Research writing has proven to be challenging among college students, but with a little practice, it can become an important part of our academic and professional toolkit.
Without wasting any time, let's get directly to the 10 basic steps that you need to follow to write a strong research paper that guarantees you good marks and the right experience.
The Research Writing Process
1. Familiarize yourself with the Task 1. Familiarize yourself with the Task
For instance, the instructions may require you to select a topic from the professor's list. If you skip this and find your own topic, despite being interesting, the instructor may as well ask you to mark it yourself. For sure, is that what you were supposed to write about?
You may, however, request the professor to approve your topic. Follow the instructions carefully, and ask where you're unsure.
2. Topic Selection is Key2. Topic Selection is Key
However, you must follow the professor's guidelines to help pick a suitable topic. Make sure
the subject you're exploring is in line with your course or profession.
Here are some topic selection tips:
This is the main goal of any research paper - to engage in research, present findings, analyze them, and conclude - offering relevant recommendations and solutions to address the research problem. Be sure that the professor will be examining your researching skills.
Different people will research for a paper in different ways. Nonetheless, it's fundamental to be focused.
While researching, you should consider skimming - you don't have to read all the research materials at the beginning. Scheme through the materials to see if they could contain the information you're looking for. You should also find reliable resources. Don't ignore any crucial information - whether it's in support or against your topic.
4. Organize your Research4. Organize your Research
You may require to turn in a bibliography with your research paper. Again, you need to be sure of what the assignment is all about. Check if the instructor has highlighted the key elements that you should focus on while writing your research paper.
5. Thesis Formulation
By now, you should have understood the research topic, already selected a relevant topic, and researched. Now, you need to formulate a thesis - a statement answering the question, what is your research paper about? Whether your paper argues or not, you need a thesis statement.
6. It's Time to Create an Outline6. It's Time to Create an Outline
An outline helps you to be organized while writing your research paper - it ensures you remain focused and follows the instructions. Assign more word count to the sections that have more weight. After all, you're aiming for the highest marks, right?
7. Now, Write 7. Now, Write
Finally, it's time to actually write your paper. You may feel like you have wasted much time in the previous steps, but believe me, the work you have done will help you write a strong, interesting, and clear paper.
Please note that this is not the time to find the perfect words or grammar for your paper (not yet). You will have a chance to edit and proofread your writing in the later steps. For now, focus on writing, with the thesis statement, instructions, and outline in mind.
8. Edit your Content 8. Edit your Content
In the previous step, you weren't supposed to worry about perfection, but now you do. Think about the structure, organization, wording, and length. It's clear that you organized your paper based on the outline, does it really make sense? If it does, kudos! If not, why not make some changes? You still have time, right? But don't procrastinate.
This is a good point to refer back to the first step, does your paper follow the instructions? If not, where can you bring in the missing pieces? Read through your content and check if you can make the paper clearer.
9. Grammar Editing 9. Grammar Editing
By now, you are sure that your research paper has followed the professor's instructions, is well organized and detailed, and is as clear as possible.
You may need to take a break, between writing your content and editing for grammar. It may help you to get more focused, and improve your ability to identify and correct grammatical errors.
10. Re-read your Paper and Submit 10. Re-read your Paper and Submit
Now that you have finished the 9 basic steps, it's time to take a break. Truly, you serve it. A day later (or a few hours if you don't have much time), you can read the print copy of your work. At this stage, you may identify some errors that you could have missed while reading your screen version.
If you are sure your research paper contains all information and is error-free, it's time to submit it.