Writing a research paper

Published 18 Jan 2018

A friend of mine said the other day, “It’s just a paper.” And while he was right, and when I work myself into a frenzy over it, I should remember that, but when I sit back and reflect on the progress I’ve made, and what I want to do next, it is so much more than a paper. It is an experiment, the biggest challenge to me as a thinker and as a writer at this moment in time. It is a capstone experience that I can really feel I have spent my undergraduate career working towards. Now I just need to get a bit more sleep and calm the anxiety, and I’ll be all set. This is what a typical researcher goes through from the beginning of the research process to the time he hands in his finished product.

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Here you go! God speed! Actually, this should be fairly easy as you know exactly where you are going! You are going to build a rough draft of your paper. To accomplish this you need: Your outline and bibliography. Using your outline starting from the top with your bibliography as a guide, seriously read the background type information. Take notes in sentences or short paragraph form. Proceed down your outline in a similar manner. You will have to further organize the material in each of your major sections and decide which material is relevant to your topic. You will want about 1 to 1 1/2 finished pages of background, 1 page for purpose and procedures, approximately 1 page per question in your research and 1 to 2 pages of summary and conclusions. Some of you may be used to copying material right from the book, this is for elementary school reports. You are a brilliant researcher. Some quoting is good, too much is plagiarism! There are two good ways to take notes: summarizing when you write down main ideas and details in your own words and paraphrasing when you rewrite everything in your own words. It is all right to use some of the same words. In fact, it is often necessary, but don’t copy. Re-read your rough draft to make sure you haven’t lifted entire sections from a source.

Your paper must be typed. Yes, I know some of you can’t type. Neither can I. What you see here has taken me hours using the hunt and peck system. The advanced typing class is filled with excellent typists. They will often type a paper for a dollar or a batch of brownies. Double space, please. Prepare a title page. Number your pages. Don’t number the title page, and leave a blank page after your title page. Leave one inch margins on both sides, and an inch and one-half on the top and bottom. Check you spelling. If you have any doubt, look up the word or use the spell checker on the computer. Be sure to include the bibliography. Any charts or tables should be listed on separate pages. Make the paper neat! Congratulation! You have followed a plan most college students use and others wish they knew. You have succeeded. Now you have only to worry about your experimental write up, and that has such a structured format you can’t go wrong.

Research has been recognized as a vital tool for solving man’s multifarious problems and in making his life richer and fuller. This is the reason that we are enjoined to do research work and the motivation to engage in it. In fact, the modern conveniences we are enjoying today are a product of researches undertaken by scientists and professional from various disciplines. Today, research has become an integral part of all learning areas known to man.

This is the time to be reminded again why we embark on doing research. Because there are different ways by which we can obtain knowledge and information, however, research is still the most reliable source. This is because research utilizes the scientific method. And it is also important that when conducting the actual research with the method at hand, the researcher must bear in mind that he is into scientific research and this is not going to be compromised for the result to be valid and reliable.
Research demands that those who undertake it are able to think clearly, and without confusion. The proposal will demonstrate whether you possess that quality. Thus the qualification as a researcher rests upon the quality of the proposal submitted.

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  • Phyllis Goldenberg ‘Writing a research paper : a step-by-step approach’ New York : Sadlier, 2010.
  • Valerie Bodden; Nate Williams ‘ Writing a research paper’ Mankato, Minnesota : Creative Paperbacks, 2015
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