Barbara P.
Barbara P.

Research Paper - Writing Guide & Samples

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Published on: Apr 14, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 25, 2022

Research Paper

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Research paper writing is assigned to the students at almost all levels of their academic life. It is a very interesting type of academic writing that often seems difficult and annoying to the students.

For a well-written research paper, the writer must have a strong grip over the topic. This could be done only if the writer does detailed homework on the topic before he/she hops on to the writing phase.

Research and writing is anyway a daunting task for most of us. This could be made interesting by understanding some basics of writing a research paper including its synthesis and formatting.

This blog has everything you need to know for writing your research paper. Read it till the end and hopefully writing a research paper will not be a difficult task for you anymore.

Research Paper Definition

A research paper is basically a type of essay. It is much more expanded and covers a large area of analysis and interpretation. Every college student writes a research paper at least once in their academic life.

The research paper is a basic element in the academic world. While students typically find it easy to gather information from multiple sources. But many of them grapple with new conventions of academic discourse and the synthesis of these foreign concepts into their own writing.

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How to Start a Research Paper?

To organize your research paper well, it is important to understand its elements completely. A professional research paper has a proper structure and a good flow.

To ensure that you start your research paper correctly, follow the following steps:

  • Read the guidelines in detail.
  • Understand the requirements.
  • Conduct research and choose a topic.
  • Gather related and relevant information.
  • Organize all the collected data and make an outline.
  • Draw out a strong thesis statement.
  • Stay focused and start the writing process.

It is important to mention here that the research process should never end while you are completing your research paper. Keep on looking for new data till your paper is all done and try to add as much information as possible.

You can make changes multiple times in the paper until your final submission. So, nothing should stop you from adding new information until the final compilation phase.

How to Write a Research Paper?

“What are the steps in writing a research paper?”

Once you have collected all the information, it is time to create and start writing the document formally. To write a research paper, follow the below-mentioned key points:

1. Understanding the Requirements

The first and foremost part of writing your research paper is to understand the requirements. You need to establish a sense of the kind of assignment you are supposed to submit.

If you successfully understand all the requirements, it will be easy for you to complete the paper with all requirements being fulfilled.

For this purpose search for all instruction words and phrases to know the exact meaning of them. The steps below will clarify how you can understand the requirements in a sequence.

  • Read the instructions and if there is something confusing, consult your teacher.
  • Understand the theme of your paper. Figure out of it is analytical research, critical or whatsoever.
  • Identify the submission method, required format, word count, and most importantly the deadline.
  • Make a time schedule to deal with all the phases.

2. Consider the Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is the most technical part of your research paper. This is because you have to write according to the level of perception of the reader.

Your target audience gets affected by the following elements of your writing:

  • The writing style
  • Choice of words
  • The type of information needed to explain the main idea.

Suppose if you are writing a masters level topic then make sure your intended audience is of that academic group. Obviously, for a high school student, it would be impossible to understand and for a doctorate level person, it would be too simple to consider.

3. Choose the Right Topic

This is yet another difficult task in research paper writing. The topics for the research paper lead towards a formal introduction and then creating a relevant thesis statement.

You can find a topic of interest from different sources. You can surf the internet, read some articles and books, or arrange a group discussion session with your teacher or mates.

The topic you choose should have the following features.

  • It should be interesting.
  • It should be unique.
  • It should keep you composed.
  • Your supervisor should approve of it.

4. Conduct a Research

A writer should conduct thorough research work to find relevant ideas and information to write in the paper. It would also clear the vision and area to select and write on. Use authentic sources such as journals, books, and official websites to gather data of your interest.

Address the following questions as well.

  • Is there a gap in the previous research work?
  • Are there any recent developments in your chosen subject?
  • Are there any debates that could be addressed?
  • Do you have a unique perspective on the topic to talk about?

This will also help you in developing your research questions and topic sentences.

5. Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

“How to write a thesis statement for a research paper?”

thesis statement is one precise sentence that helps you to express the main idea of your research paper. Not just a research paper has such a statement, but any essay or thesis has a thesis statement.

Writing a thesis statement is an essential part of the process of writing a research paper. The thesis statement is drawn after the research phase. It describes the purpose of your argument. To support your thesis statement, try to provide valid reasons and facts.

Moreover, a thesis statement should be precise, composed, and to the point. No extra information should be a part of a thesis statement.

6. Preparing a Proposal for Research Paper

The objective of a research proposal is to introduce and legitimize the need to contemplate a research issue. It also introduces the methodology by which the proposed research ought to be conducted.

The elements that design a research proposal are not fixed. They vary from topic to topic and thus, you have to be specific to your topic. This is why the guidelines and instructions for research proposals are different and less formal than a general project proposal.

The following are a few questions that need to be addressed within a research proposal.

  • What are you planning to accomplish?
  • Reason for the accomplishment?
  • What is your plan of execution for the accomplishment of your goals?

Research Paper Outline

“How to write a research paper outline?”

An outline for the research paper helps in keeping your paper organized and arranged. Since a research paper should have a constant flow, the outline is the key to that.

A good outline makes the writing of your research paper easier and makes it more understandable and easy to read.

Bring together all your thoughts and create an outline. Make sure it has all the required details. Add all your key topics, provide facts, and include arguments. Making an outline is time-consuming so make sure that you spare a reasonable amount of time for it.

