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How to Write a Research Paper
Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.
Start the Research Process
Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.
Develop Your Thesis Statement
When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.
Create an Outline
Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.
Organize Your Notes
When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.
Write Your Final Draft
After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.
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A Guide to Writing a Scientific Paper: A Focus on High School Through Graduate Level Student Research
Renee a. hesselbach.
1 NIEHS Children's Environmental Health Sciences Core Center, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
David H. Petering
2 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Craig A. Berg
3 Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This article presents a detailed guide for high school through graduate level instructors that leads students to write effective and well-organized scientific papers. Interesting research emerges from the ability to ask questions, define problems, design experiments, analyze and interpret data, and make critical connections. This process is incomplete, unless new results are communicated to others because science fundamentally requires peer review and criticism to validate or discard proposed new knowledge. Thus, a concise and clearly written research paper is a critical step in the scientific process and is important for young researchers as they are mastering how to express scientific concepts and understanding. Moreover, learning to write a research paper provides a tool to improve science literacy as indicated in the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards (1996), and A Framework for K–12 Science Education (2011), the underlying foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards currently being developed. Background information explains the importance of peer review and communicating results, along with details of each critical component, the Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results , and Discussion . Specific steps essential to helping students write clear and coherent research papers that follow a logical format, use effective communication, and develop scientific inquiry are described.
A key part of the scientific process is communication of original results to others so that one's discoveries are passed along to the scientific community and the public for awareness and scrutiny. 1 – 3 Communication to other scientists ensures that new findings become part of a growing body of publicly available knowledge that informs how we understand the world around us. 2 It is also what fuels further research as other scientists incorporate novel findings into their thinking and experiments.
Depending upon the researcher's position, intent, and needs, communication can take different forms. The gold standard is writing scientific papers that describe original research in such a way that other scientists will be able to repeat it or to use it as a basis for their studies. 1 For some, it is expected that such articles will be published in scientific journals after they have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. Scientists must submit their articles for examination by other scientists familiar with the area of research, who decide whether the work was conducted properly and whether the results add to the knowledge base and are conveyed well enough to merit publication. 2 If a manuscript passes the scrutiny of peer-review, it has the potential to be published. 1 For others, such as for high school or undergraduate students, publishing a research paper may not be the ultimate goal. However, regardless of whether an article is to be submitted for publication, peer review is an important step in this process. For student researchers, writing a well-organized research paper is a key step in learning how to express understanding, make critical connections, summarize data, and effectively communicate results, which are important goals for improving science literacy of the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards, 4 and A Framework for K–12 Science Education, 5 and the Next Generation Science Standards 6 currently being developed and described in The NSTA Reader's Guide to A Framework for K–12 Science Education. 7 Table 1 depicts the key skills students should develop as part of the Science as Inquiry Content Standard. Table 2 illustrates the central goals of A Framework for K–12 Science Education Scientific and Engineering Practices Dimension.
Key Skills of the Science as Inquiry National Science Education Content Standard
National Research Council (1996).
Important Practices of A Framework for K–12 Science Education Scientific and Engineering Practices Dimension
National Research Council (2011).
Scientific papers based on experimentation typically include five predominant sections: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion . This structure is a widely accepted approach to writing a research paper, and has specific sections that parallel the scientific method. Following this structure allows the scientist to tell a clear, coherent story in a logical format, essential to effective communication. 1 , 2 In addition, using a standardized format allows the reader to find specific information quickly and easily. While readers may not have time to read the entire research paper, the predictable format allows them to focus on specific sections such as the Abstract , Introduction , and Discussion sections. Therefore, it is critical that information be placed in the appropriate and logical section of the report. 3
Guidelines for Writing a Primary Research Article
The Title sends an important message to the reader about the purpose of the paper. For example, Ethanol Effects on the Developing Zebrafish: Neurobehavior and Skeletal Morphogenesis 8 tells the reader key information about the content of the research paper. Also, an appropriate and descriptive title captures the attention of the reader. When composing the Title , students should include either the aim or conclusion of the research, the subject, and possibly the independent or dependent variables. Often, the title is created after the body of the article has been written, so that it accurately reflects the purpose and content of the article. 1 , 3
The Abstract provides a short, concise summary of the research described in the body of the article and should be able to stand alone. It provides readers with a quick overview that helps them decide whether the article may be interesting to read. Included in the Abstract are the purpose or primary objectives of the experiment and why they are important, a brief description of the methods and approach used, key findings and the significance of the results, and how this work is different from the work of others. It is important to note that the Abstract briefly explains the implications of the findings, but does not evaluate the conclusions. 1 , 3 Just as with the Title , this section needs to be written carefully and succinctly. Often this section is written last to ensure it accurately reflects the content of the paper. Generally, the optimal length of the Abstract is one paragraph between 200 and 300 words, and does not contain references or abbreviations.
