A research paper can be defined as a long scientific essay. Whether you are a history, arts, science, or technology student, you must write a research paper. The topics are assigned to High school, college, and university students to prove their knowledge and writing skills. Writing a research paper’s goal is to focus on a particular issue and find new ways to solve it. But, writing a research paper as a beginner seems complicated for many students, hence proper guidance is needed. It starts with several stages. Here are a few guidelines to follow while writing a research paper as a beginner:
1. Choose the Topic
The first step toward writing a research paper is to choose the topic. Sometimes you are free to select the topic, so better to discuss it with your friends and professor. Sometimes a specific topic is assigned by the instructor/ professor. You can also read other people’s research to get inspiration. You will notice that the discussion or recommendation section of the research paper may have new ideas indicating that more research is needed. The argumentative research paper used information as evidence or proof. It includes a variety of argumentative topics such as science, technology, sports, economics, education and arts/culture. Once you have selected the topic and find out that enough information/literature is available then proceed. If enough information is not available then skip that topic and find another topic.
2. Search for Available Sources
The next step is finding available sources about your selected topic. These available creditable sources are journals, articles, books, government websites, and scientific studies. A website like Sci hub has many research paper online that you cannot find by direct search. Try to find out books and articles related to your topic. The most important one is to check the dates of the sources so that you will get the updated literature. It will be helpful for you to plan research questions. You should know the aim of your research.
3. Write a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement represents your dominant argument as it shows the aim of your research paper. If you are writing a question, then the thesis statement should answer it. It also indicated what proof and reasoning are required to support the answer. It should be logical, clear, and debatable. It should briefly describe the argument in two to three sentences. It must claim why further evidence is needed and make consistent points in every paper section. The main goal should be focused on the support of every paragraph.
4. Create an Outline
Creating a research paper outline shows you the key points, proofs, and arguments. It will help you know the rough idea and what the paper will look like before writing a research paper. It is worthwhile to set aside some time to write a structured outline because it can significantly improve the effectiveness of the writing process. Your paper’s skeleton is its outline. You only need to fill in the specifics after creating the outline.
5. Create the first draft
The first draft of a research paper is surely not very fine, but you can improve it later. You should write whatever you think is linked to your topic at this stage. Try to explain everything clearly. It’s not necessary that you can start from the introduction section. Some people choose to write the most challenging part first. As a beginner, you should choose to start with the easy section. Follow the outline you have created while writing. Don’t remove lengthy passages of text. Move it to another document if you start to despise what you’ve written or realize it doesn’t quite fit; even so, don’t entirely throw it away because you never know when it might be useful.
6. Introduction Section
The introduction part of the research paper gives you an idea of the relevant research in the same field. The start point of the introduction should be impressive to grab the reader’s attention. Each paragraph of the introduction should have a claim to the main topic. It represents the background and purpose of the research. So, if this section is boring, the reader will not be interested in further reading. Many people prefer to write statistics as it will drag the reader’s attention. The research paper should include three questions: what, why, and how. The reader should understand the paper’s topic, why it is worthwhile to read, and how you will support your claims after the complete introduction.
7. Write Material and Methods
This section is the most important one in science-related research papers. Like in sciences, you must explain what material was used in the experiment. Which method do you follow for our experiment? If you followed the literature method, add proper references there. Moreover, statistical analysis represents which software or tools are utilized for data analysis.
8. Results Section
The results section is comprised of your experiment results. Tables, graphs, and figures support this section. You need to describe what you have found. Try to make it simple and accurate. For example, you are writing a research paper on upland conversion to paddy field contribution to nitrous oxide emission. You need to show your results, like how much nitrous oxide emission was recorded, and how the temperature affects nitrous oxide emission. You have to represent your data.
Another example is a student of engineering who wrote a research paper focused on physical results instead of theory-based. Students of the Public Administration department wrote a research paper based on surveys and questionnaires. Its pattern is different based on your subject line.
9. Discussion Section
This part is not necessary for many papers, but it is like an interpretation. Summarize each section of the result and relate it to previous studies. You have to explain what you have found in your research and whether it is similar or different from previous research. Write it with proper literature citation.
This section should be comprised of three to five sentences. You should explain what conclusions have been drawn from your research and what further is needed. It should be clear to the reader. You can write it by following your thesis statement after changing the words. You can also add some recommendations for future research.
11. Acknowledgments and Funding Source
This section includes people who are not added to the author and co-author list. But this portion is very much helpful in acknowledging their contributions. If any funding agency supports your research, add the project’s detail in this section. Moreover, if you have additional graphs and tables can include them separately as supplementary material.
12. Literature Cited
It is the last part of the paper. The source of published work added to your paper is added in alphabetical order at the end. It includes complete information such as the name of the authors, published year, the title of the paper, journal name, and volume number. The format of citing a research paper and books varied from journal to journal. Every journal or book has its specific format for citing literature.
13. Proofreading and Editing
The importance of proofreading and editing is ignored by many students. They thought that once a paper is finished, it was ok to submit. Proofreading and modifications are necessary for the success of writing a research paper. The most effective method of proofreading is to re-read your draft. After re-reading it every few days, you will know it is natural. You will be able to find out the flaws that previously seemed invisible to you. You can also take help from your friends, colleagues, siblings, and professor. Ask them to read your paper. You can use their response to make your paper better. So, create the first draft as soon as possible because proofreading and modifications need a lot of time.
Proofreading will help you to find out grammatical mistakes in your paper. Another thing is readability which means understandably expressing your work. You can utilize programs like Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, etc., to speed up and simplify the process of editing and proofreading. These tools can be helpful in assessing grammar, sentence structure, writing style, clarity, and the incidence of plagiarism. The entire procedure can be considerably sped by with these tools. But, don’t rely on these tools. A computer is not always as accurate as a human proofreader.
Writing a research paper as a beginner is challenging for college and university students. A high-quality research paper can be produced by being invested in and motivated by the topic. But following the steps mentioned above will guide you throughout the entire writing process, such as writing the first draft to proofread.