The inevitable has come; You finally have to write a research paper for your college or dissertation. Many colleges require a research paper from students to complete their degrees. You don’t have to fret, though. We have everything you need about how to write a research paper for a college right here in this blog.
What is a research paper?
A research paper is an academic article that offers a thorough examination, assessment, interpretation, and in-depth analysis of a subject supported by empirical evidence or data. Analytical essays and research papers are similar, but the former place more emphasis on using statistical data and previous studies, while the latter adheres to a strict citation style. A research project is always intended to find a problem’s solution. However, most people are already aware of research papers from school; they are frequently used in college courses to assess a student's familiarity with a particular subject or their general research abilities.
Types of research papers
Before learning how to write a research paper, let us know about different types of research papers. Research papers come in varied types of formats. Knowing the type of research paper needed for your assignment is crucial because every type has various requirements for preparation. The most common types of research papers needed for college assignments or dissertations are listed below.
1: Analytical Research Paper
You pose a query in an analytical research paper and then gather relevant data from other researchers to assess their various points of view. You concentrate on the facts and judgments of other researchers before drawing your own opinions about the subject.
2: Argumentative Research Paper
As the name implies, an argumentative research paper presents arguments for and against the research topic from two different angles. In this style, the researcher must present two conflicting opinions on the issue, weigh their merits and demerits, and then support one of them.
3: Cause and Effect Research Paper
The first research paper types that high school and college students typically encounter are cause and effect studies. They provide key answers to the important questions "Why?" and "What?," which reflect consequences and causes by tracing the likely or anticipated results from a certain activity which reflects causes and effects.
4: Experimental Research Paper
The researcher must thoroughly describe the entire experimental process when writing an experimental paper. Here, the researcher conducts the experiment, shares his insightful experiences, and then presents the pertinent data and concludes his study.
5: Problem-Solution Research Paper
The Problem-Solution Research Paper seeks solutions to specific problems, as the name suggests. The researcher presents the issue, evaluates the facts at hand, identifies some potential answers, and then shows how effective those solutions are through examples, specifics, statistical data, etc.
6: Report Paper
The researcher must compile all relevant information for the research topic, describe the most important data characteristics, and then summarise his results in the report paper. This essay seeks to present all the relevant data and information regarding the subject of the study.
7: Survey Research Paper
This research study requires that a survey be conducted, complete with questions for participants. After gathering and analysing all of the survey's data, the survey's creator presents it in the study paper.
Research paper format
Deciding your research paper format before starting to write a research paper is very important. The format of your paper will depend on the style guide you choose to follow. There are three commonly used research paper formats and are American Psychological Association (APA), MLA and Chicago. The APA, MLA, and Chicago style manuals provide formatting guidelines for things like font choices, page design, heading type, and reference page structure, in addition to citation requirements. Below are basic guidelines for each of the research paper formats.
- You should use a common typeface such as 11 pt Arial or 12 pt Times New Roman.
- Set page margins at 1 inch.
- Double the line spacing.
- Include a running head on each page if submitting for publication.
- Every new paragraph needs a 12-inch indent.
APA style writing also tells more in-depth details about the order of pages, font, line spacing, etc., needed to write a research paper.
The important guidelines for writing a research paper in MLA format are:
- Use a readable typeface, such as 12 pt. Times New Roman.
- Make the page margins 1 inch.
- Double-space your lines.
- Every subsequent paragraph should be indented by one and a half inches.
- Capitalise headings with title case.
The Chicago style format is also known as the Turabian style. The basic guidelines for it are:
- Use a common typeface, such as Times New Roman 12 pt.
- Use margins of at least one inch.
- Double the line spacing.
- Every new paragraph needs a 12-inch indent.
- Page numbers should be placed in the bottom centre or top right.
How to write a research paper for college?