All new research can be categorized by field (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, geology) and by area within the field (e.g., biology: evolution, ecology, cell biology, anatomy, environmental health). Many areas already contain a large volume of published research. The role of the Introduction is to place the new research within the context of previous studies in the particular field and area, thereby introducing the audience to the research and motivating the audience to continue reading. 1
Usually, the writer begins by describing what is known in the area that directly relates to the subject of the article's research. Clearly, this must be done judiciously; usually there is not room to describe every bit of information that is known. Each statement needs one or more references from the scientific literature that supports its validity. Students must be reminded to cite all references to eliminate the risk of plagiarism. 2 Out of this context, the author then explains what is not known and, therefore, what the article's research seeks to find out. In doing so, the scientist provides the rationale for the research and further develops why this research is important. The final statement in the Introduction should be a clearly worded hypothesis or thesis statement, as well as a brief summary of the findings as they relate to the stated hypothesis. Keep in mind that the details of the experimental findings are presented in the Results section and are aimed at filling the void in our knowledge base that has been pointed out in the Introduction .
Materials and Methods
Research utilizes various accepted methods to obtain the results that are to be shared with others in the scientific community. The quality of the results, therefore, depends completely upon the quality of the methods that are employed and the care with which they are applied. The reader will refer to the Methods section: (a) to become confident that the experiments have been properly done, (b) as the guide for repeating the experiments, and (c) to learn how to do new methods.
It is particularly important to keep in mind item (b). Since science deals with the objective properties of the physical and biological world, it is a basic axiom that these properties are independent of the scientist who reported them. Everyone should be able to measure or observe the same properties within error, if they do the same experiment using the same materials and procedures. In science, one does the same experiment by exactly repeating the experiment that has been described in the Methods section. Therefore, someone can only repeat an experiment accurately if all the relevant details of the experimental methods are clearly described. 1 , 3
The following information is important to include under illustrative headings, and is generally presented in narrative form. A detailed list of all the materials used in the experiments and, if important, their source should be described. These include biological agents (e.g., zebrafish, brine shrimp), chemicals and their concentrations (e.g., 0.20 mg/mL nicotine), and physical equipment (e.g., four 10-gallon aquariums, one light timer, one 10-well falcon dish). The reader needs to know as much as necessary about each of the materials; however, it is important not to include extraneous information. For example, consider an experiment involving zebrafish. The type and characteristics of the zebrafish used must be clearly described so another scientist could accurately replicate the experiment, such as 4–6-month-old male and female zebrafish, the type of zebrafish used (e.g., Golden), and where they were obtained (e.g., the NIEHS Children's Environmental Health Sciences Core Center in the WATER Institute of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee). In addition to describing the physical set-up of the experiment, it may be helpful to include photographs or diagrams in the report to further illustrate the experimental design.
A thorough description of each procedure done in the reported experiment, and justification as to why a particular method was chosen to most effectively answer the research question should also be included. For example, if the scientist was using zebrafish to study developmental effects of nicotine, the reader needs to know details about how and when the zebrafish were exposed to the nicotine (e.g., maternal exposure, embryo injection of nicotine, exposure of developing embryo to nicotine in the water for a particular length of time during development), duration of the exposure (e.g., a certain concentration for 10 minutes at the two-cell stage, then the embryos were washed), how many were exposed, and why that method was chosen. The reader would also need to know the concentrations to which the zebrafish were exposed, how the scientist observed the effects of the chemical exposure (e.g., microscopic changes in structure, changes in swimming behavior), relevant safety and toxicity concerns, how outcomes were measured, and how the scientist determined whether the data/results were significantly different in experimental and unexposed control animals (statistical methods).
Students must take great care and effort to write a good Methods section because it is an essential component of the effective communication of scientific findings.
The Results section describes in detail the actual experiments that were undertaken in a clear and well-organized narrative. The information found in the Methods section serves as background for understanding these descriptions and does not need to be repeated. For each different experiment, the author may wish to provide a subtitle and, in addition, one or more introductory sentences that explains the reason for doing the experiment. In a sense, this information is an extension of the Introduction in that it makes the argument to the reader why it is important to do the experiment. The Introduction is more general; this text is more specific.
Once the reader understands the focus of the experiment, the writer should restate the hypothesis to be tested or the information sought in the experiment. For example, “Atrazine is routinely used as a crop pesticide. It is important to understand whether it affects organisms that are normally found in soil. We decided to use worms as a test organism because they are important members of the soil community. Because atrazine damages nerve cells, we hypothesized that exposure to atrazine will inhibit the ability of worms to do locomotor activities. In the first experiment, we tested the effect of the chemical on burrowing action.”
