The benefit of a research paper is more than just having a ticket out of college. The mere process of writing it provides a training ground where one can develop the skills necessary for professional life. Life outside the university is more complex, so while inside, one should already prepare by facing the complexities of producing a respectable research paper.
Furthermore, writing a research paper will allow one to learn the infallible truth that the world outside has its own rules and borders. The following Do’s and Dont’s will show why:
Do think hard for a good topic. Only a few students will have a workable topic for their research paper at the beginning of their course. The majority will, most likely, remain oblivious of what they will write about until the formal start of their work.
Talking to the professor works well for those who simply doesn’t have a clue of what could be a good topic. Reading books is also a good way to start. If one already has a general topic in mind, he should begin reading materials related to the field to narrow down his subject; after which, he should talk to his professor about it.
Deciding a topic should be done at the earliest possible time to give ample time for research.
Do not forget to have an engaging question. Usually a research paper answers why and how. Questions that begin with these two words are essential because they allow the author to make an argument. Why should we question the theory of evolution? Or How is it possible to alleviate poverty with education? Research papers that don’t have an argument asks boring questions.
For example: Who started the civil war? An author who chooses questions that don’t begin with why and how will most likely produce a work that merely lists facts and dates.
Do real research. Doing research involves more than just reading secondary books or taking information from the Internet. Real research, depending on the argument of the paper, means using primary sources like statistical data, foreign books, speeches or local newspapers.
One can also arrange an interview with a prominent leader or a scientist, anyone he thinks can provide expert advice for his research paper.
Do not fail to make an argument. A research paper is not a book report. One cannot just gather information from different sources, re-phrase paragraphs, and combine notes in order to produce an acceptable research paper. This kind of process will simply not work.
An excellent research paper has all the evidence and data woven together to form a thought-provoking argument that attempts to answer the research question.
Do write well. A well-written research paper presents all its powerful evidences and argument in a clear and coherent way. Footnotes and endnotes should accurately cite the sources, and tables and graphs should be properly presented in the body of the paper. An author should maintain a formal and serious tone if he wants his work to have an impact.
Though one can formulate his own tips in writing a research paper, he can be sure that the rules written above are proven by many writers to be effective in producing an exceptional work.