All You Need to Know About Research Papers

All You Need to Know About Research Papers

What Is a Research Paper?

The essence of any learning institution is to give students thinking power. It is this thinking power in a given field that student should strive to gain. One of the ways to express your thinking power is through research papers. In the course of your learning in higher learning institutions, you will be expected to do several research papers.

At CustomizedEssayWriting, we love to presume that research papers are simple assignments. Nonetheless, writing a research paper is one hell of an experience especially if you have not grasped the basics of essay writing process. At the very foundation of research paper writing is the ability to choose a good topic.

Subsequently, you need to be able to create a well-structure and comprehensive research paper outline. But before we choose a topic and create an outline, it would be crucial to ask ourselves ‘what exactly is a research paper?’

It will not be surprising that most students think that a research paper is summary, analysis or review of previous literature work in the area being explored. When required to work on a research paper, most students write on ideas or thoughts of other scholars through such as describing what such scholars did or found. Some other students present their facts and fail to support them using facts from other credible sources in the area they are exploring.

Contrary to the above approaches, a research paper is a presentation of your thoughts on a certain topic. This entails using previous literature to support your arguments. Therefore, while writing a research paper, you need to state your thoughts or ideas and support them using credible, current and valid sources such as journal articles and textbooks. The analysis of previous knowledge in the area you are exploring need to be used as supporting evidence and not the main points in your paper.

The objective of a research paper varies on the basis of the discipline and/or purpose. Nonetheless, most research papers aim at testing a hypothesis, establishing laws existing in society or nature, scientific confirmation and/or generalizations and for acquiring or improving existing knowledge. Understanding the aim of your research is essential in knowing how to structure your paper and how to approach it.

In any case, in order to write a good research paper with coherent use of supporting facts, you need to have good analytical, organizational and critical thinking skills. Being a good researcher also goes a long way in ensuring that you get quality information to use as supporting evidence while writing your essay. You also need to know the type of a research paper you are working on. Type of research paper is at the core of knowing how to structure your essay. There are various types of research papers as explored in the section below.

Common Types of Research Papers

1.      Argumentative/Persuasive Papers

These research papers explore topics that are controversial. They present logical and evidence-based facts on either possible side of the issue under consideration. Apart from evaluating facts supporting an argument, these papers present an analysis of the pros and cons of each claim. However, the arguments should lean slightly towards one side to show your point of view on the topic. The objective of argumentative papers is to persuade the reader to side with your point of view.

2.      Analytical Papers

These essays are similar to argumentative papers as they involve the presentation of various viewpoints on a specific issue/topic. Each viewpoint is presented with supporting evidence with no opinions given on the matter. These essays require the making of strong arguments and critical thinking while reviewing the viewpoints as presented by various scholars.

These papers can explore one of various aspects of a study such as the findings of a study, its methodology, conclusion or the whole study for a given topic. You need to ensure neutrality in these papers. This means that you do not need to give your opinion on the matter under evaluation. Instead, you should present facts to help the reader make their own opinion or conclusion.

3.      Cause and Effect Papers

These papers explore the chain of events that cause a certain scenario and/or the implications of the same scenario. These papers seek to answer the questions ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’ associated with a particular scenario such as policy implementation.

The reasons attributed to a scenario and its implications ought to be evidence-based and not based on opinion. In writing a cause and effect paper, you need to ensure that it is well organized and written to prevent confusion of the reader due to points being presented haphazardly. These paper types are often applied in education and business fields to try and explore the possible effects a certain event can have and how they can be altered if need be.

4.      Interpretative Papers

During practice in some fields such as psychology, nursing and art, professionals are required to analyze a certain situation as per set theoretical frameworks. In order to affirm the knowledge you have on the set theoretical frameworks that form the foundation of practice in such fields as a student, you will be required to write interpretative papers. These papers necessitate exploration of a certain case using the learnt knowledge on some set principles. These papers are often utilized in such as social sciences and literature.

5.      Definition Papers

These papers seek to provide facts on a concept in a descriptive manner. They require objective arguments backed by evidence from credible sources. You need to ensure that your definition paper does not involve personal opinion. Definition papers often seek to define concepts that are more abstract which are mainlyvcontentious in nature. Examples of concepts that can be explored using a definition paper include such as family, honesty and love. 

6.      Compare and Contrast Papers

These research papers types are very common. They explore two issues or topics by exploring ways in which they are similar and different. They are often used in Literature such as to compare authors and/or their work or two genres. Their rare application is in social sciences, business and philosophy to compare different theoretical frameworks.

