Useful Tips for Writing a Research Paper for Dummies

If I am to consider you a “dummy” on the subject matter of research papers, I can’t take it for granted that you know what this actually is. Given many students just think of it in terms of another essay to write, allow me to get into greater details.

Research Paper vs Essay: The Difference

When faced with the task of having to define a research paper, many persons’ response is that ‘it is an extended essay” which is partly true. However, there is much more to a research paper than what you have probably been used to.

  1. While an essay is usually a presentation of your own views, a research paper takes into consideration the account of other sources.
  2. A research paper is longer than an essay, usually 8 pages.
  3. It requires more knowledge and understanding of a topic. This is where research comes into play.

Now you should have a better understanding and appreciation of how the two papers differ. Let us consider some ways in which you can be successful in transferring your writing practice of essays into your research paper.

  1. Determine the type of research paper you are going to write; you usually choose from the main three types: expository, analytical and argumentative. Choose the style you consider to be your strongest suit.
  2. Choose a topic that you can handle. In other words, choose an easy topic where you can find a lot of information. It is usually a good idea to scope out the academic sources at your disposal before you settle on a topic.
  3. Find someone who can help to guide you. The first point of contact is consultation with your professor. However, you can also find other students who may have completed that course who can give you much guidance.
  4. Do actual research. As stated earlier this is not an essay where you give your opinions. You will need to do research. Note Wikipedia is not an acceptable academic source. Search your library for materials if you don’t know how to spot academic articles on the Internet.
  5. Get at least five credible and strong scholarly sources to support your ideas.
  6. Don’t start writing your research paper with five books in front of you. Complete your research thoroughly, making applicable notes.
  7. Never hand in the first draft as your research paper. Very few get it right the first time. Do yourself a favor and write in drafts.
  8. Your research paper should not read like a story of opinions. Your sources should be well quoted and cited properly to show evidence of your research.
  9. Don’t include irrelevant quotes in an attempt to “prove” that you did some form of research.
  10. Make every effort to remember your grammar rules.

There is always a first time to do something, but there is no excuse for not doing your best on a paper when you have been guided. Do your research well, cite your sources, pay attention to your grammar and write in drafts.

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