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Guest Blog: How to Write a Research Paper – by Lois

Posted by on July 26, 2013

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A Step by Step Guide in Writing a Research Paper

Over the decade of school, we have all probably written numerous research papers, probably most of it during our high school and college years. It probably came to a point where you’ve written so many research papers that it has become a second nature for you already. But not everyone has the privilege to have the basic knowledge in how to write a research paper like other people. But for those who still need help, here is a basic step by step process on how to write a research paper that may help out a whole lot.

Step 1: Gathering of Research
This phase is probably the most time consuming part of the whole research paper because it is the step where you have to do intensive research about your chosen topic. Don’t worry if you spend a good amount of time on this part because this will be your content in the main research paper. You can try searching the internet, go to the library to read books related to your topic and also read journal articles.

You can try doing the following:
** Refine your chosen research subject and stick to it
** Develop your research questions and make sure to write it down so you can glance it at every time you need to
** Go to your local library and ask them their opinion on your research area and also do a lot of your research here
** Read journal article abstracts on the same topic you’re interested in writing about.

You can also gain more insight about how research papers flow by reading other author’s papers

Step 2: Organizational Phase
While you’re asking people for guidance and reading journal articles by other authors, try writing down everything you think might be of help for you when you begin writing. Make sure to include citation information, potential quotes you may want to use, summaries and any other journal articles that may be of interest for your research paper.

In this phase try doing the following:
** Develop a potential thesis statement
** Outline and brainstorm your research paper’s content (you may take a good chunk of time in doing this because this will be your guide in actually writing your drafts)
** Create a meaty bibliography (this is where all your references go)
** Inset notes in your outline and add references

Step 3: Drafting
Once you’re finished writing your thesis statement and outline, it is time to begin writing your first draft.

You can try out these basic steps so that you can be guided:
** If you’re having a difficult time with the introduction, try starting in the middle portion where the gist of your research paper really lies
** Make sure that you site everything
** Edit as you go
** Make tweaks on the outline if needed
** Get in breaks while writing. A good 15 minutes is good to rest your brain and keep it refreshed
** Start early to finish early. Don’t procrastinate

Step 4: Editing Phase
During this phase, you have the chance to remove and add parts in your research paper to make it better. Keep writing drafts until you feel more comfortable and more confident in your paper so that you can proceed to the final draft of your paper.

Try out these steps:
** Try reading your draft out loud and mark the parts that don’t sound right
** Pay attention at the punctuation marks and change anything that needs to be fixed
** Make sure that every part of the paper moves accordingly towards the topic
** Remove passive verbs if you can

Lois Weldon is writer at She lives happily in London with her husband and lovely daughter. Adores writing tips for students. Passionate about Star Wars and yoga.

2 Responses to Guest Blog: How to Write a Research Paper – by Lois

  1. Sherry Furgerson

    My daughter loves to scuba dive. I thought maybe she could do a project on something along the lines of How much air she will use sightseing vs. lobstering. I am not sure if I am wording that correctly or even if its something we can turn into an actual experiment. But I think so. I would keep everything the same…her weight, equipment, time underwater, even the conditions of the ocean but measure air comsumption sightseing vs when lobstering. Am I way off base?

    • Dr. Maille Lyons

      You are on the right track by looking for a project that she will be excited and motivated about.

      First, check with her science teacher about projects involving humans – some will allow them, many will not.

      The design would be improved if you had 3 divers (her, her buddy, and get at least one more if not another set of two). Then you would have 3 or 4 times to average for each “condition” (i.e. sightseeing vs. lobstering). This would also allow you to calculate a difference for each diver (thereby negating all the differences between the divers, e.g., sex, age, weight, etc.).

      Good Luck!

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