10 Research Paper Hacks: Tips for Writing a Research Paper

So, have you been recently assigned a research project? Or, even worse, is it already due soon? The following research paper hacks will help you do it in record time.

In the article, you’ll see ten things you can do to conduct a study and compose a piece like a pro. Our experts prepared great tips for writing a research paper so that you won’t have trouble studying. It is not an easy task, but you will hack a research paper.

✔️ Pick a Topic

Choosing the right topic is essential for your research success. It is also the first challenge you will face while writing. The following research paper hacks will allow you to optimize your time and simplify the process. So, how exactly do you do it?

  1. Set a timer not to spend too much time selecting a topic. You can have several brainstorming sessions to come up with the right one. Try to figure out what you are interested in.
  2. Search for a gap in the existing literature. There must be at least a small area left untouched by other researchers. Skim different sources to check what viewpoints already exist. You need to do some general background information examination at this point. The research will also help you to narrow the topic of your study.
  3. Try to choose the right perspective. Make your question as narrow as you can, and focus on one way of developing it. But not too narrow so that you have study materials and credible sources. Discuss the idea and title with one of your professors. They can also give you much-needed feedback.
  4. Use specific examples. No one wants your vague explanations in your research paper. Try to make it clear and practical. Even the most challenging argument can be explained if you use appropriate examples. It all depends on your research and writing skills.
  5. Discuss it with your friends. You can propose an idea to them and see their reaction. They may have helpful thoughts too, especially if you’re studying similar subjects. Sometimes an alternative perspective can shed light on the things you’ve overlooked.

📚 Skim Texts

No time to read all the sources you find. At this point, only abstracts and conclusions are your goal. If you see something that supports your argument, you can dig a bit deeper and read it more carefully.

How to read a text fast? Skim through it! It’s one of the essential research hacks.

Skimming can be defined as reading the text quickly to understand what it’s about.

What to look for while skimming a study.

Pay attention to titles, headings, and subheadings because they tell what the text is about. It is also beneficial if you read the first sentence of each paragraph.

Therefore, to quickly obtain information about the text:

  1. Read the title.
  2. Read the first sentence of the paragraph.
  3. Read the concluding phrases.
  4. Read the words in bold.
  5. Look at the pictures, charts, and infographics.

⛔ Copy Sources

Citing sources can be challenging because it involves keeping a lot of details in mind. However, giving credit to the writers is exceptionally crucial.

Thus our tip for writing a research paper is:

Never hesitate to check the reference pages of the articles you’ve found. The authors have probably done an excellent job for you. Feel free to use some of their sources for your paper (surely, after finding them in full).

If the sources that you need are in a different style or absent at all, you can do the following:

  1. Find a citation generator. Use an automatic tool that will reference you. All you will have to do is fill in the form, and it will generate the citation for your essay or thesis.
  2. Use templates. There is an abundance of templates available online. These templates will help you to put all the information in place.
  3. Check short reference guides. Instead of reading long and detailed explanations about every style, check some short citation guides. Look for the ones that have examples and rules.

📝 Take Notes Early

To write a research paper right, you should start making notes as soon as you choose your topic. Do not procrastinate! Whenever you find an interesting quote or some brilliant idea crosses your mind, put them down.

You can take notes either by hand or electronically. Here are some research paper tips for both of these methods:

  1. Tips for taking notes by hand:
    • Use index cards for each of your sources.
    • Number the sources.
    • Include the citation in the preferred style.
    • Add a keyword on top of the card.
    • Include “Works Cited/References” card.
    • Write down only the essential information.
    • Use charts, diagrams, drawings to simplify the process.
  2. Tips for taking notes electronically:
    • Create a separate file with the sources cited.
    • According to your instructor’s requests, arrange them using the correct style.
    • Group the sources depending on the year, author, area of study, and type.
    • Number sources within the publication.
    • For websites, include their URL.
    • Include keywords to identify the main idea.

🗺️ Make an Outline

Every research paper needs structure. Without an outline, it would be almost impossible to achieve. If you want your writing to have a consistent and logical flow, check these tips on outlining.

No need to reinvent the wheel.

Standard essay structure

Follow the standard structure to save your time and creative energy for other aspects of writing a research paper:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature review
  4. Methodology
  5. Findings
  6. Discussion
  7. Limitations
  8. Conclusion and Recommendations

To create a good outline that will keep information in a logical manner, you should start with your thesis statement. Then, you should indicate the main ideas that support it.

The critical thesis hack here is to include examples in your outline. Your arguments and illustrations should prove what you are trying to argue in your thesis statement. Putting them in your structure will help you avoid repetitiveness and ensure the flow.

