Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Research Paper Writing

Composing a research paper is a task that almost all students of higher school levels or colleges have to complete. Accomplishing it successfully requires good organization, attentiveness to details, and following the rules of writing such papers. Still, there are other questions to which students have to find answers to when writing. Students may formulate them differently but this doesn’t change their essence and answers to them.

Writing a Research Paper: Questions and Answers

Q: What topic should you choose?
A: This question may seem naïve but it is actually incredibly important. It’s much easier to write about something that really interests you rather than trying to figure out what to write on a topic which you are indifferent to. Take your time and find a theme where you could express your own views and ideas. It shouldn’t be too broad, but rather focus on some certain aspect. For example, the topic “Health” is hardly a proper one, whereas the topic “Health challenges today” is much better.

Q: What is a thesis statement?
A: It’s a declaration of what you are going to demonstrate and substantiate with evidence in your study. Don’t write it in the first person, though. Your thesis statement shouldn’t be a known fact, but rather an expression of the main idea of your paper. Try not to make it longer than one sentence, as it may lose its clarity otherwise.

Q: What online resources can I trust?
A: Learn to distinguish trustworthy sources from disreputable ones. Pay attention to the domain name extensions for one thing. These will tell you whether the site is owned by an educational organization, the government, or a commercial organization. Non-commercial websites are often more reliable, whereas personal home pages should leave you wary. Their owners don’t bear any responsibility for what they write and such information is not what you should base your paper on.

Q: Are there any other sources of information besides the Internet?
A: Libraries are at your service. They contain hundreds of books and articles on any topic, but make sure that the information you use is not outdated. Statistics, in particular, loses its relevance after 5 to 10 years. Ask a librarian to show you the most proper materials and references based on the subject of your study. Many libraries have their catalogs in the electronic form so take advantage of it.

Q: Do I need to make an outline?
A: Yes, you do. Making it may seem useless but you will actually be able to save time by having it before your eyes, not to mention the quality of a paper written after creating an outline is in most cases higher. A carefully written outline will make your study well-organized, coherent, and reasonable.

Q: What is a rough draft?
A: This is actually the first version of your paper written freely according to the outline and without paying too much attention to spelling, grammar, structuring sentences, etc. Your main task when writing a rough draft is to say everything you need to say in your study. Try to write as well as you can, but don’t worry about imperfections. You’ll be able to eliminate them when editing and proofreading.

Q: How long should a research paper be?
A: Most tutors require writing between 2500 and 3000 words. One full Word page written in size 12 font usually contains around 500 words. Thus you’ll have to write 5 pages.

Other Questions Students May Ask

There are also other questions without answers to which writing a paper is impossible, but it’s better to ask your instructor these questions. Only he or she knows what formatting style is preferred in your college, or whether you need to include an abstract. Communication with your teacher will ensure that your study meets all the requirements valid in your educational institution.