How To Write A Research Paper: 3 Main Steps


Before you begin to understand how to write a research paper, it would be logical to clarify what should be understood by this term. In principle, the need to write scientific papers faces everyone who sets out to receive higher education in any specialty.

Strictly speaking, scientific is any written work that reveals a certain scientific theme, whether it be an essay, term paper, article, dissertation, etc. Of course, the requirements for them differ in both the volume of text and depth of research. However, general patterns of writing are inherent in each type. Also, we should not forget that with the advent of online education in our lives, we have access to many services that can help with studying. For example, online writing services like help students with assignments and give a clearer idea of the structure of written essays and research papers.

The main stages:

  1. Selection of the topic.
  2. Compilation and implementation of the plan.
  3. Formatting.

Now consider each of these stages in detail. Note that the more each step will be elaborated, the higher the chances of a successful defense or publication. To cope with this task will help scientific thinking, which develops under the power of each of us.

1. Selection of The Topic


As a rule, a researcher (student) is not 100 percent independent in choosing a topic. Students, especially those in their junior year, are often assigned a topic in a directive manner. Seniors can choose the topic of their term paper or diploma from a list of suggested topics.

Graduate students and young researchers have more room for maneuver, but they also have to reckon with the main research topics of their university or research institute. At least for the reason that their future supervisor – as a rule, from among the staff of the same university or research institute – must be competent in the subject of their student’s research.

The exact and final formulation of the topic should be discussed with the supervisor after a number of preliminary studies. Past work on the selected and related topics should be examined, and the availability of material available for research, as well as the possibility of conducting your own research, should be assessed. For example, setting up laboratory experiments, participation in archaeological excavations, ethnographic expeditions, and so on. Writing a scientific paper is a creative process, which means that creativity is required.

A separate position is held by the already established researchers and the so-called applicants – people already working in the real economy, but wishing, so to speak, to “settle down,” that is, to get a Ph. They usually propose a topic directly related to their day-to-day activities. But here, too, to select the topic of dissertation research should take into account several criteria.

Criteria for selecting a research topic:

  1. Relevance.
  2. Novelty.
  3. Significance (applied or methodological).

Relevance implies that in the scientific community there is a request for research in this or that direction, and there is the so-called “field of research”: special laboratory equipment and stands, archaeological excavations in the region under study, and so on. It is not necessary to take topics that have been researched up and down or have lost their relevance in view of the development of scientific technology. However, this is self-evident, if you connect your rational thinking.

The novelty of scientific work is to reveal those aspects of the topic or direction, which were not disclosed by previous studies. Novelty should not be understood as something completely new and completely unexplored: such a topic is unlikely to have a chance of being approved. In addition, absolutely new is difficult to investigate because of the small amount of data available for research.

Finally, relevance, applied or methodological. In other words, practical or theoretical. So-called “cabinet” scientists usually choose theoretical research, while applicants who come from the real economy often focus on practical research, the results of which can be implemented in production in the future.

It should be understood that any applied scientific work will have to be approbated, so even at the stage of selecting a topic, it is necessary to assess the availability of production facilities for the implementation of intermediate results of the research. In some cases it will be enough to approbation in laboratory conditions, but this aspect should be discussed with the supervisor.

2. Creating and Implementing a Plan


Once a researcher has decided on a topic, it is important to make a clear plan for the research paper. The plan should ensure that the stated research topic is fully and comprehensively addressed. This is why it is so important to work through the formulation of the topic and assess all available opportunities for future research. If the plan does not fully disclose the topic, such work may not be allowed to defend. That is why the correct formulation of the problem and the desire for accuracy, in this case, are not just useful thinking habits, but a basic skill necessary for a successful research paper.

As a rule, a research paper consists of an introduction, two, three or four chapters, and a conclusion. This structure allows you to best systematize the material and plan the work of collecting it. The chapters should be approximately equal in length and contain approximately the same number of basic postulates. If any aspect of the topic must necessarily be covered, but there is very little material on it, it is better to make it a sub-item of a chapter rather than a separate chapter.

The conclusion should compare the goals and results of the work, draw conclusions on the topic, confirm the relevance of the research, and describe the applied or methodological significance of the results obtained. Ideally, the conclusion should contain the author’s recommendations: for example, regarding the possibility of further implementation in production or new research of a higher level, which can become the basis for a doctoral dissertation.

And finally, the introduction. Yes, here’s a tip: the introduction is better to write it last, when you have finished all the research part, draw conclusions and make sure that the results of the study are fully relevant to the stated topic. The main task of the introduction is to introduce readers to the case, setting goals, describing the current state of the research topic and the current direction of further research.

From the introduction should be clearly understood, what exactly the novelty of the research, and what result the author intends to obtain. Agree, all this will be easier to set out understandable language when you have already done all the work and know exactly what conclusions came to in the course of writing a diploma, article or dissertation.

Let’s specify that the introduction should not contain ready-made conclusions: it should reveal the direction in which the author will work. In simplified form it can be presented as follows: in the introduction, you set the task to find out how much x differs from igek, and in the final part you inform the reader that x is twice as big as igek. That is, x=2u. To avoid duplicating general wording, develop vocabulary.

A carefully thought-out and well-structured point-by-point work plan is, consider, 50 percent of all the work done. Then all that remains is to follow the plan clearly, selecting the right literature, doing the right research, and doing the right calculations. In order to get results that are adequate to the tasks at hand, you should use critical thinking and the entire arsenal of creative techniques for working with information.

If your research paper requires field trips, plan them in advance so that they do not overlap with other important events. If you are writing a PhD thesis or dissertation that involves an interim conference presentation, remember that the report and its abstract should be ready at least three months before the conference date.

3. Formatting


The formatting of your paper is as important as any of the preceding items. How your paper is packaged will determine your initial impression as a researcher to those tasked with deciding what happens to your work: whether or not to accept it for presentation, or whether or not to publish it in a journal. By the way, the ability to check the whole chain of actions and bring the work to its logical conclusion is a sign of effective and strong thinking.

Requirements for the design of the title page, pages of text and list of references should be specified separately in each case. If you are writing an article for a journal, find out the requirements for the design of the article in the editorial office, if you are preparing a diploma, then in the graduating department, if a thesis, then from the responsible staff of the Higher Attestation Commission (HAC).

Usually, authors are given instructions on preferred fonts, sizes, indents, list design, page numbering, and other things. Formatting capabilities in a regular word processor usually allow you to fully meet the requirements for a written research paper.

Remember that the work should be written in coherent language, have logical transitions between paragraphs and sections, have no grammatical and spelling errors. Abbreviations and acronyms used in the text should be explained and deciphered, especially if they are little known or not too common in our country. If the work includes explanatory graphs, tables and charts, you must separately specify in what form or format they should be presented.

In general, nothing super-complicated in writing a research paper is not: if you have a clear idea of all the steps and are willing to work through them thoroughly, then the success of your work is ensured. Mastering these skills is desirable the sooner the better.

If you start to consciously approach everything you write in your first year, then closer to graduation you will be ready both for scientific work and for the requirements of the real economy. After all, the preparation of any presentation in a commercial firm involves the same stages of work as when writing a research paper, only to a lesser extent. So learn to write coherently, clearly, and to the point, and be sure that this skill will always come in handy!