How to write a Research Paper?


The style and format of research papers varies from subject to subject and researcher to researcher. There are certain guidelines which can be followed for all subjects. These are some hints for people who might just have started to write papers. How you write depends on the journal/type of reader you are addressing. Also, keep in mind some role models – people you know or famous papers. The general aim is to be attractive to non-experts as much as can be expected, while interesting and not offensive to experts. You make a beginning by choosing a topic for your paper.

Choose a topic: Generally describe the topic and how it fits into your field of study. Describe the environment and its conditions. Describe what you intend to show; argue your point in depth. Discuss reasons. Tackle points such as why, when, what and how? Discuss significance of your study.

Illustrate your points with interesting examples. Remember you are writing for an audience and want to capture their interest. Begin to define terms, concepts, vocabulary. Make use of trustworthy sources for literature review. Mention your sources in the footnote.  There is a large pool of sources out there on Internet which provides you with a broader perspective of the topics within your scope of research. Along the way you will find many topics within your field that do not interest your research aptitude. Remember, you need a large variety of sources that you can use, which can be in favor of your topic, against your topic. You need to look at it from different perspectives to “carve” shapes out of nowhere to guide you toward topic that is directly relevant to your choice of topic.

The good news is that as you research you may find that some of your sources that were published in the same decade or so will cite and reference each other. Remember, the more your read, your ideas will get clarified. Make note of the references.


Review the Literature: The Literature review is a vital part of the research process.  You will gain important insights by reviewing assortment of literature available on your topic of research. By reviewing literature you will gain an approach, knowledge, and more awareness on your chosen topic for research. An in-depth literature evaluation will help you in setting the stage for a better-designed study and will help improve your chances in obtaining significant results.  Therefore, it is worth the time and effort to analyze it in right fashion.

Reviewing the literature involves finding the sources, analyzing, amalgamating, and interpreting. You might find incompatible and contrasting views expressed by different authors on your topic. These conflicting points of view might be the indicators of swerving theories within the same topic. To shape up a genuine research, you need to be aware of these conflicting theories as well. Remember, verity of arguments and your views add flavor to your paper. Being aware of those theories will help you later in your life; you will be able to talk and apply your knowledge in your work from different perspectives.

Develop your Hypotheses: Your hypothesis is your proposed explanation that you will test to determine whether it is true or false. Avoid over-generalizing, and reference the research findings of others to support why you think this will work. There is no rigorous, formulaic way of devising hypotheses; hypotheses are typically a product of experience, intuition, insight, analogy, and extrapolation.  Your hypothesis may be correct or even wrong. It needs to be verified through your work.

Styling: Give enough information. List the variables used. These are what change, or that you manipulate, throughout the test. Look for empirical research. Whenever possible, look for peer reviewed empirical research. These are articles or books written by experts in your field of interest, whose work has been read and vouched for by other experts in the same field. These can be found in scientific journals or via an online search.


Findings: This is descriptive and numeric data. You can present them in tables, charts, pictures etc. Develop your argument based upon your findings. While the data may read for itself, you will need to interpret:

  • How it validates your hypothesis.
  • What falls outside of validity?
  • How it impacts the literature you have cited in your paper.

Conclusions: Reaffirm and recap your findings and discussion either in order to simply complexity or to provide a summary for those who skip to it. A conclusion is like the final chord in a song. It makes the listener feel that the piece is complete and well done. This applies to your paper writing and for your audience. They should not feel incomplete after reading your paper. You should therefore support what you stated in your research. You then become a reliable author for them and they are impressed by that and will be more likely to read your work in the future. They may also have learned something and maybe have had their opinion changed by what you have written or created! The conclusion need not be long. It can be accomplished in as little as two sentences.

Recommendations: A research paper is not a dissertation, an editorial, or a story. All declaration of fact must be documented. Be careful while making any generalization. Try your best not to make any ambiguous inquiries. It is worth stressing that the evaluation of your paper will never be determined by whether or not your hypotheses are verified. It is important to remember that a hypothesis supported by the data does not mean that it is true as there possibly are an infinite number of other theories that lead to the same prediction. Similarly, failure of support does not necessarily mean that your hypothesis is wrong: it may be hold true in some populations.

References: These are very important for your paper. It shows your capability of sourcing the right data for your paper as a researcher.  Present them at the end of your paper.



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