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How to write a Research Paper: A complete guide for beginners

October 13,2023



Academic Tips

Don’t know how to write a Research Paper? Your academic life will be a lot easier with MAAS - an academic essay service. Any academic essay can be done with MAAS Essay Writing Service.

Article’s content
  • 1. What is a Research Paper
    • 2. Format of a Research Paper
      • a. APA Style

      • b. MLA Style

      • c. Chicago Style

    • 3. Research Paper Structure
      • a. I (Introduction)

      • b. M (Materials and Methods)

      • c. Conclusion

      • d. References

      • e. Appendices

    • 4. How to write a Research Paper
      • a. Understanding the assignment

      • b. Choosing a Research Paper topic

      • c. Gathering preliminary research

      • d. Forming a hypothesis (thesis statement)

      • e. Outlining

      • f. Writing the first draft

      • g. Citing source

      • h. Writing the conclusion

      • i. Revising

    • 5. Tips for Writing a Complete Research Paper

      1. What is a Research Paper

      If you are a student, especially a college student. Research Paper might be a term you have encountered many times during your academic journey. The process of writing a Research Paper might be one of the most practical experiences during College. So, what exactly is a Research Paper?

      A Research Paper is more detailed than an academic essay. It is the final product of an academic process concerning in-depth independent research. Writing a research paper can be an intimidating task. But it allows you to demonstrate your writing skills and scholarly research skills.

      Compared to the Argumentative Essay and the Expository essay. A Research Paper requires much more time and effort. The ultimate goal of a Research Paper isn’t to sum up or to make a list about a specific topic. But to analyze and interpret a topic using statistical data and existing scholarly evidence.

      2. Format of a Research Paper

      When it comes to formatting a Research Paper, students can follow the APA, MLA, and Chicago format styles. Each style has a different guideline.

      a. APA Style

      Blog Image
      APA Style paper

      • Font and Font size: Standard fonts work best. You can either use Times New Roman 12pt or Arial 11pt.
      • Spacing: Apply double-space for all text, including headings.
      • Page margins: 1 inch on all sides (Top, Bottom, Left, and Right).
      Title page
      • Insert the page number on the top right of the page.
      • For a professional paper. You should also include a running head of paper title in all caps at the bottom. But for a Student academic essay, a running head is not required.
      • The content on the title page will be as follows: Paper title - Author (your full name)- Affiliation - Course - Instructor - Due date.

      APA format allows up to 5 levels of headings. Heading 1 is the most general while heading 5 is the most specific. Researchers tend to only use headings from level 1 to level 3.

      • Heading 1: Bold, centered, font size 20pt, and begins on the first line. Title case.
      • Heading 2: Left-aligned, bold. Size 16pt and begins on a new line. Title case.
      • Heading 3: Left-aligned, bold, italic, title case. Size 14pt and the text begins on a new line.
      • Heading 4: Indented, bold, title case. Font size 12pt and the text begins on the same line.
      • Heading 5: Indented, bold, title case, italic. The text begins on the same line.

      b. MLA Style

      Blog Image
      MLA Style paper

      • Font: Choose a readable and safe font. You can never go wrong with Times New Roman 12pt.
      • Page margins: Set page margins as 1 inch on all sides.
      • Page header: Include your surname and page number on the top right corner of each page.
      Title Page

      The title page of your Research Paper includes:

      • Author (your full name)
      • Instructor
      • Course name and course ID
      • Submission date
      • Research paper title

      c. Chicago Style

      Blog Image
      Chicago Style paper

      Chicago Style (also known as Turabian style). The general guidelines of Chicago formatting style are:

      • Font: a standard and readable font like Times New Roman 12pt works best for your academic essay.
      • Page margins: Students can apply page margins of 1 inch or larger on all sides.
      • Apply double-line spacing.
      • Every new paragraph is indented ½ inch.
      • Set page numbers on the top right corner of each page.
      Title Page

      Chicago format doesn’t require a title page. You can jump right in presenting your research interpretation. However, if you want to include one, you can follow this guideline: Paper title - Subtitle - Author - Student number - Course - Course number - Due date.

      Your university might have different guidelines and formats for writing a Research Paper. Students should consult with their instructor or related department before working on their academic essay.

