Parts of a research paper thesis template
May 20, 2018
Research papers are academic papers requiring students to research and review data. The aim of a research paper is to analyze and present new inventions, solutions, and/or approaches. Often such papers serve to debunk biased or outdated theories or research.
Table Of Contents
Learning how to write a research paper can be valuable as this task will appear throughout your university life. Term papers, senior thesis papers, and dissertations are all essentially research papers on a bigger scale.
To show a beyond mastery expertise in an area of study, you must make significant preparations before starting to write. It is no coincidence that in ‘Research Paper’ - the word ‘Research’ comes first.
Hunting For Research Paper Topics
Research can be challenging, and you may quickly get bored. The rule of thumb here is to go for the topics that will captivate you, and sustain your interest. Find a topic related to your hobbies or your future career.
Start with something broad and narrow it down. Narrow ‘Cinema’ down into ‘Hollywood’ and into ‘Film Noir’. You can still branch out from there. How did film noir shape the conventions of Hollywood? Are the traces of film noir still present in modern day cinema?
Here are some more good research paper topics to help you get creative:
- The pros and cons of homeschooling.
- Does the internet make children smarter?
- How the use of tobacco affects the human body.
- The influence of online social networks.
- Should children wear school uniforms?
- Alcohol’s implication on violence and crime.
- Medical research implications on animal rights.
- Does the internet need to be censored?
- Comparing cyber-bullying to face-to-face.
- Does the LGBT community need special rights for protection?
- The effect of the first moon landing on culture.
Selecting a topic is an art in itself. Pick several options and ask yourself these questions to find the best one.
- Do I have enough sources to create a proper research paper?
- Is the topic new or unique enough to bring fresh ideas?
- Is it relevant to my class/occupation?
Start off with websites to gain some general background info. Googling your topic can be a great starting point. Government websites (.gov) or educational websites (.edu) usually contain reliable information. Commercial (.com) sites are less trustable as they will usually try to sell you stuff you don’t need. Learning more about domain name extensions can help you avoid misinformation and malicious content.
You must always critically evaluate your sources. Sites may contain information with an aim to fulfil a certain agenda. Authors may be biased and one-sided, especially when talking about things like politics.
Teachers will usually instruct you to divide your sources into two categories - primary and secondary.
Primary sources are (and not limited to) archives, academic journals, books, encyclopedias, government publications, reports, yellow pages, films, speeches, online libraries, letters, interviews. They can be hard to find, but they contain the most accurate and well-supported information.
Primary sources can also include statistics and analysis conducted by scholars who have studied your topic extensively.
While being easier to find, secondary sources need to be triple-checked for reliability. Sources like educational YouTube blogs will usually reference their primary sources for transparency.
However, many such blogs aim only to generate traffic on their channel. The frantic pace at which they pump out videos doesn’t exclude the possibility that they have misread of misinterpreted their primary sources.
Use a highlighter and sticky notes to save hours of unnecessary work and help you organize your sources.
Thesis statements usually appear in the introductory paragraph of a research paper. They can range from one sentence, to a small paragraph in length.
As with all essays, a thesis statement should be the core argument/point of your writing. All your arguments, all your research should be traced back to this central idea. If you haven’t already, you should begin brainstorming on a thesis.
Before settling on a thesis statement, you should have already done a good bulk of research. The thesis is something that is subject to change as you write your essay, which is why it’s best to first have your sources in order.
The thesis must concisely show your interpretation of the subject to the reader, telling them what to expect. No generalizations are allowed. Thesis statements are also disputable in nature - if they weren't, research papers would be more like boring summaries of facts.
Here are some “Make Sures” to help you craft the perfect thesis:
- Make sure that your thesis statement clearly answer the question of your assignment
- Make sure that your thesis is debatable. You need to create an argument instead of making a summary
- Make sure that your thesis passed the “so what” test.
- Your thesis must be related to your body paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to change your thesis while writing your paper. Changing parts and reviewing is alright
Research Paper Outline
A paper outline is an essay writing tool to help you organize your ideas. It serves as a means of organizing sources and arguments into body paragraphs. Arguments are placed in a logical order that best supports the author’s thesis.
