How to Write a Research Paper

A research paper represents one’s own thinking, after exploration of a particular topic, backed up with information collected by experts. Generally, a research paper has a collection of information along with sources and more importantly the writer’s idea on that particular topic. A research paper can also be described as a writer’s interpretation of argument or evaluation. However, the concept of documentation, organization, development and final packaging truly represents the writer’s creativity and writing skills. Students write dissertation (a final outcome of their research), an extended research paper for final assessment of their degree. If one has good, extended essay writing skills, he/she can become a good research paper writer since the flow of writing is same.

Writing a Research Paper

In order to write a good research paper, one has to be very particular about the topic selection. The next step is collection of information; one has to gather as much as possible information about the selected topic. This step is called as the review of literature. The final step is actual writing; while writing, one should plan about the contents and use the information collected from the various sources and write effectively. Writing a research paper revolves around a sequence of steps. Let’s see the basic steps to be covered in order to write a very good research paper.

Choosing the research paper topic is the first important step for writing a research paper. Select a topic which you are interested in reading, analyzing and writing. Search for a topic that has sufficient information available for reference. Take care that your selected topic is neither too vast nor too narrow for covering in a research paper.

After topic selection, start searching for relevant sources. Refer to newspapers, articles, journals, relevant research papers, books and Internet. Write down the most important points or findings, which you think are relevant and would like to include in your topic interpretation. Don’t forget to keep a record of the sources that you have referred. Write down points such as title of the source, the author, publisher, place and year of publication (for writing the bibliography).

Prepare an outline by organizing and rewriting the important, relevant points. You can also make changes or deduct the points. The outline should include the major five chapters and their sections. The five chapters are introduction, background, methodology, results, conclusion and recommendations. The purpose of preparing outline is to plan your research paper and think logically about the contents before actually writing it.

Now, organize the important points that you have collected from the sources according to the outline. Write necessary details for each chapters and sections. Analyze carefully whether you have included all the relevant points or not. Make sure you write the footnotes and endnotes and mention the sources. After completion of organizing your ideas, revise again to check if you have missed anything. Also check grammar, spelling, units (if any) and so on.

List all the sources whichever you have referred in writing your research paper. Refer to the details of the sources that you have recorded before, and list them in an alphabetical order. You can refer to the universally recognized format for writing bibliography. Make sure that you have written bibliography in the format for research paper.

Prepare title page and the table of contents. The title page is the first page of the research paper, which includes title of your research, your name and date. Title page should not have page numbers. The table of contents is the second page (next to title page) and includes the lists of topics and their subtopics along with their page numbers. Readers use this page for quick referencing to know about the chapter contents.

Before final submission, review again from the title page till the end. Check for title page, table of contents, chapters and sections, page numbers, footnotes and endnotes and bibliography. It is recommended to consult your guide or other experienced professionals for writing a good research paper.

By Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Published: 12/9/2008


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