Mechanics of Writing a Winning Academic Paper
December 18, 2019
Are you staring at a blank page and wondering how you will write your research paper? Research papers are types of academic writing that can be complex and time-consuming. But what is more important is that they make up the bulk of college assignments. This is the reason why you need to learn the art of academic paper writing.
If you are unsure of where to start writing your paper, this is why we created this guide. We are going to tell you the main steps for writing a great academic paper. We will also tell you about the best academic papers format.
What is an Academic Paper?
Before we dive deeper into this guide, let us first understand what the term “academic paper means.” This is a form of academic writing where a student is required to persuade the reader about an idea or solution to a problem. The student has to construct an informed argument and support it with evidence from resources such as journals and books.
Note that the paper is not merely about picking and pasting evidence. Instead, it involves developing answers to problems through critical thinking and informed reflection. This is why you also have to highlight counterarguments, if they exist, and showcase why your line of thought is better. Consider reading a great academic paper example to get a clearer picture of how it is done.
How to Write Academic Papers
When you are asked to write an academic paper, it can be a serious challenge because it involves a lot of work. From extensive reading to reviewing scholarly literature, you have to get it right. Here are the main steps that you should follow when writing an academic paper.
- Step One: Select a Topic
Although there are times when your tutor might assign specific topics, many are the times that you will be required to pick the title for your academic paper. To make your paper easy to work on, it is important to look for the topic that interests you. This means that you will not get bored midway.
Once you pick an area of interest, narrow down to make the paper more specific.
For example, if you have selected a topic such as “Global Warming,” consider going a step down to something such as “the causes of global warming” or “the impacts of global warming.” A narrower topic will help you to avoid appearing general and boring to the reader.
- Step Two: Pen Your Thesis
In any academic research paper, the thesis is perhaps the most important. This is your overall stand about the topic you are writing on. The thesis will be reflected in every part of the essay. The thesis should be narrow and debatable because the claims you will outline should be supported with evidence.
Here is an example of a thesis statement.
“The problem of overweight has persisted because of poor counter-programs.”
- Step Three: Comprehensively Research Your Topic
Once you have put down a thesis, it is time to start exploring different materials to build your main points. As you research, make sure to note the main points, supporting materials, data, research, and quotes, among other info. Remember also to check how to cite an academic paper using the recommended method.
- Step Four: Create Your Academic Paper Outline
Once you have gathered all the points to discuss in the research paper, the next step is crafting a paper outline. This is what you will use to organize the academic paper from the beginning to the end. The common academic paper format recommended for most academic writing is:
- The body.
If the academic paper is long, you might need to breakdown the body into more distinct sections such as methodology, findings, and discussion before writing the conclusion.
- Step Five: Write Your Draft
Armed with the paper structure and the main points, you are now ready to start putting down the main points. But before you can work on the final paper, it is important to start with a draft. Put all the focus on crafting the draft and later improve it to make the final copy. It is referred to as the draft because you can add points, more evidence, and even rework on some sentences to make it sparkle.
A Deeper Look at a Great Academic Paper Structure
When writing an academic paper, the structure is one of the most important things. Here we will go deeper into the mechanics of the academic paper structure.
Earlier on, we highlighted how to pick a topic. Make it interesting and include the keywords for the essay
Your introduction should be an attention grabber that makes readers want to get more. Therefore you should open it with a hook sentence. This could be something like a provocative question, a quote, or an anecdote. Then, highlight your argument broadly and immediately capture a brief background. At the end of the introduction, you should give your thesis.
Once you are done with the introduction, it is time to get down to the main points in the body. The body should be divided into paragraphs, with each exploring one main point. So how do you write these paragraphs?
Every paragraph should start with a topic sentence. This is a sentence highlighting the main point and expressing your idea. Then, the remaining part of the paragraph should be used to support the topic sentence. In the second sentence, draw some facts and statistics to support the main argument. Remember to make all supporting facts as logical as possible. Then, explain these details so that the reader can understand your argument. When writing the body paragraphs, make sure that the ideas interweave to the paper thesis.
At the end of every sentence, use one sentence to sum what you have discussed. This should also help the reader to transition from one point to another easily.
NOTE: The paragraphs should not be too long. Most people lose focus when reading huge blocks of texts. If you find that the paragraph is getting long, break it down into two separate paragraphs.
The conclusion is the last part of your academic paper. It is used to do two things:
- Summarizing the paper’s argument: In most of the cases, you are expected only to summarize the main points. First, you should restate the main thesis statement and summarize the main points using different words. Make sure to avoid appearing repetitive.
- Explain the significance of your argument: You should also use the conclusion to highlight the significance of the arguments brought out in the academic paper. Although you should work on the conclusion without introducing new points, you are at liberty to highlight any gaps noted in the literature. You could even call for further studies.
- The reference list
Although the conclusion is the last part of your academic paper, you will still need another section referred to as the reference list. This is a list of all resources, such as books and journals that you used to prepare the paper. Remember to follow the recommended academic paper formatting, such as APA guidelines or MLA guidelines when formatting the reference list.
How to Make Your Research Paper Perfect
Once you have written the first draft of your academic paper, you need to take the next step of perfecting it to increase the chances of getting better marks. So how do you do this?
You should focus on making key changes by checking the arguments’ logic, transition, flow, and structure. Carefully revisit every idea to ensure it is well developed and presented in the body of the paper. If you find some of the ideas are not presented well, go ahead and add some info to support them.
Finally, you need to edit the paper following the guidelines of your teacher or department. When editing the paper, you should also check for incomplete sentences, spelling mistakes, comma uses, confusing words, and dangling modifiers. Does this sound too much? If the answer is “yes,” you should consider using college writing help.
Writing assistance is offered by professionals in different areas of specialization. Besides, they understand the best academic paper formatting and guarantee you of the highest marks. Therefore, whether you do not have the right skills for writing academic papers or the deadline is tight, the solution is seeking help from experts. Do not get content with poor grades; go for professional assistance to rake the highest marks.
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