Writing a research paper is something that is new to many students. While you will encounter myriads of creative writing tasks throughout school, perhaps one of the most challenging and time consuming is that of the research paper.
By its very definition this type of work will require you a great deal of research. This means you must work very hard to read and review related published literature to help guide your final paper.
Set Up a Hypothesis
The purpose of the research paper is to guide you, scientifically, toward a conclusion. You will need to set up a hypothesis, a question you want to answer or a problem you are going to solve. Your hypothesis might be, for example, “what factors contribute to high rates of obesity among African American children in Brooklyn”. This is a very narrow thesis because it focuses on a single disease, a single demographic and participants, and a single location. If you were to try and write about “what factors contribute to high rates of obesity among African American children” and you only have ten pages in which to write, you would not be able to cover all of the work or adequately answer the question.
Make a Research Strategy
With a question or hypothesis in mind, you have to then build up the research strategy that you are going to use. This is often considered the “methodology” and most students use what is called quantitative research or qualitative research. Qualitative research is like a case study, something which uses interviews, narratives, or previously published work to gather the answers. It relies, in a sense, heavily on stories or experiences. Quantitative work relies on numbers, mathematic formulas, and scientific data. It is up to you to decide which method will work best for your hypothesis.
Analyze the Data
Given the example above, you might focus on a qualitative study, one where you speak with a handful of obese African American children at a Brooklyn based hospital or school about their lifestyles. With this field research in hand, you can then analyze the data and look for common links, common factors among the children which contributes to their obesity. Did many of the children interviewed live in unsafe neighborhoods such that they did not exercise regularly or leave their house and instead sat around all weekend long? Did many of the children eat unhealthy amounts of sugar? When analyzing results, you can use different methods for analysis as well. You might use data analysis software like Nvivo, which allows you to upload all of the interviews you took via audio recordings, video, or text, and then automatically search for similar phrases, similar occurrences, and generate reports based on the common findings. It would also present relevant statistics of those findings which you could incorporate into your report.
Follow the Format
When writing up the research paper, there are clear steps you must follow and sections you must include. Most research papers must be in APA format and as such, you must have the introduction, the literature review where you tell the reader what other research has been done in relation to this field and why yours is important, the methodology where you explain how you conducted your research and who the participants where, as well as the results of your work and the discussion of how it impacts the bigger picture.
You see when you know how to write a research paper, how to start, what things come next and how to finish, this type of academic writing appears not so difficult as before. Just comprehend the structure, conduct a proficient research and set your own goal and you’ll achieve it very quickly and successfully. All you have to do is to grasp the thread. So, go ahead. Make a high quality research paper and get your grade.