As a college or university student, you must at least write one research paper before graduating. This unavoidable task can, however, be challenging, especially for first-timers. As such, we are here to help you through the process. We will take your through a step-by-step guide in writing a research paper:
- Familiarize with the assignment
Before you start writing your research paper, make sure you understand what is expected of you. What does your professor want to see, what are the instructions and requirements? Getting acquainted with the assignment will put you on the right track and prevent making avoidable mistakes.
- Choose a topic
Your professor may assign you a topic or give you a list to choose from if you are lucky enough. However, students are mostly required to come up with their own subjects. If this is your situation, then here are some steps to follow. When selecting a topic, choose something you are passionate about, relevant, topical, and consider the time factor. In doing this, you should bear your audience in mind. Which category of people are you seeking to address?
You can’t write a thought-provoking research paper without researching. Research is the engine of every piece; hence, lots of effort must be taken during this step. Every source you explore should be reliable and relevant to your topic. There are various ways to research, whether online or offline. For your offline sources, you can use books, journals, conference releases, and library resources. Online sources may include Google Scholar, Google Book, SciSeek.com, and many other scholarly sites.
- Organize your research and thoughts
After doing your in-depth research, you now have to organize them into a scale of preference. Which of the information is most critical for the study, and which are for supporting reasons? Write all these sources down, or you can bookmark them according to their relevance.
Afterward, you organize your thought on how to start your paper. You should know how to structure and outline the information you’ve accessed to make it sync.
- Formulate a thesis statement
A thesis statement is a brief yet catchy sentence that introduces readers to the subject and your stance on it. Depending on the type of research paper you are writing, you may need to go for or against the topic or write objectively without taking sides. An example can be, “this paper delves into the human-dog relationship and how it started.”
- Start writing
Now that you’ve chosen a topic organize your thought, and know the form your paper should take, writing it shouldn’t be challenging for you. By now, you’ve also defined your audience; therefore, you know the type of language or wording to use. In writing, be mindful of how you quote or paraphrase information from your sources. You are creating your own work here, so make sure it doesn’t look like a copy and paste to avoid being accused of plagiarizing. It is always good to pick up the main points from your source and use your own wording in creating a sentence. If quoting is unavoidable, don’t forget to reference them accordingly.
Editing is critical in content creation/writing. After the writing, find time to go over the work more than once to correct any grammatical or composition errors. You may also have errors in the statistics or figures you used and going over the work can help you fix them. You can rely on software like Ginger and Grammarly to correct grammatical, spelling, and comprehension errors.