idea and provide efficient evidence. Do not state something you have no ways of proving! Each statement you give has to be backed up with the proof. Do not forget about valid references and proper citation according to the required paper format.
You can mention counterarguments to your ideas and provide evidence why they are not correct. Opposing facts prove your deep knowledge on the topic and that you have really conducted a thorough research. This will show your commitment to the challenging tasks and create quite an impressive academic reputation.
Do not forget about the style and the tone of your research paper, which you have stated in the introduction. The paper should be consistent from the beginning to the very end. The manner, pattern, and techniques should be the same throughout the paper. However, remember to be creative and use various language techniques to make your paper interesting to read. Take into consideration that there is a high chance that your professor knows everything about the subject. Nonetheless, your paper needs to be addressed to the reader unfamiliar with the topic and the thesis statement of your choice. This again will show your deep knowledge on the matter. Be sure to explain everything clearly without sounding too dull in the process.
The conclusive part of the research paper has to summarize the arguments so the readers digest the main idea and remember it for a long time. The conclusion should not be long but should contain all the important parts to make the whole paper sink into readers’ memory.
- Summary of arguments. In this short section, you again state your strongest arguments. There is no need to provide a deep explanation of your ideas or evidence to each of them. Nonetheless, you will have to give a general overview of the arguments you used in the research paper.
- Call to action. This is the very end of your research paper and it should provoke your readers. Whether it is a call to a discussion or to an action, you need to choose what your final message to readers should be.
Remember that the main purpose of the research paper is to show your abilities to work by yourself and demonstrate the range of your knowledge on various topics. Creating a good outline is essential in a further composing of your research paper. Make sure to take notes when conducting a research, do not be afraid to ask for assistance and read additional resources.