A research paper is an important and complicated academic assignment based on the student’s investigation and experiment. It is more difficult than regular academic tasks because it’s supposed to show what you have learned during the semester and to reflect your final knowledge of a certain subject. A research paper has a significant impact on getting your degree in university or college, so you should take it seriously. It can be considered as the final essay, which represents your studying throughout the semester, so this work is crucial for your final grade. Although it is not a dissertation, so you don’t have to be scared of dealing with it.
As a rule, a research paper consists of approximately five pages and contains study materials learned in the past semester and data from other sources valuable and relevant for your research. You should choose your data sources carefully, and do not end up with only one source, find several reliable websites or books to help you conduct your investigation and supply you with verified information.
One of the research paper features is its format and structure; you can’t make it in freestyle, there are some strict rules to be followed. You should have all the main components within your work in the first place and also pay attention to the format you have to follow before you print your assignment. Let’s look into this in more detail so you can get ready to write a decent research paper.
Purpose of the research paper
There is not only one type of research paper; it can be analytical or argumentative; it may depend on what subject do you have to write your assignment for. These two types involve the same structure of the paper, but the idea will be different as well as the content.
The purpose of the analytical research paper is obviously to explain your topic through observation and analyzing information. Argumentative one is about to discuss an issue and prove your point using strong arguments and facts.
Talking about the value of this work for the student, the research paper has a mission to improve your skills and knowledge and to make you search for information that can be useful for you in the future. It makes you explore a certain topic and helps you gain that type of knowledge and experience you can’t gain during your lections. The skills of researching will be useful for you in your future education and work, especially if it is going to be science-related.
Among other things working on this task improves your time-management and organization skills and gives you the motivation to learn more about your subject. The ability to work with strict academic formats of papers is another valuable skill you get when you write a research paper.
Components of the research paper
Before you get into writing, you should know the main sections of the research paper and some rules on how to make them interconnected and logically arranged. It is customary at most universities to write this kind of work in APA format. So, let’s start with a plan, and then we can move to the writing process.
Cover page, title, abstract and table of contents
First comes a cover page, if it was demanded by your professor. Cover design rules can be different in every educational institution; sometimes, cover is unnecessary for this kind of work. Find out if you need to do it and make it in a proper way to get the highest grade.
Next is the title page with your subject of work, your data, and the date of writing. Pretty simple, right? Then it comes to an abstract, and the next page is for the table of contents. Here you have to mention all the headings you have in your paper and indicate page numbers for each of them. It will help readers navigate in your research paper and easily find a chapter they want. It’s not necessary to remind you to write a table of contents after finishing the work, but before you start your research, don’t forget to make a plan for yourself to know your main points and break your work in logical parts.
Introduction and body part
Then we have some common paper parts: introduction, body part, and conclusion. The introduction must contain your thesis statement – it presents the whole point of your paper, its main question, or problem. The body part consists of the essence of your paper. Here in several paragraphs, you have to describe your investigation and experiments, explain your methods, and analyze the information.
Results and conclusion
Before you get to the conclusion, you should allocate some room for results – present the points you ended up with through your investigation in the main part.
The conclusion should reflect the whole idea of your research work. Write down the main points of your results, summarize every important information you received during your research process. Don’t bring any new information here, make your conclusion brief, but persuasive and informative.
Reference list and attachments
Your final page should contain the reference list. Due to copyright rules, you need to mention the name of every source you took information from. Care to formalize every citing you made in a proper way, even if you quoted just a couple of sentences. Remember that you are completing an academic assignment, and it’s totally unacceptable to have plagiarism in it.
That was the last part of the structure unless you have some attachments if you do place them after the reference list, and don’t forget to include this chapter into your table of contents.
Tips about writing process
Find reliable sources of information
Before you start writing, you should prepare some scientific materials you will rely on. Do not choose questionable websites without reference to the authors of materials posted there. “Wikipedia” is not a good option too because this website allows any user to edit materials there, and you will never know who wrote the information you have found.
It’s very important to pay attention to the date of the information you are about to use. Don’t take materials older than five years; the information can no longer be relevant, and you are risking to spoil your research paper with outdated facts. Try to use sources as recently as you can find and always take your time to check the materials you are referring to.
Make a strong thesis statement
It’s very important to clearly determine the problem you are going to research at the very beginning of your work. Make your thesis brief and understandable; do not choose a topic that is too general. Present the question you are about to answer in your work through the conduction of experiments and to analyze. Remember that your thesis statement should contain an actual and interesting problem important enough to be investigated.
Also, remember to make your text simple for common readers with no professional knowledge of your subject. Don’t use any specific terms or long, complicated sentences. If you’re working with science, make your paper understandable even for readers who have nothing to do with it.
Mind doing your work in a right format
There are some strict requirements for college students on how to format their papers. You should pay attention to every detail in your work. It may seem complicated when you’re doing it for the first time, but you will adjust to these rules with some experience. First of all, find out what type of formatting you should apply for your research paper, there are several formats such as APA, MLA, ASA, Chicago. Find the instruction for the format you need and follow all the rules to have your work graded as high as possible. Don’t neglect nor font size neither page numbering; even these small details are quite important in the research work formatting.
Don’t forget to proofread your research paper and edit it if you have to. Check all your points, make sure you don’t have any spelling or logical mistakes, pay attention if you have mentioned all the sources you have used in your paper.
Try your best with this type of work not only to have a good final grade but to improve your skills and gain some important knowledge for the future. Good luck!