5 Steps How to Write an Effective Research Paper
The research papers may look similar to academic essays, but they are definitely not!
Research papers are a type of academic writing that consist of a detailed analysis, evaluation and interpretation on a particular topic and are backed by empirical evidence. Research papers generally use statistical data and already existing research, coupled with precise rules of citations.
Research papers are the most effective medium of disseminating information across the general and focused masses. But writing a research paper is not an easy task, especially when you do not how to write a research paper.
So this blog aims at guiding you to write a research paper in simply 5 steps.
1. Choose & Gather
The preliminary, yet the most important step in the process of writing a research paper is to select a topic for your research paper. There are multiple ways of finding out your research paper topic. It may begin with rigorous brainstorming, to discussing with peers and/or professors, to taking ideas from earlier researches. In fact, the discussion and recommendations sections of the research papers can be a very good source of ideas for your research paper topics. A point that needs to be noted here is that while choosing a research paper topic, your topmost priority should be on finding out a topic that has enough content to substance your research paper.
Once your research paper topic is decided, it is time for you to gather information relevant to your topic. The sources for gathering information may be either offline or online. But caution! While looking for information online make sure you use information from credible sources, say academic papers or renowned journals.
2. Frame your thesis statement
Now that you have chosen your research paper topic and gathered the relevant information, it is time for you to frame your thesis statement based on what you have found in your preliminary research. Your thesis statement is a concise summary of what all is your research paper about. The thesis statement introduces the readers to your topic and makes it easier for them to assess whether or not your paper is useful to their research. Remember! A good thesis statement is one that mentions all the important information on the research topic, while at the same time not disclosing too much of the details.
3. Do the actual research
Now it is time for some real research. In this step of writing a research paper, all you need to do is sort out the particular pieces of information that you want to use in your research paper from amongst all the information that you have gathered earlier. At this step, it is highly suggested to stack out only those pieces of information those are directly relevant to your topic. DO NOT fill up your paper with stuff that is irrelevant or unnecessary. The common way of finding your supporting evidence/information is to read each of the sources, highlight the relevant parts and take notes. Also make sure you note down the page numbers so that you can easily find the information later and most importantly to ease the citation process.
4. Prepare the research paper outline & the first draft
The next step is to prepare the research paper outline. Now you may be pondering how to prepare a research paper outline! It’s easy. Simply list down all the important topics and sub-topics that you need to cover. For this purpose you can consider all the information that you have gathered from your research so far.
Once that your outline is ready, here comes the time to actually write the research paper. This is the lengthiest and the most involved step of all. Here you need to start filling out all the topics and sub-topics that you have decided to include in the research paper.
5. Cite your sources
And after all that hard work, you finally reach the last but definitely not the least step of writing an effective research paper. Citation is very necessary to complete your research paper. It is that part of a research paper that differentiates it from casual writings, such as essays. Now for those who are actually wondering what is citation? A citation is “a formal reference to a published or unpublished source” that a researcher consults and/or obtains information from while writing his/her research paper. Now that you know what citation is, make sure you cite your sources correctly, as citing your sources validates your data and at the same time links you to the larger scientific community. Citation follows several precise rules. There are multiple formatting styles of citation, say MLA, APA and the like. Therefore, it is highly advised to carefully go through the referencing instructions of the journals you wish to publish your research paper in, before starting with the citation of your research paper.