Then, the experiments to be done are described and the results entered. In reporting on experimental design, it is important to identify the dependent and independent variables clearly, as well as the controls. The results must be shown in a way that can be reproduced by the reader, but do not include more details than needed for an effective analysis. Generally, meaningful and significant data are gathered together into tables and figures that summarize relevant information, and appropriate statistical analyses are completed based on the data gathered. Besides presenting each of these data sources, the author also provides a written narrative of the contents of the figures and tables, as well as an analysis of the statistical significance. In the narrative, the writer also connects the results to the aims of the experiment as described above. Did the results support the initial hypothesis? Do they provide the information that was sought? Were there problems in the experiment that compromised the results? Be careful not to include an interpretation of the results; that is reserved for the Discussion section.
The writer then moves on to the next experiment. Again, the first paragraph is developed as above, except this experiment is seen in the context of the first experiment. In other words, a story is being developed. So, one commonly refers to the results of the first experiment as part of the basis for undertaking the second experiment. “In the first experiment we observed that atrazine altered burrowing activity. In order to understand how that might occur, we decided to study its impact on the basic biology of locomotion. Our hypothesis was that atrazine affected neuromuscular junctions. So, we did the following experiment..”
The Results section includes a focused critical analysis of each experiment undertaken. A hallmark of the scientist is a deep skepticism about results and conclusions. “Convince me! And then convince me again with even better experiments.” That is the constant challenge. Without this basic attitude of doubt and willingness to criticize one's own work, scientists do not get to the level of concern about experimental methods and results that is needed to ensure that the best experiments are being done and the most reproducible results are being acquired. Thus, it is important for students to state any limitations or weaknesses in their research approach and explain assumptions made upfront in this section so the validity of the research can be assessed.
The Discussion section is the where the author takes an overall view of the work presented in the article. First, the main results from the various experiments are gathered in one place to highlight the significant results so the reader can see how they fit together and successfully test the original hypotheses of the experiment. Logical connections and trends in the data are presented, as are discussions of error and other possible explanations for the findings, including an analysis of whether the experimental design was adequate. Remember, results should not be restated in the Discussion section, except insofar as it is absolutely necessary to make a point.
Second, the task is to help the reader link the present work with the larger body of knowledge that was portrayed in the Introduction . How do the results advance the field, and what are the implications? What does the research results mean? What is the relevance? 1 , 3
Lastly, the author may suggest further work that needs to be done based on the new knowledge gained from the research.
Supporting Documentation and Writing Skills
Tables and figures are included to support the content of the research paper. These provide the reader with a graphic display of information presented. Tables and figures must have illustrative and descriptive titles, legends, interval markers, and axis labels, as appropriate; should be numbered in the order that they appear in the report; and include explanations of any unusual abbreviations.
The final section of the scientific article is the Reference section. When citing sources, it is important to follow an accepted standardized format, such as CSE (Council of Science Editors), APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), or CMS (Chicago Manual of Style). References should be listed in alphabetical order and original authors cited. All sources cited in the text must be included in the Reference section. 1
When writing a scientific paper, the importance of writing concisely and accurately to clearly communicate the message should be emphasized to students. 1 – 3 Students should avoid slang and repetition, as well as abbreviations that may not be well known. 1 If an abbreviation must be used, identify the word with the abbreviation in parentheses the first time the term is used. Using appropriate and correct grammar and spelling throughout are essential elements of a well-written report. 1 , 3 Finally, when the article has been organized and formatted properly, students are encouraged to peer review to obtain constructive criticism and then to revise the manuscript appropriately. Good scientific writing, like any kind of writing, is a process that requires careful editing and revision. 1
A key dimension of NRC's A Framework for K–12 Science Education , Scientific and Engineering Practices, and the developing Next Generation Science Standards emphasizes the importance of students being able to ask questions, define problems, design experiments, analyze and interpret data, draw conclusions, and communicate results. 5 , 6 In the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, we found the guidelines presented in this article useful for high school science students because this group of students (and probably most undergraduates) often lack in understanding of, and skills to develop and write, the various components of an effective scientific paper. Students routinely need to focus more on the data collected and analyze what the results indicated in relation to the research question/hypothesis, as well as develop a detailed discussion of what they learned. Consequently, teaching students how to effectively organize and write a research report is a critical component when engaging students in scientific inquiry.
This article was supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant (Award Number R25RR026299) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The SEPA program at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee is part of the Children's Environmental Health Sciences Core Center, Community Outreach and Education Core, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Award Number P30ES004184). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
No competing financial interests exist.
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While studying in college, you will definitely need to compose a bunch of Research Papers on High School. Lucky you if putting words together and transforming them into meaningful text comes easy to you; if it's not the case, you can save the day by finding an already written High School Research Paper example and using it as a template to follow.
This is when you will certainly find WowEssays' free samples database extremely helpful as it includes numerous expertly written works on most various High School Research Papers topics. Ideally, you should be able to find a piece that meets your requirements and use it as a template to develop your own Research Paper. Alternatively, our qualified essay writers can deliver you a unique High School Research Paper model crafted from scratch according to your personal instructions.
