A research paper is one of the most common and most feared assignments in college and high school. In most cases, people confuse a research proposal and a research paper. Although both have a similar writing process, they are different in their content. A research proposal is a simple academic writing that one uses as a persuasive tool to present a research project’s importance. We can equate a proposal to a pitch. On the other hand, a research paper is a paper you write to demonstrate your knowledge of a particular topic. Writing a research paper is quite a process, and you must understand every step of it. Knowing the processes help you to:
- speaking about your area of study with authority
- developing a thesis statement
- formulate ideas for your paper
- understanding your subject
Organize before you write
Being organized helps you stay focused and within the topic. It also helps you save time during the editing and revision as you try to understand what you have written. You need a way to present your research ideas in an organized and logical manner to make sense to the reader.
- Thesis statement
It is a statement that provides a summary of the main research and gives an overview of the supporting points. It is a guiding tool for the readers by understanding the main objective of the research and all its details. The thesis statement often comes after the introduction. It is not mandatory to have the thesis statement, but it is always a good idea to have one for clarity purposes. Your thesis statement should align with the type of research you are doing, whether argumentative, expository, or analytical. It also helps your research paper have a flow of ideas.
You cannot just organize your work without having a structure. The outline provides a structure from which you can put down your ideas sequentially and clearly. It includes the use of headings, subheadings, and chapters. The outline should also help you narrow down your main points and focus on them.
Once you have your ideas and your research paper’s structure, it is now time to start populating it. It gives you a sense of excitement and energy when you know you have all you need, and you will have a seamless and flowing writing process. You will also have a clear direction of where you need to focus your writing and get your information. A good research paper comprises three main elements: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
In the introduction, you provide the context and background of your research. It should have strong and authoritative sentences that will excited and draw the attention of the readers. You should use this section to outline the reasons for your research and how you will be approaching the subject matter.
This section is where you put in all the details and research content. The outline will be most useful in this section because there is a lot of information and methods you will be presenting. You need them to be organized and easily understandable. You should ensure that all the information you write down speaks to the thesis statement and is relevant to the topic in the body.
The conclusion is the final segment of your writing. It is a summary of all the content you provided in the body. Sometimes you may restate the thesis statement with affirming statements from the research findings. You should not introduce new ideas to the conclusion that are not in the body or introduction sections.
Finally, take your time and revise your work. The editing process involves checking for grammatical errors and ensuring that your research paper meets all the requirements.