A research paper is a research paper. Although this is tautological, it is essential to keep this in mind when composing, and researching, your research paper. But, if you are set a research paper, the chances are that there will be a huge amount of knowledge to come to terms with, and a great volume of existing scholarship to have some awareness of. So, how to go about the task?
In order to write a research paper, you need to know what you want to research. This seems obvious, but you must be absolutely specific, so that your research is laser targeted, which will avoid ambiguity and crossovers with irrelevant areas. Write down, for yourself, in the simplest terms: what am I looking for?
It is no good charging off with an idea to research without a knowledge of the existing literature. Whatever you are looking for, there is a very good chance that it has already been addressed. You need to understand, and to demonstrate your understanding and knowledge, of the given field.
Now you have the two essentials: your question, and the existing field. You must craft your research around gaps in the existing literature, as this will provide a solid scholarly framework for your own study. Gaps in knowledge can waste time, as you may research a question that has already been categorically answered.
Do not waste words or paragraphs, each word, each phrase in your essay must go towards developing your argument and convincing your audience. Edit out anything that does not advance your point.
Take every opportunity to tell the reader where you are, what your evidenced research has demonstrated, and how this will impact on the rest of the study. Demonstrate, at every opportunity, your knowledge of how this relates to exiting studies.
Make a clear conclusion which draws on how your research fits into the existing literature. And, in a research paper, point out how the next scholar may approach related concerns.
A research paper must demonstrate a knowledge of your field. Once you have decided what you want to find, looked at how others have approached the question, you can guide your research around the existing landmarks to construct a scholarly paper.
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