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Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Example
Last updated on: May 26, 2023
Research Paper Example: Samples to Write a Research Paper
By: Nathan D.
Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.
Published on: Jun 11, 2019
Working on your research paper?
Want to learn the dos and don’ts of writing a research paper? Learn from examples!
We have compiled some examples to help you get started. If you are in need of a research paper example, take a look at these samples and choose one that is best suited for your research paper writing needs.
You can also use these as templates to create your own research papers. There are many different samples available here so please feel free to browse around and find the perfect one for yourself.
Stay with us to learn more.
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What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is different from a usual kind of essay and assignment. It requires more research and explanation than any other assignment and has a set structure for it. It is a complex type of academic paper. Usually, students studying science write them for their coursework and as a degree requirement.
It is generally simpler than high school term papers and a dissertation that students write in humanities and other academic groups. Research papers are common in the academic world, and students, regardless of the field of study, get them as part of their degree requirements.
The research writing skills are invaluable for everyone and not just for the students only. Young professionals and entrepreneurs benefit a lot from these skills. Writing a research paper properly means that you have to study, observe, and choose a topic. The step-by-step guide for writing a research paper will help you find answers to your research questions.
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College Research Paper Example
Examples work great when you are looking to learn something in less time and with more efficiency. Below, we have added some good research paper examples. With them, you could learn about a research paper format and structure.
Moreover, we will also be able to add relevant and credible sources in each section.
APA Style Research Paper
Below is an APA-style sample research paper guide. Each section is explained separately. By going through it, you will know how to format and write each section of your APA research paper successfully.
APA STYLE RESEARCH PAPER
MLA Style Research Paper
This MLA-style research paper explains all the sections and formatting of the paper in detail. This will help you in writing an MLA-style paper successfully.
MLA STYLE RESEARCH PAPER
Subject-Related Research Paper Example
Research papers are not limited to a specific field area. Instead, students need to write research papers for almost every subject. Check out the following research paper examples for several subjects.
Computer Science Research Paper
The research paper is about computer science and how science is a part of it. Scientific research papers are different from what the students do in other disciplines. They are more statistical in nature and often have graphs and visual representations of the data.
COMPUTER SCIENCE RESEARCH PAPER
Chemical Engineering Research Paper
Chemical engineering studies the engineering of different chemicals and how they work together. The following chemical engineering research paper is about the calcium looping cycle for carbon dioxide obtained from different manufacturing processes.
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH PAPER
Nursing Research Paper
The research paper explores the benefits of participating in research. Medical sciences heavily rely on real-life research and results, and therefore, it uses medical professionals as subjects. The paper discusses how the experience contributes to their professional life and helps them work better.
NURSING RESEARCH PAPER
Psychology Research Paper
Psychology is the study of the mind. The paper examines the positive effects of psychology at school. It discusses how it will help in controlling the mental illnesses in adolescents and help in enhancing their health.
PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH PAPER
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Research Paper Outline Example
A research paper’s outline may consist of different formats and sections based on the research topic. Therefore, you must ask your instructor to go through the research content and guide you.
Before starting to write a research paper, you will need to write and submit a research proposal. A research proposal includes the details of your proposed research, the significance of the research, the impact your research will have on the area of research, and the methodology that you will use. For writing a research proposal , you need to discuss all of these factors.
A research paper follows a set pattern and structure. Just like an essay or any other assignment, it also has some sections that you have to include in it. However, before formatting, make sure that you follow the referencing style that your teacher has provided.
The main research paper outline is given below. Pay attention to the document to get a detailed idea of the writing process.
RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE EXAMPLE
This outline includes the following sections:
An abstract is usually written after the entire paper. It explains the research question and the expected outcome of the research.
Here, we have added an abstract example to help you see how to write an engaging abstract in no time.
RESEARCH PAPER ABSTRACT EXAMPLE
It is the first section of the research. It gives a background of the research, explains the main research topic briefly, and presents the hypothesis.
A strong introduction is essential for a strong research paper because no one will read the paper if the introduction is lousy and weak. Go through the attached example to learn how to write a good research paper example.
RESEARCH PAPER INTRODUCTION EXAMPLE
A thesis statement presents the main topic and aim of the research. It is brief and based on a few lines only.
The following downloadable PDF has some great thesis statement examples that are engaging and help to convey the message powerfully.
RESEARCH PAPER THESIS EXAMPLE
This is the meatiest part of the research paper. It includes all the chapters and sections of the research.
The main body of the paper discusses the entire paper in detail. All the main points and arguments of the paper are added in this section. Learn how to add and discuss everything by going through the following downloadable PDF.
