How to Write a Research Paper
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Crafting a well-structured, informative research paper is a skill that every scholar needs to master. In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing an effective research paper, from selecting a compelling topic, conducting thorough research, to presenting your findings clearly and convincingly.
Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or a novice in academia, this step-by-step guide will provide you with the necessary tools to excel in your academic writing journey.
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper is a more advanced academic paper than essays meant to demonstrate the student’s academic knowledge on some specified subject.
Research papers are typically based on academic research conducted across databases, such as Google Scholar, books, periodicals, online encyclopedias, and course materials.
In the research process, you need to formulate your central idea about the study subject, develop guiding arguments for your research, and organize the entire material into a coherent, logical outline.
How to Start a Research Paper
Research experts recommend starting the research paper with a concise thesis statement. It should follow a brief description of your research background and context, showing why the topic deserves the readers’ attention. After you enumerate the key arguments in favor of a closer examination of the problem, you should voice your primary stand on the subject and central arguments you’ll use to prove that stand.
Experts also recommend not forgetting that research papers are primarily about research, so data should be the primary basis for your writing. To move on with the research paper quickly and smoothly, you need to ensure that the selected data is consistent with your objectives and the manner of their presentation.
But keep in mind that writing is a non-linear process, so you can’t just come up with all collected data, organize it, and complete the writing in one go. As a rule, you’ll be moving in cycles, reverting to your objectives and clarifying whether you are on the right way.
How to Structure a Research Paper
As for the research paper’s structure, the universal template to use is:
- The paper’s title
- Table of contents
- List of figures and tables
- Experimental section (optional, sometimes replaced with a methodology or a literature review)
Depending on your subject specifics or paper length, you may expand some of these sections or combine them. An introduction is usually followed by a brief literature review and a methodology section in smaller-size papers, while the Results section can be combined with a Discussion.
How to End a Research Paper
Concluding a research paper may seem a simple task at first glance, but in fact, it isn’t that simplistic. You need to condense all arguments voiced in the body of your research paper and tie them closely to your thesis statement, showing how they inform and prove it.
A conclusion should not give any new information or cite any new sources. Yet, it should reveal your learning progress and experience with the subject of examination, showing how you examined the subject, what new facts you discovered, and how the deepened knowledge on your subject correlates with your initial hypothesis.
Research Paper Outline
Now let’s consider the structure of a research paper on a concrete example. Our writers have chosen the topic of child role-play in preschool settings as a tool for leadership development.
Preschool years are a crucial formative period in the lives of children, characterized by active cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial development. Role-play is a natural pastime through which children have historically learned to interact with peers and developed their personalities. But unfortunately, free play activities are gradually disappearing from the preschool curriculum, giving way to academically focused activities, which harms holistic child development.
Thesis statement: Role-play is an essential tool for child development across multiple domains, including leadership skills.
- BODY OF THE PAPER
- LITERATURE REVIEW
Seminal research on role-play and child development (Piaget, Vygotsky, Montessori)
Contribution of play to physical, emotional, and psychosocial development.
Types of preschool play that can be used for educational and developmental purposes.
A qualitative observational study of a preschool group of children for six weeks. Video records of their free play and role-play activities during preschool time.
Video scripts of 6 children were analyzed to determine how children express their leadership skills in role-playing. Interactions of children revealed that female leaders acted more as directors of the role-play activities, ready to negotiate and give concessions to other participants for the sake of continuing the play.
Male leaders acted more as dictators, insisting on their point and not giving concessions, sometimes even coercing other children with force to follow their way of playing. Linguistic aptitude was a feature of child leaders, meaning that children with better-developed speaking skills were more likely to assume a leading position in the child group.
Compare this study’s findings with prior research (gender differences in child leadership, linguistic skills and leadership, leadership styles and tools in child groups).
Implications of the preschool curriculum study – the need to include role-play and free play activities to foster multidimensional child development.
Role-play is a vital element of preschool development. It needs to be revived in preschool settings, with teacher training on recognizing and nurturing child leaders in preschool settings.
Research Paper Introduction
As a rule, the introductory section presents the general background of the topic you’re going to examine. You can also add a couple of literature review paragraphs to inform the readers about what research says on the subject (if you don’t have a standalone Literature Review chapter). At the end of the introduction, you should indicate the issues related to the examined subject that you will investigate in this research paper.
Research Paper Body
The body of your research paper will typically include a literature review, the presentation of methodology, and the results and conclusion sections. Some authors include a literature review in the introduction part, as in this type of academic paper, it should be really brief. As for methods, you need to present both practical and theoretical considerations in this section to enable other researchers to replicate your study.
The Results section is the presentation of what you found by applying your methods to your dataset. Here you present all significant findings. But don’t go deeper into their analysis here if you have a separate Discussion section. In the Discussion, you can compare your findings with other published research on this subject to see whether your findings comply with them or contradict them.
You can also delineate the study’s implications and significance for the broader research field in this section.
Research Paper Conclusion
The conclusion section is meant to summarize your significant findings and return to your study’s thesis statement and objectives. Some authors also include future work plans or study limitations here.
Research Paper Help
Still not sure about how to write a research paper in APA format? Confused about structuring and content? Not able to find credible sources of evidence online or at the library? Things happen, and some temporary issues or bottlenecks in studies shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing your A-grade performance and a diploma with honors.
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