How to Start a Research Paper
Does writing a research paper make you anxious? Perhaps you have ever written one or more research papers but the struggle of doing so cannot be downplayed.
Well, no need to be afraid; many people feel the same way. Luckily, this article will give you insight on how to start an excellent research paper. Relax and continue reading.
What does a Research Paper Mean?
A research paper is an academic writing based on the author’s original research about a specific topic. The author’s analysis, interpretation, and research findings are used. A research paper can either be:
- A term paper
- A thesis in masters
- A doctoral dissertation
Before writing an excellent research paper, you first have to believe that you can do it and embrace a positive attitude. You must be like an athlete aiming for the Olympic gold medal.
With this perspective, you are guaranteed to start writing a piece that will score an A+ paper. A research paper consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion; and the way you start each of these parts is critical.
How to Start a Research Paper Introduction
Many writings regard introduction as the beginning. However, it is not the case with a research paper’s introduction because the crucial part enables the readers to know the topic and its scope.
However, many students be confused when it comes to starting a research paper intro and eventually fail to state the paper’s purpose and aims.
To help you with starting an excellent introduction of your research paper, use the following structure and rules:
Choose your Topic
Topic selection is important in any research paper. The process involves sifting through various main topics that fall within your area of study. You must emphasize on solving a particular issue in your research paper; avoid excessively researched topics as well.
Start by Introducing Your Topic
The topic is the basis of your writing and reflects variety of aspects despite the angle you take.
Therefore, it is advisable to begin by outlining the argument. How to write an introduction for a research paper is associated with no secret. You only need to state the topic and the issues that bother you as they intrigue the reader.
There is a way of writing the introductory paragraph, but many writers are not aware. If you are wondering how to start an introduction paragraph for a research paper, you must begin with the general information.
Then, narrow down to particular aspects. The beginning should not be profound, explain only your views regarding the topic.
In case you use difficult expressions in the middle of the essay, they should be clear, and all readers should be in a position to connect with your topic.
Here is an example: If you want to write about “Religion,” focus on its limited aspect by narrowing down to for example “World Religion” then “Christianity.”
Before embarking on researching on your topic, acquire an approval from your teacher or supervisor. Choose an item that you can manage. Avoid specialized, technical, and learned subjects. Besides, avoid topics with shallow materials and go for alternatives.
Review the Literature
To develop your research paper’s central body statement, you will require literature sources for reference. Your idea may be subjective, but with backup from citations from various famous scientists, philosophers, or authors, you have to prove your point.
Current scholars are concerned about your opinions; do not neglect them. Always use a plagiarism checker available online to ensure your paper’s originality. Your introduction should briefly state what your literature would address as well.
You can get background information from:
- Useful URLs
- Online Encyclopedias
- Online general information
Domain name extensions like .gov or .edu are crucial in presenting reliable institutions. For the .com (commercial) websites, be very selective as some may contain advertisements only. You can evaluate the many homepages available online to determine a credible source.
Stress on Rationale
Your research paper’s beginning should portray a rationale. After stating the topic, you need to prove its relevancy by giving your readers some food for thought. The rationale indicates:
- Your essay’s importance
- Your attitude on the issue
Ensure that your rationale is precise and laconic. By doing so, the reader gets the importance of your research.
Mention Your Thesis
You should conclude your introduction with a thesis statement, which shifts to the research part. With this sentence, you get to support everything that you have written by presenting all your ideas in a concise and logical saying.
Ensure that your thesis statement is comprehensive with the topic, especially if complicated. The thesis should be what runs through the entire research paper. The thesis, therefore, sets the entire essay’s tone if stated in the introduction.
Here is what your thesis should consist of:
- The topic’s general information
- Precise and engaging
- Reflect the importance of the raised issue
When the above is ready, you can go ahead and make your essay’s outline structure
Conclude with an Outline
The outline of your research paper’s structure is essential. Although not all pieces at the introduction part require a structured overview, you asked for emphasis on their future research aspects.
The outline entails a short paragraph; it does not involve a detailed depiction of all your work. The 3-4 sentences paragraph represents your paper’s plan. For insight, search for a research paper introduction example
Five Ways You Can Start a Research Paper’s Introduction
Do you always struggle to write the first sentence of your paper? If so, then you understand the significance of an introductory paragraph. A slight mess will leave your readers yawning, sometimes even after reading the first sentence.
For great introductions, you must be able to create a secure connection between your audiences’ interest or experience with your research and conclusions.
The following ways of starting an introduction of your essay will ensure that you write an excellent research paper that grabs your readers’ attention
- Defining Unfamiliar Terms
For those specialized topics or unfamiliar terms, start by defining the phrase or word. However, if the definition is meaningless to the topic, do not do it.
