I have always hated research papers. Always. Throughout high school I bullshitted my way through every research paper I wrote, rarely ever concluding anything worthwhile or unique. Once I even wrote a 15 page research paper in one day and got an A. That’s either an insane skill or my teacher was just oblivious to how little effort I actually put into the assignment. Either way, research papers were, and still are, the enemy.
But you know what they say: keep your enemies close. So, I guess that means I’ll take a stab at a research paper for this experiment (Ha, get it? Stab the enemy?).
But, in all seriousness, for every high school research paper I wrote, I was missing a crucial component: research. Research for a topic, no matter how simple it is, cannot all be collected and analyzed in a day’s time. When I did this, I undoubtedly compiled a couple of worthwhile sources, but definitely did not find multiple perspectives in order to deduce anything significant. So, after my K-12 education plus my short time at college, I have decided that research is indeed important for a research paper. Who would’ve thought?
Research papers usually have a few more consistencies, regardless of topic, such as:
- An abstract, or a summary of research project
- An introduction, with a clear purpose
- Including a thesis statement, usually at the end of the introduction
- Body paragraphs, with a strong argument, a stronger argument, and a strongest argument, accompanied by in-text citations
- Including a review of the literature and how it supports the claims
- A conclusion and/or discussion, with a summary of the arguments and how they connect to deduce a significant claim
- A call for further research, when there is a need to delve into a topic further
- A bibliography, to cite the sources used
Looking at aspects other than formatting, research papers often have a professional, formal tone in order to appeal to the norms of academic works. Often, they work off of already existing research and are a stepping stone for research in the future.
The following examples, while differing in topics, all include the components of a research paper stated above, and I plan on using these as templates for my own work:
My research paper for experiment two will focus on the effects of heartbreak on mental and physical health. Many people think of a break up as something that you just have to get over, but, coupled with depression and other health effects, it isn’t as easy as it seems. I hope to call attention to this phenomenon as a stressor for health, rather than a simple hiccup in one’s personal life. I hope to build on my diary entries from experiment one which tried to highlight this, but lacked the research to back-up my claims in any significant manner.
And, yes. I promise to put more effort into this research paper than the ones I wrote in high school.