A research paper is one of the most important and common requirements in high school and college. Students will definitely experience writing a research paper at one point in their lives.
A research paper is a formal written report which makes use of the scientific method. This sets it apart from other academic paper requirements such as essays and book reviews. Basically, a research paper presents information in support of a certain view or idea on a specific issue or topic.
There are two main types of a research paper: analytical and argumentative papers.
Doing research papers can be quite fun and not that hard if you follow the basic steps and helpful tips in writing one. The first step in writing a research paper will have to be choosing your topic. Some professors or teachers give their students the freedom to choose their own particular topics to pursue within a general topic or theme. As much as possible, try to choose a topic which is closest to your interests. In this way, researching will not be such a drag and will in fact be very exciting and interesting for you because you will learn something new.
Although a research paper is way simpler than a dissertation or thesis, it is more or less like a mini-thesis. Think of your research paper writing experience as a prelude to your thesis writing. And so, just like thesis writing, one can get lost along the process of doing a research paper. In order to narrow your research, it is important to refine your topic and define your thesis statement or research question. The thesis statement or research question will define the ultimate objective of your research paper and will guide the whole research process and the actual writing of the draft. Keep in mind however that your research question or thesis statement could still change along the research process.
After choosing your topic and defining your thesis statement or research question, the next step in doing your research paper is to do a review of literature. The review of literature basically means gathering all the significant studies and paper on your topic.
Next step would have to be data gathering. Primary and secondary sources can be used. Tools such as interviews, surveys, focus group discussions, direct observation, textual analysis etc. can be employed in order to collect the necessary information for the research paper. After, these data are analyzed to answer the research question or to support or disprove the thesis statement.
The last part of the research paper would have to be the presentation of the findings followed by the limitation of the study and recommendations for future studies on the topic.
Again, one has to face the reality that sooner or later, you will be forced to write a research paper. So getting acquainted with the format and steps of writing one will prove beneficial.