What is a research paper? This Chapter outlines the logical steps to writing a good research paper. To achieve supreme excellence or perfection in anything you do, you need more than just the knowledge. Like the Olympic athlete aiming for the gold medal, you must have a positive attitude and the belief that you have the ability to achieve it.
Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research. Focus on a limited aspect, e. Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. If you are uncertain as to what is expected of you in completing the assignment or project, re-read your assignment sheet carefully or ASK your teacher. Select a subject you can manage. Avoid subjects that are too technical, learned, or specialized.
Avoid topics that have only a very narrow range of source materials. For general or background information, check out useful URLs , general information online , almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point. Pay attention to domain name extensions, e. These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites.
Network Solutions provides a link where you can find out what some of the other extensions stand for. Be wary of the millions of personal home pages on the Net. The quality of these personal homepages vary greatly. Learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search effectively on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time.
The recent arrival of a variety of domain name extensions such as. Many of the new extensions have no registration restrictions and are available to anyone who wishes to register a distinct domain name that has not already been taken. For instance, if Books. Check out online resources, Web based information services, or special resource materials on CDs:.
Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community. Bookmark your favorite Internet sites.
Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information. As you gather your resources, jot down full bibliographical information author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers, URLs, creation or modification dates on Web pages, and your date of access on your work sheet, printout, or enter the information on your laptop or desktop computer for later retrieval. If printing from the Internet, it is wise to set up the browser to print the URL and date of access for every page.
Remember that an article without bibliographical information is useless since you cannot cite its source. Most research papers normally require a thesis statement. If you are not sure, ask your teacher whether your paper requires it. A thesis statement is a main idea, a central point of your research paper.
The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important. Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your research paper thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief.
The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief. It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize and analyze materials and your ideas.
You cannot make a finally formulated statement before you have completed your reseach paper. It will naturally change while you develop your ideas. Stay away from generic and too fuzzy statements and arguments. Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read.
Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present your own ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers. If you have time and opportunity, show it to your instructor to revise. Otherwise, you may estimate it yourself. A well-prepared thesis means well-shaped ideas. It increases credibility of the paper and makes good impression about its author.
Once the outline is created it will be time to write a rough draft. Be precise about what you mean throughout the paper. It is important to use sources, but do not plagiarize. Every source should be credited with the name of the author, title of the article, what journal it was found in, the date of the article, and page numbers. Different instructors use different styles of writing. Know the style and use it correctly. Carefully write the paper using the sources of information found as you follow your outline.
Edit the paper by reading it and then have someone neutral edit the paper. Read each word asking if it is correctly spelled and has the meaning you wanted it to have. Run a spell check on the article. Set the research essay aside for a while before proofreading it again. Are there unnecessary words? The last step is to put the finishing touches to it. I'd suggest having someone read this again for errors. Always read the research essay out loud to listen to any grammar errors or spelling mistakes.
A problem many students make in writing research essays are waiting until the last moment to write it. Plan each step of the essay. Organize each part of the essay. 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.
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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.
Free essays, research papers, term papers, and other writings on literature, science, history, politics, and more. The research paper is a type of work which requires students to pick a topic, undertake research and analyze the findings. It is a far cry from any poetic or creative writing pieces. Everything should we-structured and clear.
Research paper writers are there to help you. We all know that students need to write numerous projects during their studies. Indeed, they have to write various essays, research papers, proposals, dissertations, as well as summaries, reviews, and other types of academic writing. A research paper is an expanded essay that presents your own interpretation or evaluation or argument. When you write an essay, you use everything that you personally know and have thought about a subject.