Writing a Research Paper: A Step by Step Guide

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Author: Nicolas Braun

Before you start the process of writing a research paper you should clearly see what you are dealing with. Such type of paper is a result of a long and hard process that covers many points – research, source selection, critical thinking, and well-organized composition. The quality of the research paper is proportional to the efforts you make and expresses professional growth of students. Such paper is an amazing chance to enrich your knowledge. The aim of the research paper may be formulated in the following way – to offer an original and unusual approach to the question based on appropriate and reliable sources.

Today in the sphere of academic assignments we can talk about two main types of research papers – argumentative and analytical ones. We are pretty sure you have a question – what is the difference between them. If we are considering the argumentative research paper, you first give a topic and then declare the point of view you accept; your goal is to persuade readers that your vision of the problem is applicable. In the second case you are required to ask a question successfully and provide a critical interpretation of the sources that eventually represent some special approach to the issue.

1. Define the topic of the paper

Prefer things that are close to your heart and make you interested. Your reaction on the topic and the subject of the research greatly affect the pace of work. In the research paper you shouldn’t try to cover a very vide topic, at the same time avoid extremely narrow and complicated things.

2. Look for proper information

No doubts, the fastest way is to surf the Internet. You can consult online encyclopedias and almanacs as the sources for general data, besides you should pay attention to domain name extensions, because in some situations it helps to identify the institutions they belong to and decide whether they are reliable or not. Web sites with such extensions as .gov, .edu and .org may include appropriate information, but be careful and evaluate them critically. It’s also a good way to search printed materials by means of the online catalog in the library. Journals, databases, magazines, newspapers and books in the public libraries – you make a final decision, but remember one point – note full bibliographical information.

3. Declare your thesis statement

It must be limited in one sentence in which you claim your point of view on the problem. There is a slight difference of the thesis in argumentative and analytical research papers.  In the first case we talk about more flexible thesis than in the second one.

4. Create an outline

Don’t neglect this step, as it helps you to analyze a paper question and develop a logical structure of the research before the writing process is started. Make sure that you included all necessary points in a logical order and singled out three main parts of the paper – introduction, body and conclusion. In the introduction you formulate a purpose of the research and offer the thesis statement. You also explain what approach you apply and briefly put emphasis on reference points. The body covers the largest part of any research paper; in this block you provide evidences and arguments in support of your thesis. Find at least 3 strong arguments for every position you share and provide them in ascending order – from less strong to the strongest one. In the conclusion you have to summarize you said previously and restate the thesis statement. Show readers the way you drew such conclusion.

5. Enrich the outline and write the first draft

You have a framework, and now you are ready to give life to your creation. We mean you need to follow the plan that you created previously and describe in details every idea from your outline. Use all your writing skills and talents in order to create a readable text.

6. Edit the paper

Read the text in order to correct mistakes. Check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, pay special attention to the requirements of academic style. Let someone to read your assignment and ask his/her opinion.

7. Congratulations! You reached the finish line!

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