      3. Research Paper Structure

      Regardless of various types of formatting, every Research Paper shares the same structure. Check the list below and keep in mind that each paper must have these elements:

      Blog Image
      The IMRAD Structure of a Research Paper

      The basic structure of a standard Research Paper follows the “IMRAD” structure. “IMRAD” stands for:

      • I (Introduction): What is the problem? Why did you do the study? State the Research questions and research purposes.
      • M (Materials and Methods): What did you do? How can the problems be solved? Answer the Research question.
      • R (Results): What was the answer to the questions?
        A (And)
      • D (Discussions): What is the significance of this project? How does it fit in with what has previously been discovered about this topic?

      a. I (Introduction)

      For the introduction, authors should explain the basis of their research. Two questions must be brought up and answered: “What is this Research about” and “Why is this Research necessary?”. The Introduction includes:

      Title page: The title page is the first page of your research paper. It showcases the paper title, course name, who the author is, and other relevant information.

      Table of contents: The table of contents is the list of headings that appear in the research paper, arranged in order. You can usually locate it at the beginning of the paper and quickly find specific information using it.

      Abstract: This is a brief summary of your research paper that highlights the main purpose, methods, and expected findings of your research. This is usually the first paragraph that readers encounter. The Abstract’s purpose is to provide a concise overview of the research paper.

      An abstract is no longer than 150 to 300 words. The abstract is an important section of an academic essay. It helps readers decide whether to continue reading the full paper or not. A good abstract should include:

      • The context for your research
      • The specific topic of your research
      • What’s already been known, what’s left for further exploration
      • The goals for your research. For example, a research goal can be: “Identify factors influencing customers’ shopping habits.”

      Thesis statement: The thesis statement is a crucial part of a research paper. Many students still fail to understand what a thesis statement is and how to write it. Basically, it is an argumentative claim that summarizes the main point of the research paper. A good thesis statement is concise, clear, and arguable.

      Literature review: A literature review is a critical evaluation of previously published information on your topic. It is not just a simple summary of sources. Researchers have to critically analyze and synthesize this gathered information to build a solid foundation for their research paper.

      b. M (Materials and Methods)

      Provide readers with details about research materials and methods, so that they can recreate the research to their liking. Therefore, this section needs to be specific and cover all the necessary data.

      A research methodology encompasses how you plan to carry out your research. A research methodology includes:

      • The types of research you plan on conducting: Descriptive research, Correlational research, Explanatory research, etc.
      • The methods that you’re going to use to collect data: experiments, observation, survey, etc.
      • Sampling methods: snowball sampling, systematic sampling, etc.
      • Tools and instruments
      • Data analysis methods: statistical statistics, diagnostic analysis, predictive analysis, etc.
      R (Results)
      • Data analysis

      Data analysis is the process of applying statistical methods and techniques to analyze the data collected during the research. Data analysis involves steps such as: collecting the data, organizing data using statistical software, and analyzing and interpreting the data.

      • Results

      After analyzing the data collected, it’s time for students to report the results of their findings. You should summarize the data and report the findings of any relevant statistical analyses.

      D (Discussions)

      In this section, you should state the highlights of your research and compare them with your findings from previous research about this field. The pros and cons of your research and research methodologies should also be brought up.

      c. Conclusion

      For the conclusion, wrap up your research paper in a way that leaves readers with a strong impression. You should restate the issues, summarize your overall findings, and suggest key takeaways from your paper.

      d. References

      References give credit to the original authors and help you avoid plagiarism detection.

      e. Appendices

      Appendices are optional for your research paper. It provides additional data that is not required to fully understand your topic. However, some readers might find clarifying several terms and data useful.

      For example, if you conduct a Research Paper about League of Legends (LOL). Appendices containing gaming terminologies such as roles and characters’ names… are necessary for readers who are not familiar with this game.

      4. How to write a Research Paper

      Writing a research paper can be challenging but it can also be a piece of cake if you follow these 9 steps. We have carefully prepared a guide for writing a research paper that will take you through all the required steps.

      Blog Image
      How to write a research paper

      a. Understanding the assignment

      You might be surprised but many students dive right into a research paper without fully understanding the assignment. Before writing a research paper, students should acknowledge the writing prompt carefully. Pay attention to requirements such as formatting, length, and citation style.

      b. Choosing a Research Paper Topic

      Some research papers demand students to decide on their own topics. Simple as it may seem, choosing a topic is the most crucial and challenging task. It will determine everything that follows.

      Students should choose a topic that is not too general. You can pick a common topic and try narrowing it down. For example, if you choose the “Shopping” topic:

      A paper covering “shopping habits in Vietnam” would not be specific enough.

      “How online shopping habits in Vietnam have changed during and after the COVID-19 pandemic” would be specific enough to conduct your research.

      That way, you can cover all the relevant information and enable a rich discussion.

