How to Start a Research Paper

How to Start a Research Paper (Introduction To Conclusion)

Having seen a summary of the steps of starting a research paper, it will be good if we look deeper into each of them.

  1.  Reading and Understanding the Research Guidelines.

Every institution or even specific professors will always give a guideline for any research work to the students. It’s these guidelines that give you a starting point for your research work and facilitates the research process.

Whenever someone says that he/she completed a research paper, it means that they were able to accomplish the tasks highlighted by the institution or the professor. Reading and understanding the research task is always the first step of writing any research paper.

Before you start writing your paper, you should carefully read the research guidelines and ensure you understand them. If you find anything confusing, get clarification from the professor or any other research supervisor. You should also identify the formatting required, submission method, length specifications, and the submission deadline. Of course, you are supposed to meet all these requirements in your research paper.

It’s also wise to list the key points before you start writing and then cross one by one as you continue writing the paper. Crossing the point means that you have met the said requirement.

Again, you need to be strict on your timeframe. Remember, it must be within the deadline given by the institution. You need to be realistic in your activity scheduling and give yourself adequate time to research, write, and edit your work.


2. Choosing the Research Topic.

This is one of the most vital steps to start writing your research paper. It should come immediately you understand the research requirements. Choosing the topic might seem to be an obvious thing but research requires you to come up with the right topic. This has proved to challenge learners for many years but it’ not all that tough. You only need to be clear on a few issues. Your research topic is vital because it sets the study’s tone.

To come up with an excellent research topic, you need to consider several factors. These include:

  1. Presence of existing literature on the particular topic.
  2. The topic’s relevance to the student’s career path.
  3. Availability of past studies related to your topic.
  4. Methodology practicability.
  5. Ease of gathering the required research data.

These factors lead us to the four key items that you need to address when coming up with a research topic:

a) Area of Study.

In any research, the area of study is mainly influenced by two main factors. The first is the student’s career path while the second one is the relevance of the study to the particular career. The topic you choose to study should require the knowledge you have gained across the years of study.

I tend to believe that someone will best research an area of interest. Choosing a research paper topic that is within your field of study motivates you to research without losing interest. Many successful studies take at least six months and could take up to a year or more. This is why you need a topic that will keep your attention.

b) Issues.

You also need to take some time and determine an issue relating to the chosen area for the research/dissertation/thesis project. If you want to get real issues, you can consult the people who work within your field of study. Getting someone to highlight the key issues in any field helps you as the researcher to come up with the research problem and the objectives.

c) The Methodology.

You shouldn’t start working on a research paper before you look at the practicability of the research methodology. It is important in determining the research method you’re going to apply. It’s necessary to figure out how you intend to proceed with the entire study including data collection.

There are different strategies for conducting a research project. That’s why you need to refer to study objectives to determine the appropriate strategy. As the researcher, you should settle for a feasible process of data collection. Again, ensure that the data you collect using such methods is viable and applicable to your study.

d) Literature.

Complete research should have a literature review to support the thesis you present. It’s always best to study areas that have readily available literature. This could be past publications, other researches, books, or academic journals. The internet could be a resourceful place to find these materials in softcopy. The only thing you must keep in mind is that you are required to show the gaps in the literature you present. These gaps should be forming part of your research basis. Your study should come up with answers to fill the gaps you raise in the previous works relating to your study area.

Sometimes, it is good to include a case study in the topic to make it more effective. A case study makes your topic more specific making it easier for you to explore the major aspect you pointed in the beginning. A broad topic reduces the significance of the study.

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A perfect research topic must be interesting and should get your professor’s approval before you begin writing your research paper.

3.  Getting Research Facts and Examples.

Though equally important, this part is a bit complicated than the rest. You need to get reliable information before drafting a successful statement for your thesis or dissertation. In case you don’t find the facts necessary for your research, ask for assistance from your supervisor.

When gathering information on your research topic, you should have a notebook to write what you feel is necessary. Reading a general article on your study topic is the best way to start getting facts about it. You can get the article from an encyclopedia or any other reputable source.

The notebook should help you to record the article and/or book titles, the content author, and any other relevant publication information. Also, note the page numbers where to find the information you want to use from every source.

All information whether quoted or paraphrased should be credited to its sources when used in the main research paper. Failure to so will result in plagiarism and you will fail in your research project.

4.Create a Research Outline.

Once you are contented with your topic and the supervisor approves it, you now got all the reasons to smile! It’s very easy to mess at this point because you have millions of ideas running on your mind. The best thing is to write a clear outline of your research work.

But, what is an outline in research work? It’s a road map of the whole research paper. We can call it an organization of a researcher’s thoughts, ideas, or the points he/she wants to make. Some word processing packages offer standardized research outline structures.

Professional researchers start their outlines by putting down their main points. The most popular method of writing an outline is where you use Roman numerals for major topics and lower case alphabets for minor topics. You can also choose to use lower-level numbers numerals (1, 2, 3…) for sub-topics. If this is done the right way, you will realize that all major points will have supportive sub-points.

Why Use a Research Outline.

