The Complete Guide to Fast and Easy Research Paper Writing
When students are faced with a research paper assignment for the first time, they have several questions. Professors don’t tend to answer these questions, simply because the students don’t have a chance to ask. They just get some instructions, and they are left with a challenge that they don’t know how to handle.
Let’s bring some light to the issue, shall we?
First, we’ll answer the common questions that students have about how to write a research paper step by step. Then, we’ll continue with a detailed guide with all instructions you need. By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need to know about how to write a research paper fast.
Common Questions about Research Paper Writing
- What’s a research paper?
The research paper is an academic writing assignment based on the author’s research on a specific topic, and their original interpretation and analysis of the research findings. If you search for different research papers through Google Scholar, you’ll notice the authors rely on a huge number of resources to answer a particular question.
- What’s a research paper proposal?
This is a shorter paper, which is usually necessary before big and serious research projects. It’s needed for academics and PhD/MA candidates, but not for college students. Basically, the academic explains what the research is going to be about, so they can justify the project in front of the committee or funding providers.
- What types of research papers are there?
This is the case with almost all academic projects: there are multiple types of them. As for research papers, these are the main types that students complete:
- Analytical – This type of research paper describes analyzes all views and points of a particular issue. Then, the author draws a conclusion.
- Argumentative – The author still analyzes all points of view, but takes a stand for a particular one. Out of all types of research papers for students, this is the most common one that professors require.
- Survey-based – The author conducts a survey as the foundation of the research project. Then, they analyze the results.
- Experimental – The author conducts an experiment and shares the results.
- Qualitative research paper – The author explores as many sources as possible, with the intention to understand the reasons, motivations, and opinions related to a particular issue.
- How much time does it take to write a research project?
We’ll have to give the answer you didn’t hope to see: it depends. What kind of research paper are you trying to complete?
The college research report format takes less than a month, but at least two weeks of intensive work. And if we’re talking about a research paper proposal, it will take months of planning.
Plus, the time also depends on your experience and commitment. If you already know how to write it, you’ll be faster. And if you stay really focused, you’ll be more effective.
- What’s the structure of a research paper?
You’ll be expected to follow a format with specific parts of a research paper. When you master the research paper structure and plan a clear outline, it will be easier for you to write the paper.
This is the usual format for a college research project:
- Research Paper Title Page
- Research Paper Table of Contents
- Abstract (also known as Executive Summary)
- Introduction (Problem Statement)
- Methods section of a research paper
- Literature Review
- Discussion section of a research paper
- Conclusions (also known as the Results section of a research paper)
Tips: How to Write the Main Parts of a Research Paper
Before we start with the general research paper steps, let’s give some important tips on how to write the main parts of the structure.
- How to Write an Executive Summary for a Research Paper
Not every research paper needs this part. But for graduate-level students who work on serious projects, the Abstract section is necessary. That’s because these papers are very long, so the abstract acts like a summary that tells the reader what to expense.
If you’re wondering how to write an executive summary for a research paper, it’s easy: you describe the main theme and the essence of your research. You explain what research question you posed, and how important it is for the academic community. Then, you briefly describe the methods and the main findings.
Naturally, you’ll write this part after you complete the research paper.
- Introduction – How to Start a Research Paper
When you’re wondering how to begin a research paper, you usually think of the introduction. This is where you’ll expose the main research problem, and you’ll offer a thesis argument. You’ll inform the reader about the issue you’re trying to clarify. You’ll also explain why it’s important to bring light to that issue.
If this is a major research project, you’ll explain how it fills a gap in the academic base of sources, and you’ll practically justify the topic. But if it’s a common research paper for college, you can avoid that part and limit yourself to an explanation of the issue and a thesis statement.
- The Next Part of the Structure of a Research Paper: Methods
Here, you basically explain what type of research paper it is. Did you rely on qualitative or quantitative research methods?
Quantitative research relies on interviews, surveys, and questionnaires.
Qualitative research methods aim to understand underlying reasons and motivations for the quantitative data.
- How to Handle the Literature Review Section
The literature review is not a simple list of resource you used. You’ll need to briefly describe each source and explain what information you acquired from it. In other words, you explain the resources in context.
