Research Paper

This is How to Write an Effective Research Paper

As a college student, you will be required to write at least one research paper before your graduation. If you have never written a research paper before, this process may seem quite challenging for you. But, with the tips presented in this post, you will be able to write an effective research paper that will earn you good marks before your graduation. Before proceeding further with this post, I think it is good to start by defining what a research paper is. In simple terms, a research paper refers to an academic work that involves the carrying out of independent research regarding a certain topic and writing down the findings of your research based on existing evidence. It is undeniable that writing a research paper can be a challenging task, but if you follow the steps given below, you shall be able to write an exemplary research paper in any field.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the assignment

Though it may sound quite obvious, it is very crucial for you to clearly grasp what your professor needs from you before you begin the process of writing your research paper.  Take your time to review everything that your professor has given you regarding your research paper so as to be able to write an effective paper that satisfies all requirements under the grading rubric. If there is anything that is unclear, please seek for clarification from your professor so as to be on the right track. This is also the time to start organizing your research paper so that your paper will have the appropriate focus. Organization is key to writing an effective research paper since it acts as your compass in the journey towards writing a successful research paper. Indeed, organizing your research process will ensure that your thoughts are in order such that you avoid wasting your energy and time on unnecessary revisions in the future. 

  • Select your research topic wisely

If your professor allows you to select a topic of your choice, be careful to select a topic that you are not only interested in, but also one that you can successfully complete using credible and reliable sources of literature. It is also crucial that you select a topic that is narrow since choosing a topic that is too general will lead to the writing of a sub-standard research paper. A wide topic will also confuse you while at the same time wearing you down since you will have a lot of things to address in your research paper.

  • Carry out a thorough research related to your selected topic

Now that you have selected your topic of research, it is time to start your proper research work. This is the stage where you search for credible and reliable sources of information from your school or community library and online. If looking for literature sources in your library, use the library computers as well as the card catalogue to get access to scholarly sources of information including books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You can also easily access credible sources of information online, thanks to advancements in technology. As you do your research, it is advisable to jot down notes of any information that you find useful regarding your research. These notes will be useful when writing your research paper as they will guide you on writing only what is relevant to your research topic. It is also important to write the bibliographical information against the notes to make it easy when citing your sources during the research paper writing process.

  • Develop a proper outline (include a thesis statement)

After carrying out proper research on your selected topic or the topic given to you by your professor, you should develop an outline for your research paper. This outline is a skeleton structure which covers all the main points and sub-points (supporting points) that you wish to discuss in your research paper. You use the notes prepared in the research stage to develop a meaningful outline. This outline should also include your thesis statement which is a one-sentence statement which explains what your research paper is about. Ensure that your thesis statement is not vague.

  • Write your first draft

Following the outline developed in the previous section, it is now time to start writing your research paper. Since this is the first draft, do not try too much to be perfect; just write your ideas as they flow without minding grammar. However, you should try your best to use your own ideas since copying from other sources is equivalent to plagiarism, which is a very serious academic offence. Ensure that you properly reference any information that you have extracted from another source.

  • Edit your draft

After you are done with your first draft, go through it making any changes that you feel are necessary. This is the time to critically review your work and check whether you have properly addressed the research topic. Ensure that your work flows well and is easily understandable to the reader. Look for spelling, typographical and grammatical errors. You may also request your peers to go through your paper and point out any corrections they feel should be made to the paper.

  • Write you final draft

Having made all the adjustments to your first draft, you now proceed to write a fine copy of your research paper. This copy should be perfect since it is what you will submit to your professor for marking. This is the stage where you check whether your research paper has fulfilled all requirements that are outlined in the grading rubric. You should also check whether all sources are properly cited both in-text and in the reference list. The paper should also be of the required length.

  • Proof read your final draft for grammar and content

Read your final draft as many times as possible to ensure that there are no mistakes at all. You may also ask your peers to go through it and tell you what they feel about it.

  • Submit your research paper

Once you are sure that your research paper has fulfilled all requirements given by your professor and that there are no grammatical errors, you can submit it to your professor either through online channels or physically at your professor’s office. How you submit your paper depends on your professor’s instructions. Ensure that you submit your paper within the given deadline so as to ensure that you do not miss marks due to lateness. Some professor’s even give a zero mark due to lateness thus making all your research efforts worthless.

It is my hope that this post will be a useful guide in writing an effective research paper that will earn you that grade you have been pursuing. Good luck!

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