Writing an A-winning research paper is a skill that every student and researcher should strive to master. Whether you’re a seasoned academic or a novice in the research world, communicating your findings effectively is crucial, as a well-crafted research paper not only contributes to academic success but also enhances your credibility as a scholar. In this guide, we’ll explore the key elements of a research paper and provide tips on how write a research paper step by step, so read on!
What Is Research Paper?
A research paper is a type of academic writing usually composed by college or university students. It requires students to choose a topic, conduct appropriate research and present the results of the study in an organised way. Additionally, it can refer to a scholarly paper that contains original research findings or an evaluation of research conducted by others.
Based on their purpose, research papers can be of different types. Here are some of the most popular types of research paper:
- Argumentative (Persuasive)
- Compare and Contrast
- Cause and Effect
- Experimental (Scientific)
- Literature Review
Note that some research papers may incorporate elements from multiple types. What’s more, the specific requirements for each type of research paper can vary depending on the academic discipline and the preferences of your supervisor.
Basic Structure of Research Paper
A research paper usually contains the following sections:
- Title and Authors
Title: Informs your readers of what to expect in the research paper.
Author(s): Includes complete names of the author.
Corresponding Author: Your supervisor’s name.
Conflicts of Interest [if required]: Explanation of any conflicts of interest.
In this section of the research paper, you are expected to provide a synopsis or a summary of your research (introduction, objective, methods, results and conclusions) in 200 words at most. You can refer to paper samples available online or hire a professional essay writer Australia to help you ace the task without anxiety and stress.
Here, you are expected to discuss the motives, reasons, importance and novelty of your research. This part of the paper mainly states the reasons for doing the study, including laying the foundation or background for the paper.
Introductory paragraphs aim first to get the reader’s attention and make them interested in the paper’s subject. Your introduction should lay the basis for your research paper and set the topic in perspective.
The methodology part describes your key research strategy. You have to start with several introductory paragraphs that restate the purpose of the study and the research questions. After that, you have to further explain:
- The study’s setting and context.
- The study design.
- Population (if applicable).
- Sampling strategy.
- The main study variables.
- Data collection mechanisms and techniques.
- The analysis methods to be used.
These include a report on the data collection, statistics and methods used to arrive at the final results. Present your key findings with respect to the central research topic, and state the secondary findings.
All the graphs and figures you include should be clear and cover at least half a page. Ensure that the diagrams and figures included are appropriately numbered since you will use these numbers to reference in the body of the research paper.
- Discussion and Recommendations
This is the closing part of the paper. In this section, you have to summarise the whole work, discussing all the findings in a few paragraphs. Do they actually support facts and existing theories? Why have the results turned out the way they did? Don’t forget to provide recommendations based on the findings of your research, suggesting some actions to be taken.
That’s where you sum up the results of your research paper in detail and analyse your work findings in a few brief but concise paragraphs.
Here, you are expected to include a list of all complete citations for any journal or other sources you referenced in the research paper’s content.
This section of the research paper requires you to acknowledge the funding sources, supervisors, participants of the research, institutional support, previous work or collaboration or any other contributions.
Now that you know the basic research paper structure, let’s move on to the format, ideas on how to start and conclude a research paper in a good way and expert tips on how to write a compelling research paper.
Research Paper Format
The format of a research paper may vary slightly depending on the discipline, institution, or specific requirements of the task. The following is a commonly accepted structure for a standard research paper:
- Font and Font Size. Typically, Times New Roman or Arial, with a font size of 12.
- Line Spacing. Double-spaced throughout the entire document.
- Margins. Standard 1-inch margins on all sides.
- Page Numbers. Page numbers are usually placed in the header or footer, often starting from the second page.
- Headings and Subheadings. Use a consistent formatting style for headings and subheadings to organise the content.
In some cases, you can be required to number paragraphs. However, numbering paragraphs affects the readability of a document, so coming up with subheadings for the different paragraphs will often work better.
A Good Way to Start a Research Paper
Starting a research paper strong is crucial to grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for your work. Here are several strategies on how to start a research paper:
- Hook the Reader. It can be a compelling anecdote, quote or surprising fact about your topic.
