By: Salina Pun
The research paper is an excellent tool. It is a mini-classroom intended solely for your benefit. It is an intense learning process focused on a topic you choose. Of course, it is possible that the instructor will assign a specific topic, but typically topic choice is left up to the writer and is even sometimes regarded as a test of the writer’s judgment. The student who chooses a vast topic, such as wars throughout the ages, has taken on too big a job. On the other hand, the student who chooses to write on the history of the tire iron is proposing a topic that is too small. Writing a research paper also has practical effects that could help you in later life.
Research comes from the Middle French word rechercher, meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.
One obvious reason for the research paper is that writing it forces you to learn lots about your chosen subject. Sifting through the pros and cons of opinions on any subject is a priceless learning experience. Another reason is that writing the paper teaches you the conventions of scholarly writing, among them the accepted styles of documentation and the ethics of research.
1d Anthony in his book Writing the Research Paper says:
You will become familiar with the library through the “learning by doing” method. Even the simplest library is an intricate storehouse of information, bristling with indexes, encyclopaedias, and abstracts. How to seek out from this maze of sources a single piece of information is a skill you learn by actual doing. Writing a research paper may also mean interviewing experts about your subject and blending their ideas with your own distinct point of view. (5)
In short, you, like everyone else, can profit from knowing how to do research. There are other benefits as well. Writing the research paper is an exercise in logic, imagination, and common sense. As you chip away at the mass of data and information available on your chosen topic, you learn How to track down information, how to organize, how to use the Internet in your research, how to discriminate between useless and useful opinions, how to summarize, how to budget your time, how to conceive of and manage a research project from start to finish. Papers assigned in colleges are one of two kinds: the report paper or the thesis paper. The report paper summarizes and reports your findings on a particular subject. You neither judge nor evaluate the findings; you simply relate them in a logical sequence. For instance, a paper that describes the opinions of experts in the debate over global warming is a report paper. Likewise a paper that chronologically narrates the final days of Hitler is a report paper.
Probably no single step is as important to the whole process of writing a research paper as the choice of a topic. You’re like a traveller who is choosing where to go. If it’s someplace you like, you’ll enjoy getting there. If it turns out to be a place you don’t like, getting there will make you miserable. Ideally you should choose a topic that interests you, that is complex enough to need several research sources, and that will not bore—or talk down to—your reader.
Research paper writing is an academic work. It requires the skills of organizing data, using classification and displays identifying and implementing key aspects of academic text structures and using the internet materials properly. Classification is an important element in academic writing because it can be applied from intermediate to very advanced levels. Classification is a central concern of many disciplines in the hard natural sciences, and in social sciences including language studies as well.
Hira Lal Subedi in his book Academic Writing says:
Research papers needs exploring the internet and other resources. The internet is completely useful for writing an academic text because it lets the writer enter into a virtual community in which all kinds of information and help are available. We need to navigate the internet in order to discover the information we intend to find. When we use the internet information, we need to give credit to the electronic resources in in-text citations and references. In order to write an academic text we need to use the printed resources along with the internet. We should not forget that libraries are still wonderful resources. We can make use of traditional as well as e-libraries which we feel easy to use and rich in the information we need. (69)
Life would be simpler for the researcher if there were one universal format applicable to all disciplines. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Every research paper must therefore conform to a specific format, like the one invented by the Modern Language
Association (MLA), a society of language scholars; or the American Psychological Association (APA), a society of scientific scholars; or the Chicago Manual of Style
(CMS), created by a board of editors. The format governs the entire paper, from the placement of the title, to the width of the margins, to the notation used in acknowledging material from other sources. This sort of standardization makes it easier to write a scholarly paper as well as to read one. Part of your baptism of scholarship is to become familiar with the major citation styles used by different disciplines—most of which are covered in this book. Your instructor no doubt will tell you what documentation style to use. Once you know that, you can concentrate on mastering that style and ignore the others.
In conclusion, writing research paper needs good determination and attention toward subject matter. Everybody can’t get involved in this job. Every research paper must therefore conform to a specific format. Research papers needs exploring the internet which is completely useful for writing an academic text because it lets the writer enter into a virtual community in which all kinds of information and help are available. When we use the internet information, we need to give credit to the electronic resources in in-text citations and references. Research paper writing is an academic work. Organizing data, using classification and displays identifying and implementing key aspects of academic text structures and using the internet materials should be used properly. Research paper requires good information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others to support the main ideas of the paper.
Kumar, R. Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Delhi: Pearson
Subedi, H. L. Academic Writing. Kathmandu: Pradhan Book House. 2012.
Winkler, Anthony. C. Writing the Research Paper. Boston: Wadsworth. 2008.