In the US and other parts of the world, a research paper is an essential piece of academic writing that all students must accomplish before graduating. They provide in-depth independent research to test students’ ability to analyze, interpret, and offer a detailed argument about a topic related to the student’s course. Research papers may be similar to academic essays, but they require much detail and are usually longer. Essays may only test a student’s writing competencies; research papers assess both writing skills and the student’s skills to conduct comprehensive scholarly research. An A+ research paper requires a student to demonstrate an excellent knowledge of the topic, provide a strong argument while engaging various sources and make a genuine, authoritative, and original contribution to the debate. Developing an excellent research paper, therefore, involves a step-by-step writing process to accomplish all the requirements. The paper’s major parts are abstract, introduction, literature review, research methods, findings, discussion, limitations, future scope, conclusion, and references.
Because accomplishing a research paper successfully entails completing all the tasks set, it is crucial to vividly understand the assignment task sheet. It is important to read the instruction carefully to identify and confusing details that need clarification. The writer identifies assignment goals, length specifications, formatting, deadline, and method of submission. The writer should bullet-list all the key points then carefully consider the timeframe and word limit; be realistic, plan, write, and edit.
Some topics are open for the students to choose their own interests of research. One should explore the many ways of generating a topic such as brainstorming with pen and paper, discussing with peers, or consulting with the assigning professor. Exploration of other researches may also provide important areas of research, especially on the discussion and recommendations sections, which may provide ideas for specific topics that need further examination. The broad topic should be narrowed down to a specific topic of interest that meets the assignment criteria and is possible to research.
The paper needs preliminary research where the writer notes any important discussions to the topic and issues that worth focusing the paper around. This part requires the utilization of a variety of sources, including reliable websites (ending with .edu, .org, and government-based websites), scholarly journals, and reliable books. Verifying the ideas with one’s mind may produce a substandard research paper, the writer needs to identify sources that contradict his or her point of view to find unique arguments that he or she can address.
Developing a thesis statement is a crucial part of the writing. The thesis statement is the writer’s central argument and should present all the points the paper should contain. It establishes the position and purpose of the paper. The thesis statement should be contentious, concise, and coherent. It summarizes the argument in a sentence or two, making a claim that requires further analysis and evidence. The thesis statement may not be final – the writer would probably revise to refine the thesis statement as more research may present points that redefine the central claim.
Thereafter, the writer should create a research outline to guide the flow of the paper. Essentially, the research paper outline is a list of key topics divided into sections with headings, arguments, and evidence that the writer would include in the paper. The outline should be structured enough to facilitate an efficient writing process, so it is necessary to dedicate enough time developing one before the writing begins.
It is advisable to write the first draft of the paper using the outline as a map because the first attempt is normally imperfect, and would need further polishing. The priorities at this stage include maintaining forward momentum, paying attention to a clear organization of the paper and logical ordering of sentences and paragraphs, and expressing ideas clearly. Some writers prefer to begin their writing with the introduction, but it is helpful to write the introduction after completing the draft to avoid missing some points that might exist in the paper. The sentence structures should contain flowing ideas or points. The paragraph structures, which are the building blocks of the paper, should contain flowing information with ideas that the first sentence introduces and the last sentence concludes.
The next stage involves citing the sources. Writers should keep track of the citations to avoid accidental plagiarism. Each time a writer uses an academic resource, it is imperative to note the source of the information. The writer then develops an introduction that addresses the “what,” “why,” and the “how.” These questions provide answers to the content of the paper. The writer should ensure that the body text is compelling. Finally, the development of the conclusion part needs to contain all the points and ideas discussed in the paper. It should not bear any additional information that the writer did not include in the body of the paper. The last sentence—or the last two sentences—should reinstate the thesis statement that the writer provided in the introductory paragraph.
Lastly, the writer proofreads the paper. This stage involves thorough editing. The paper should be free from grammatical mistakes. The sentence and paragraph structures should be organized and flawless. The writer rectifies wordiness and repetitiveness. To avoid certain accidental plagiarism, the writer may utilize available and reliable plagiarism checkers to identify sources that they might have unwillingly omitted while developing the paper. The write then submits the paper through the appropriate channel as instructed by the professor.
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