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How to Start a Research Paper Guide

August 20, 2021

Understanding how to start a research paper can be treated as the most important skill in academic writing that professors want their students to master. Many students fall victim to the same major mistake that results in time losses and quality drawbacks. They attempt writing the entire paper from an introduction which should actually be wrapped up later, almost the last. Are you surprised? Then you should read our guide on what is a research paper and get clear vision of needed sequence. The best thing is that you already started the process and this is the hardest thing to do.

How To Start a Research Paper?

Once a student dealt with procrastination and searched how to start writing a research paper, the first piece of advice would be “read instructions”. Understanding what is expected based on provided guidelines is of utmost importance so that we recommend reading all instructions several times and keep checking them while writing. This may seem to be redundant but let us reassure you, substantial research and flawless grammar will not save a paper from failing grade if requested argumentative component is missing. Let’s check how to avoid issues and come up with an effectively written manuscript.

Find Proper Sources

A step that involves finding reliable sources is always included in good ways to start a research paper simply because it is impossible to develop proper argument and back up one’s claims using wrong facts or generic information. Statistical data provided by reputable organizations and governmental resources as well as great scholarly theoretical sources will not only help you develop plagiarism free essay but also come up with the ideas for proper structure. Dedicate enough time and choose the most suitable sources as you need to know what other scholars came up with regarding your topic before your research started.

How To Begin a Research Paper? Develop Thesis Statement First

It is impossible to start a research paper without clear vision of what you are going to say. The main trick here is to avoid simple descriptive statements as readers must understand your argument and taken position as well as what you strive to achieve just by taking a look at your thesis statement. It is usually just one or two sentences that introduce all main insights that are later discussed throughout the paper.

Brainstorm and Develop Research Paper Outline

When a student allows procrastination to take over just because they are discouraged by the volume of work ahead, developing short one-page outline will be a good option for beginning. Developing major structure and writing down all ideas will create the possibility to cover parts of the paper one by one, bits by bits. An outline helps to get rid of ineffective arguments and make sure nothing important is omitted. Even if your professor does not require drafts and outlines, it is better to follow this preliminary step as it saves time and effort in future.

Literature Review

If a student asks “how to write a research paper?” for the first time, they probably never attempted to complete a written literature review and there is a distinct possibility they will make another huge mistake in this part. Many students just start to summarize sources one by one and retell main ideas while literature review means students will analyze gathered information and provide a synthesis. Do not let panic ruin your grade as main idea is pretty simple here as well. All paragraphs of this section should start with unifying topic sentence related to certain aspect of chosen topic and then include references to multiple sources that can say something important about this aspect. Each paragraph ends with your interpretation and transition to next related aspect.

Organize Your Notes

A collection of quotes, ideas, multiple outline’s versions, and some notes that you make during writing process may appear to be uncontrollable. Sometimes it is better to ask professional essay writer to help at this stage or complete and organize research plan for you beforehand, especially if you deal with completely unfamiliar topic.

The Research Question(s)

There are many ways to start a research paper but developing specific and measurable research questions is always included in initial steps. One cannot develop a specific focus for lab or research paper without understanding what exactly needs to be reviewed and answered.

Choose Research Methodology

The best way to start a research paper is to come up with the relevant topic that brings something new in chosen sphere, think about research question that you want to be answered, and then proceed to the most appropriate methodology, which can be qualitative, quantitative or mixed in nature. These steps will not take much space in terms of writing but they are essential if you want to construct important and valuable research.

Proceed to Main Part

You’ve got everything that you planned approved by your professor and completed data collection in terms of both literature review and conducting your survey or experiment according to the stated hypothesis and research questions. This is a time for your unique contribution. If you ever searched how to start writing a paper, you know that there are several obligatory sections that any valid research article must include.

  • Results. Demonstrate findings of your research, use graphical representation and organize your data to make it clear and understandable.
  • Analysis. Interpretation of the previously mentioned results is the next logical step as analysis shows whether obtained results are significant and what is their place in the bulk of previous studies.
  • Discussion. Any scientific study cannot cover all possible aspects and it is crucial to highlight all limitations and possibility for future research. Acknowledging weaknesses in academic papers develops critical thinking and objective approach which are needed regardless of one’s occupation.
  • Conclusion. Summarize everything here and remind your readers about major points. This should be a precise review of all findings and outcomes. 

Write Your First Draft

If you know to know the best way to start a paper, the answer is simple: just start writing. Remember that the first draft is not the final draft, you will have to edit it substantially in any case. So that it is time to disable your inner perfectionist and start putting all your ideas, notes, and findings together. Once you have assembled everything, do not touch the draft for some time and start reviewing it with fresh perspective. You may also hire essay writing helper at this point and get your rough draft polished in terms of flow, grammar, structure, format, and overall appearance. Remember that you will most likely need to properly incorporate your professor’s feedback as there is always room for improvement.

Tools For Research Paper Help

When you already know how to start off a research paper and already completed a substantial part, more questions appear. They are mostly related to proper format as checking if a completed paper adheres to all MLA or APA requirements will take long time as well. It is better if you pay attention to some important aspects along the way.

  • Plagiarism check. Zero tolerance to this issue can be observed whether you write research paper yourself or order sample via reputable and cheap writing service. Checking paper before submission is obligatory, any copied content should either be presented as direct quote, summarized, or paraphrased. Do not forget about proper acknowledging all used sources while researching. Both paid and free plagiarism checking tools will help you avoid academic dishonesty issues.
  • Grammar check and proofreading. No language issues are acceptable in academic publishing as even the smallest typos may affect readers’ impressions. Neglecting proper proofreading may cost you decreased grade even in cases the content is flawless.
  • Citations. It is much easier to include correct citations from the very beginning as you may overlook discrepancies during editing stage and present a manuscript with mixed formatting styles or other issues. Multiple tools will help you format all bibliographical entries according to all requirements of chosen style be it APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, or any other popular format. 
  • Title page. Different styles have different requirements, even one style’s editions have notable differences. Just look at papers formatted in APA 7th edition and compare them to APA 6th edition. Title page generators and online guides will prevent omitting important components.

Checklist When You Don’t Know How to Start a Paper

Once you learned all good ways to start a paper and already completed a rough draft or still don’t know where to start, you should check some major tips and simply follow suggested procedure. 

  • Is there a clear and arguable thesis statement?
  • Have I chosen scholarly and reputable sources to back up my claims? 
  • Does my outline present arguments in logical sequence?
  • Did I make main intentions and hypothesis evident?
  • Does my report follow standard academic structure?
  • Did I include all citations for information taken elsewhere?
  • Have I proofread the paper? 

Research Paper Introduction Example

“The process of globalization in the 21st century is inseparable from the development of media and digital platforms. The current era of media history is also characterized by the “media convergence” phenomenon accompanied by global communication. One can observe the presence of both global communication and digital content media platforms’ convergence embodied in modern video games. The Witcher 3 video game can serve as the example of cultural globalization due to the principles of modernization of the world, cultural hybridization, and implemented individualism that reflects the shift from a local focus to a Westernized perspective.”
This example follows the standard academic writing structure type as it starts with global background, introduces the audience to reviewed concepts, and narrows down the discussion to a specific example and its embodiment from theoretical perspective.

Thoughts in the End

Are you still wondering what is a good way to start a research paper? The answer is simple and it presupposes starting the process as early as possible. Just remember that you don’t have to complete the entire work alone as you may request professional writing help at any stage if you got stuck or obtain original example written just for you so that there won’t be any troubles with future tasks. You will just follow the provided perfect example and structure and no longer worry whether everything was included.