How To Write A Research Paper

Research papers are a common part of the curriculum when pursuing higher education. However, they can still seem intimidating for some students. Luckily, WVJC offers resources to help you understand how to write a strong research paper that meets your assignment requirements and helps you learn and retain information. 

Want to learn the important aspects of writing a research paper? Then continue reading as we walk you through acing your research paper! 
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What is a research paper?

A research paper is a tool that institutions use to convey critical information for a particular field of study. These academic papers typically follow the same structured format. 

Research papers are standard in various levels of education, including high school, college, and beyond, so it is essential to have the skills and know-how to write a strong paper. 

How do you structure a research paper?

The typical structure of a research paper is separated into four sections: the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and the works cited or references list. This structure is standard across disciplines, making it a good point of reference for writing your research paper. Let’s break down the components of each section and what you can expect to write in each.

The Introduction

This section is where you will explain to the reader the topic you will be covering in your paper and provide a brief outline of the points they can expect to read about. The introduction section is usually a paragraph at most and tells the reader the importance of your chosen topic.

The Body

Think of the body paragraphs of your research paper as the meat and potatoes of the paper. This is where you will cover your topic’s main points, arguments, facts, and important information. According to a blog post written by Grammarly, your research paper can be anywhere from 4,000-6,000 words. Therefore, most of the paper will be in the body section. 

The Conclusion

The conclusion of your paper is a summary of the topics you covered in your paper and why they are important to your topic. The conclusion reinforces your point to the reader. It should summarize your paper’s topic in an easily understandable way. 

The Works Cited or References List

When writing a research paper, citing your sources is imperative to avoid plagiarism. Your resources will be presented in different ways depending on the style your paper is written in. Many institutions utilize two common research paper formatting styles: American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA).  

How to start a research paper?

The first step in writing any research paper is to conduct detailed research on your topic. To have the ability to write a strong paper on a subject, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of it. Once you have conducted your research to gather sources and are prepared to begin writing your paper, the next helpful step is to create an outline for the topics you plan to cover. This can be as basic as a bulleted list or as in-depth as a first draft. The outline is used solely for the writer’s benefit, so use the method that works best for you. Once you have the plan for your paper, it’s time to start writing! 

After you feel comfortable with your paper’s length, topics, and structure, it is time to proofread and edit your work before submitting it. This step is extremely important because, as the writer, you want to be clear and concise with your work to get your point across in a way that is easy to understand for the reader. 

What tools can you use to write a research paper?

Students at WVJC have access to numerous resources that assist them in writing research papers that will help them learn throughout their education. Housed within the WVJC online resource center, students will find links to Canvas to find your specific login information for EBSCOHost, which is an online library where you can find scholarly articles and more, research paper information, including the Purdue online writing lab, tips for note-taking, and more. This helpful webpage will also include articles about MLA and APA formatting and more helpful resources.

How to apply these skills to your education

Research papers are a great tool that institutions use to ensure students are learning in their designated fields. Conducting research by reading peer-reviewed articles and then relating them to the education experience can help students retain and apply the information to their education. For example, students in the Nursing program at WVJC could be asked to write research papers on topics that directly apply to their degree, such as nursing practices.

Are you interested in furthering your education? Then, contact the admissions team at WVJC by requesting information to get started today!