Helpful Steps to Writing a Research Paper
Any unique and logical research paper should involve organized arguments based on an in-depth analysis of your current research. This assignment can be written on any imaginable topic, and all students need to be aware of simple and effective steps to writing a research paper to earn the grades they want. If you don’t have this knowledge, completing this academic task may become daunting, especially when getting started. Organize all sources and your thoughts to make everything easier and avoid writing blocks. Turn to custom writing professionals if you have any difficulty that you can’t overcome.
Preparing for This Assignment
First, you should read its description given by professors carefully because all research papers have their specific parameters that must be understood by students. Some basic things that should be included:
- Source types and their number;
- The length of your research paper;
- Given topics;
- Pre-writing tasks when needed;
- Formatting styles.
Gather the necessary writing tools and choose a convenient place to work hard without distractions. Break down this assignment into smaller parts and set a realistic timeline because there are certain steps to writing a research paper, and each one takes some time. Your timeline depends on many factors, such as whether the given topic is familiar to you, and it should include:
- Initial reading;
- Gathering important research sources;
- Taking notes;
- Creating an outline;
- Writing the first draft;
- Revising and proofreading.
In most cases, teachers assign research topics to students, but if you need to choose it yourself, look for something that fits your basic assignment parameters. Your research topic must be relevant and easy to understand, so make a list of suitable and interesting ideas to brainstorm them. Settle on any tentative subject and ensure that you can find enough research materials about it. Define whether the chosen topic should be narrow or broad and discuss possible options with professors when needed.
Start with gathering primary sources, which are the original object you’ll write about in your paper. Secondary sources are any valuable commentaries about the primary ones. Browse the Internet for references and secondary sources because there are many searchable databases where you can find them. Look for scholarly monographs, journal articles, historical documents, scientific papers, or anything else relevant to the given topic. Sometimes, it’s worth vising local libraries and talking to competent librarians to find what you need. Evaluate potential research sources for their accuracy and ensure that they’re peer-reviewed. Read footnotes to get further suggestions and keep all of your research materials well-organized.
What to Do Next
Use all materials and sources wisely. What does it mean? You should analyze important primary research sources closely while taking careful notes and writing down interesting observations. Skim your secondary materials for their relevance by reading their chapter and section headings, conclusions and introductions. Choose the ones to read in depth and discard others that are not likely to help you write a good paper.
Besides, you should take careful notes to stay organized and avoid being overwhelmed with research information, like new terms, concepts, and arguments. Write down the following things:
- Methods and key pieces of evidence;
- Major conclusions and arguments;
- Alternative explanations;
- Key concepts and terms;
- Useful quotes and questions;
- Anything that confuses and surprises you.
Cite any information you use carefully or your future marks will be compromised. The worst thing is that this mistake may lead to plagiarism accusations and other academic problems. Be sure to use the formatting style requested by your professor and consolidate all research materials.
How to Make an Outline
Why do students make an outline? It’s one of the most important steps to writing a research paper because it helps them stay focused on this task and expedites the entire writing process. However, a good outline doesn’t contain smooth and full paragraphs because its basic purpose is to contain the most important information that will be further arranged in a paper, including:
- A thesis statement;
- Topics sentences;
- Valuable evidence;
- Key conclusions for every paragraph;
- Your concluding statement.
Tips on Stating a Strong Thesis
All research papers require students to make a strong argument based on the gathered evidence. It must be introduced in a thesis statement because all other paragraphs depend on it, so it should be:
- Appropriate for the given assignment;
- Focused and narrow.
Write a thesis at the top of your paper outline and keep it in mind. Think about the background information necessary to research and analyze your topic and choose the fact needed to prove that a thesis statement is correct. You can use different evidence types, such as scientific, visual, historical, textual, etc.
Outlining and Organizing Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs are extremely important as this is where you analyze and research. Most of them are only several sentences long, but they all must be related to the given theme. Ideally, each one is built off a previous one, thus adding more weight and value to a basic argument. Each body paragraph must contain:
- A topic sentence to explain the evidence you use and its relevance;
- The presentation of your evidence, including survey results, expert quotations, and scientific studies;
- Your analysis;
- Discussing how your evidence is treated by experts in this field;
- A concluding sentence to explain the significant role of your analysis.
Organize all body paragraphs logically because each one must stand on its own, but they all need to work together to prove the merits of a thesis statement. Choose a sensible and compelling structure, such as the following:
- Based on a scale;
- The yes-and-no structure.
It’s useful to write smooth transition sentences between all body paragraphs to help the audience understand why they’re arranged this way.
Consider Other Important Sections
Based on the parameters of your assignment, there are other sections that must be included in steps to writing a research paper. They often vary widely, so it’s worth talking to instructors to get further guidelines. The basic ones include:
- Scientific figures;
- Literature reviews;
- Your appendix;
- Methods and results sections;
- Annotated bibliographies.
Finally, you need to outline your strong paper conclusion because it serves as a final statement and proof that a thesis is correct. This section ties up all loose ends and makes a solid base for your personal perspective. A conclusion may serve other important functions, based on the given field, such as:
- Alternative explanations and possible downsides;
- Hopes for the impact of your research papers on a general topic discussion;
- Further questions in your study.
How to Overcome Your Writing Blocks
Don’t panic because most students experiencing specific writing blocks sooner or later, especially when they’re faced with important or complex academic tasks, including a research paper. You should relax and take a deep breath to get rid of anxiety with some simple tricks and tools.
Use different freewriting exercises to help your mind flow if you’re stuck on a research paper. Put away its outline for a while and write down everything you think about your topic. Take into consideration everything fun and interesting to get your thoughts more organized. Try picking different paper sections to write because you don’t have to write your assignment from the very beginning to its end in this order. For instance, when you struggle with an introduction, choose another body paragraph that seems interesting to write about.
If you feel confused because of complicated concepts or sentences, you should explain it out loud before writing it down. It’s worth start writing only after learning to explain everything orally. Let a first draft be imperfect because you can always fix its clucky sentences and imperfections when revising and proofreading your research paper. Just focus on your ideas and avoid procrastinating. If you struggle with certain paragraphs, take a short break or turn to professionals in the given topic.