Reasons for Research
When you perform research, you’re actually trying to find answers to questions that you and others have about the world. In other words, you’re looking to figure out how things work or why they happen.
Research is one of the most basic reasons for performing research. But the research process does not end when you’ve found the solution. Think what would happen if a detective collected enough evidence to solve a criminal case, but she never shared her solution with the authorities.
Writing a research paper can be just as important as the research itself. Presenting your findings in a report can help your audience learn more about what you’ve learned.
A research paper develops an original thesis, or purpose statement, about a topic and uses that thesis to present information gathered from a variety of sources. You might want to read a research paper that looks at the possibility of life on Mars.
Once you’ve collected your information, you’ll need to organize it. You may choose to create a narrative, or you could use the information to support an argument.
You may want to show the results of your research to your friends, teachers, and maybe even the editors of magazines and journals. Writing a research paper is a good way to organize thoughts, craft narratives, and make arguments based on research.
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Research Writing at Work
Learning how to write a research paper is a useful skill that you can use well throughout your career. Whether you are developing a new product, exploring an issue, or seeking out knowledge and information, you will use research methods to help you make decisions and find answers.
Whether you have to write reports for your job, you’re expected to make clear and professional communications to your clients and colleagues. In fact, employers want to see that you can write well.
Steps of the Research Writing Process
Each research paper has a unique process, but most begin with a topic or idea. You’ll first have to decide whether you want to write about a specific event, product, issue, or concept. Once you’ve identified what you’re writing about, you need to do more than just brainstorm a few ideas.
Make a writing strategy. Do your investigation. Organize your ideas and studies. Make a rough draught of your paper. Make revisions and edits to your paper. Later in this chapter, we’ll go through these steps in greater depth. But for now, let’s take a quick look at what each stage entails.
Step 1: Choosing a Topic
The first step in writing any piece of content is choosing a topic. The best way to do this is by starting with the question “What is the most important thing I can talk about that has been a problem for me?
You may also need to ask a specific research question—an open-ended question that guides your research—as well as propose a working thesis.
A good research proposal is the first step to your research project. You can use your research question and working thesis to create a research proposal.
Step 2: Planning and Scheduling
Writing Your Outline Each outline is different, but many outline will include the following sections:
- Research Questions
Make sure you have a schedule in place to avoid getting overwhelmed by the work you need to do before the deadline. You will want to make sure that you have enough time for research, writing, formatting, and editing so that you don’t end up rushing.
You’ll learn how to develop and write a research proposal, how to find your topic, how to make sure your topic is interesting and accessible, how to write a research proposal that’s concise, how to work with your instructor to avoid wasting your time and his/her time, and how to find and choose a research library.
Step 4: Arranging the Writer’s Ideas and Research
Writing Your Paper First, you need to write your introduction. This is where you describe the topic in a short paragraph, which can include a hook or grabber. Then you need to provide background information, which includes facts about the topic that you want to include in your paper.
You may also consider revising your thesis to make sure it’s well supported.
Don’t worry about your thesis as much as you might think. You can and should change your working thesis throughout the research writing process if the evidence you find does not support your original thesis.
Always look for evidence that supports your thesis, and never try to force evidence to fit your argument. For example, your working thesis is “Mars cannot support life-forms.” You haven’t found any evidence yet that Mars does or does not support life-forms, so your working thesis is still correct.
This is one of those cases where it makes sense to rewrite the essay, because if I were to keep the original thesis, “Bacteria are not life forms.” I would be arguing that they are not as life forms as other living organisms.
Step 5: Drafting Your Paper
Step 6: Writing a Rough Draft Next you’ll need to write the rough draft of your paper. This is the time to start organizing your ideas, and making sure that they fit together logically. Start by writing the introduction.
If you want to avoid plagiarism, you need to pay close attention to standard conventions for citing sources when you write your papers.
To avoid plagiarism, you must ensure that you cite all sources used in your paper. By doing so, you avoid many of the most common pitfalls of plagiarizing your work.
Step 6: Revising and Editing Your Paper
Once your paper is complete, you will revise and edit it for readability and cohesion. You might reorganize your paper’s structure so that each paragraph flows into the next logically and naturally.
You will also make sure that your paper uses an appropriate and consistent tone. Once you feel confident in the strength of your writing, you will edit your paper for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and formatting.
When you finish this last step, you will have turned an idea or question into a research paper that is well-researched, well-written, and will leave a positive impression of you.