What is a Research Paper?
The main thing that distinguishes a research paper from other types of academic papers is that it’s aimed at investigating and evaluating primary and secondary sources. Its main objective is to provide interpretations of facts, not merely present an informed summary of a topic under discussion.
A research paper is a genre that requires you to scrupulously analyze the sources at hand and come up with a unique perspective on the topic you’re aiming to explore in your paper.
Types of Research Papers
It’s a rare student who has never been assigned an argumentative research paper. The goal of this type of academic writing is to demonstrate your attitude towards a particular matter. To write a successful argumentative paper, it’s critical that you comprehensively analyze a selected topic, find and evaluate the evidence in favor of this or that position, and finally take a stance on the topic and persuade your audience that your ideas are right.
Students that work on argumentative research papers mostly rely on the qualitative research methodology to back up their arguments.
Another type of research papers is analytical. In contrast to the argumentative research paper, its analytical counterpart won’t make you establish a position on a certain topic. While it’s still necessary that you come up with a debatable topic for your paper, you don’t need to convince your readers to accept your stance. All you need to do is to critically evaluate the selected sources that pertain to your research and then offer a fresh and non-trivial perspective on your topic.
Know Your Audience
Very often students fail to identify their audience when writing, which may considerably undermine the effectiveness of their research paper. Not to make the same mistake, you should always keep your audience in mind when working on your academic papers.
The common mistake lots of students make is attempting to write their paper for their instructor only. Note that your instructor is only part of your audience, meaning that not only his or her expectations should be taken into account. It’s a good idea to think of your audience as real people, like the ones you address in the classroom or at the conference. Try to predict and anticipate your readers’ reactions and responses to the ideas presented in your paper. It will help you adapt your writing to suit the needs of your audience. Knowing your audience will undoubtedly help you decide on the tone, diction, and style of your paper. As an author you should do your best to keep your readers engaged and make them benefit from your research.
Creating an Outline
No paper can be successful if poorly structured. And there’s no better way to structure your paper properly than to create an outline, which is an integral part of the writing process. The detailed outline will help you present your thoughts and ideas in a logical and coherent manner and
Drafting Your Research Paper
Remember to never get down to drafting your paper without a research question or thesis in mind. You should be fully aware of the argument around which your writing will revolve. Hone in on your argument and gathering evidence you’ll need to backup your ideas. Otherwise, you run the risk of producing an aimless paper that will never score a good grade.
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