Every student is required to write at least one research paper in the term of the academic program. Often, the hardest part is to stay motivated throughout the process of writing your research paper, which could be weeks or even months.
The most effective way to tackle this would be to split the process into different components, making it easier to organize and be efficient. Today, we will discuss how you can complete a research paper that will help you ace the semester.
Choosing the Research Problem
There are three ways of getting a topic for the student research:
- The professor gives you a topic, and you formulate a thesis;
- The instructor gives you a list of subjects to choose from;
- The topic is up to you.
In all three scenarios, you will have to come up with the thesis statement yourself. Focus on what you would like to learn rather than what you want to write on.
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Make a Schedule
As this entire process could last for days or weeks, drafting a schedule will help you note the deadline and plan accordingly.
Contemplate how much time you would need to source relevant literature, outline the content, organize information, write drafts, and do the required editing. Allocate specific timeframes for each part so you will not have to rush through any phase.
Gather the Materials
To develop a thesis statement, first, you need a deep understanding of the topic. Benefit from popular services such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic to find academic journals and separate articles.
As you are gathering resources, take notes or mark them as to what exactly you would like to use them for. It will be helpful while you refer to the sources later.
Formulate a Thesis Statement
You can choose to compose the thesis statement before, after, or halfway through the research. Having a better comprehension of your topic will help you collect your thoughts and devise a precise statement.
Some opt to formulate a thesis statement first to help organize the research accordingly. Writing a strong thesis statement is of utmost importance, as it would influence every aspect of your argument.
Most research papers can be categorized into the following categories:
- Analytical, where you are offering an analysis of the data collected;
- Expository, where you are explaining your research;
- Argumentative, where you are arguing a certain standpoint.
The thesis statement should indicate the type of paper you choose to write.
Make an Outline
Drafting a detailed outline for the paper is half the battle. The structure will guide you throughout the writing, and this part is necessary to keep you focused.
Include the key points, create subsections in the body, and avoid mentioning irrelevant data that does not contribute to your thesis.
A typical research paper outline includes:
- Title page;
- Table of Contents;
- Introduction – thesis statement with background information;
- Methodology – equipment, tools, methods used;
- Results – presentation of findings;
- Discussion – interpretation and arguments;
- Conclusion – summary of the key points and recommendations for future studies;
- References – bibliography;
- Appendices – tables, graphs, and pictures supporting the results.
When all the above steps are made, you are most likely going to be inspired to start writing. With a clear direction of how you are presenting your thoughts, it is time to work on the first draft.
Start with the introduction, by carefully presenting the context, and why it is important. The intention is to create a compelling reason that will make the readers want to continue browsing the work.
As you proceed to the body of the paper, you might need to make changes to the outline. Write strong body paragraphs by finding supporting points for every argument you mention.
While concluding, reintroduce your thesis statement. Explain why you have arrived at the conclusions and why the topic requires further studies.
Revise Your Research Paper
It goes without saying that you will need to do numerous revisions to ensure that the finished work is on point.
Ask yourself these questions upon completion:
- Is the thesis statement concise and informative?
- Is work thoroughly organized?
- Are there enough supporting arguments to prove your thesis statement?
- Are there any grammar or spelling mistakes?
- Is there any repetition?
- Are all the citations and references correct?
- Have you managed to avoid plagiarism?
Writing an A+ paper requires extensive research and meticulous presentation. In the end, attention to detail matters a lot. It is all about the learning experience, and your effort will be reflected in the paper.