Choose your topic
You may be given a topic to write on, or you may have to choose one on your own, depending on the assignment. If your instructor did not provide you with a topic, you would have to choose a topic on your own. You should pick a research topic which you feel connected to and feel confident about. The topic or the problem for the research paper should not be too vague or too narrow so that it does not become hard to find the relevant data.
Conduct preliminary research
While finding sources online is a simple way to start a research project, determining the reliability of a source is more crucial. The sources for your research should be credible and reliable. You can source your data and information from encyclopedias, journals, google Scholar, libraries, trustworthy publications or case studies. This will be your first stage i.e. the preliminary stage of research. This is the stage where you will get a clear idea about your topic for research writing through the data you have sourced and skimmed.
Write a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement conveys the main idea of your research paper, and it typically appears at the end of your introduction. This is one of the important parts of a research paper you should take care of while you write a research paper. Your thesis statement should have an interesting and compelling hook which draws the readers’ attention. A strong thesis statement gives the reader a clear understanding of the topics and arguments you will be discussing in your work. Your thesis should be one or two sentences long and should be clearly written, so readers know exactly what they will encounter in your paper.
Conduct in-depth research
After you are done with the preliminary research, you need to source enough research which will be relevant to your research writing. You can conduct data through various methods such as experiments, surveys or questionnaires. Always keep in mind that your research writing should be unbiased and should be factual. This is the stage where you will go through the information you have collected while doing the preliminary research and find out supporting evidence. Only include details that are directly related to your issue; avoid including irrelevant data even if they seem interesting.
Write a research paper outline
The foundation of your paper is an outline. There are various sections or components that make up a research paper outline. Your paper will surely include an introduction, body and conclusion. These headings will include relevant subheadings, which will be supported by empirical evidence. You need to make a list of all the vital topics, subtopics and categories to include in your paper.
To ensure that the work is successful and well-structured overall, each section should be expertly written.
- Title/ Cover Page
- Main Body
These are the fundamental components of every research paper outline, regardless of the format style you use
Write the first draft
Now that you have finalised an outline for your research paper. Here comes the most important and exciting part. You will now actually start to write a research paper. This step won’t be very intimidating if you have all the sources and data with a proper outline ready. Your research paper should contain all three: an introduction, body and conclusion, along with an abstract, citations and bibliography. This is the part where you will support your thesis statement with empirical evidence and facts. While you write a research paper, you have to remember that this section contains the main ideas and is the soul of your paper. The methods used to obtain information, the findings, and a discussion of the findings and outcomes are all found in the body of your research paper.
The conclusion and the introduction carry the same importance. The research paper's concept is restated in conclusion, along with the author's, i.e. your personal viewpoint on the subject. Your conclusion cannot include the facts that are already stated in your paper or new facts or information.
Cite your research paper
Citations are a very important part of how to write a research paper. Citation basically means quotations from any reference books, papers or authors. It mentions the referenced quotes' mainly in scholarly works. According to the paper format you are using, citations follow a certain set of guidelines and rules. Your final page, also known as the bibliography page, will contain all the citations and lists of all the references and sources that you used to gather your data.
Edit and proofread
Once you have finished writing a research paper and all the elements of your paper have been written and compiled, proofread it many times to ensure that it is error-free. Before submitting it make sure you check for all the minor details and make sure you do a thorough grammar check. Go over your paper twice, so you do not miss anything.
Tips for writing a research paper
Who doesn’t love extras? Extra ketchup, extra mayo, extra tips? You can check out these topics to learn more about how to write a research paper effectively and efficiently.
- Select a topic you feel connected to.
- Using Index cards to jot notes down will be helpful.
- Take enough time to edit and polish your paper.
- Find a distraction-free environment.
- Start writing a research paper early to avoid procrastination.
- You can definitely ask for help if you needed.
- Have enough sleep and rest.
Now that you have learnt how to write a research paper, you can finally start to write a research paper. We know you can do it. A research paper involves a lot of hard work and brain activities. Get enough sleep and rest and avoid procrastination, and you should write a research paper while enjoying it.