Writing a research paper is a complex process that can be compared to a full course of meals. Indeed, it can be enjoyable for a student. The main trick is to follow a certain consequence and work on a paper in portions. Just like the main course on the menu is preceded by starters, there are certain preparation steps in the actual process of writing a research paper. In order to ensure the best possible grade and “to get a full taste of the menu,” one should start with completing a consequence of steps, such as selecting a desirable topic, performing a research, taking notes, making an outline, and writing a thesis statement. So, let’s look at them closely and figure out how to start a research paper.
1. Choosing a Topic
When a student starts a research paper, the first thing on the list is to come up with a topic. Choosing one in a field the student is passionate about is always the best thing to do, but one should also make sure to narrow it down to a specific research question. The fewer pages the paper has, the narrower the topic should be. Additionally, it would be nice to look through the information available on it, so that the paper does not repeat the common facts.
2. Doing Actual Research
In order to write a compelling paper, one needs to collect enough evidence to support the main statement. Printed sources, such as books by experts, are valued much more than online sources. There are, however, academic journals which can be accessed online; they are considered as highly credible. In general, information can be retrieved from websites with .edu, .gov, and .org domains, but one should treat them carefully. Students should be especially attentive to the quality and credibility of information when they are using Wikipedia and other websites with user-generated content.
3. Taking Notes
This step is about compiling bibliography and writing down the relevant ideas and facts that will potentially support the main argument. It presumes that a student has already read the literature on the topic and given it some thought. At this stage, research notes are organized in a logical order on paper (or in an electronic document).
4. Crafting an Outline
Introduction, body, and conclusion are three main parts of every research paper. In the outline, which is the paper’s skeleton, one should use capital Roman numerals for those three. Capital Latin letters would mark the main paragraphs in each of the three; in the body, they could be the main arguments. They can be supported by statements that are marked by Arabic numerals. The style in which the student writes an outline is often up to the student, but the structure itself should be formal.
5. Writing a Thesis Statement
The thesis statement contains the main argument of the research paper and summarizes what the paper is about. It can be fit into one sentence or more. Some would argue that one needs to have their thesis statement written before they make an outline. However, it is normal for the thesis to be changed or modified during the research and note-making process. After the statement is written and is placed into the outline, the actual writing begins.
Evaluation of the restaurant’s menu begins with starters. Students could use this metaphor when thinking about the way their professor will evaluate their research paper. While the text is the main course, much effort should be also put into “starters,” the steps of the preparation process. A well selected topic, thorough research, precise notes, strong outline, and a robust thesis statement are present; chances of a positive review of the “menu” will significantly increase.