      Ideally, avoid general topics and stick with specific ones that pique your interest. If you encounter difficulties deciding on your research topic, you can rely on an academic writing service such as MAAS Writing Service. MAAS provides essay services from A to Z that will help you come up with the most unique and feasible topic for your research.


      c. Gathering preliminary research

      As soon as you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to research - of course, it’s a Research Paper for a reason. Try to research and gather information from scholarly sources: journals, books, and academic websites. This way, you can find out an issue to focus your research paper on.

      Keep in mind that when you gather preliminary research, it’s always better to skim instead of reading sources thoroughly. Time is money. You shouldn’t waste your time digging for sources that might not come in handy for your research paper.

      d. Forming a hypothesis (thesis statement)

      From the information you have found during your research, form a thesis statement. It is the statement of your central argument, and it should be clear and coherent.

      With a clear thesis statement, readers and scholars can decide whether this research is useful for them or not. You should summarize it in one to two sentences. If you encounter difficulties writing a hypothesis, you can phrase your topic as a question and try answering it:

      For example, if your research is about “online shopping habits in Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic”. You can form it as a question: “How online shopping habits in Vietnam has changed during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?”

      e. Outlining

      An outline is the basis of your research paper. By creating a complete outline, you can get a better view of what to work on. Instructors and professors in charge also demand students to submit an outline for revision beforehand.

      A research paper outline covers all the key topics and subtopics, arguments, and evidence. Divide your arguments into sections with headings so you can get a clear overview of your research paper before writing.

      There are now many AI tools like ChatGPT or Bing to assist in outlining your academic essays. However, overusing AI might be passed off as AI-generated text. Instead, you can consult with academic writing services like MAAS to assist in writing your research paper, from creating an outline to revising your paper.

      f. Writing the first draft

      If you have already created an outline and formed a hypothesis, writing the first draft is no tough job. Follow your outline and go through each header, paragraph by paragraph. Just write the draft as you want, don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling, or word choice. You can go back to correct them later.

      Two paragraphs should not cover the same issues. You should also pay attention to the flow of your paper. Try using more transition sentences and connectives between words and sentences.

      g. Citing source

      An academic essay can’t be academic without proper citation. It gives credit to the original authors and allows students to avoid plagiarism. Depending on the field of your study and the requirement of your university, citation styles may vary:

      • APA
      • MLA
      • Chicago
      • Harvard

      Each citation style has its own set of rules. It might seem confusing at first. But soon, you will get used to it. A research paper of 1000 words normally demanding 10 to 15 citations, and a paper of 3000 words might come with 30 - 50 sources.

      h. Writing the conclusion

      The conclusion sums up all the information and findings that have previously been discussed in the research paper. Let the readers know how you’ve settled the issues in the research question.

      Research paper conclusions should be brief. Don’t offer new arguments or information or use phrases that signal to end the paper like “In conclusion.”

      i. Revising

      Finally, you will want to revise your paper to correct all the mistakes. Small typos happen all the time. It is recommended that you go over your research paper twice. The first time is for structural edits, and the second time is for grammar mistakes or word choice.

      5. Tips for Writing a Complete Research Paper

      Besides following these 9 steps above, you can also keep in mind these tips for effective writing. Be sure to remember and follow them:

      Write your research paper with your own voice and style: A research paper is not only about finding information from scholarly sources and paraphrasing it. You should come up with your own analysis and interpretation. When you use information from academic sources, make sure that they will be properly cited according to the styles that you are required to use: APA, MLA, Chicago.

      Carefully choose your topic: If you have to thoroughly analyze a topic, better pick one that you are interested in. It will allow you to explore your area of interest in-depth. Your enthusiasm for that topic will also lead to better outcomes, which means higher grades. Start with a broad vision, then narrow down and refine the right research topic.

      Start writing early: Once you’ve chosen a research topic and have formed a detailed outline, you should start writing as soon as possible. It will give you more time to revise your paper and discuss it with your instructors. Students can also create a plan to divide the tasks accordingly and track their progress.

      6. About MAAS Writing Service

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      Hopefully what MAAS shares can help you. If you still have any difficulties in studying, please contact MAAS for help.

      MAAS's mission is to provide an essay writer website platform connecting students and writers. To provide learning results suitable to the needs of each student. At MAAS we are professional in each service such as Assignment help, Website essay writers, Writing service Essay, Dissertation service, Online Exam service. The Writer team at MAAS is professional and has diverse experience in many academic fields and will support you in completing your learning goals.



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