This requires not that the writer make all sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. A research paper presents the results of your investigations on a selected topic. Based on your own thoughts and the facts and ideas you have gathered from a variety of sources, a research paper is your own synthesis of these facts and ideas, with complete documentation of where those facts and ideas came from.
In this sense a research paper is a new work that you create by consulting several sources to answer a research question. A research paper is not a summary of an article or book or a collection of summaries of articles or books. You should demonstrate that you understand the problems by interpreting and evaluating the information you present.
The purpose of writing a research paper is two-fold: i to broaden your knowledge of a specific topic, and ii most importantly to help you gain experience in writing such papers: the experience in gathering, interpreting, and documenting information, developing and organizing ideas and conclusions, and communicating them clearly by itself constitutes an important part of your education.
The Introduction should end with a paragraph describing what is done in each section of the paper. Body: Presenting the results of your research in an organized and consistent manner. It should be clearly seen that you understand the material well. Use every opportunity to analyze critically different views on the subject you are presenting - this is the best way to demonstrate understanding.
You must avoid writing mere summaries of what other authors have written on the subject. Give your opinion. Conclusion: Summary of the most important results of your research discussed in the body of the paper. There is time to perfect your research paper as you edit.
Right now, you just need to write. You have done a lot of work already, so trust that and work from memory as you write your research paper. Working from your own ideas will help you avoid plagiarism. If you quote something word-for-word, you need to cite your source. Use quotation marks and mention the source of the quote.
You will also need to include more information about the quote on a Works Cited or References page. For example, Bill Gates is a billionaire who founded Microsoft. That is a common fact; you can find it stated in numerous trustworthy sources. You have done a lot of work to get to this point! And then, get back to work.
Start by editing for content. This means thinking about structure, organization, wording, and length. You carefully organized your paper when you created an outline. Now that you have written your paper, does that organization still make sense? If so, great. If not, what do you need to move around? Did you communicate what you meant to get across? Can you make your paper clearer or easier to understand?
This is also a good point to think back to Step 1. Does your paper include everything the assignment asked for? If not, where can you include the missing pieces? If your paper is too long or too short, now is the time to cut it down or build it up to an acceptable length. Be careful and thoughtful about these edits. If you need to take something out, what makes sense to cut and how can you re-organize your paper so that it maintains a strong structure? Think about where you could expand or what you can add that fits in with the rest of your paper, further develops the ideas you are presenting, or adds valuable information to your research paper.
Once you have made all the changes you think necessary, read back through your paper again to be sure it all makes sense. If you are tired of looking at your research paper, give it to a friend, mentor, or teacher and ask them to take a look at your paper and let you know what they think of the content. It is also important to edit for grammar. This might seem daunting, but there are lots of tools and resources that can help.
Like editing for content, editing for grammar might take a few run-throughs. It can even help you come back to your paper feeling more focused, which is key to catching and fixing mistakes. Give your paper a day or two or an hour or two, if you are running short on time and give it a final read-through. It can be helpful to print a copy of your paper and read a hard-copy if you have only read through it on a screen thus far.
You might notice mistakes or formatting issues that your eyes missed while reading on your computer. Once you have read your research paper for a final time and double checked that your paper does everything the assignment is asking for, it is time to submit. Be sure to follow any instructions you have been given about turning in your research paper. Also give yourself time to troubleshoot if things go wrong. If you try to print your paper five minutes before class starts, what are you going to do if your printer is out of toner?
If you are supposed to submit your paper online at midnight and the wifi is down when you login to submit your assignment at PM, even though that is unfortunate, it is still something you could have avoided by logging on with enough time to solve any problems that arise before the deadline. Your teacher will appreciate and respect your preparedness, and it will likely impact your grades positively.
If you log on the day before and see that the place where you are supposed to turn in your assignment is locked or unavailable, send your teacher an email so that they can help you submit your paper before it is due.
Some instructors might, but you are just lucky at that point. When writing a research paper for a teacher or professor, it is important to step back and think about why they asked you to write this essay in the first place. More than likely, they are giving you an opportunity to learn something.
Learning often involves trial-and-error, making mistakes, and asking lots of questions. However, do remember to be respectful of them, their time, and efforts. It is important to follow any directions that you have been given by your teacher or professor, to take responsibility and not expect them to do your work for you, and to listen to the answers and advice they share with you. Working with your teacher and asking them for help is an often overlooked resource when it comes to writing research papers.
Be sure to take advantage of this help; your paper will be all the better for it. Another often-overlooked resource is the research librarian. Did you know that, in addition to tons of books and online materials, college and university libraries often have staff whose job it is to help answer your questions? Research librarians specialize in research it might sound obvious, but take a second to get excited about how much this could help you and your research paper!
These librarians usually specialize in particular fields and subjects, so you can get specific, expert help that pertains to your topic. They can help you search for resources, connect you with experts in the field your researching, or give you suggestions about the direction of your research and writing. In addition to research librarians, many college and university libraries often house writing centers. While research librarians can help you more with your research, writing center staff can help you actually write your research paper.
You can usually schedule an online or in-person appointment with a tutor or instructor that will help you through any step of the writing process. Many professors even give you extra credit for taking advantage of writing center services.
