The key elements to writing a research paper
What is a research paper?
Writing a research project is an exercise that you will face before you finish your degree and there is no single model. Its shape will depend on the nature of the research and set format (number of pages, signs, etc.) In addition, as with any written paper (academic or not) it will depend upon the readership to which the project addresses.
This article aims to give you some tips on the content of a research project, but also hope to convince you of the value of such an exercise, beyond the constitution of only your academic records.
Let us start with why. Writing a research project is not a mere exercise in style. It is an essential component in the process of constructive logic. Apart from the compulsory reasons for doing a research paper, this exercise can be very useful in order to force authors to adopt a reflexive approach.
Rewrite the project’s outcome several times, as research progresses, as you expand, clarify, and often redirect the initial approach — these provide you with the means with which to figure out where the answer lies.
Some essential elements
How we come to the answer to our research paper (if there is no single model) contains a number of elements that are no less inescapable than the research paper topics themselves.
The topic sentence; this seems obvious, but it is a very common oversight. It is used to indicate the subject of a chosen topic. The ideal is to make this title sound as «fluid» as possible. Write it as if it were the next line after your introductory text. It should be drawn from what you feel seems most relevant, such as: a quote, a comment on historiography, or possibly a snippet on the news. In all cases, avoid artificial sounding titles.
Another element may be the definition and justification of the terms used. It is not necessarily (and I would tend to say that initially, it is certainly not) a definitive definition — especially since it is possible that some of the research is just an attempt to define a phenomenon. The purpose of these provisional definitions is twofold: Show that the terms used are not random and you know, at least in part, what you mean; it helps you begin to start thinking about the object of the research. There is no definition that is natural: you choose one common definition, and probably anachronistic, a sociological definition, legal, economic, which corresponds to that of your research. The most important thing is to be aware of those available to you to present and justify your choice.
Statement and justification terminal time is another element. The statement is needed because people need to know when you did you research, as most data is time sensitive. The terminal time justification is usually due to how much time you have to complete the research, as set by your educational institution or your budget.
More essential elements to your research paper
Similar to the last element is your definition and justification of geographic boundaries. In a similar vein, it is necessary to explain and justify the geographical area in which you locate your subject.
A lot of research data is time, place and culture sensitive. For example, the amount of muggings being down in place and culture may not be as significant, if in that culture it is a common for people to carry no possessions on themselves.
Definition and justification of the proposed approach — it is possible that when choosing your topic, you already have an idea of you would adopt: cultural, political, economic, social, intellectual. Approach national, transnational, and global? Comparative history, cross-connected? If you are moving from the outset to a particular approach, it will inevitably affect your working methods and sources that you think to mobilize. Therefore, it is necessary to explain your choice as soon as possible.