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Guidelines for Writing Research Papers

  • By Daniel Millions
  • Published 03/6/2009
  • Writing

A research paper is a written record that allows one to explore an idea or concept and formulate an opinion about it that is supported or refuted by other scholars and experts. Research papers also allow one to become an expert for that given topic because one must dissect the material surrounding the subject and reflect back on it with an original opinion. Every research paper revolves around a topic that is specific and some make the mistake of choosing general topics. When writing research papers, you will find that your ideas and decisions may change. It is normal to change the topic around while reading sources or changing one’s perspective. The topic is important to know for the thesis of the actual research paper because a thesis often states the topic and provides a viewpoint that may agree or disagree with other sources. Research papers primarily revolve around the research you must conduct. First, you must find sources about your topic. The more focused your topic is, the easier will be to find research material. Make sure to keep track of your sources for a bibliography. Second, read through the sources and take note of important parts. Highlight significant quotes and sentences and use resources to keep track of relevant information for your paper. One of the most helpful ways of making sense of the material is to write out summaries for each section or source you read. Note page numbers and authors so that you do not lose information.

When you highlight notes or compile them in one area

, you will have an easier time writing a through outline. Outlines are essential components of research papers because they organize important information, your thoughts about it, and the conclusions you make.You can make the outline very detailed or generalized. This is also when you should create your thesis considering you have educated yourself on the topic and you basically know your perspective on it. Use your outline to write you’re the first draft of your actual paper. At this point, the words should just flow into proper sentences. The introduction should introduce the topic using factual information and should strive to capture the reader’s attention. Your opinion comes up in the thesis statement. Do not forget to include your thesis statement in the beginning of your research paper which will highlight what your paper intends to prove. Your body paragraphs should be composed of topic sentences, concrete details and commentary. Use good transitions so that your research paper flows well. If you are using direct quotes or sentences, be sure to give credit by citing and restate other people’s ideas while maintaining their essence. Your conclusion should be a summary of everything else and can have a call for action. Be consistent and grammatically correct in research papers!

Research papers are clear and understandable only when they have been edited by you, friends or faculty members. Editing and proofreading are critical so that your final draft is polished. Research papers are time-consuming projects and should be planned out. You will be rewarded with responses if you give the paper patience and an original idea.



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