💪 Introduce Your Topic

Your introduction is critical. It should be engaging and attention-grabbing to make the reader interested in what your paper is about. It will give the first impression of the text and introduces your thesis statement.

What can be in the introduction?

  • A research question. It is one of the most critical parts of any study. In simple words, it is a question that a research paper tries to answer.
  • A hypothesis. It is a statement that can be proved or disproved. In a way, it can be seen as a guess. Every research paper should have one.
  • A thesis statement. It is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the research paper. It is further developed and demonstrated with the help of examples.

You might be still wondering about what should go into your introduction. Here is the list of steps:

  1. Introduce the topic.
  2. Give some background.
  3. Tell about academic research.
  4. Tell the reader why it is crucial.
  5. Introduce the hypothesis.

📙 Review Your Literature

The next step in your research paper is a literature review. It is an overview of significant works and studies on the topic. It can be anything from a book to an official report.

Here’s what the literature review should include:

  1. A description of the work.
  2. A short summary of the main points of academic research.
  3. A brief analysis of the gaps that you found in the work.
  4. An evaluation of the work from the standpoint of its scientific contribution.

However, writing one can be a challenge. Check our research paper hacks to drafting your literature review:

  • Define the goal. Start with your thesis statement in mind and consider your hypothesis.
  • Do your research. Focus on the most relevant scholars in the field. Choose their most recent works that touch on the same matters as your research.
  • Choose the relevant works. Always try to connect your review to what your research paper is about. Throughout this process, keep asking yourself how it is appropriate.
  • Be logical. Think about your review as a form of conversation. Keep adding newer voices to the discussion. Avoid jumping from one source to another chaotically.
  • Include references. You don’t have to include all the details in your literature review.

The last hack for writing a literature review is:

If you find contradicting views, don’t hesitate to include them. It will only show that you understand the question in its complexity. Do your best to find the gap in the existing literature.

🏁 List Results

The results section of the research paper should include your data and core findings. All of it should be presented logically and coherently. In this section, you will learn how to do it.

See what to include in the results:

  1. Data demonstrated in charts and images.
  2. An analysis of data in written form.
  3. A report on data collection.
  4. Data that adresses research questions.
  5. Secondary data.

And remember:

Give only facts and figures in the “Results” part of your paper.

🙂 Discuss in Detail

The discussion chapter should focus on the paper’s importance and relevance. You can do it by evaluating the results and demonstrating the connection between the literature review.

There are many ways to write this section. However, the chapter’s goal remains the same: to show that the results matter and an opportunity for further scientific research exists.

Now let’s see our research paper tips for the discussion section:

  • It should include an analysis of the results.
    Write about your findings and what was unusual in them. Also, comment on the trends and patterns.
  • You should mention previous research.
    You already spoke about other studies in the literature review. You can go back to the main ideas and see how your work fits in the discussion.
  • Deduction.
    Here you should explain how your results can be applied.
  • Hypothesis.
    This is more of a general conclusion based on the results.

There is another research paper tip:

Make the “Discussion” the most extended section of your project. Feel free to express your thoughts on this part. Include analysis and interpretation into this part.

📰 Format the Paper

To write an excellent research paper, you’ll need to pay proper attention to such a trifle as its format. The easiest way is to find a well-formatted sample using the recommended citation style on a reputable site.

One more quick hack for writing essays and research papers:

Use the features of the text editor and applications to make the formatting process quicker and easier.

So what do you need to format the paper? Here is a short checklist:

  1. Title Page.
    Your title page should include the title of the research, the name, the institution’s name, the header at the top, and the page number. The first three elements are centered. There are a lot of examples available online for you to see how to do it.
  2. Abstract.
    An abstract is a summary of your findings. Not every paper needs an abstract, but only in those where you have a hypothesis. An abstract should also be concise, written in an impersonal style.
  3. Headings.
    Headings help the readers to navigate inside your research. Major themes and topics covered in the paper can be easily identified with their help. The headings are usually centered and written in bold.
  4. In-text Citations.
    In-text citations provide information about the source. There are two fundamental goals: giving credit to the authors and allowing readers to learn more.
  5. References.
    While in-text citations provide brief information about the source, references give a more detailed one. This data helps the reader to follow up and learn more about the cited source.
  6. Font and Margins.
    Check your college style guide to find the font and margins requirement. Sometimes an institution does not give any advice, so try to check with your instructor. Adjusting the font and margins is the last step, but it is essential for your academic success.

Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed our article. What about sharing your secrets on how to write a research paper with the public? We hope to see your comments below.

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