As mentioned earlier in this guide, you can use Wikipedia for introductory research. So, do not use Wikipedia as a primary source for your research paper. When it comes to writing research papers, the references section of a Wikipedia page is one of your best friends. Just like you should be citing your sources at the end of your research paper, Wikipedia articles link to their primary sources.
You can use the list of references to find books, articles, and other material that can help you find reliable, relevant primary sources for use in your research. Your instructor may require you to use peer-reviewed academic articles as some or all of the sources for your research paper. As a college student, you probably have access to a number of academic databases that you can use to find scholarly articles.
This skill will be a useful one to have, and you will be easily finding trustworthy, interesting sources in no time. This online resource offers a number of helpful writing materials, including information on how to cite sources, grammar rules, choosing a topic, and even how to write a research paper. You can search for specific help, or browse resources by category. This free website is a must-visit online resource when writing a college research paper.
Grammarly is like a super-powered spell checker. You can copy and paste your paper into the Grammarly editor and get spelling and grammar advice that is easy to implement. You need to go over each suggestion made by the software and make sure that it is indeed correcting an error or improving a sentence and not changing something that you meant to say.
That being said, Grammarly is great at catching errors and provides easy-to-understand explanations of spelling and grammar suggestions so you can knowledgeably make changes to your research paper. Style guides may be mostly a thing of the past. You have probably used a spell checker or Googled where to put a comma, but you may never have opened a style guide.
However, this book, The Elements of Style, has helpful advice and information about writing. If you are looking for guidance when it comes to editing your paper, picking up a copy of this book may be just what you need. The book consists of different sections, some with specific grammar and writing rules and definitions and others with general writing advice.
You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information.
In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information. The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:. Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice.
Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings. Working with the document you developed in Note Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above.
If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you. Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:. Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.
In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead. When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.
This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence. Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence an optional piece of information to include and followed the title with a parenthetical citation.
Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase. Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source. Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task.
Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage.
Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:. The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section.
Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired. The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces.
Review the following example. In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns. Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.
General Formatting Guidelines This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. These are the major components of an APA-style paper: Title page Abstract Body, which includes the following: Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content In-text citations of research sources References page All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.
Abstract The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. Exercise 1 Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Tip Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. Margins, Pagination, and Headings APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper.
Use these general guidelines to format the paper: Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch. Use double-spaced text throughout your paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size to point. Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Exercise 2 Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines.
Include the following: Your title page The abstract you created in Note The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance: Section headings use centered, boldface type.
Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized. Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. What courses will I take as an American Studies major? What can I do with my American Studies degree? It must cover the topic effectively and present a well-developed thesis, supported by evidence from primary and secondary sources.
It must in some way demonstrate an understanding of the development of scholarship on the topic—that is, the paper itself must incorporate in the text and notes an adequate discussion of the scholarly works on the subject. It must demonstrate mastery of the conventions of the discipline—i. Be sure to incorporate research from scholarly journals.
It must have a title page that includes your name and an appropriate title for your research. Pages, including bibliography, must be numbered, starting on the first page of text. The one exception is the title page, which should not have a number.
Those problems must be relevant and the ways of solving them should be practically applicable in the research field. All stated facts must have a link to the appropriate source. The full name of the author and the co-author, but no more than 2 co-authors per each paper font - Times New Roman, font size — 12, semibold, centered, line spacing: 1.
The country and the name of your academic institution font size - 12, centered, line spacing 1. Keep a blank line sized 12 pt and line spacing 1. You must specify the section of the Conference your paper belongs to font size - 12, centered, line spacing 1. Main text font — Times New Roman, font size — 12, line spacing: 1. Page layout: top and bottom margins — 2 cm, left — 2. Papers will not be edited. All responsibility for the writing style and grammar is placed on the author.
After registration on the site has been completed, send your papers to the email address: papers i-customs. The title page is the cover page of your APA format paper. As its name suggests, the goal of the title page is to present the title.
This is where you can inform and engage your reader without being too wordy. The title page should include the following components:. The abstract is a brief around to words but comprehensive summary of your paper. This summary helps your reader decide whether it is worth their time to read the rest of the paper.
An APA abstract is found on its own page, directly after the title page. It usually includes the following major aspects of your paper:. Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract, but abstracts are usually not required for student papers.
If you are not sure, please ask your instructor if an abstract is required for your paper. The exact format of this section can vary depending upon the type of paper you are writing. For example, if you are writing a lab report, the main body will include an introduction , a method section , a results section , and a discussion section.
Check with your instructor or publication guidelines for more specific information on what to include in the main body of your APA paper. The reference section is where you provide detailed information about all the references you used throughout your paper. According to the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association," if there is a citation in the body of the paper, it must also appear in the reference list and vice versa.
While writing an APA paper may seem difficult or confusing, start by breaking it down into more manageable steps. APA format has changed over the years, so there are different iterations found in earlier editions of the official publication manual. While online sites can offer helpful tips, always consult the most recent version of the publication manual if you have questions.
The APA also offers accessibility guidelines for students who need accommodations for a disability. This includes changes to aspects of a paper including typography, headings, URLs, and the use of color. Writing your first APA format paper can be a little intimidating, but learning some of the basic rules of APA style can help. Always remember, however, to consult the directions provided by your instructor or publication. Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign up to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter.
Journal article reporting standards for quantitative research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report. Am Psychol. American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.