- Pose a Thought-Provoking Question. Ask a question that stimulates curiosity and encourages readers to think about the subject.
- Provide Background Information. Offer a brief overview of your topic’s historical context, significance or relevance.
- Introduce a Controversial Statement or Thesis. Start with a bold statement or a controversial thesis to grab attention.
- Tell a Story. Narrate a brief story or scenario that illustrates the importance of your research.
- State a Surprising Fact or Statistic. Present a surprising statistic or fact related to your topic.
- Begin With a Quotation. Use a relevant and impactful quote that sets the tone for your paper.
- Define a Key Term. If your research focuses on a specific concept or term, consider starting with a clear and concise definition.
- Establish a Connection With the Reader. Make your introduction relatable by connecting it to the reader’s experiences, interests or concerns.
- Present a Problem. Pose a problem or present an unresolved issue related to your research topic.
Remember, the key is to be concise, relevant and engaging in your introduction. Your goal is to capture the reader’s interest and provide a clear direction for the rest of the paper. Additionally, ensure that your introduction smoothly leads to your thesis statement, outlining the research’s primary purpose and focus.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Writing a winning conclusion for your research paper is essential as it provides a final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your reader. Here are some strategies you can use to craft a compelling research paper conclusion:
- Restate the Thesis Statement. Avoid simply copying and pasting the original thesis. Instead, rephrase it in a way that reinforces your main argument.
- Summarise Key Points. Briefly discuss the critical aspects of your research, methodology, and results. This will help reinforce the overall coherence of your paper and remind the reader of the journey you’ve taken them on.
- Synthesise Information. Connect the dots between different sections and highlight the significance of your findings in relation to your research question or thesis.
- Address the Research Question. Emphasise how your research has contributed to answering this question or addressing the problem. Discuss the broader implications of your findings.
- Discuss Limitations. Every research project has constraints, and it’s essential to be transparent about them. Discuss how these limitations may have influenced your results and suggest areas for future research to address these limitations.
- Provide Recommendations. If your research has practical implications, consider offering recommendations for future action or research. Discuss how your findings can be applied in real-world scenarios and what steps could be taken based on your research.
- Reflect on the Significance of Your Research. Discuss why your findings are significant and how they contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your field. Make a case for the relevance and impact of your work.
No matter what strategy you choose, make sure that your conclusion leaves a strong final impression, providing a sense of resolution and leaving your readers with a clear understanding of the importance of your research.
6 Pro Tips on Writing an A-Level Research Paper
These are the must-know expert tips to help you write a successful research paper on the first try:
Tip #1: Choose a Relevant Topic. Write about something that not only interests you but also addresses a relevant issue in the field. Your topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow, striking a balance that allows for in-depth exploration within the scope of your research.
Tip #2: Develop a Clear Thesis Statement. It should articulate the central argument or hypothesis of your paper. Avoid vague or overly complex language, and strive to convey your main idea in a way that captures the reader’s attention. Your thesis should be specific, debatable and capable of guiding the reader through the rest of your paper.
Tip #3: Conduct Thorough Research. Utilise various reputable sources, including academic journals, books and credible websites. Take careful notes, organise your findings and cite your sources accurately to maintain academic integrity.
Tip #4: Create a Well-Structured Outline. Develop a clear outline that includes an introduction for research paper, literature review, methodology, findings, discussion and conclusion. Each section should flow logically from one to another, providing a seamless reading experience. Use headings and subheadings to break down complex information and guide your readers through the paper.
Tip #5: Revise and Edit. Review your paper for clarity, coherence and adherence to academic conventions. Lastly, check for grammatical errors, typos and inconsistencies in content and style at every text level — from headings to acknowledgements.
Tip #6: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. Crafting a compelling research paper is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, meticulous research and effective communication. In case you get stuck at any point, seeking help from reputable experts like the ones we have here at OZessay can be a good idea to overcome writer’s block and complete your paper on time and up to standard.
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