How to Write a Professional Research Paper

Being a student, you are assigned to do plenty of tasks pretty much all the time. Research paper writing actually is one of the most complicated ones. Here are a few tips for you to apply at different stages of writing in order to make your research paper look professional.

Choose a Topic

Not always professors assign an individual topic to each student. Sometimes they give you a list of topics to choose from or just outline the field of study that you have to stick to. In such a case, follow these instructions:

• Pick what you like.

This piece of advice can help you make the writing an interesting activity. Any academic writing is rather boring because it requires reading, analyzing, and thinking a lot, which is time-consuming. Of course, it’s impossible to turn your research paper writing into pure fun, but choosing a topic that you take a personal interest in will help you not to die of boredom.

• Ask for advice.

When you can’t decide on the topic way too long, ask your professor to help you. It may seem scary, but in fact, your professor will be glad to help you with the topic and may even give you further advice on how to develop that topic.

• Be original.

Once you define a few topics to choose from, don’t go for the easiest one as that is what everyone goes for. You don’t want your essay to be similar to other students’ works, do you? So, stay away from the most popular topics.
Take a Serious Research
When it comes to researching, most students just go online, type a search query, hit the search button, and choose the very first link they get. It’s simple but not effective. Here’s what you can do instead:

• Go to the library.

Libraries are not that outdated yet – you may find there some literature that hasn’t been published anywhere online but contains valuable information. Don’t be lazy and take some time exploring the library at your campus or a local one.

• Search in academic databases.

If you decided to not leave your home, you can still do the online research, but make sure you search in the right places. Academic databases contain lots of books, scientific journals, magazines, and separate articles and essays that can be very useful for your research. Your college or university must have its own database too.

• Use the minimum of 5 sources.

Of course, your professor will give you some specific requirements as for citing in your paper, so this is more of a recommendation. If you want your work to look professionally written, don’t rely only on one or two sources.

Write an Outline

Writing research paper starts with outlining its structure. Basically, it is the same 5-paragraph structure applied to all kinds of academic writing, but there might be some slight differences. Check out these suggestions on how to create a good plan for your research paper to look professional:

• Identify your goal.

Like they say, when you understand where you are going, you will understand how to reach there. There are two main types of research paper – argumentative and analytic – and they have different goals. Identify the goal of your work and outline a plan on how to reach that goal.

• Write a clear thesis statement.

Basically, a thesis is one or two sentences in the introductory part of your research paper that present your goal and your point of view to the reader. All the main ideas you introduce later in the body paragraphs should come out from your thesis statement. However, it shouldn’t be a conclusion. Neither it should be an explanation of the work – just a general but clear idea about what you are going to discuss in your research paper.

• Keep your reader in mind.

Despite the fact that you are writing research paper for your professor, you still have to keep the tone and style suitable for the audience the paper is targeted at. For example, you don’t have to explain some basic terms if your audience is supposed to consist of other students from your group.

Get down to Writing

After you have prepared everything for the writing itself, you can finally get down to it. There are a few tips that will help you at this stage:

• Follow a special order.

To make the job easier, start with writing body paragraphs and then proceed to the conclusion. This way, you will get a clear idea of what your research paper is about overall after which you may easily come back to write an introduction.

• Follow the formatting requirements.

When you are writing any type of academic paper, you must keep in mind the formatting – read the instructions given by your professor thoroughly and make sure to follow them all. Moreover, when you finish your final draft, read the guidelines once again, have a look at your paper, and ascertain that you have written the paper according to them.

• Take pauses.

You should be aware that procrastinating with your essay and delaying up to the last day is a wrong strategy. This won’t allow you to give yourself some time to think for a day or two and then come back and take a look at your essay from a new angle. Taking such pauses, you may get some new ideas to add to the paper.

• Always check twice.

Grammar and spelling always follow you, trying to spoil your work, but don’t let them do it – check your final drafts a few times before submitting. A misprint or unnecessary comma will immediately catch your professor’s eye, and even the fact that your paper is well researched won’t save you from a low grade.


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