What is a Research Paper?
In a college writing course, as in many disciplines, you may be asked to write a research paper. Read this article that explains the components of a research paper.
What is a research paper?
- A research paper is a written discussion based on an analytical thesis and supported by a collection of ideas and information.
- It is a way of presenting ideas and facts you have found through the reading of various materials.
Why do we write research papers?
- As part of our academic assignments
- To relate information and study findings in a professional manner
- To find answers to academic and scholarly questions
- For master's and doctorate theses
A research paper includes the following parts:
- Title Page
- Literature Review
1: Title Page
- Choose a comprehensive title for your study.
- Write your title in the middle of the page.
- Below the title, write your name, the name of your instructor, the name of your institution, and the year.
- Somewhere above the title, you write the running head*.
- The running head should be as clear and short as possible.
- The running head should appear on every page with the page number.
- Click here to see a sample title page.
- Your abstract should be as short and clear as possible.
- While writing your abstract:
- Give a brief introduction to the general topic of the study.
- Explain the exact research questions and the aims
- Give a brief description of the methodology.
- Give a brief description of the results.
- Give a brief description of the discussion.
- In other words, you answer the following questions in your abstract:
- Why did you do the study?
- What is the problem being addressed?
- What did you do?
- What did you find out?
- What conclusions do you have?
- This is the part where you start with a broad basis and then narrow down to the particular field of study, explaining the rationale behind each step.
- You give some background information, the importance of the study, the limitations of the study, and your assumptions.
- Set the scene by giving your paper a context and by showing how your study fits in with the previous research in the field.
- Give the rationale behind the research by justifying why your study is an essential component of research in the field.
- State the limitations by saying what you could have improved.
- State your assumptions by giving the reasons.
4: Literature Review
- This is a process of gathering and documenting information from other sources.
- It is a critical, in-depth evaluation of previous research.
- A good literature review:
- integrates the previous research together.
- explains how it integrates into the proposed research program.
- highlights areas of agreement and disagreement.
- A Literature Review is NOT a chronological catalog of all of the sources,
- a collection of quotes and paraphrasing from other sources;
- it is an evaluation of the quality and findings of the previous research.
- If your literature review can answer the questions below, it is a good one!
- This is the core of your paper and demonstrates how you used the scientific method.
- Here, give an accurate description of the equipment and the techniques you used to collect data.
- Explain how your raw data was collected and analyzed.
- Describe the materials and equipment that you used in the research.
- Explain how you gathered the sample:
- Did you use any randomization techniques?
- How did you prepare the samples?
- Explain how you made the measurements:
- What calculations did you make?
- Describe the statistical techniques that you used upon the data.
- You can write this section in subgroups like setting, participants, instruments, and procedure if it is applicable for your study.
- This announces your findings to the world.
- In this part, present your findings without interpreting or evaluating them.
- Include graphs, figures, and tables to make your point clear.
- Describe exactly what you observed and found.
- Here, you add interpretations to your work and comment on the data and your findings.
- Here, you would also criticize your methodology, suggest any modifications or improvements for your design, and give recommendations for future researchers.
- Ask and answer "Do your results agree or disagree with previous research?"
- Ask and answer "Has the experiment contributed to knowledge in the field?"
- This is the final part of your research paper.
- You should consider the following questions while writing your conclusion:
- What has your research shown?
- Give a brief description of the results
- Give a brief summary of the discussion
- How has your study added to what is known about the subject?
- Point out the significance of your study
- Discuss how your study relates to the field
- What were the shortcomings?
- Explain how any deficiencies may affect your results
- Has your research left some unanswered questions?
- Do the findings open up any suggestions for future research?
- Are the results of any use in the real world?
- Can you suggest any practical uses for the findings?
- What has your research shown?
- This part is also called "the citation list".
- It is very important because it helps you:
- prevent any accusations of plagiarism.
- give fair credit to the work of previous authors in the field.
- It must include all of the direct sources referred to in the body of the paper.
Enjoy your writing!
Adapted from https://yuwritingcenter.wikispaces.com/How+to+Write+a+Research+Paper
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