How to Write Research Paper: Useful Tips

How to Write Research Paper: Useful Tips
You’ve written dozens of essays on everything from marijuana legalization to Hamlet and beyond. Still, the research paper assignment has you stumped. It’s unlike anything you’ve written before, and you’ve got more questions than answers. There are lots of writing guides online, but they are often too lengthy and theoretical to be of any use. That’s why we offer our take on the most helpful tips for writing a research paper.

Don’t savor this post as you would a favorite book. Instead, skim the major questions and read the answers on how to write a research paper that will help you now. This way you learn what you need and can apply our advice at one, without wasting time on reading something you already know.

What Is a Research Paper?

Research papers are the primary means of communication and spreading knowledge among scientists. Undergraduate college and university assignments do not require students to conduct experiments or develop new theories. More often than not, research papers are purely theoretical and based on available resources.

This assignment teaches you to process large volumes of data and makes you master your research writing skills. To get a high grade, you have to follow the writing guidelines, format the paper correctly, and demonstrate your academic prowess. The closer your paper gets to scientific articles published in international peer-reviewed journals, the more points you’ll get.

Practical tip: read a 3 to 5 papers in respectable journals related to your class or field of study. Take note of the structure, language, visual aids. Consider the ways you can incorporate these elements in your paper.

How to Narrow Down the Topic?

The wrong subject might ruin your paper and turn the writing process into a nightmare instead of an exciting journey. To avoid trouble, consider your interests and the class’ scope. Your perfect topic will be at their intersection.

Don’t cave under the peer pressure and choose an easy subject. Your professor has read hundreds of papers on global warming, migration crisis, and euthanasia. To make an impression, your writing will have to be outstanding, and your references unique. If you aren’t sure you can pull it off, take a step outside the box and come up with a better research question. For example, you can research the overpopulation trends in China and India, unethical marketing tricks used by the Big Pharma, or the resources involved in the electric car manufacturing.

Practical tip: Search your college library, Google Scholar,, and Research Gate for resources on your topic. If there are ten results or less, broaden the issue. If there are too many results, including handbooks, guides, and textbooks, narrow down your research subject by applying the filters of time, location, and focus. Narrowing the scope to a single country, decade, or approach is a powerful technique used by professional scientists.

Which Resources Are Best?

Credible references are scarce as most professors only count scientific articles and handbooks worthy of this title. To get quick results, try searching Google Scholar instead of Google. DeepDyve is also a great research tool even if it’s premium subscription plan will cost you almost $50 a month. However, you can register for a free 2-week trial and use it to its fullest.

If you prefer online sources, check them for bias before quoting and citing. Most corporations fund the research to promote their products, so be careful of that. You don’t want your arguments undermined by prejudiced references. Newer sources are also preferable to outdated ones as the data grows old quickly.

Practical tip: Go to the Wikipedia reference section. Your professor won’t allow using the Wikipedia itself as a credible reference, but you sure can use it to find better resources. Just make sure they fit the parameters we’ve listed above.

Why Is an Outline Necessary?

The outline is there to help you organize your ideas and put them in the logical order. It should help you make sense of the complicated issue. It’s also a tool to improve your writing. Research paper structure is rigid, and you won’t impress your professor by reinventing it. So stick close to the standard and write a list of questions for each part to remind yourself what goes where.

Practical tip: Use different headings in your text processor to structure the ideas. For example, Introduction can be a second-level heading, while industry overview, research gaps, and the focus of the paper can all be third-level headings. The table of contents feature can also make it easier navigating between different sections.

How to Start a Research Paper?

Research paper introduction is all about introducing your topic to the readers. Squeezing your newly gained knowledge into one short section is difficult unless you go about it backward. Start with a research question you are going to answer. Then, outline the gaps in the research you’ve located that led you to this question. Finally, describe the current state of the field citing previous research. This way you will build a research funnel going from the overview of the topic to the research question.

Practical tip: Don’t bother with the introduction if you can’t turn the mountain of resources into a one-page section just yet. Start with one of your favorite parts of a research paper and go from there. If you follow all our tips, you will rework the draft anyway, so there is no point in going through it chronologically. The quicker you get all your ideas on paper, the more time you’ll have for editing.

Which Parts Are Essential to Research Writing?

Before you learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper, remember there are three significant parts of the body you should complete first. Materials and methods section is the easiest to start with, as you have all the necessary information at your fingertips. Research results and discussion are closely connected. The former section contains numbers, graphs, charts, and other raw data, while the latter interprets the results and draws conclusions. Without the discussion section, the results are worthless, and the opposite is also true, as unfounded conclusions won’t earn you the high grade.

Practical tip: Copy the critical results and analysis from the corresponding sections to complete the research paper conclusion quickly. Tighten them up, so that each passage comprises 2 or 3 sentences containing the results, recommendations, and further research potential. Make a list, and your conclusion is done.

How to Come up with a Good Title?

Don’t play coy. Put your problem, methods, and results in the title. With a single glance at your title page, the reader should be able to understand where your study is headed. Review some articles from your reference section and model their title if you can’t devise a good one.

Practical tip: If you dream of being published in peer-reviewed journals, put keywords into the title. It’s a trick scientists use to make it easier for their colleagues to find their work online. To check which keywords you should use, go to your college library database or your favorite online repository and type potential title-worthy phrases into the search bar. If the results are related to your paper, you can use the keywords in the title to make the paper searchable.

Can I Skip the Revision Steps?

You can, but we advise strongly against it. It’s like putting the store-bought icing on the home-cooked cake. Everyone will know you didn’t put in the best effort at first glance.

Proofreading may be optional. Some professors are lenient about grammar mistakes and typos while others are real grammar nazis. Editing, on the other hand, is a must. When you plan writing a research paper, double the time to include the time you will spend on tearing up your first draft and putting it together anew.

Remember that none of your favorite authors ever published the first draft. They polished it over and over until it was ready to become a best-seller. You wouldn’t boast you know more about writing than Hemingway, King, or Rowling, would you?

Practical tip: If you have barely 1 hour before the submission deadline, read the paper backward. This trick helps professional proofreaders catch typos and small mistakes. You can also print the paper and turn it upside down before editing. Both techniques trick your brain into concentrating on every letter and word instead of filling in the blanks. If you have more time, try reading the manuscript out loud, you will notice the passages and sentences that break up the flow of your paper and eliminate clumsy phrasing.

Why Is Proper Formatting so Important?

Even though the saying asks us not to judge the book by its cover, your professor will start evaluating your assignment as soon as he or she sees the title page. It is what makes the first impression, so it should be immaculate. The title page for a research paper can be the last thing you do before submitting it to the professor, but it deserves your full attention. Ensure you specify the correct title, and your name is free of typos.

Practical tip: If you are not sure about the formatting style, consult your professor as soon as you get the assignment. Note it in the margins and come back to it after the text is finished. Make this a habit, and you won’t ever sweat about guessing the style you should use.

Now you know how to end a research paper, plan an outline, devise a title, and edit it to perfection. Even a couple of these writing tips will make the world of difference. Try them out, and your grades will go up!