Students who go in for higher studies will, in most likelihood encounter the need to write and submit a research paper. Many students are anxious about turning in a quality paper as they are inexperienced, but then student days are all about learning and once you have a research paper behind you, you will feel much more confident in the subject of your research. Writing a research paper can be a good learning experience and a rewarding one. Here are some tips on going about writing a research paper.
• A research paper is a formal recording of the findings of a detailed research after evaluating of the sources of information and a critical analysis. It is not just a compilation of all the primary and secondary sources of information related to the research topic. The conclusions of the researcher and his thought process in arriving at these conclusions must be set out concisely.
• A research paper can be an argumentative one or an analytical one. An argumentative paper takes a particular proposition – for example, is a high rate of tax good? – And sets out in detail the pros and cons of the proposition. The author may arrive at a conclusion or leave it open after setting out both sides of the case in detail. An analytical paper evaluates all the sources of information, considers existing propositions or interpretations on the subject and offers the author’s own interpretation.
• Choosing a topic is also important. While sometimes the student can choose from a list of suggested topics, he may also be allowed to choose one of his own. Choosing a topic itself requires some research to be aware of the existing knowledge in that subject and to be aware of the gaps that one can fill with research. The topic can also be fluid and change as the research progresses.
• The student must also be clear as to whom the research is targeted. Is it only intended to be read by the instructor or should it address the larger academic crowd? The paper must add to the existing body of knowledge in the topic of research.
• At the outset itself, it may be helpful to have an outline draft of the research paper so that there will not be too much deviation from the topic. This can also help to give a direction to the research. The draft can be revised any number of times as the research progresses.