How to Format a Research Paper

posted by Laura Callisen 21 Nov 2016

Students often look for a guide to writing a research paper. This is because this type of paper is not very simple to craft. Firstly, it requires really good material to start the study. That is, you will have to gather relevant primary and secondary sources. Secondly, you will have to present a methodology or a design on how you will go about analyzing the data and information gathered for the study. To help students with this academic writing requirement, this is how to write a research paper:

  1. Choose a topic. This topic should be interesting and challenging to you, as your perception of the topic could greatly affect the outcome of your study. Make sure to choose a topic that is narrowed down so it is more manageable and easier to scout for source materials.

  2. Find information. While internet sources are now valid sources, you can use this as last resort and look for primary and secondary sources in the library. These include almanacs, atlases, encyclopedias, dictionaries, publications, and journals. As you build your source materials, do not forget to note down full biographical information so you can cite it accordingly.

  3. State your thesis. Your thesis is a statement or a theory you put forward in the introduction as a premise to be maintained or proved. Your arguments and analyses will revolve around proving this thesis so make sure to do some critical thinking when formulating it.

  4. Make a tentative outline.  An outline will help you keep track of your progress when writing your research paper. More importantly, it will help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start working on it.

  5. Organize your notes. Use your outline to organize your notes. Make sure not just to summarize or collate all your gathered data and information, but to critically analyze each one of them. Include only relevant material and do not forget to cite them properly. If you need a guide to using citations in research papers, verify with your professor and instructor first for any requirements. In any case, you can use the Chicago Style Manual, which is one of the most popular citation guides.

  6. Write your first draft. Do not bother editing and proofreading before finishing the entire draft as this will only delay you. Most writers often miss deadlines because of this habit. Use your outline as your guide in writing you first draft and remember all that has been mentioned in this article so far.

  7. Revise and finalize. In editing and proofreading, you have to check both substantive and procedural aspect of the paper. Check whether it is comprehensive and coherent. Check whether the arguments and analyses are logical, and double check references. You do not have to follow the outline strictly. If you think that certain parts have to be added or deleted, you can do that.

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Research Paper Format

The format of your research paper will depend on your professor or instructor. In any case, a good research paper should consist of an introduction, a literature review, a methodology, and a conclusion.

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  1. The Introduction provides the context and significance of the research paper. This includes the background information, the research problem, the methodology, and the outline. The introduction should be able to impress readers so they will be motivated to read on and finish the paper. So make sure to make it both informative and interesting.

  2. The Literature Review is where you will place your primary and secondary sources relevant in addressing the research problem. In including these sources, make sure to provide a description, a summary, and a critical evaluation. In this way, your paper will not end up looking like a simple review or report of a subject matter. In writing your literature review, make sure to cite the sources properly so you can refer your readers to the original sources for further study. You may use a literature review writing service to ensure to cite accordingly. Do not forget to include your interpretations and comments to these sources in your own voice.

  3. The Methodology presents your procedures and techniques on how you will be analyzing the data and information gathered for the study. It should introduce your overall approach to the research problem from how you have gathered source materials to how you will be analyzing them accordingly.

  4. Lastly, the Conclusion is the synthesis of all the key points of your research paper. It includes all the issues raised in the paper and the importance of your study. It should also include recommendations for future research to advance the study of this particular field or topic, as well as present new ways to approach the study for future research.

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