How to write a research paper in your undergraduate years
If you are in your undergraduate years, you have definitely come across research papers. Well-written rigorous pages given to study by your faculty often intrigues the curious minds about how to craft one themselves. Knowing how to write a research paper is an essential skill students should have at their disposal, more so if their degree completion requires the submission of a thesis paper. Even though most of us deal with review articles, we often lack expertise in writing a paper based on original research. Here are some basic tips and insights to keep in mind when crafting your own research paper during your undergraduate years.
The first step is choosing a topic. It is one of the most critical and frustrating parts. While choosing a topic, make sure you do proper research. Connecting with the subject is important. Mashaekh Hassan, an Anthropology major from BRAC University, chose Sylvia Plath, a literature-heavy topic for his research paper, even though the topic did not align with his major. He said, "I highly prefer people having an open mind regarding choosing a topic. It's essential to use research opportunities well and focus on gathering experience.'' An important thing to keep in mind is to be as specific as possible: narrow down your research to a specific field that caters to your undergrad concentration or your interests. Make sure you're not covering something that has already been extensively covered by many similar papers.
Mahima Ishrat, an Economics major from East Delta University, wrote her paper on Blockchain technology, which refers to the process of tracking and recording transactions in business through a digitised ledger. Mahima always found the worlds of technology and business fascinating. She believes that as the business world is becoming increasingly dynamic, it is essential to introduce new technologies that will improve operations and experiences and help gain a competitive edge. According to Mahima, you can write a good paper if you truly believe in the idea.
Curating the thesis statement is an essential part of the paper. The statement summarises what the paper is about. The thesis sets the paper's main idea. Your thesis statement should be able to set expectations for the readers so much so that they go into the paper. Normally, a thesis statement is written at the last line of your introductory paragraph, but this method might differ based on your subject and/or concentration. If you're especially unsure about how to approach your thesis statement, go through existing research papers that cover similar topics and try to see how they approached the topic you're thinking of. Bring in unique points and develop an argument - which should be stated clearly in your thesis statement.
While writing the paper, the most common issue you will face is finding authentic and relevant publications for the paper. Nuzaba Tasannum, an Environmental Science major from Asian University for Women, has worked on two research papers till now. She was confused when she started writing her first research paper. She said, "The main struggle was finding the suitable research papers, recent enough to match with the research area for the literature sections and references of my review paper." Finding the right topic will eventually lead you to a plethora of sources which you can get information from - just be sure to narrow it down so you can conduct more thorough research.
When Mahima worked on her paper regarding blockchain technology, she faced the same issue. The topic was new, so her study area in the hospitality sector and blockchain technology lacked research. She added, ''I searched other domains of the service industry for pertinent data, including the banking business and supply chain sector since they had good research." Remember to cite your sources when you put the material in your paper, or else your research will lack the reliable support it needs to back up your presented argument. Some good places to start looking for research papers are JSTOR and Google Scholar.
Citations play an essential role in adding credibility to the paper. You are also making the information easily accessible for your readers so they can check up on the sources as well. Be absolutely aware of the fact that without proper citation, your paper is counted as a plagiarised work. Citations follow precise formatting rules, with many available citation formats. Two of the most common ones are the APA (American Psychological Association) style referencing - popular in psychology, science, and education - and MLA (Modern Language Association) - used in the field of humanities. There is also the Chicago style that is often used in history, business and fine arts fields. Go with the standard format according to the field that your research project falls in. Be sure to consult a teacher or a senior if you're unsure.
It goes without saying but proofread constantly. The best thing is to let your peers and seniors read your paper and offer you honest suggestions to improve your paper. One major problem that pops up when publishing papers is predatory publishers. They entice students by getting their papers published in exchange for a fee. Maliha Kabir, majoring in Bioinformatics and Biotechnology at Asian University for Women, believes this rarely does any good. She adds, ''If you publish in this kind of journal, all of your hard work and efforts will get invalidated.'' Moreover, a student can never improve their skills as these predatory journals do not publish on a quality basis. "This is why I believe," further states Maliha, "you need to have a review committee who will tell you where you lack and need to improve. People who already have experience in writing and publishing papers will make the best candidate." The importance of a peer-reviewed journal cannot be overlooked, as it adds quality, depth and much-needed clarity to the research and the topic.
You should look for opportunities to work under researchers at your university. There you will gain first-hand experience working on research papers. Moreover, you will learn about various aspects of working on a research paper. All in all, writing a research paper is pretty easy. Just make sure to give time in selecting your topic and be attentive to the topic demanded throughout the paper. Don't fall under the pressure of not being able to finish on time. Keep working until you feel confident about your paper, and your paper will reward you in the process.