Developing a research paper may seem like a daunting task, but the adventure can be very rewarding. Research papers are typically five to 15 pages in length and include a thesis statement, support, and references. The writer should use formal English as a research paper will be academic in voice. This document will be formatted like an expanded essay. Headings should be used to introduce new ideas. The paper should also include an abstract.
If the research paper is an assignment, the writer must carefully follow any directions given by the instructor. The topic chosen should be in keeping with the instructor's directions and with what the writer can reasonable take on. The thesis statement, as with all thesis statements, should be precise and manageable. The paper's format should follow the instructor's protocol. The development of a research paper also includes the act of research for support.
Research information can come from primary, library, and online research. Primary research sources include data from interviews, original documents, field observations, diaries, journals, and experiments. The writer can also conduct his or her own research survey or questionnaire and use the data collected for support.
Library research can include information from ground libraries or online library databases. These resources include books and scholarly articles, which can be significant sources of information. Peer-reviewed journals are an excellent source of valid research information. Reading the abstracts of books and articles is a fast way to garner if an article is worth reading for possible use. The abstract is located at the beginning of an article and will contain a synopsis of the information contained in the article.
Internet searches can also be fruitful, but the writer must use caution because not all internet sources are reliable. When performing internet research, the author must search for reputable sources such as .edu and .gov websites. Wikipedia is never a good source because virtually anyone can edit or contribute to a wiki. If one finds pertinent information in Wikipedia, he or she should scroll to the bottom of the web page and find the references listed there. The wanted information may be located in one of these sources. On internet sites, the researcher should also check for reputability by noting the author of the page content. Is the individual an expert in their field? Is the organization sponsoring the site a reputable one?
When using sources, the writer must know how to cite and reference properly. Use the writing style, such as Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA), recommended by your instructor. The writer should also learn how to use direct quotes, paraphrase, and summarize correctly. Grammar mistakes are unnecessary in research papers. Using grammar software and being aware of editing practices is the writer's best defense against losing points for grammar and other mechanical mistakes.
A writer can learn a great deal about an interesting subject through the process of writing a research paper. Being prepared and knowing how to find and use sources will make the journey less stressful.