Following are the components of an effective research paper outline:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Body
  6. Conclusion
  7. Conclusion
  8. Appendix

Remember that research papers are written in different formats. Look down below and see how an apa research paper format looks like.

1. Writing the First Draft

Remember that it is not necessarily important to write the introduction in the first place. It is totally up to the writer and his level of understanding. There are some writers who prefer to write the difficult sections before the easy ones.

The best solution to clear this ambiguity is to use the outline you have created. It will guide you on how to proceed and prevent your document from getting messed up.

To write the first draft flawlessly, keep the following things in mind.

Make sure to add details to the arguments.

  1. Predict the final outcome.
  2. Follow a proper research paper format
  3. Pay close attention to the organization of the paragraphs and sentences.
  4. Explain the ideas and the significance of your findings clearly.
  5. Keeping the arguments flexible so that they can be changed later if needed.
  6. Do proper citation

A. Write an Abstract

“How to write an abstract for a research paper?”

The abstract is generally referred to as the summary of each section of the research paper. While writing an abstract, the writer needs to give an explanation for the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion briefly.

The word count of the abstract should always be somewhere from 150 to 250. Make sure that this limit is maintained well. This word count will make the abstract almost half page long.

B. Write a Research Paper Introduction

The introductory section of a research paper must be addressing questions like ‘What?’, ‘Why?’, and ‘How?’. In an introduction, things should be kept concise and composed.

“How to write an introduction for a research paper?”

A good introduction is expected to give a complete overview of your paper. The reader must get an idea of the research topic.

C. A Perfect Literature Review

The introduction is followed by the literature review. In this section, all the pre-existing research and projects related to your topic are discussed.

Include the discussion regarding the past work, about the present situation, and also predict the expected future of the issue under discussion.

D. Research Paper Body Paragraphs

Once again use your research paper outline as a guide for the composition of the body paragraphs. It will keep everything logical and also support all the information you are adding.

The proper way to start a body paragraph is to add a topic sentence in the beginning. This way it would be easy for you to complete that paragraph. Moreover, add evidence related to the topic you are discussing in that paragraph.

Also, add examples to make your point more convincing and compelling. Look out for some transitions between the body paragraphs, they will keep the body paragraphs more coherent.

E. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

“How to write a conclusion research paper?”

In the conclusion paragraph, you need to wrap up everything. Writing the conclusion is the last phase of the research paper. It should give a summary of the entire paper. Mention the key points including the ways you have used to support your research topic.

Moreover, do not add anything new to the conclusion part. Make sure that the readers are not left with any questions in their minds. But yes, you may give a glimpse of your plans for research on some related new topics.

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2. Write the Second Draft

After you are done writing the first draft, move towards the second draft. Make sure to keep the below-mentioned aspects in your mind while you are writing the second draft.

  • Make sure that the main argument has been answered effectively.
  • Identify all the assumptions that might be needed.
  • Structure everything in a logical manner.
  • Make sure all the key points are up to date.
  • Make a list of works cited.

3. Revision and Proofreading

This is formally the last phase of your research paper writing. Once you are done with all the writing parts and have added all the required information, it's time to revise the document. This revision is done to pick out mistakes.

Proofread the document carefully and look for all types of mistakes including, spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, and the order of the document.

A professional writer never misses out on this step and repeats this more than once.

Types of Research

The structure of a research paper is built using two types of research. The types of research are mentioned below.

Qualitative Research

In this type of research, the data is collected and analysis is done in a very natural way. Basically, the data quality is not disturbed and the target is to obtain the data based on field notes and through open-ended questions.

Qualitative research has further six main types.

  1. Ethnography Method
  2. Narrative Method
  3. Phenomenological Method
  4. Grounded Theory Method
  5. Case Study
  6. Historical Method

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is the opposite of the research method discussed above. In this research method, the type of data collected and analyzed is numerical and based on statistics. It is also used to quantify the behavior, attitude, and opinions of the subjects.

Both research types are different from each other in regard to the data collection methodology, characteristics, and evaluation method. Both are important in their own place and used according to the need.

Research Paper Example

Examples are one of the best tools from the writing lab. This is why you must look at a few examples before you write any kind of essay or paper. Here are some well-written examples of research papers on different topics. Read them carefully and use them as a guide to creating an effective research paper.

Here is another research paper that was written on a very important topic.

Research Paper Topics

Here are some research paper topics that you can pick from or get an idea to synthesize your own research paper topic.

  • What are the limits of a responsible person?
  • When is a person called a real person?
  • How to protect women from getting an abortion?
  • Partial-birth abortion.
  • Scientific evidence vs. Myths.
  • Advancements in stem cell research.
  • Unborn victims of gender inequality.
  • #Metoo movement.
  • Can racial imbalance in a business be tolerated?
  • Reverse discrimination in our society.
  • National Organization for Women
  • Special treatment for students with disabilities.
  • Required standardized tests admission in a well-reputed institute.
  • Local education system.
  • Importance of a citation style in becoming a good writer.
  • Discrimination in educational institutes.
  • Multicultural education vs. traditional education.
  • Unnecessary requirements for getting a degree.
  • Valid demands of the teachers.

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Barbara P.


Barbara P., Literature, Marketing

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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