Use your outline for reference when writing your paper. Revise and alter it if necessary.
- I. Introduction - (Set the mood, and lead into your thesis on Edgar Allen Poe)
- II. Body - Life, Career, and Legacy
- A. Early Life
- 1. Becoming An Orphan
- a. Mother and Father
- b. The Allan Family
- 2. School Years
- a. In England
- b. In America
- B. Poe’s Careers
- 1. Military Career
- a. Serving and Writing
- i. Edgar A. Perry
- ii. Tamerlane and Other Poems
- b. Discharge and Second Book
- 2. Publishing Career
- a. The Panic of 1837
- i. Difficult Start
- ii. Turning to Prose
- b. Widely Reviewed
- i. Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
- ii. Assistant Editor
- iii. Whig Party
- c. Late Life
- i. Signs of Consumption
- ii. Moving to a Cottage
- iii. Death
- C. Legacy
- 1. Analysis
- a. Literary Style
- b. Themes
- 2. Influence
- a. On Literature and Art
- b. On Popular Culture
- III. Conclusion
- A. Analytical Summary
- 1. Early Life
- 2. Works
- 3. Later Years
- B. Thesis Rewritten
- C. Final Concluding Statement
Writing & Editing Tips
After you have established essay outline, you may begin writing the rough draft. Try to make it as broad as possible, including lots of information, detail and description. Later revision stages will have you to narrow down your writing to the most important info. DO NOT worry about your sentence flow or grammar. You will take care of that when polishing the draft. Your aim at the moment is to create a rough draft filled with lots of information.
Edit The Rough Draft
Read through the draft a couple times and take out information you find irrelevant to your thesis. If it doesn’t support your thesis - it doesn’t need to be in the essay.
No one wants to see grammar errors in a research paper. Proofread the work to identify problematic areas. Additionally, there are third-party services you may use to help fix up your grammar.
Adjust Sentence Flow
The essay must flow nicely, and be easy to read. Presenting fact after fact without clear transitions may confuse the reader. It is hard to see subtle nuances while being bombarded with info.
Improve Word Choice
Fancy word choice and synonyms won’t impress your professors as much as you may think. Simple language always works best. Also, there are third-party services which can help you spot unnecessary words and difficult sentences.
Get Peer Reviews
Show your paper to a friend or a relative and request feedback. Ask them if the information was clear, and the paper was concise, and easy to read.
Research Paper Checklist
Once you go over your errors and improve your paper the best you can, it’s time for a final checkup. Make sure that you have ticked off all the points on this general checklist:
- My thesis statement is clear, and to the point.
- Each paragraph starts with a captivating topic sentence.
- There are no unnecessary or repeating words.
- Quotes are written accurately, and cited correctly.
- The essay is mostly in third person, without using “I”
- The paper follows my outline.
- All my arguments are organized in a logical sequence and supported by sources.
- All sources and references are cited in the correct format.
- The essay reads smoothly - the reader will definitely get my point.
Writing Tip From Our Team
The research process is always the more challenging aspect of essay writing. This article adequately articulates how to write an excellent paper. The best research essay writing tip I’ve ever received was to keep track of my sources from the very beginning of your research process.
Another good piece of advice is to start from tertiary sources and build your way up to reliable internet websites or books/encyclopedias. If you know you’re going to use a source for sure, start an annotated bibliography. While you draft your essay, build your Works Cited or Bibliography page as soon as you cite all your sources; this is the most important piece of advice I could give you. I cannot stress this enough: college professors and high school teachers hate plagiarism. Proper citation of your sources means everything; there have been cases of expulsion from institutions. To recap my advice for you: keep every single one of your sources in a separate document (as a link or otherwise), start an annotated bibliography to keep track of the information that you want to use in your essay, and start your Works Cited as fast as possible. I hope this information was useful, and if you ever need any research paper help - find me on essaypro.com.
Prof. Oscar, EssayPro
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