EXAMPLE OF DISCUSSION IN RESEARCH PAPER
It is added in the main body section. It includes the study of previous relevant studies and research and discusses their outcome. You will discuss your main topic and draw parallels and contrasts with these existing studies.
EXAMPLE OF A LITERATURE REVIEW IN A RESEARCH PAPER
Discuss the type of research that you are going to use for the research. Usually, scientific research is based on quantitative research and includes statistical analysis. Theoretical research uses qualitative method and includes studying of theory and other research.
EXAMPLE OF METHODOLOGY IN RESEARCH PAPER
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This is the closing part of your research paper as you will conclude your research here. Mention your thesis statement and main research findings here and close it.
The conclusion does not mean that you have a chance to add some new ideas or points here; it would be a disaster. To know better, go through the following PDF.
RESEARCH PAPER CONCLUSION EXAMPLE
An appendix is an optional section in the research paper. It contains terms and topics that are too detailed to be added to the main text. It also states the topics and page number, which makes it easier to find relevant topics.
APPENDICES EXAMPLE IN RESEARCH PAPER
Now you must have explored different examples of a research paper. If you are still wondering how to write it perfectly, consult the best write essay for me? service now.
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- How to Write a Research Paper - Writing Guide & Examples
- 20+ Thesis Statement Examples for Research Papers
- Learn How to Write an Abstract - Steps & Examples
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- Psychology Research Topics - 170+ Ideas for Your Paper
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- Writing a Research Proposal - Outline, Format, and Examples
- Good Research Paper Topics & Ideas for Students
- Good History Research Paper Topics For Your Help
- How to Cite a Research Paper with the Help of Examples
- How to Write a Research Methodology in 10 Simple Steps
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How to Write a Research Paper as a High School Student
By Carly Taylor
Senior at Stanford University
6 minute read
Read our guide to learn why you should write a research paper and how to do so, from choosing the right topic to outlining and structuring your argument.
What is a research paper?
A research paper poses an answer to a specific question and defends that answer using academic sources, data, and critical reasoning. Writing a research paper is an excellent way to hone your focus during a research project , synthesize what you’re learning, and explain why your work matters to a broader audience of scholars in your field.
The types of sources and evidence you’ll see used in a research paper can vary widely based on its field of study. A history research paper might examine primary sources like journals and newspaper articles to draw conclusions about the culture of a specific time and place, whereas a biology research paper might analyze data from different published experiments and use textbook explanations of cellular pathways to identify a potential marker for breast cancer.
However, researchers across disciplines must identify and analyze credible sources, formulate a specific research question, generate a clear thesis statement, and organize their ideas in a cohesive manner to support their argument. Read on to learn how this process works and how to get started writing your own research paper.
Choosing your topic
Tap into your passions.
A research paper is your chance to explore what genuinely interests you and combine ideas in novel ways. So don’t choose a subject that simply sounds impressive or blindly follow what someone else wants you to do – choose something you’re really passionate about! You should be able to enjoy reading for hours and hours about your topic and feel enthusiastic about synthesizing and sharing what you learn.
We've created these helpful resources to inspire you to think about your own passion project . Polygence also offers a passion exploration experience where you can dive deep into three potential areas of study with expert mentors from those fields.
Ask a difficult question
In the traditional classroom, top students are expected to always know the answers to the questions the teacher asks. But a research paper is YOUR chance to pose a big question that no one has answered yet, and figure out how to make a contribution to answering that question. So don’t be afraid if you have no idea how to answer your question at the start of the research process — this will help you maintain a motivational sense of discovery as you dive deeper into your research. If you need inspiration, explore our database of research project ideas .
Be as specific as possible
It’s essential to be reasonable about what you can accomplish in one paper and narrow your focus down to an issue you can thoroughly address. For example, if you’re interested in the effects of invasive species on ecosystems, it’s best to focus on one invasive species and one ecosystem, such as iguanas in South Florida , or one survival mechanism, such as supercolonies in invasive ant species . If you can, get hands on with your project.
You should approach your paper with the mindset of becoming an expert in this topic. Narrowing your focus will help you achieve this goal without getting lost in the weeds and overwhelming yourself.
Would you like to write your own research paper?
Polygence mentors can help you every step of the way in writing and showcasing your research paper
Preparing to write
Conduct preliminary research.
Before you dive into writing your research paper, conduct a literature review to see what’s already known about your topic. This can help you find your niche within the existing body of research and formulate your question. For example, Polygence student Jasmita found that researchers had studied the effects of background music on student test performance, but they had not taken into account the effect of a student’s familiarity with the music being played, so she decided to pose this new question in her research paper.
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to skim articles in order to decide whether they’re relevant enough to your research interest before committing to reading them in full. This can help you spend as much time as possible with the sources you’ll actually cite in your paper.