After writing an outline for your research paper, ensure to follow its structure in your entire project. The consistency helps to see your points put in a logical and flawless order. With a complete outline, you are only required to fill in the gaps between them and connect different ideas to come up with an amazing research paper. The outline makes it easy to review your work and confirm the inclusion of all intended information. An outline is great so that you have your ideas flowing smoothly throughout your research paper.

5.Come Up With Your Thesis Statement.

Most professors will be very keen on this section of your research paper and will use it to determine the grade to award you. It’s a part that can make you fail or pass your research class. Don’t forget to get your professor’s approval before proceeding with the actual thesis.

The thesis statement could be a single sentence or could go to a page length. It all depends on the subject you are to tackle and the supervisors’ requirements. This statement serves as the preface of a research paper. It has to be insightful and interesting to motivate the reader to continue reading your research paper.

Your thesis statement should be clear on your point of interest in the study. For example, if you want to study European bailouts, the readers need to understand whether you will focus on the banking crisis, the euro, or the bond market.

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Difference Between An Essay And Research Paper

Difference Between An Essay And Research Paper

If you survived high school in one piece, you’re probably experienced at writing personal essays. When you get to college, you might still be asked to write personal essays, but more likely, you’re going to be asked to write research papers. This article is designed to help you understand difference between an essay and research paper, by so doing you will be knowing the difference between the good skills you learned writing personal essays with different set of good skills you’ll need to practice when writing academic research papers.

What is the Difference Between an Essay and Research Paper?

We’ll talk about good qualities for a personal essay and good qualities for a research paper. Now each of these sets of skills is good, and each of them is important. However, if reading this piece is time consuming but you need to understand the difference between an essay before you write, use our writing service. Just provide your instructions and let your paper done


The differences in the goal between a personal essay and a research paper.
In essay
For a research paper
The differences in the method between a personal essay and a research paper.
In a personal essay
Research paper
The differences in the support between a personal essay and a research paper
In a personal essay
For a research paper
The differences in the Types between a personal essay and a research paper
In Essay

  1. Expository essay
  2. Descriptive essay
  3. Narrative essay
  4. Argumentative essay

In research paper

  1. Basic research paper
  2. A survey paper
  3. Evaluation paper

What to Avoid between a personal essay and a research paper
In Essay
In research paper
 We’re going to talk about the goal and the methods and how you support your efforts, and what to avoid when you’re doing a personal essay in a research paper.

Goal: For a personal essay, your goal is to engage the reader. A research paper is a very different genre of writing. So it has a different goal instead of engaging the reader. The goal is you’re looking for the truth and instead of expressing your opinions.
Method: You do that by expressing your opinion and your experiences. What you want to do is find the evidence you arrange evidence to support your claims.
Support: You support those experiences with personal examples from your own life or your imagination. You support your claims by naming individual experts rather than drawing on experiences that you already know on your own. It would help if you invoked the research published by named experts, and that means the page number on which you find the particular claim you are using. That level of detail is important, leading us to the next thing for a research paper.
Types: An essay has 4 types.

·         Narrative essays

·         descriptive essay

·         Expository essay

·         Argumentative essay

Research paper has 3 types.

·         Basic research paper

·         Survey paper

·         Evaluation paper

Avoid: When you’re writing a personal essay, the thing you want to avoid is to bore the reader. The thing to avoid is making unsupported claims.

The differences in the goal between a personal essay and a research paper

There is the following difference between essay and research paper in terms of the goal.

In essay:

If your goal for a personal essay is to engage the reader, you do that by connecting with the reader by impressing the reader. You might use fancy language or humor or personal experiences or invoke their feelings of anger and injustice and incite them to some action.

That’s because you put an emotional investment into your ideas. Your readers will respond to that human connection. They’ll respond to your passion. They’ll respond to your eloquence and respond to how much effort you put into it. Your beliefs, your values, your creativity, your life experience, and your particular methods of storytelling all these things combine to help you engage the reader. And things like having good intentions and participating are things that your high school teacher could look at when evaluating your essay.

For a research paper:

Your goal is to prove that you are moving towards a better understanding of the truth, as supported by credible evidence. Your goal is to go where the evidence leads that’s very different from a personal essay. The assumption is you already have an opinion about something. And your job is to explain where you’re coming from and where you’re going; you do that by connecting with your own experience.

But in a research paper, sometimes the evidence will point away from the beliefs that you brought with you at the beginning of your research process. It’s an intellectual investment, not an emotional investment. Now you may feel emotional if the evidence contradicts whatever you believed when you started doing the research. But your professors will respond to your intellectual honesty if you demonstrate that you are backing up your claims with evidence. You’re not relying on the solution to the problem that you believed was true even before you started doing any college-level research.

So your goal is to assess and synthesize credible facts, an expert analysis expert opinion you know voiced by people who have 20 or 30 or a lifetime years’ worth of experience. You’re going to invest your intellectual efforts into synthesizing the information that you find in your research and things like justice and ethics and beauty that matter too.

