How to Write an Effective Research Paper


How to Write an Effective Research Paper

Every student faces the research paper writing sooner or later. The whole studying process in college/university is dedicated to the development of a set of skills in a specific field (art & humanities, technology, etc). Hence, on graduating from the educational establishment, all students can brag with a knowledge base that was hammered into their heads for four-five years. The weird thing is that professional skills are taught, but academic paper writing ones are not so much. The research paper requirements come as a shock for many. No worries, it is normal to panic. 

Academic writing is a developing field. The demands and expectations from the papers are surging annually. The students are rarely encouraged to practice their writing skills during the academic year. As a result, they are expected to conduct self- directed learning which is rarely happening. So, if you found yourself with a pile of papers to go through to write research, read on the following instructions on how to write a research paper. 

Understand the assignment

The starting point is assignment analysis. Get all the pieces of the puzzle together by collecting requirements for the research procedures, recommended/obligatory literature, format, etc. It helps to structure all the guidelines that your instructor/ professor gave you and keep them in one place. Leave spaces for updates, if they appear. You will be communicating with the supervisor a lot, some remarks might be occurring. 

As soon as you get into the assignment details, some questions might appear. If you feel like the meaning of the instruction is dubious, make sure to clarify before you start writing the paper. The last thing you want to do is to rewrite it. Remember the rule, from the set of requirements you should be able to understand what your research aims at, what audience it is for, and what results are expected from you. Also, the grading criteria should be included.

Understand your audience

Find out who is the target reader of your paper and the research. It will help focus on the needed research questions, and most importantly, to identify those questions. So, ask yourself who your audience is and put down the key points you should focus on to satisfy the needs of the audience. For example, if you are writing a Ph.D. research the level of the audience is an expert. It means the study can contain terminology specific to the field without providing explanations. 

Choose a research paper topic

Although the pool of research paper topics exists, using it is forbidden. For the success of your paper, you need to use all imagination and creativity you have to come up with a fresh topic.  A good idea for topic selection is to make up the list of research aims. Then, look through the scope of research, and write a thesis statement. After that find a couple of topics of similar researches and try to mix them up. As a result, you will get a new topic by combining the two existing ones.

Conduct preliminary research

The purpose of preliminary research is to look through the existing sources on the topic, scholarly articles, books, publications, and ensure the novelty and credibility of your study.

If you stumble upon the article that contradicts your thesis statement, dig in deeper, and make sure you are going in the right direction. Remember that your paper should present a fresh view of the idea.

Develop a thesis statement

Developing a thesis statement requires an understanding of the research type. By this stage, you need to know for sure whether you are writing an expository, analytical, or argumentative paper. Note that the statement goes hand in hand with the topic. In case you decided to change or reword the topics, revise the statement correspondingly. The statement is an inevitable part of the work. It is a sentence that has the purpose, interpretations, and results of your study summarized. 

Create a research paper outline

To add structure to the text, the paper outline was created. Note that contents and a paper outline are different things. In this part, you are to provide the plan of the paper with short explanations. It serves as a framework that can be edited in the process of writing. Besides, it helps to visualize the structure of your paper and keep track of your work. 

Paragraph structure

The text is comprised of units called paragraphs. Paragraphs are supposed to be meaningful, informative, and well - written. One paragraph should contain no more than 10 sentences and dwell on one idea. For example, this paragraph presents the notion of social media influencer and the main idea to give a comprehensive definition. 

A social media influencer is a person whose activity is focused on promoting certain ideas, selling products. It is a trustworthy, reputable user of a certain social network who earns money by taking orders from producers of certain goods and services for their advertising. The income of a social influencer depends on the quality and quantity of efforts invested. A social media influencer job does not require any specific education. 

This paragraph defined a notion without diving into more details or relevant facts about the notions. 

Write a first draft of the research paper

A common misconception is that drafting a paper should start with the introduction. The easier and more efficient way is to start with anything you feel like writing. A paper structure is a list with fixed order of sections, but it does not mean they have to be created in that order. 

So, for the first draft, you need to write down roughly the information for each section, without proper formatting. Focus on ideas for each part. 

Write a research paper introduction 

To write a good introduction without stressing much, ask yourself three things. 

  • What is the scope of research, notions discussed, and key literary pieces analyzed?
  • Why does this study present novelty in the field?
  • How will all the elements of the paper be combined and presented in the paper?

Write a compelling body of text

Using the recommendation on paragraphs, review of the literature, start writing the main body of the paper. Keep in mind that every sentence should be meaningful and not redundant. Avoid extra words in the sentences and too many sentences in a paragraph. Be precise and clear. Academic research is different from a narrative essay. It does not contain figures of speech and lots of epithets. It helps to create a list of terms to use throughout the paper and have them in front of you while writing. 

Write the research paper conclusion

The conclusion is rated to be the most complicated part of the paper. It cannot be as long as desired but it should describe the whole process of conducting the research, and present the summary of interpretations done by the author. 

To write a conclusion swiftly use the thesis statement, paper outline as a framework. Try to write a couple of words about every section of the paper. Common mistakes of the conclusion writing:

  • Adding new information in the conclusion
  • Contradicting the thesis statement
  • Skipping the summary of findings 

The second draft

When the stage of the second draft comes the outline paper you created initially becomes clear. The ideas are in the right order, rearranged if needed, and you can write the extended main body without hesitation. 

It is recommended to be sure in the ideas your research is based on, and have the approved list of research questions. 

The revision process

Until the final version is sent for assessment, it is still possible to edit it. Every part of it can be changed. Hence, the revision process is crucial. Skipping this step is dangerous since you might not give the paper that final touch that it needs. 

Summary

It takes years of experience to produce a good- quality paper. Not to mention the fact that proofreading and editing for professional scholars are usually done by the certified editors. Hence, being a student, there is no harm in resorting to the assistance of experts