Last updated on: Jan 15, 2024
By: John K.
13 min read
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Jan 9, 2024
When it comes to writing a research paper, starting is always the hardest part.
Research papers require weeks, or even months, to complete. It involves conducting original research, analyzing the data, and presenting the results and arguments in a rigorous way.
However, before you can dive into all that, you need to have a strong head start - and that’s the real challenge! Overcoming this challenge can be very rewarding in the long run: starting your paper effectively can make the subsequent steps smoother and easier.
So, what’s the best approach for starting your research paper?
In this blog, you’ll get 7 steps to help you start writing your research paper. By following these steps and tips, you will not only start your paper easily but will also stay motivated to finish it too!
So let’s get in!
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When writing a research paper, you must have a list of potential journals you want to publish.
It’s important to acquaint yourself with the popular journals in your field. You should learn about their standards and guidelines for writers. Journals have unique guidelines regarding formatting, citation styles, word count, and even the structure of the paper.
Knowing the specific requirements of your target journal will help you tailor your research paper accordingly from the start. This increases the chances of your paper getting published.
Here are some tips:
Before selecting a journal, immerse yourself in the publications of your field. Check out several significant journals in your field, and get familiar with the writing style and the types of research they typically feature.
You should also consider their submission and writing guidelines for researchers.
Once you’re acquainted with several journals, pick one with the guidelines that you find most relevant and suitable for yourself. Following your target journal will ensure that your writing style remains consistent when you start writing.
Explore recently published papers in your chosen target journal. Take note of their structural elements, writing tone, and the level of detail provided.
This firsthand experience provides a better understanding of the journal's editorial preferences, helping you tailor your paper accordingly. It will also help you enhance the relevance of your research within the scholarly discourse.
Finally, look into the readership and impact factor of the journal. Understanding your audience allows you to tailor your language and approach, making your research more accessible and engaging.
Moreover, evaluating the impact factor provides insights into the journal's influence within the academic community. With this information, you can gauge the potential reach and significance of your work.
Choosing a research topic is the first step that determines the whole direction of your research. A compelling and relevant topic is not only essential for impactful research, but it will also make the research process even more engaging for you.
Here's what you need to do at this stage:
First of all, you should understand the limitations of your potential topics. This helps in narrowing down the scope from the outset, helping you focus on what’s actually important.
Here are some considerations you should keep in mind:
Brainstorming is the process of focused thinking and making creative connections in your mind. With this process, you let a topic emerge based on your knowledge and creativity.
Here are some techniques you can use to make it effective:
Once you’ve decided on a topic, the next step for starting your research paper is to find and study the resources. Get all the knowledge and information you need to polish your ideas.
However, this step has to be taken in an organized way to make the most out of it.
Follow these tips to make your search quick and fruitful:
For instance, imagine your research is about sustainable energy solutions; keywords like "renewable energy," "environmentally-friendly technology," or "clean energy" could be integral to a successful search.
After you’ve gathered the material, you need to study it to deepen your understanding. This process is called the literature review.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
Unlike essays, research papers don’t contain a thesis statement. Instead, every research is driven by research questions or a hypothesis.
The research questions define the central problem that your research seeks to solve. Meanwhile, the hypothesis presents a tentative explanation of a problem that needs to be tested. Depending on the type of research, you need to craft either research questions or hypotheses for your research.
For instance, experimental research requires a hypothesis, while exploratory research works best with research questions.
You have to write research questions if your research is exploratory or descriptive. That is if it doesn’t involve controlled experiments. Here’s what to keep in mind for crafting better research questions:
Here are the examples of good research questions:
A hypothesis is a tentative explanation of a problem that you want to investigate in your research.
It should be clear, specific, and measurable, and it should be based on existing knowledge and evidence. Here are some tips for writing a good hypothesis for your research paper:
Here are a few examples of good hypotheses:
The title of your research paper should summarize the main idea and purpose of your research paper in a few words. Moreover, along with accuracy, a good research paper title should also catch the reader's attention.
Here are some tips and examples that will help you craft a suitable title for your research paper.
For example, some possible keywords for your paper on meditation and nurses are: "mindfulness", "empathy", "patient satisfaction", and "nursing performance".
These are examples of some good and bad research titles to help you understand:
Weak Research Paper Titles
Example 1: How Music Affects Our Emotions and Cognition: A Study on Different Types of Music and Their Effects
Why it's bad: This title is too wordy; it uses synonyms or related terms (emotions, cognition, effects) that do not add any clarity to the title. It also does not specify what types of music or effects are being studied. Plus, the title doesn’t say what type of “study” it is.
Example 2: Vitamin D and COVID-19: A Study on the Possible Link and Implications
Why it's bad: This title is too general, ambiguous, and weak. It does not indicate the type of study, the direction or nature of the link, or the implications of the findings
Good Research Paper Titles
Example 1: How Social Media Influences Political Participation: A Survey of Young Voters in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Election
Why it's good: This title is clear, specific, and relevant. It indicates the main topic (how social media influences political participation), the population (young voters), and the context (the 2023 U.S. presidential election). It also states the research method (a survey) and the key terms.
Example 2: The Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reef Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: A Meta-Analysis
Why it's good: This title is concise, informative, and descriptive. It summarizes the main variables (climate change, coral reef biodiversity, and ecosystem services), the direction of the relationship (effects), and the study design (a meta-analysis).
Once your title is set, you can move on to creating an outline. An outline sets out a structure for your research paper.
It helps you organize your ideas, structure your arguments, and identify the main points and subpoints of your paper. Moreover, it’s also important to keep track of your sources. Creating an outline before you start writing can save you time and make your writing process easier and more efficient.
Here are some steps to create an outline for your paper:
After deciding on a topic and doing some research, you’re now ready to begin writing. The first thing you need is to write the introduction.
The research paper introduction provides background information and states your research objectives. A well-written introduction will capture the reader's attention, interest, and curiosity and motivate them to read the rest of your paper.
Here is an example of a good introduction, along with tips on how you can write yours:
Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth, supporting more than 25% of marine life and providing valuable services to humans, such as food, tourism, coastal protection, and biotechnology.
Here’s an example of a research paper introduction that includes all these elements effectively:
? Now that you’ve started writing, there’s no stopping you! Once you finish your introduction, you’ve already succeeded in starting your research paper effectively. ?
To wrap up,
With this step-by-step guide and tips on how to start a research paper, you are well-prepared to get started! All you have to do is follow these steps, be consistent, and keep on going.
Still can’t start? Try reaching out for expert help at MyPerfectPaper.net!
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John K. is a professional writer and author with many publications to his name. He has a Ph.D. in the field of management sciences, making him an expert on the subject matter. John is highly sought after for his insights and knowledge, and he regularly delivers keynote speeches and conducts workshops on various topics related to writing and publishing. He is also a regular contributor to various online publications.
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