Research Papers: What You Really Should Know about It

Getting that elusive passing grade for any university study course relies on two key components:

  1. knowing enough information about your topic to be considered an expert, and
  2. being able to transfer that information to your tutor who is looking for different interpretations of information taught through written assignments.

It is this reporting and transferring of information component that this course will concentrate on. Regardless of what topics you are studying, this course will give you that special edge in how you report your findings to your tutor through your written assignment work. The information contained through this course will be useful for students at any level of study, and will be instrumental in helping you achieve not only the high grades you are seeking for yourself, but in building your career in future.

First Thing to Remember about Research Papers

You have probably already found out for yourself that the papers you wrote at a high school level are not considered research papers. The traditional high school essay will have a beginning paragraph that includes a thesis statement, the body of the paper which usually includes three topic sentences for the three paragraph length required, and then the paper concludes with a paragraph that ties in the information contained in the body of the paper to the original thesis statement.

Here is the first thing that you should know about research papers: The difference between a high school essay and a research paper is that a research paper not only asks you to relay your own thoughts on a given topic, but also requires you to report on a number of other opinions that have been made by other scholars about your topic and then analyze these findings in light of your own opinions. Yes, my friend, research paper writing requires more than a recitation of learned facts with the most important element of a good research paper being the author's own analysis of researched information in a topic context.

So, what exactly a research paper is, right? If you read this article carefully, you must have learned that a real research paper is your own thoughts based on your thorough analysis of what you previously knew and what you managed to research about your topic. Read this sentence once more and then re-read it again and again since this is perhaps the most important thing you need to know about writing research papers :-) (Ok, no needless fanaticism, but make sure you remember what I've just told you).

A good research paper should contain:

  • Argument - to explain both sides of the issue you are to discuss
  • Thesis - to define your focus
  • Introduction - to present the issue and arrive at your thesis statement
  • Paper body - to discuss the issue, defend your thesis, and provide arguments
  • Quotes - to support your argument
  • Conclusion - to summarize your findings
  • References - to show your analysis is not bare

Your paper SHOULD contain these elements without reservation.

"But, but, but… Lisa, I thought you'd tell me something really worth it, something that'll surely turborocket my writing after a couple of lessons?," I hear you say. Let me now give you an advice that will clear up your thoughts immediately after you have read this lesson: KNOW WHAT YOU WRITE.

Know What You Write

Research papers can take a number of different forms. Most research papers have an analytical or argumentative element but other types of research papers include papers that show cause and effect; compare and contrast two points of view; report on a given situation or can be definitive or interpretative works.

One of the most important elements of an A+ Grade paper is the understanding you the student have of these different research papers types and your ability to write each type of paper according to the expected paper format. While the type of research paper is usually stated in the paper requirement information provided by your tutor, there are times when the paper type will be implied rather than directly stated and this is where an accurate interpretation of the paper requirements is so important to a good passing grade.

In my next blog post I'm going to include some hints on what may be expected in seven most popular research paper types, which are: Argumentative papers, Analytical papers, Definition papers, Compare and contrast papers, Cause and effect papers, Reports, and Interpretive papers.

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