A research paper is a piece of academic writing scientific work which is based on the author’s research on a particular topic, further analysis of the findings and its interpretation. Usually, a research essay is based on already known facts that should be fully comprehended and analyzed. As it can be derived from the name of this type of essay, the writer should do extensive research in order to provide a deep insight into the topic.
The primary goal of this assignment is to define a particular issue, review the literature, collect primary data, analyze the findings, and provide new approaches that could be used for further investigation of the given problem. For instance, a research paper can be used to explore and identify scientific, technical, or social issues. Therefore, a research essay aims to evaluate the writer’s level of knowledge, which was gained during the academic course, as well as assess the writer’s ability to find enough supporting information and correctly apply it while discussing a particular topic or problem.
Due to the wide diversity of topics and subjects, there are various types of research essays. The most typical are:
1. Analytical Research Essay. It is a piece of writing in which the author analyzes, critiques, and interprets a certain event, problem, issue, situation, or a work of art. In fact, it is an in-depth exploration of the chosen topic. Usually, this type of essay requires the writer to present an argument or a claim about the topic that is being analyzed. For this type of paper, you need to collect relevant findings of other researchers and make a personal conclusion about the selected topic. Besides, it is important to keep your writing style neutral as an analytical research essay does not show your negative or positive position on the matter.
2. Persuasive Research Essay. Such essays are aimed at describing a chosen object from two opposing viewpoints while analyzing their advantages and disadvantages. Unlike the analytical research essay, this type of writing requires a researcher to give personal preference to a certain opinion while supporting it with logical facts and statistical data from credible sources. Consequently, you have to persuade your target audience that the chosen opinion is more valid than another one.
3. Survey Research Essay. Along the aforementioned types of research essay, survey research essays are of particular interest for researchers due to their efficiency. Survey research is a commonly used method of gathering information on a particular topic from a sample of individuals through their responses to questions. The main distinctive features of survey research essays are the questionnaires and sampling. A questionnaire is a predefined series of questions used to collect information from the target group. In turn, sampling is a technique that is designed to define a group of individuals that will answer the survey questions. Such essays are aimed at collecting relevant information on a particular topic from a broad spectrum of individuals by asking them questions that would help reveal implicit features of the particular phenomenon.
4. Interpretive Essay. An interpretive essay is often demanded by professors for literature, humanities, and social sciences. They require the student to utilize the knowledge, gained during the course of study, to a particular case. The primary aim of an interpretive paper is to critically analyze the subject while relying on an established theoretical framework and using supporting data to back up the findings and results of the interpretive essay.
5. Problem-Solution Essay. These essays are designed to describe a particular problem and provide a solution for it. Firstly, in a problem-solution essay, you should present an issue or a set of issues. As a writer, you will then need to propose a solution or several solutions to the stated problem. Next, you will have to explain in detail why the proposed solution is the most appropriate for the stated problem. However, you should use information collected from credible sources in order to support your claims. Such essays are designed to examine student’s skills in analyzing the problem and applying the knowledge gained via research to propose a solution.
All things considered, among these types of research essay, you have to choose the most suitable type according to the instructions you were given by your tutor.
Unarguably, the process of defining your research question is the most important as compared to other steps of writing a research essay. Moreover, the selected topic would guide your research and ultimately lead to the thesis statement and the purpose of your paper. At most times, you would be assigned with a topic for your research essays. If you were not assigned with a specific theme for the research, then you need to find a relevant and interesting topic so that you would be able to focus on the aspects of the chosen subject.
Furthermore, a good advice would be to choose a research question that is of particular interest to you. The research process is time-consuming, and you will be more motivated if you have a genuine desire to extensively investigate the topic. You should also consider whether the resources that are necessary to conduct thorough research on your topic are available. There is a wide variety of topics to choose from, so you can write about everything you find relevant or interesting.
Here is a list of topics that you can choose from to write a research essay:
In order to write an excellent research essay, you should follow the following steps that will help you during the process of writing:
After choosing the topic of your interest or the topic which was given to you by the instructor, you should find materials on which your essay would be based. A research essay generally consists of an introductory paragraph, which introduces the topic, provides background information and includes a thesis statement, main body paragraphs that explain and support the thesis, and a conclusion paragraph that summarizes and restates the thesis statement.
In the first paragraph, you should introduce your topic to the target audience and provide background information. Moreover, if there are any terms or definitions that readers might find complicated or unfamiliar, they should be explained. The first sentence of your essay should capture the reader’s attention. Therefore, the introductory paragraph provides the purpose and the focus of the rest of the research essay while justifying the reasons for the research.
A thesis statement is one of the essential parts of your essay as it tells the readers what to expect from your paper by illustrating the main argument or claim and providing supporting statements. The thesis should be written at the end of your introductory paragraph. It is also important to remember that a thesis is an interpretation of a research question or subject, but not the subject itself. Therefore, you need to clearly define your research question or argument so that you would be able to come up with a strong thesis.
For instance, let’s say you are writing a research essay about the dependence of society on technology and you came up with such a thesis: ‘The purpose of this essay is to examine the interaction between society and technology’. Even though this statement clearly tells what to expect from the paper, it does include any specific examples or features that would later be discussed in the essay.
Alternatively, a strong thesis statement for the given topic would look like this: ‘Therefore, the results of society’s dependence on technology could be examined by the changes in people’s communication, cognition, and their viewpoints on the modern world.’ Such a thesis sentence provides an understanding of what statements are going to be discussed in your research essay.
Body paragraphs are of great significance for your research essay as they elaborate on your thesis. Each body paragraph should include one main idea to support your thesis, explain it, and give examples of it. Here you should integrate the sources you found to support the claims. However, do not organize your paper only around the sources but rather build your essay around the points you want to make. In addition, do not forget to include all cited sources in the reference list which is usually the last page of your research essay.
Furthermore, this section should not only elaborate on your thesis but also provide insight into the methods used to conduct your research. It should also include the results of conducted research and mention other variables that were discovered after your analysis. A good way to present your results would be to use charts or tables; but do not forget to explain them to your target audience.
Typically, the last paragraph of your research essay does not contain any new information. It rather summarizes the main claims and arguments that were discussed in the essay. Furthermore, the thesis statement should be always restated in the conclusion paragraph. You can mention approaches to solving the particular issue based on what you have discovered during the research. It could be used for further investigation of the given problem.
The last step in the process of writing the research essay is revising where you should start editing your essay by proofreading the content and checking the structure of the paper. Check whether the information logically flows throughout the whole paper and make sure that your essay is coherent and provides an in-depth discussion in the body paragraphs.
You need to check whether your research essay stays consistent in its content and structure throughout the whole paper. Make sure that the topic is clearly indicated and there is a strong thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph that clearly tells what will the rest of the essay discuss. Then, check whether all paragraphs relate to the thesis statement. At last, make sure the conclusion summarizes the whole essay and provides the results for further investigation. The structure is essential for the research essay, so you have to make certain that you have included and explained everything.
After you finished revising the content and the structure of the paper, you can focus on common errors like grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and word choice. Finally, do not forget to include a reference list page at the end of your research essay.
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How to Write a Research Paper: 10 Steps + Resources. Retrieved from https://thebestschools.org/resources/how-to-write-research-paper/
Research Paper: The Process. Retrieved from https://www.gallaudet.edu/tutorial-and-instructional-programs/english-center/the-process-and-type-of-writing/research-paper-the-process#Prewriting
The Research Essay or Term Paper. Retrieved from https://langara.ca/student-services/learning-commons/writing-centre/online-help/research-paper.html
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