Components of a Successful Research Paper

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Research papers are some of the most challenging papers high school and college students will need to complete during the course of their academic career.

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The paper is usually worth a large percentage of the student’s grade, which is only part of the reason why it is so important to do a good job on this assignment. With the help of the tips in this article, students won’t just do a good job on their research paper, they’ll do a great job!

Reliable Sources

Researching is one of the most important tasks that come with writing a research paper. After all, it’s right in the name! Even though researching is important, students may sometimes find it difficult to find resources that are good enough to use in their paper.

One of the biggest questions students have is, “How do I tell if this is a reliable source?” Teachers often warn students not to use easily editable sites, like Wikipedia, but they can sometimes be vague about what kind of sources are reliable.

Print Sources

It can be tricky to know when online sources are reliable, but students can be certain that most all print sources are safe to use. Magazines, newspapers, textbooks, biographies, and academic journals are all okay to use. It’s not easy to publish papers and books; they go through rigorous editing and vetting before they can be published. Because of this, paper sources are reliable.

Students can use their school’s library to find great print sources to use in their research paper.

Online Sources

Online sources aren’t always reliable. In fact, it’s safe to assume that most online sources aren’t reliable. Just about anyone can post just about anything they want on the Internet. Because of this, it can be difficult to tell whether or not a source is true or not.

Many teachers warn against using Wikipedia, and they’re right in doing so. Wikipedia can be edited by many people, and some of those people might put false or misleading information on those pages. However, Wikipedia often has links on the page. Students can use Wikipedia as a jumping off point, using the site to find reliable sources, rather than using the site as a source.

Even though Wikipedia isn’t always reliable, there are reliable encyclopedias online. One of the best online encyclopedia is the Encyclopedia Britannica. This website is written by professional staff members and has sources listed, so students can be sure the information on the site is okay to use.

Lastly, students should try to look for scholarly sources when they search online. Scholarly sources are written, and often peer-reviewed, by academics. This way, students can be sure they are safe to use. Students can simply google scholarly sources by using Google Scholar, which is free for anyone to use.

Recent Research and Data

Another way for students to make sure that their research paper is worth an A+ is to use recent research data. However, how recent the research should depend on the topic. According to the Southern New Hampshire University, most sources should be less than ten years old.

The ten-year rule is good for most subjects, including business, science, and politics. However, students may want to get more recent research and data if they are writing on a topic that updates regularly. Some topics that may require more recent data and research include medical and technical topics. Just like there are some topics that require more recent data and research, there are also some topics in which the age of the research and data don’t really matter. These subjects mainly include history and English. In many cases, the most recent the historical research, the better.

Stay on Topic

When writing a research paper, it is best to stay on topic whenever possible. While it is okay to put in lines of opinion in essays, it is best to avoid doing this when writing a research paper. As a matter of fact, all customized research papers should be based on fact.

Also, it is best for students to avoid going on tangents in their papers. They should try to stay on topic. If a sentence or paragraph is not necessary to the paper (if it is not needed for a reader to understand other parts of the paper) then it should not be included in the research paper.

Sometimes students may be tempted to add in off-topic statements to make their paper longer, but avoiding doing so will make the paper better.

Cite Sources

It is important to cite sources for all types of papers, and it is especially important to do so for research papers since it is likely that most of the information in the paper is based on research that someone else did. Students need to make sure that they quote when directly copying and pasting something someone else wrote or said.

Students also need to make sure that they cite their sources both internally and in a bibliography. This way students can ensure that they will not get in trouble for plagiarizing.

A great research paper is made by using reliable and recent sources and citing those sources. By using the tips and resources in this article, students are sure to be able to write an excellent research paper.

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Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Vishal Gaikar is a professional blogger from Pune, India. If you like this post, you can follow him on Twitter, also you can add him on Google+.

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