How to Start a Research Paper
At least once during the student years every high school or college student has to complete a research paper. Unlike an essay, it can become a real challenge, as it requires not only personal thoughts on the subject but clear information, backed with credible sources and a logical structure. That is probably one of the main reasons why students want to know how to write a research paper.
Unfortunately, there are no classes, which would teach students the main aspects of completing academic assignments, so you will need to be very careful, while conducting the task on your own, as your paper will reflect your knowledge and an ability to analyze a huge volume of information.
Before learning how to start a research paper, it is better to find out the main tips and advices in order to eliminate the most common mistakes:
- Choose proper research paper topics. Make sure other students don’t choose the same subject and always try to stay original. You may ask your professor for help if you are not sure what to write about. Remember, the best way to provide an interesting and catchy paper is to be genuinely involved into the topic;
- Devote enough time to the research. The main goal of the whole assignment is to show your professor how well you can gather and analyze data, so it is always important to spend time at the library and surfing the web to find the best examples, important details and interesting quotes to back your ideas;
- Follow the structure. Unlike essays or reviews, you need to follow the structure of the paper accurately. Download a research paper example online, as it may greatly help you to build a proper structure;
- Use lively language. Despite the fact that it is an academic task and requires a scientific approach, you should try to make the language more vivid and dilute the paper with examples and other details, which will grab interest of the audience.
APA Research Paper Example
APA Research Paper Format
Research Paper Examples
Research Paper Outline Template
Research Paper Samples
Sample APA Research Paper
There are also a few common mistakes, which may greatly lower your overall scores and cause you a few sleepless nights, so you need to be very careful trying to avoid them by all possible means:
- Absence of credible sources. A big mistake is to copy information online without checking its relevance. Use only academic sources, like books, scientific articles and so on;
- Providing a sample research paper instead of original work;
- Wrong formatting. There are usually clear guidelines about what formatting style to use. Your professor may ask you to use apa or mla format research paper style, so pay careful attention to all the requirements.
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Research Paper Examples and Samples
When writing a research paper most students decide to use all the possible means to simplify the assignment and save some time and nerves. That is why they download a research paper outline template or a sample to follow the structure and tailor their own works according to a proper style.
Such examples may greatly contribute to the result and help the student to provide a proper assignment without any additional investments of time and money. However, you need to make sure that you download a sample only at a reputable website, which checks every paper properly. In such a way, you will protect yourself and won’t simply copy someone else’s mistakes.
Research Paper Outline and Format
It is impossible to write a such a task without creating drafts and outlines. That is why you need to pay careful attention to the research paper outline, as it will greatly simplify your future work and make the process of creating an assignment much simpler. The outline may greatly differ depending on your professor’s requirements, so you should first obtain all the guidelines. However, there are a few common rules and a regular structure of a research paper has the following pattern: introduction (thesis statement), body with arguments and conclusions.
If you want your paper to contain all the necessary information, have a clear structure and grab attention of the audience, you will need to follow a clear structure and provide all the necessary details to make sure your paper will be taken seriously. A proper structure consists of such elements, as:
- Title and authors. Use keywords and mark the main aspects of your topic;
- Abstract and table of contents. Help the reader understand the main goals of your research and provide him with relevant information on the structure of your work;
- Methodology, which was used throughout your research;
- Conclusions. Make sure you have marked the key points and goals to convey your ideas to the audience;
- Appendices with charts and images to back your information.
Research paper is quite a challenging task to complete but following a clear and proper structure will help you avoid all possible mistakes and will teach you how to gather and analyze information in a simple and fast way.
APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines
Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.
- Use white 8 ½ x 11” paper.
- Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
- The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
- APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
- Double space the entire research paper
- Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
- To create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
- Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
- If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper
Sample running head/page header
APA Paper Components
Your essay should include these four major sections:
- Title Page
- Main Body
This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above.
*Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capitals. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:
- The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose
- It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
- Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
- All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay
- Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
- The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research
Sample Title page:
On the following page, begin with the Running title.
- On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
- On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
- This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
- If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.
Sample Abstract page:
On the following page, begin with the Body of the paper.
- Start with the Running title
- On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
- Begin with the introduction. Indent.
- The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based. It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
- Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
- Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle. The Results section summarizes the data. Use graphs and graphs to display this data.
- Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
- Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
- Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
- Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author’s/authors’ name(s) and the publication year. In APA format page numbers are not used in in-text citations.
Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).
For more information about how to cite properly please see EasyBib’s guides for APA citations based on the sources you are using.
Sample Body page:
On a new page, write your references.
- Begin with a running title
- Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
- Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
- Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.
Sample Reference Page: