STEPS TO WRITING GREAT RESEARCH ARTICLES
When it comes to writing quality research articles, the most difficult and challenging part of the task is getting it started. Writing a research article is a challenge for most people. Among the majority of scholars and intending researchers, very few people can easily churn out an excellent masterpiece when it comes to research writing.
Contained in this article, are a list of crucial steps that will aid prospective researchers in the process of research writing. If you properly follow these simple guidelines, you stand a great chance of alleviating the stress involved in the research writing process You can also develop your own steps or procedures as you grow and progress in your writing career. The steps contained here are designed to give you a good start on your research writing journey.
Understand the task and set a Schedule
One of the greatest challenges encountered in the process of writing a research paper is the lack of proper understanding of the topic or issue of research. To this effect, before doing anything else, ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is expected of the article or paper. Brood over the assignment several times and familiarize yourself with terms that form the basis of the article. Throughout the writing process, do your best keep those terms in mind so that you are always aware of your task.
Make sure that you are well equipped with answers to the following questions. Some specific details to be considered include. The length and volume of the article i.e. How long the paper has to be e.g. pages, number of words, the type of citation style preferred in the article, types of sources that are allowed e.g. websites, books and articles, other formatting details such as line-spacing, footnotes, subtitles and heading. Also, set a schedule and ascertain how long it will take you to complete each task.
Find a Topic and Question
Once you have figured out what the research is about, the next step is to choose a specific topic or question to research. Some factors to put into consideration when choosing a topic are:
Appropriateness: Is the topic appropriate? At this point, you might want to have a professor or an authority in that field approve it.
Focus: Try to narrow the focus of your paper which also involves making it as specific as possible.
Relevance: It is important that you choose a topic that not only interests you but will also be relevant and interesting to the reader.
Purpose: Your writeup needs to have a purpose therefore, you might want to choose a question that your paper will answer. That way, while researching, you will be looking for something specific which will become your thesis statement when have found the answer to the question. A good example is a research topic – Gender equality in the workforce. Question – Are women paid less than men for completing the same amount of work? Thesis – Women are paid less than men in certain jobs.
Begin the Research
After successfully defining your topic, it is time to source for relevant materials online or offline. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you. After you have decided the direction you want to take with regards to the paper, it will now be time to begin researching the topic. After you have begun researching, you might find information that might make you want to change your focus. In such a situation, it is okay to change your question, but ensure your paper answers the new question and not the old one. While researching, do well to keep the following tips in mind.
Ensure that you make use of a wide variety of sources (Internet, books, journals, video, interviews, etc. Allocate enough time for research. Keep records and copies of all of the information obtained. Get all of the bibliographical information while researching so as to avoid going back in search for them. Also, ensure that you make a note of where you got certain information in case you have to retrieve it later.
Try to put information in your own words. Paraphrasing the information in your own words is helpful while taking notes to avoid plagiarism. In a situation where you do take quotes directly from the source, ensure that you take note of it. It is also important to make notes about specific conclusions drawn from the material. Background information is always necessary, therefore, look for specific details that support your thesis or question.
Construct an Outline
After collecting all of the material for research, it will be helpful to organize your thoughts with an outline. Constructing an outline requires grouping your notes together and matching the information that fits together. Ensure that each paragraph contains approximately the same amount of information. Depending upon how organized your outline is, the content of writeup should come directly from the information in your outline.
Write an initial Draft
After properly organizing your research material, the next step will involve writing the first draft. Bear in mind that you will write several drafts, so do not put yourself under excessive pressure to make the first one perfect. It is important to bear in mind that while writing a draft, it is necessary to do so in your own voice. Add your own conclusions and thoughts.
Remember to cite your sources, even in a draft. Keep your information as organized as possible is of utmost importance because will help the reader get the knowledge you are trying to pass across seamlessly. Once you have written a draft, proof-read it or have a friend review it.
Write a Final Draft
After reviewing your initial drafts, you can now compose a final draft. The final draft should be free of errors, having a clear structure and organization, as well as a correct format. Ensure that the following elements are in place before finalizing your writeup.
The title of your paper or article and your name. Any formatting necessary such as citations, footnotes, and page numbers. Also, ensure that the bibliographical information for each of your reference sources is well listed on a separate section.
Note: The information provided herein serves as a guide to aid beginners in the field of research. It does not contain all the answers to all of your questions pertaining to research writing.