How to write a college research paper: step by step guide

Writing a research paper is a complicated task and should be planned beforehand. A college research should not look like University`s thesis overloaded with complicated methodology and theoretical framework. However, it is extremely important to include these parts.

Firstly, we would suggest that you select a topic you understand well and like to research. Many students select topics which are popular or recommended by professors. But you should understand that this is your research and in order to write it well you have to like what you are doing.

After selecting a topic try to search for literature and sources which you could use for your thesis. It is recommended to start with visiting a library and finding monographs and theoretical literature which should be included in your research. Even though we are living in a digital era it is quite hard to find reputable materials, books and monographs in the internet. Although internet can be used for finding articles, news and running your empirical part of research. Just remember that all research papers should contain theoretical framework – a simple empirical research would look more like an essay or policy paper.

When you selected a topic and conducted a background research on existing literature it is time to write a research proposal. Do not start writing your research proposal without consulting with a supervisor. A supervisor can give you good ideas on how to proceed with your topic, formulate research questions, select appropriate methodology and theoretical framework.

Your research proposal should be short and precise. Do not include literature review and bibliography but focus on explaining how you are going to conduct your research. It is necessary to include a plan of your actions with specific timing. Good research proposal also include limitations and ethical issues which may arise within the scope of your research. Let say that you want to conduct interviews with people as one of the methods. Such method usually entails many limitations such as objectivity of the opinions given by interviewees, uncomfortable questions and a language which you do not speak.

Once your research proposal is done and submitted wait for a response from your supervisor and fellow students. Correct all the mistakes and start conducting a research. Start from the literature review, familiarize yourself with main concepts and definitions related to your topic, provide conceptualization as one of the main sections of your research. Then explain the choice of your methodology and how you are going to use the methods which you selected.

When the introduction is ready move to the main part of your thesis and focus on facts, data and analysis. Use the abovementioned data to conduct a relevant analysis of the collected data. Be as precise as possible, use citations and make sure that all the ideas expressed in your work may be backed up by existing literature.

Conclusion is the most important part of your thesis and you should pay particular attention to it. Try to divide your conclusion into few sections according to the questions posed in the beginning of your research. Make sure that you answered your questions and provided enough argumentation. Use specific phrases and words which indicate conclusion part such as ‘therefore’, ‘thus’ etc.

Bibliography is a part which shows how thoroughly you worked on your research. If it contains many sources your supervisor will give you a better grade. However, the quality is not always decisive. Include as many monographs and printed materials as possible. It will demonstrate the fact that you spent time in the library and is aware about classic literature dedicated to your topic.

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