- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Research Papers Writing

A Guide To Writing Quality Research Papers

You can't escape it, no matter if you are at the high school, college, or graduate level. After long hours in school learning the proper methods of research and analysis, you will be required to write your own research paper. The reason behind this is that professors want you to demonstrate your ability to think on your own and discover information on your own. After all, once you find employment in the real world that is exactly what you will have to do. Still, many students cringe at the thought of all the hard work involved, but it doesn't have to be such a difficult task. Writing research papers is not nearly as difficult as some believe it to be, and if you follow the advice presented here you can maximize the quality of the research papers you produce.

Choose Your Resources

Research Papers

When you set out to do your research, it is recommended you choose mostly primary sources, rather than secondary sources. Primary sources are first-hand accounts of information, without any subjective commentary. A secondary source, for the most part, is an interpretation or analysis of a primary source. It is permissible to include a few secondary sources in your research, but by limiting secondary influences you ensure your information is as reliable as possible.

Choose Your Focus

You need to limit your research to a well-focused aspect of your topic. Don't fall into the trap of attempting to cover too broad of a subject, as this will only result in poor coverage. By narrowing your topic you will be able to thoroughly explore every aspect in detail.

Choose An Audience

A well-written research paper has a defined audience in mind. By defining your audience ahead of time you will be able to determine exactly what needs to be stated within the paper. Writing for an audience that was previously educated on your topic will enable you to lightly cover the basics of the topic and focus on more advanced areas. On the other hand, if you are writing for an audience that is generally uneducated about your topic you will have to cover the basics in detail.

Choose A Position

When you are writing your research paper, it is very important you state your own position on your research subject, and that you defend your ideas. The position should be included within your thesis statement. Too many research papers fail in this regard, and only regurgitate the same old information from several different sources. This is not the intention behind the assignment of research papers. The intention is that you are able to gather and analyze research to form your own ideas.

Choose Your Words Wisely

A research paper is not assigned simply for you to demonstrate your ability to dig up facts and interpret them. It is also assigned for you to present your ideas in a clear and concise manner. Even if you have compelling arguments and rock solid evidence to support them, if your prose is littered with poor word choices and grammatical errors your ideas will lose credence. Make sure your research paper is grammatically correct and reads smoothly.

Choose A Format

Keep in mind there are certain rules involved in the way you format your paper. This depends upon the documentation style your professor requires. Be sure to check with your professor ahead of time so you know which style to use. Each style has its own rules regarding the method in which you will give credit to your resources. You must be sure to give credit to your sources in order to avoid plagiarizing. Some of the more common styles include the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), CBE (Council of Biology Editors), and Chicago Style (Turabian). Handbooks documenting the rules of each style are available in most libraries.

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