research paper guides

Research Paper for Dummies: The Fundamentals

Don’t let the idea of writing a research paper scare you; in fact as long as you have a good grasp of the basics you’ll find that it is even easier to write and you would be surprised on how often the research techniques come in handy later on in life. The largest portion of what your research paper will involve is research obviously enough.

Getting Started

Keep in mind that you’re best resources are in print, electronic or even human. Don’t worry about citing anything that is common knowledge; example the sky is blue. Terrible example but you get the picture. One way to keep all of your sources organized for later on when you start citing the work down on your rough draft; is to make a master copy of all of your resources. Note to include all of these things in your list of sources:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Date of publication
  • Publishing information
  • Page number (where you found the information; this makes it easy for someone reading your paper to pick up the source and go right to where you found your information).

Putting your Research to Paper

Most people find that the hardest part of the research paper is starting the research paper. Having a strong introduction will help everything else follow smoothly. The easiest way to muddy up your introduction is not being clear about your subject. Define your topic well and everything else will follow along. Some of the easiest ways to format your paper is:

  • chronological order (this only works for some research topics though)
  • pro and con arguments
  • comparison and contrast
  • groups affected by the event or issue (once again this is one that may work for some topics but not all topics)
  • cause and effect

Wrapping your Research Paper Up

As you get older in your academic career any teacher or professor will frown at a closing paragraph that states “In conclusion….” You have to get creative after a while and not bore the pants off your reader and are sure to provide all the proper citation for any direct quotes throughout your paper; this is very important.

Your works cited page should be easy to read and to the point. List all of your sources in alphabetical order to make it easier for your reader to understand and possibly go back and look up that information later for them-selves if they want to learn more. A good research paper inspires a person to want to learn more and not the opposite.