In different disciplines, those kinds of values do count as evidence. But in literature discipline or an art discipline, there’s a scholarly way of understanding beauty. There’s a scholarly way of understanding what makes a poem work or what makes a painting work, or what makes a piece of music creation. And within that discipline, there will be their methods of evidence and ways that theories can be tested and improved. Truth is different in different disciplines, but every scholarly discipline has a method for understanding truth, and part of what you do as an undergraduate is you learn the methods for whatever discipline you’re studying in a project class.

The differences in the method between a personal essay and a research paper

Now the methods, how do we do this? How do we achieve this goal?

In a personal essay:

If your goal is to engage the reader, you do that by presenting your opinions. Are you expressing yourself and engagingly telling the story? When you’re writing a personal essay, walk the reader through a narrative that describes how you got from your initial ideas to your more carefully thought-out ideas. That narrative, the story of discovery, might make for an engaging personal essay.

A personal essay telling a story of your encounter with an idea is perfectly fine. In this, you’re demonstrating your personal ability to engage with the subject. Readers are interested in their ideas and their conclusions.

Research paper:

But a research paper is not about expressing your own opinions about the issue. It’s about arranging and sorting through the evidence that you find when you do research. In this, you’re in demonstrating your personal ability to make complex connections between ideas that other experts have already made on the topic that you are exploring. The reader of a research paper is not interested in the author’s personal journey towards understanding something. So you want to make evidence-supported claims rather than telling the reader a story of how you came to believe something and how you support your claims will.

The differences in the support between a personal essay and a research paper:

Difference between essay and research paper in terms of support is discussed below.

In a personal essay:

You are the center of a personal essay. So you and your imagination, whatever you conjure up to tell your story and make your points that matter.

I remember one time when or some people might say. However, I think.

Did you ever notice you’re engaging the reader that way? You might come up with a famous quotation. As Abraham Lincoln once said, you know, don’t believe every quote you find on the Internet. You’re invoking life examples and giving reflections to make that personal connection with the reader. Because your reader’s human beings and humans engage with storytelling skills. So your storytelling ability and your personality is what drives a good personal essay

For a research paper

Well, in research paper, credible experts are the ones that drive your story.

  • I’m on page 123 have said something that you’re citing.
  • You might cite the 2010 census.
  • You might cite a passage from a work of literature.

These things are examples of evidence that you use to make connections between these bits of evidence and the patterns you find. The way you draw connections between these ideas is where you develop your critical thinking skill. And you’ll do that by using many brief paraphrases and brief quotations from these sources.

Not just one paragraph per source but writing paragraphs that engage with multiple different sources. And sometimes sentences that engage with multiple different sources demonstrate your ability to make nuanced, complex connections between all these ideas invoking published experts to back up your original intellectual claims that arise from your thoughtful consideration of all this evidence.

The differences in the Types between a personal essay and a research paper:

There is the following difference between essay and research paper in terms of types.

In Essay:

Types of the essay are the following.

1.    Expository essay: 

It is the most common type of essay students write. In this essay, you will challenge to dig deep into your topic and present your ideas with evidence. And then analyze it. In other words, you are required to present an exposition of your topic. Hence the name expository essay.

2.    Descriptive essay:

The second type of essay is the descriptive essay. In this type of essay, you will be required to use your creativity and writing abilities to write the content descriptively. You can paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. It is a type of essay where you can let your flowery language flow and describe the topic of your essay in detail.

3.    Narrative essay

Next is the narrative essay. As the name proposes, a narrative essay is an essay in which the author narrates an experience. Or a past incident for the readers. It is a personal piece of writing where the author has the freedom to present their thoughts freely.

4.    Argumentative essay:

The final type of essay you will be required to write in an academic setting is the argumentative essay. The argumentative essay is an essay that is based solely on the arguments and the evidence you present in it. It is mainly used to persuade the audience to agree with your stance on your essay’s main issue or problem.

In research paper:

1.    Basic research paper:

The first one is the basic research paper in which you do some new work or propose some new idea.

2.    A survey paper:

A survey paper or review paper in which you read a large number of papers to compare and analyze them in detail. Identify the specific applications of a particular technology or concept and present them in a quick, concise way.

3.    Evaluation paper:

The third one is an evaluation paper in which you propose a model, but with some mathematical proof or simulation of how accurate or efficient it will be.

What to Avoid between a personal essay and a research paper:

In Essay:

Successful writers avoid boring content that don’t grab the reader’s attention. If writing a personal essay, you don’t want boring text. You don’t want dry stuff. So if it’s unusual or surprising, then it’s good. You also want to avoid grammar mistakes. And, of course, you want to avoid plagiarism that is very important.

In research paper:

In the research paper avoid unsupported claims. You should use evidence about your topic with reference. If your claim will vague, premature, simplistic, and one-sided, or contractual then your research paper will not be accepted in any journal or conference. So, these are unsupported claims and you should avoid these.


Research papers and essays are both different things. The goal of both terminologies is different. An essay is based on your thought and practical examples, but a research paper is based on the evidence. Both have different types. In the essay, successful writers avoid boring the reader. In a research paper, the big thing to avoid is unsupported claims. So from this article, you can get complete information about the difference between essay and research paper.

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