Avoid using dictionary definitions of common words as they shallow or cliché. Your definition should focus on the paper’s thesis.
- Quotation or Anecdote Addition
A reliable and memorable story or quotation from renowned persons or works triggers the reader’s trust and connection. Look for something engaging and focused on your research paper’s thesis.
Try drawing from a legend or myth that supports your answer or opinion. Use a dictionary of quotations to get relevant quotations to use.
III. Contrast Creation
The best way to grasp your topic’s scope is by staring with that part that you are in disagreement. For instance, after stating a theory, transit with words like “but” or “however” to illustrate your contrasting conclusions. It is a perfect strategy to use in argumentative essays.
- Follow the Funnel Method
Just like the appearance of a natural funnel, start your research paper broadly and progressively narrow it down with a thesis statement. It naturally connects your topic and research with your readers’ familiarity.
If your subject consists of many components, you have to start with one element in the first sentence and narrow down by adding another or other components in the subsequent sentences.
- Foreshadowing the Conclusion
Sometimes, advance conclusion stating may give the reader an understanding of what to look for while reading the paper. However, the reader will not necessarily know about the methods, research, and context used in explaining your paper.
You should frame the conclusion to portray a simplified hint on where you head. Avoid technical or detailed statement.
In the end, your conclusion should bear comprehensive information about your stand and decision and should concur with your initial hint as given in the thesis statement.
Starting a Conclusion for Your Research Paper
The conclusion part comes in as the last part of your essay. Since the conclusion should summarize the entire paper and explain in details its main purpose makes it tricky and sometimes a hard nut to crack. An end should never sound too dry.
Depending on your paper’s agenda, you can choose what approach to use. Here are steps on how to start a conclusion in a research paper:
- Step 1: Restating Your Topic
Start your conclusion paragraph by briefly restating your topic. Explain why your subject is essential. This part of your conclusion must be clear and concise. Remember that you already explained the significance of your arguments in the paper’s body.
Therefore, supporting your ideas will not be necessary, even with new arguments. The restated topic should never be longer than one sentence.
- Step 2: Restating Your Thesis Statement
After re-stating your research paper’s topic, you now proceed and reaffirm the thesis statement.
Ensure that the meaning remains the same as illustrated earlier in the introduction, but the wording should be different. Narrow and focus your thesis statement on your topic
- Step 3: Summary of Your Research Paper’s Main Points
In this step, you have to remind your audience of the critical points. Try rereading your paper’s body first and focus on the crucial facts and arguments.
Then summarize your key points but take caution not to repeat them precisely as illustrated in the body.
Use different wordings that means the same. At this stage, supporting the statement is not necessary. You only need to provide a short overview of the main points. The conclusion should not include any additional or new details.
- Step 4: Discuss the Importance of Your Points
Though discussing your points’ significance may not be necessary for some papers, a particular section of the conclusion paragraph outlines the paper’s important points. If you have already done it within the essay’s body, you may skip this part.
Consider explaining your major points in the body as the conclusion’s objective summarizes everything written. The conclusion also draws the reader’s attention to the topic discussed.
- Discuss Your Topic’s Future
Lastly, address your argument and research’s future perspective. You can do so by either calling to action or making a suggestion.
In the introduction, this part is not necessary. For instance, if you want to write a literary research paper. Such cases do not usually have a call to action.
However, if you seek to address critical social issues, your thoughts will be crucial in the conclusion paragraph.
How to Make an Effective Conclusion
1) Basic Synthesis
As discussed, the conclusion must entail the paper’s summary. Avoid re-writing the main points as it makes a banal conclusion. Everything stated in the document must have a basic synthesis. Your thesis statement and the topic must connect logically to avoid confusion.
2) Link All Things
A linked introduction and conclusion of a research paper makes a perfect structure. Here is how you connect them:
- Ask a question in the introduction part and restate it in conclusion. Then give a clear answer
- In the introduction, write an anecdote or a story but do not illustrate the ending. Tell the end in the conclusion
- Use the same concepts and images in both parts
3) Use Logic
Though your paper may have many points, including the opposite ones, ensure to give a single and clear conclusion about the issue.
Explain your calls to action; inform your readers why you consider your call to action is most effective. Even in cases where you do not give your call to action, it is advisable to provide recommendations.
If you follow the points to the latter, you will have an excellent start in writing a research paper. Before submission, proofread your work.
Use grammar checkers or a dictionary to correct any spelling mistakes. You can face severe penalties for presenting another person’s idea. Always run your work through a plagiarism checker.
If you must use another person’s opinion, acknowledge using his/her work. Your paper is now ready, go ahead and submit it before the deadline.