Writing the right way: Top tips for writing a riveting research paper

Writing can be tricky. It entails gathering data, sorting it, formatting it and let’s not forget the most time consuming process: editing, then re-editing and editing one last time before you get the final approval. Well, if any of you have written a term paper, given a presentation or written your thesis, then you can be sure to get the job done.

One can get easily frustrated about the right-hand topic, finding accurate information and data, looking for the right resources, making a tentative outline and so on.

No pain, no gain: A TUC student hard at work (Photographer: Jacob Müller)

The following are some tips that can make a good research paper great.

  • Select a topic and narrow it down.

First and foremost, choose a topic that interests you and challenges you. Then you should have a good idea about your topic, research it well, see if you have done some other work on this topic and read some papers, scientific articles and blogs on this matter. Keep in mind that you should narrow your topic down and be specific. While researching your topic, make sure you are taking notes and keep a log of the important links as this will be useful in referencing your links later and writing the bibliography.

  • Outline a tentative timeframe, and stick to it.

The second step is to allocate your time wisely. This can be done in several ways. To begin with, allocate your time by going to the library, researching the relevant literature, writing your first draft and revising your work.
Remember to keep your work simple and specific, and avoid being too wordy.
Make sure you discuss your topic and ideas with your professor, and get his or her opinion before you settle on your topic.

  • State the objective of your research or thesis.

Your thesis statement is very important. Make sure your material matches the thesis objective. Write your entry in the form of a top-down approach. The next step would be to create an outline of the heading, paragraphs and chapters, etc. so that you can clearly see what work you have yet to cover.

  • Information gathering

Be sure to use good peer-reviewed journals, articles and apt keywords. Check all the resources from the library, online resources, e-books, almanacs, research journals and research papers. Before finalising your choice of articles, you have to double check the bibliographical information. An article without bibliographical information is useless and has no credentials, so be very particular about it.

It is important to conduct good thorough research on your topic. In this phase you will have to investigate several research papers, analyse the research paper, jot down key points and analyse the pros and cons. In case you are wondering, why must you do so much work? Well, you’ve got it. The research should be thought provoking. Look into the counter argument and be aware of it. If these points are covered, you can advance to the next step.

  • Time to make a rough outline of your research work / thesis

Making a rough outline of your work gives you a logical format and helps you plan and structure your thesis / research work properly. Your outline must include an introduction, body and conclusion.

The contents of the above structure should include the following points:

  1. Introduction: The introduction is very important. It depends on your audience. The introduction should be intriguing, informative, engaging, and therefore should not give away too much information. Remember to focus on the following three points to have an impressive introduction: Hook, define your audience and then present your thesis statement.
  2. Body: This is the main part of your research paper. The quantity of your paragraphs depends on the material you have researched. The key point in this section should be the number of supporting arguments you have. The more content you have, the better you can structure your work. Always remember to include proper citations and references. The style and tone of your paper is also of utmost importance. The tone you set at the beginning of the paper should be consistent.
  3. Conclusion: The conclusion usually summarises the arguments of your paper. It should not be too long. It should include your strongest arguments and a general overview. Remember to include a call for action. By call of action I mean that the readers should be intrigued by your position, and there should be scope for further discussion.
  4. Revision: Remember to revise your work and check for mistakes. Double check for errors and strive for sound content. Rearrange your outline. Use a free grammar and proofreading checker such as Grammarly.

Links for good resources:


Shreyasta Samal

(Master Information and Communication Systems, 6th semester)

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