Compare and contrast papers often involve an exploratory description of the issues or topics being evaluated and their comparison. Much of the paper need to compare and contrast the issues or topics being evaluated. As you write your compare and contrast paper, you should not be persuasive. Instead, you need to explore the issues in a manner that enlightens the reader on how the issues or topics relate.

7.      Report Papers

These research papers are often used to explore a case study or research. They outline the analysis of a situation to identify the main issues. They also often involve making recommendations such as by offering solutions or stating what need to be done in future. The objective of report papers is to inform the reader by providing evidence in such as graphs, interviews or experiments as opposed to persuading them.

The Structure of a Research Paper

All research papers and research paper summaries have the basic format of introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction provides the background information. It also contains the key argument or the thesis statement. The introduction should be about 10% of the total word count of your paper.

The body involves the various premises and facts in support of your thesis. The facts need to be supported using credible sources. As a rule of thumb, each fact need to be covered in one paragraph of about 150 words. You are also supposed to maintain good transition between paragraphs.

The conclusion is the last part and it comprises of a summary of your paper. While writing the conclusion, you should restate your thesis statement and show how it is addressed by the facts you gave.

However, based on the type of research paper and its purpose, the presentation of a research paper can include other sections within the body section. The most common sections are highlighted below:

a.)   Title Page

This presents information about the author and the title of the research paper.

b.)   Abstract

The abstract presents the summary of the paper. It is a synopsis of the introduction, objective, methodology, results and the conclusion. However, this format may vary based on paper type. For instance, case reports and reviews do not follow a specific format. This section should be about 250 words.

c.)    Introduction

As we stated earlier, the introduction provides the background of the study. You should clearly state your research problem and the thesis of your paper. The introduction of your essay should be structured in a manner that shows that your paper is original and fills a knowledge gap in your area of study.

Also, state your research question or the objectives of your paper on the introduction section. As a rule of thumb, the introduction needs to be about 10% of the total word count of your research paper. The introduction can include the objectives of your study.

d.)   Literature Review

This section presents a review of the current knowledge in your area of study. It does not only cover what relates to your area of study. However, for information not directly related to your essay topic, you need to give logical reasons as to how it relates to your area of study or how it helps in your current research paper.

In writing your literature review section, you need to organize it in a manner that brings out the gap in knowledge in the current studies that your intend to fill. This gives your research paper validity and originality.

e.)   Methodology

This section provides the setting and context of your study. It presents information on what you did and how you did it. You should also state what you used in this section. Therefore, as a minimum, you ought to state your population, the sampling strategy and any intervention that may have been involved. In addition, state your variables (these need to be related to your area of study or help in answering your research question). You also need to state the method of data collection.

f.)    Results

This section covers the results or data collected from research. It answers the question ‘what did you find?’ In writing this section, you need to give the key findings relative to your research question. It is advisable to present your results in a way that suggests whether an argument or theory is true or not. Nonetheless, you need to be sure to avoid making definitive statements.

g.)   Discussion

This section involves the analysis of your results to explain their meaning and implications. You need to cover the main findings in this section and discuss them relative to the previous research. You need to link your discussion with your introduction with the aim of answering your research question. You need to also indicate limitations of your study.

h.)   Conclusion

This section should provide an overview of your research paper. In writing this section, it is imperative to restate your thesis statement, summarize the major points used to prove the thesis and the main findings of your research relative to the thesis statement. You can also state prospective areas that need to be explored by future studies.

i.)     References

This is a list of all the sources (such as articles, textbooks and websites) used as evidence in your research paper’s text. The organization and presentation of the citations, as is the case with intext citations, depends on the style of citation used for your paper. For further information on the various styles of citations, you can visit Purdue Owl.

j.)     Appendices

This section contains information or materials essential in understanding your paper but which cannot be included in the research paper’s text. This is because it can compromise on your essay's coherency. It also contains information or materials crucial in expanding the reader’s understanding or knowledge in your area of study. Some of the materials and information that can be included in this section include such as charts, interview questions, summaries, survey instruments, maps, and photographs.

We believe this article will prove indispensable to students seeking to understand the basics of research paper writing. You can also review the article ‘How to write a research Paper’ to get the basics of how to approach and write a term paper. However, in case you need further help on research papers, you can always reach out to our very able CustomizedEssayWriting writers. We delight in serving our customers. Nothing pleases us more than a happy client. We are more than willing to write the paper for you and help you save some time that would otherwise be needed in writing your paper from scratch.

Published on: 21 Dec 2018