Key Aspects of a Well-Organized Research Paper

Introduction

A research paper is a challenge for a student as it is not easy to make it well-organized and properly structured. The obligatory elements of this type of assignment are a thesis, transitions between the paragraphs, topic sentences, and other ones. A good paper is supposed to be free of any spelling, punctuation, grammar and stylistic errors. Besides, a proficient writer should follow all the standards of referencing and citation.

Writing a research paper, a writer should be well-aware of the major principles of formatting the assignment in accordance with the standards of MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian style. A writer should also remember that the discipline determines the requirements to a research paper; thus, it is crucial to be attentive.

A specific research paper format stands out among those of other academic assignments. Memoirs, reflective essays, book reports, editorials and other papers do not require the development of an argument on the basis of solid evidence instead of an opinion, while for a research paper, it is a must.

How to Write a Research Paper

The main features of this type of assignments are the following:

  • horough research on the chosen topic;
  • a clear thesis which demonstrates a certain point of view;
  • solid evidence that support the research paper ideas taken from:
    • primary sources (documents, news articles, manuscripts, original texts, etc.)
    • secondary sources (scholarly journal articles, critical articles, commentary, etc.)
    • observation and field work, if any.
  • works cited or bibliography.

The UNC overview of efficient academic writing also presents other types of research papers; they are: abstracts, conference papers, annotated bibliographies, proposals, literature reviews, research essays, thesis writing, etc.

No Plagiarism

All of the ideas in a paper should correspond to a well-written research paper thesis and be 100 % original. Basing the research on the opinions of other experts, you have to cite the sources correctly to avoid plagiarizing.

Plagiarism is defined as claiming the ideas and phrases of other authors as your own or not giving credit to the actual authors. 

Summarizing is defined as giving explanations to the ideas in your own words.

In-text citation is defined as a parenthetical reference to the text / author and a summary or a direct quote of that author.

A direct quote is defined as the exact phrase of the author presented in quotation marks.

Styles of Citation

Notwithstanding the topics for research papers, they require a certain citation form. The most widely-used styles required for use in colleges are MLA, APA and Chicago (Turabian). The majority of disciplines have a specific guidance for proper use of styles, while there are also flexible ones. It is highly recommendable to check the style with every professor not to make a mistake.