Skimming articles will help you gain a broad-strokes view of the different pockets of existing knowledge in your field and identify the most potentially useful sources. Reading articles in full will allow you to accumulate specific evidence related to your research question and begin to formulate an answer to it.
Draft a thesis statement
Your thesis statement is your succinctly-stated answer to the question you’re posing, which you’ll make your case for in the body of the paper. For example, if you’re studying the effect of K-pop on eating disorders and body image in teenagers of different races, your thesis may be that Asian teenagers who are exposed to K-pop videos experience more negative effects on their body image than Caucasian teenagers.
Pro Tip: It’s okay to refine your thesis as you continue to learn more throughout your research and writing process! A preliminary thesis will help you come up with a structure for presenting your argument, but you should absolutely change your thesis if new information you uncover changes your perspective or adds nuance to it.
Create an outline
An outline is a tool for sketching out the structure of your paper by organizing your points broadly into subheadings and more finely into individual paragraphs. Try putting your thesis at the top of your outline, then brainstorm all the points you need to convey in order to support your thesis.
Pro Tip : Your outline is just a jumping-off point – it will evolve as you gain greater clarity on your argument through your writing and continued research. Sometimes, it takes several iterations of outlining, then writing, then re-outlining, then rewriting in order to find the best structure for your paper.
Writing your paper
Your introduction should move the reader from your broad area of interest into your specific area of focus for the paper. It generally takes the form of one to two paragraphs that build to your thesis statement and give the reader an idea of the broad argumentative structure of your paper. After reading your introduction, your reader should know what claim you’re going to present and what kinds of evidence you’ll analyze to support it.
Writing crystal clear topic sentences is a crucial aspect of a successful research paper. A topic sentence is like the thesis statement of a particular paragraph – it should clearly state the point that the paragraph will make. Writing focused topic sentences will help you remain focused while writing your paragraphs and will ensure that the reader can clearly grasp the function of each paragraph in the paper’s overall structure.
Sophisticated research papers move beyond tacking on simple transitional phrases such as “Secondly” or “Moreover” to the start of each new paragraph. Instead, each paragraph flows naturally into the next one, with the connection between each idea made very clear. Try using specifically-crafted transitional phrases rather than stock phrases to move from one point to the next that will make your paper as cohesive as possible.
In her research paper on Pakistani youth in the U.S. , Polygence student Iba used the following specifically-crafted transition to move between two paragraphs: “Although the struggles of digital ethnography limited some data collection, there are also many advantages of digital data collection.” This sentence provides the logical link between the discussion of the limitations of digital ethnography from the prior paragraph and the upcoming discussion of this techniques’ advantages in this paragraph.
Your conclusion can have several functions:
To drive home your thesis and summarize your argument
To emphasize the broader significance of your findings and answer the “so what” question
To point out some questions raised by your thesis and/or opportunities for further research
Your conclusion can take on all three of these tasks or just one, depending on what you feel your paper is still lacking up to this point.
Last but not least, giving credit to your sources is extremely important. There are many different citation formats such as MLA, APA, and Chicago style. Make sure you know which one is standard in your field of interest by researching online or consulting an expert.
You have several options for keeping track of your bibliography:
Use a notebook to record the relevant information from each of your sources: title, author, date of publication, journal name, page numbers, etc.
Create a folder on your computer where you can store your electronic sources
Use an online bibliography creator such as Zotero, Easybib, or Noodletools to track sources and generate citations
You can read research papers by Polygence students under our Projects tab. You can also explore other opportunities for high school research .
If you’re interested in finding an expert mentor to guide you through the process of writing your own independent research paper, consider applying to be a Polygence scholar today!
Your research paper help even you to earn college credit , get published in an academic journal , contribute to your application for college , improve your college admissions chances !
Interested in doing an exciting research project? Click below to get matched with one of our expert mentors!
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Research Paper Example - Examples for Different Formats
Published on: Jun 12, 2021
Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023
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Writing a research paper is the most challenging task in a studentâs academic life. Students face similar writing process hardships, whether the research paper is to be written for high school or college.
A research paper is a writing type in which a detailed analysis, interpretation, and evaluation are made on the topic. It only requires not only time but also effort and skills to be drafted correctly.
If you are working on your research paper for the first time, here is a collection of examples that you will need to understand the paperâs format and how its different parts are drafted. Continue reading the article to get free research paper examples.
Research Paper Example for Different Formats
When writing a research paper, it is essential to know which format to use to structure your content. Depending on the requirements of the institution, there are mainly four format styles in which a writer drafts a research paper:
Letâs look into each format in detail to understand the fundamental differences and similarities.
Research Paper Example APA
If your instructor asks you to provide a research paper in an APA format, go through the example given below and understand the basic structure. Make sure to follow the format throughout the paper.
APA Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example MLA
Another widespread research paper format is MLA. A few institutes require this format style as well for your research paper. Look at the example provided of this format style to learn the basics.
