- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

The Research Essay

Research papers usually begin with a topic or problem that needs to be researched. Often research essays and term papers are usually described as being the same thing. A research essay should lead the reader to the works of others as it guides the reader to compare previous research to the current research essay. A research essay teaches the reader about a topic as it clearly identifies the thesis and the main points of the essay.

Write a Research Essay

The first step to a research paper is deciding on the topic or problem to be researched. Creating the thesis of the research essay will help in the research process. It should encourage the reader to want to find out more about the topic. What is the problem? Why should it be researched? Why write about the problem? Why do the readers want to know more about the topic? The research paper will have many different headings that relate to the thesis. It should have clear direction as to where it is going and why.

Begin by brainstorming ideas on the topic. What is known about the topic? What needs to be researched? What key ideas can be used to research the topic? Where can information about the subject be found?

An academic research paper must begin with finding sources that support the thesis. A research paper does not give opinions. It is required to have sources that are reliable such as those from scholarly journals, educational cites, or dependable Internet sources. A good way to begin the research essay is through recording information on note cards so these can be used in the writing process. Write down who wrote the article, the title of the article, the name of the journal or website, and the date. This information can be put in the body of the term paper and later in the works cited page. Find examples that clarify any unclear terms. Find sources that are credible and can be used as evidence supporting the thesis.

Create an outline from the note cards you have collected. Begin with an introduction paragraph that states the thesis. What sources can be used as evidence? What subheadings will be used? What are the main points relating to the thesis? Once the outline is created it will be time to write a rough draft.

Be precise about what you mean throughout the paper. It is important to use sources, but do not plagiarize. Every source should be credited with the name of the author, title of the article, what journal it was found in, the date of the article, and page numbers. Different instructors use different styles of writing. Know the style and use it correctly.

Carefully write the paper using the sources of information found as you follow your outline. Edit the paper by reading it and then have someone neutral edit the paper. Read each word asking if it is correctly spelled and has the meaning you wanted it to have. Check the punctuation. Run a spell check on the article.

Set the research essay aside for a while before proofreading it again. Are there unnecessary words? The last step is to put the finishing touches to it. I'd suggest having someone read this again for errors. Always read the research essay out loud to listen to any grammar errors or spelling mistakes.

A problem many students make in writing research essays are waiting until the last moment to write it. Plan each step of the essay. Organize each part of the essay. When creating the outline have an introduction, main points, and conclusion. Begin early to collect information about the topic. Make lots of note cards to use during the writing of the essay. Keep track of where the information came from so it is not plagiarized. Give credit to each quote or paraphrase. The best way to write the research essay is to do each section at a time and proofread each of these sections.