- What’s the Discussion Section?
This is the main (and longest) part of the research paper. Here, you’ll discuss the sources and explain how they support your thesis. You will build arguments supported with citations and analytics.
It’s important to keep the discussion focused. When students wonder how to make a paper look longer, they tend to make digressions. That’s not a good thing. The discussion has to follow a logical flow, which you’ll plan in the outline.
- How to Conclude a Research Paper
Now, you will sum up all main points of the discussion into a logical conclusion. This part shouldn’t be repetitive, though. It should wrap everything up and leave the reader with the sense of being well-informed about the topic you tackled.
Important Tips: How to Cover the Research Paper Writing Stages
So now you know what a research paper should look like. When you read any research paper you can find online, you’ll notice those chapters being encompassed in it. Thanks to the instructions above, you’ll understand what goals you need to achieve in any of those chapters.
But is that enough? No. You can’t just sit and write a brilliant paper all of the sudden. In fact, you don’t even know how to start a research paper.
We’ll give you extra tips that prepare you for that process.
- Always Start with Research
How can you start with the research when you still don’t know how to title a research paper? Well that’s the point. The preliminary research will help you get ideas.
- Conduct research to understand the subject. Your professor gave you a general theme for the project, right? Go through few online resources to find a unique aspect for it.
- Throughout this process, make sure to take notes. Then, take a look at these notes and think: what’s the most interesting point? How can you formulate an actual idea for the topic and title?
- What thesis statement can you develop from that idea? Are there enough resources that you can analyze? Will you easily draw conclusions?
- Use Proper Research Sources
It’s okay to use online resources. That being said, it’s not okay to rely on random blogs and websites. Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. You’ll have to search for actual papers written by academics and scientists, depending on what your topic is.
This is where you can find good sources for your project:
- Google Scholar
- Online databases and encyclopedias (but not Wikipedia). Berkeley, for example, has a great database of encyclopedias and almanacs.
- Government publications
- Periodicals and books
Once you’re done picking your topic, you’ll identify the exact resources that you’re going to use in the paper. Read them. Keep taking notes during this process. Those notes will prepare you for the discussion chapter.
- Write the Thesis Statement
If you were wondering how to start research paper in terms of writing, this is it. You first write the thesis statement. This sentence should summarize the main points you are going to make. So first, make a list of those main points, which you surely identified throughout the research process. Sum them up in a single sentence. That’s going to be your thesis statement.
- Organize the Outline
Now that you have the foundational statement, it’s time to organize the outline around it. Use the structure we described above. With brief points, write what you’ll mention in each of those sections. This will be the skeleton of your research paper. From there on, it will be easier for you to write the actual content.
That’s the main secret for quick and effective writing: have a plan!
- Write It!
Take a deep breath. Repeat after me: you can do this. You really can! If you came this far, you only need to fill in the gaps from the outline.
- When writing a research paper, it’s okay to leave the introduction last. You have your thesis statement, which will come at the end of the introduction. You can start writing the methodology, literature review, and discussion. Then, you’ll move on to the introduction and it will be much easier for you to write it.
- Use clear, short sentences. Don’t use slang. Clarity is your way towards convincing style. Hemingway App is a great tool to help with that.
You’re not done yet. It’s important to be really focused during the editing stage. These questions will help you go through it:
- Is the thesis statement clear enough? Is every single chapter and argument related to that thesis statement?
- Is the logical flow flawless? Are there any gaps to fill in or excessive information to take out?
- Is there any generalization you should fix? Did you use enough facts and details to support the arguments?
- Is there any repetition?
- Is there any plagiarism? Did you make sure to cite all sources? Did you use the right citation style and implemented all rules?
- Finally, are the grammar and spelling okay?
You Want to Write a Research Paper Quickly? Start Early!
You just got really cool tips that will help you go through the research paper writing process more easily. But does that mean you can procrastinate the process and start when you feel that the deadline is seriously approaching?
It’s still important to start early. When you give yourself enough time to write the paper, you’re less stressed. When you stress out less, you stay more focused. When you’re focused, you work more effectively. That’s the main secret to successful research paper writing.