MLA Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example Chicago
Unlike MLA and APA styles, Chicago is not very common. Very few institutions require this formatting style research paper, but it is essential to learn it. Look at the example given below to understand the formatting of the content and citations in the research paper.
Chicago Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example Harvard
Learn how a research paper through Harvard formatting style is written through this example. Carefully examine how the cover page and other pages are structured.
Harvard Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Examples for Different Research Paper Parts
A research paper is based on different parts. Each part plays a significant role in the overall success of the paper. So each chapter of the paper must be drafted correctly according to a format and structure.
Below are examples of how different sections of the research paper are drafted.
Research Proposal Example
A research proposal is a plan that describes what you will investigate, its significance, and how you will conduct the study.
Research Proposal Sample (PDF)
Abstract Research Paper Example
An abstract is an executive summary of the research paper that includes the purpose of the research, the design of the study, and significant research findings.
It is a small section that is based on a few paragraphs. Following is an example of the abstract to help you draft yours professionally.
Abstract Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Literature Review Research Paper Example
A literature review in a research paper is a comprehensive summary of the previous research on your topic. It studies sources like books, articles, journals, and papers on the relevant research problem to form the basis of the new research.
Writing this section of the research paper perfectly is as important as any part of it.
Literature Review in Research Sample (PDF)
Methods Section of Research Paper Example
The method section comes after the introduction of the research paper that presents the process of collecting data. Basically, in this section, a researcher presents the details of how your research was conducted.
Methods Section in Research Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Conclusion Example
The conclusion is the last part of your research paper that sums up the writerâs discussion for the audience and leaves an impression. This is how it should be drafted:
Research Paper Conclusion Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Examples for Different Fields
The research papers are not limited to a particular field. They can be written for any discipline or subject that needs a detailed study.
In the following section, various research paper examples are given to show how they are drafted for different subjects.
Science Research Paper Example
Are you a science student that has to conduct research? Here is an example for you to draft a compelling research paper for the field of science.
Science Research Paper Sample (PDF)
History Research Paper Example
Conducting research and drafting a paper is not only bound to science subjects. Other subjects like history and arts require a research paper to be written as well. Observe how research papers related to history are drafted.
History Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Psychology Research Paper Example
If you are a psychology student, look into the example provided in the research paper to help you draft yours professionally.
Psychology Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example for Different Levels
Writing a research paper is based on a list of elements. If the writer is not aware of the basic elements, the process of writing the paper will become daunting. Start writing your research paper taking the following steps:
- Choose a topic
- Form a strong thesis statement
- Conduct research
- Develop a research paper outline
Once you have a plan in your hand, the actual writing procedure will become a piece of cake for you.
No matter which level you are writing a research paper for, it has to be well structured and written to guarantee you better grades.
If you are a college or a high school student, the examples in the following section will be of great help.
Research Paper Outline (PDF)
Research Paper Example for College
Pay attention to the research paper example provided below. If you are a college student, this sample will help you understand how a winning paper is written.
College Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Research Paper Example for High School
Expert writers of CollegeEssay.org have provided an excellent example of a research paper for high school students. If you are struggling to draft an exceptional paper, go through the example provided.
High School Research Paper Sample (PDF)
Examples are essential when it comes to academic assignments. If you are a student and aim to achieve good grades in your assignments, it is suggested to get help from CollegeEssay.org .
We are the best writing company that helps students by providing free samples and writing assistance. Professional writers have your back, whether you are looking for guidance in writing a lab report, college essay, or research paper.
Simply hire a writer by placing your order at the most reasonable price. You can also take advantage from our essay writer to enhance your writing skills.
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As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.
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How to Read Scientific Research Papers – High School Edition
- Last modified 2023-09-14
- Published on 2023-01-24
1. Why you should understand and read scientific research
As a high school student, understanding and reading scientific research can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Developing critical thinking skills: Reading scientific papers can help develop your critical thinking skills by challenging you to analyze and evaluate complex information. Scientific papers often present complex data and arguments that require careful evaluation and interpretation. By reading scientific papers, you can learn to identify strengths and weaknesses in arguments, evaluate evidence, and make well-reasoned judgments.
- Building research skills: Reading scientific papers can help build your research skills by exposing you to different research methodologies and techniques. You can learn how to identify research questions, design experiments, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Furthermore, reading scientific papers can help you learn how to evaluate sources and synthesize information. This is an important skill that is useful not only in science but also in other fields.
- Preparing for college and beyond: Reading scientific papers can prepare you for the types of reading and analysis required in college-level courses. College courses often require students to read and analyze scientific research papers, and familiarity with the format and content of scientific papers can be advantageous. Moreover, reading scientific papers can be beneficial for future careers in science or related fields, such as medicine or engineering.
