Essential Tips to Write a High Quality Research Paper

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Josh Collins

Release Date

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


What makes a good research paper? This question is by no means easy to answer. After all, even different educational institutions have different standards for every type of written work! However, there are several approaches that can help you create the best version of your paper, no matter if it’s your first research or if you’ve done a dozen of them by now. So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to write an outstanding research paper.

Define your terms before you begin writing

This appears to be an obvious and unnecessary thing to do for a student who understands their topic, but this step is far more important than you might think. Let’s start with the simple fact that different scientists can see the same notions in slightly varied ways. Not only can this information give you ideas for your , but it can also save you from wrong interpretations of your own writing. After all, you can always mention which scientist’s definition you’re using before you delve into the details.

Another benefit of this approach is that it may well give you more confidence in the face of possible tricky questions from your research advisor. When you understand how the concepts you described were developed throughout the history of scientific inquiry, you might feel far more ready to face the challenges that are related to your own work. After all, professors tend to value the extra effort and appreciate it when the student knows more than they expect.

Of course, not all definitions work like that. For example, gravity is gravity, no matter which way you look at it. That’s why this approach isn’t universal and largely depends on your topic. However, the next tip applies to almost every single research paper out there.

Write your introduction after you’ve crafted the first draft

This piece of advice may sound a bit counterintuitive. However, approaching your paper like that can save you a lot of time. Many students end up changing or fully rewriting their introductions if they create it before the main body of the paper. Why does that happen and what are the benefits of creating your introduction later? Let’s take a look.

  1. Your introductions should reflect the gist of your paper. In other words, this is the first summary your readers will see, and it will shape their expectations. That’s why it should match the body of your work perfectly. However, you may change some things about your key paragraphs as you go og, and then you’ll need to re-do your intro. This factor makes many learners save it for last.
  2. Your thesis statement needs to match all the key research points. Unless you have outlined and planned these points, preparing all quotes in advance, you will likely change them. On top of that, changes may happen even with a perfect outline. That’s why the last sentence of your introduction can wait until you complete the hardest part.
  3. You might feel more free to write your thoughts using this approach. When you don’t have to match everything you write to the ready introduction, you might find yourself more at ease. In this state, you’re likely to think outside the box, which may well result in a better research paper. Even though the first 2 reasons are far more practical, we can’t underestimate the psychological impact of this approach.

Don’t overfill your paper with quotations

Perhaps finding an ideal proportion of quotes and your own interpretations of these quotes is one of the biggest challenges you will face when writing your research paper. The general advice here is to follow your professor’s guidelines on the number of sources and take no more than 2 citations from each work you cite. Otherwise, quotes might replace your own thoughts and result in a compilation of someone else’s ideas rather than a compelling paper.

To avoid the scenario described above, you’ll have to stay persuasive and formal, keeping the tone and quality of your writing the same throughout your text. Of course, you shouldn’t write your research paper in the same way you’d craft a speech, so you’ll need no rhetorical questions or similar persuasive constructions. Instead, focus on building strong arguments that rely on credible sources and further your main idea.

Another important thing to understand is that your research paper shouldn’t be all about supporting your main point, as you can explore the scientific works that may refute it. If your research requires a hypothesis, don’t be afraid to admit if your scientific assumption doesn’t stand the test of thorough investigation. What’s far more important is to pursue an in-depth understanding of your topic and be honest with your readers. As long as you write with these principles in mind, you’re sure to craft a strong research paper.

Strike a balance between formality and inspiration

This final tip may sound vague, and it’s certainly easier said than done. Nevertheless, it’s important not to forget that your ideas and thoughts are the “glue” that brings your research together. If you just copy or paraphrase a bunch of brilliant quotes, that won’t be enough for a good paper. What you need to do is use those citations to strengthen your own thoughts and prove your theories. This approach will definitely show your professors that you’re on the right track.


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