Writing an Academic Research Paper

Whether you are an English major or not, all students will most likely face the task of writing a research paper at some point in their academic careers. Before you begin to panic, this task is not as difficult as it may seem as long as you are willing to put the time and effort into constructing a well thought out and organized paper. You honestly do not have to be a highly skilled writer in order to put together a research paper. The key is to make certain that you include all of the information necessary in a well organized and logical manner, and that you accurately reference all of your sources.

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What is Your Paper About?

The first step when writing an academic paper is to have a thesis statement. This is simply a statement that explains what you will be writing about. Your thesis should be clear, to the point, and it should raise questions. Your thesis statement should be a specific point that you believe. You are then going to argue why this point is valid throughout your paper.

When choosing a thesis statement, try to keep the subject as narrow and specific as possible. If your thesis statement is too broad, you are not going to be able to cover all of the information necessary, or your paper is not going to be focused. For example, if your thesis statement is “healthier foods could prevent childhood obesity”, your thesis is much too broad and covers too many elements.

Whereas, you could focus on how childhood obesity in your state could be affected by specific changes to the school lunch program. These details narrow the subject matter to very specific ideas. You can then develop positive and negative arguments for changing the school lunch program in your area using facts and research.

Structuring Your Paper

The next step is to gather your applicable research and create an outline. Consider all of the arguments that you would like to make, and determine a logical structure. You will start with an introduction to the subject matter. This section will give your audience a brief generalization of the points that you will be making. Do not get into any specific details in the introductions.

Next, you will move into the body of the paper. This is where you will begin making your points to support your thesis. Each paragraph should be a specific point that you are making. These points should be supported by your researched that you have conducted. You should also incorporate the opposition’s view into your argument and explain how you would answer their problems with your thesis.

Once you have made all of your arguments, it is time to wrap up your paper with a conclusion. This will be where you will summarize your findings into a paragraph that reminds the reader of your arguments and facts without being too repetitive. The reader should finish the paper with a firm understanding of what your argument is and why it works.

Avoiding Plagiarism

When writing an academic paper, you will be using a lot of research, facts, statistics, and quotes in order to support your ideas. In order to avoid plagiarizing others’ works is to always make certain that you are giving credit to your sources. In any instance throughout your paper that you use a fact or phrase that is not completely your own, you need to cite that source either directly or with a citation. You will do this using the formatting that your instructor has requested. Even if you are paraphrasing an idea, if it is not completely original, you must make a notation that will refer the reader to your source.

Almost Finished

Once you have completed these steps, do not forget to read the paper yourself. Make any revisions necessary until you believe your paper conveys your message logically and clearly.

Debbie Phillips offers writing tips for students at PaperStarter.com.  Find starters and more on popular novels like Pride and Prejudice and more.

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