- Keeping up-to-date on scientific developments: Reading scientific papers can help you stay informed about discoveries and developments in scientific research. Scientific papers are a primary source of new scientific knowledge, and reading them can help you stay current with the latest developments in your field of interest. Additionally, keeping up with scientific research can broaden your knowledge and understanding of the world around you.
2. Types of scientific papers
There are various types of scientific research papers, each with its own unique style of writing that can help students develop different reading approaches. Primary articles , for instance, provide original research data and conclusions from the study’s researchers. Reading this type of paper enables students to grasp how research is completed while simultaneously providing a way to challenge or verify its authenticity and then apply what they learn to their own work.
Secondary research documents , including review articles and systematic reviews, provide students with helpful information to better understand the primary source material. They offer an overview of relevant topics within the field and present different views from experts in the industry—a great way to develop a well-rounded perspective on any given topic. That said, readers need not take what is written as gospel; they should assess all perspectives critically rather than prematurely forming conclusions.
Special articles are letters to editors, commentaries, and correspondences–overall editorial papers. These articles are all short communications written on topics of interest to readers. Some common topics for these special articles include responses to previously published articles, feedback on research data, or feedback on case reports. Students can read these special articles when they seek answers about the primary research paper(s) that they have read.
3. What is covered in a research paper?
Before heading into the scientific research reading strategy, we would like to introduce the main sections of a research paper. In this case, we will only include sections of a primary research paper, as students will mainly read this paper as a reference and for insights into writing their own. Primary research articles have seven sections: abstract, introduction, methods and experiments, results, discussion, references, and tables and figures.
The abstract is a one-paragraph summary of the entire paper. Typically, it is less than 300 words in length and normally highlights the hypothesis, results of experiments, and the author’s conclusions.
The introduction gives the reader background information about the study and its topic. The author will also summarize prior research, discuss unresolved topics related to this paper, and provide an overview of the study below.
Methods and Experiments
In this section, the authors will lay out in detail how the research was conducted, from recruiting samples to discussing biases, study design, procedure, and logistics of the experiment. The method will provide sufficient information for another researcher to either duplicate or evaluate the research.
The Results section is relatively straightforward because this section describes the results of statistical tests and an overview of the data. The results will help students understand whether the experiment’s method is effective and gives reliable results.
The discussion is drawn from the results of the study. This section will address the author’s opinion and conclusion of the results and offer a new hypothesis and suggestions for further investigations.
References include an alphabetized list of the sources used in writing this primary research paper.
Tables and Figures
Data discussed anywhere in the research paper will be provided here.
4. How to read scientific research paper: The Three-Pass Approach
- The first pass gives you a general idea of the paper
- The second pass gives you information about the paper’s content
- The third pass helps you understand the paper in depth
The purpose of the first pass is to scan the scientific research paper quickly. Remember those sections in the research paper? We will only read through the title, abstract, and introduction for the first pass. After that, you should read the header of each section to get an overview. Then, move on to reading the conclusion and glance over the references to see the overall theme of the papers mentioned.
The first pass should only take 5 to 10 minutes. After that, you may choose whether or not to read the paper, as it may not be relevant to what you are researching. If you decide to keep reading, you should be able to answer this question at the end of the first pass:
- Category: What type of paper is this? A measurement paper? An analysis of an existing system? A description of a research prototype?
- Context: Which other papers is it related to? Which theoretical bases were used to analyze the problem?
- Correctness: Do the assumptions appear to be valid?
- Contributions: What are the paper’s main contributions?
- Clarity: Is the paper well written?
After the first pass, the second pass is your opportunity to read through the content, but not the details. For this pass, you should read the paper more carefully. The process may take up to an hour, but no more. Within this time, you should be able to understand the main content of the paper and its supporting evidence. The paper might not be easy to read, so don’t force yourself to finish it all at once. You can set it aside and come back when you feel refreshed.
The first pass of the paper can take up to four to five hours. During this process, you will be able to read the paper critically and evaluate it by pinpointing assumptions, identifying its weak points, and looking for potential issues with the experiments. The key to success in the third pass is putting yourself in the author’s shoes and virtually reimplementing the paper.
The first time implementing this method will be challenging, as you are not used to reading a paper repeatedly. With more practice, however, you can quickly read through tens of papers in an unfamiliar field and grasp the content.
Mastering the Three-Pass Approach is an effortless and powerful way to comprehend research papers quickly. It will help you grasp a paper’s fundamental ideas and evaluate its credibility without expending too much time. Through consistent practice of this method, you can become more productive in reading scientific documents – best of luck!
- 8 Steps in the Research Process
Through Historical Research and Writing, students will learn about choosing a topic, composing research questions, effective research methods, drafting, composing, and revising. These skills will be taught with an emphasis on historical research, allowing students to engage in analysis of primary and secondary sources, discover interesting insights in history, and partake in the active pursuit of understanding the importance of historical study.
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