Writing a Research Paper: Advice for Students

Writing a research paper is not something that a student learns well until he/she do it practically. It is not something that will come to you naturally, although some students are good writers than others. There are some rules of writing a research paper even if you are a good writer you need to know the rules of writing a good research paper.

Research question

Every research paper addresses a primary research question. The research paper will only have information that answers the research question. The research question should be one, there can be some related questions that are not primary in nature. There cannot be two research questions in one research paper. This is because one question will be addressed using one research instrument and other procedures. There need to be two research instruments and two separate procedures to deal with two research questions.

A good research question should have some specificity, originality, and relevance to your subject area. It should add new knowledge to the available knowledge related to that topic. You should always find it interesting so you can remain hooked until the end.

Introduction and review of literature

The structure of the research paper begins with introduction, the introduction aims at explaining the research question in some detail. The introduction also tells about the scope and background of the research question. It can have some basic definitions to explain some already understood concepts about the topic. Introduction should not be too lengthy and should explain only specific details about the research question. The most important purpose of the introduction section is to explain why it is important  to undertake this study. You can provide as many and as few reviews it depends on the length of the research paper.

Materials and methods

This section of your research paper is where you show the readers what is your plan and how you will take on this study. You do not need to go into details of each step that you will take just provide a basic plan to the audience. You need to tell the readers what population is involved in your research. Tell the readers the sampling strategy that you will employ in your research paper. The materials and methods section also tells about the study design and the variables involved in the study. You need to write about the research instrument as well and the method of analysis to get the results. All of this should be presented in a manner like an outline of what, where, how, and when you will conduct each step of your study.

Results and discussions

The results and discussions section is the lengthiest section of your research paper. It tells in detail about the research instrument, data collected, and data analysis. In addition to this, you need to provide other researchers’ findings to support your findings. In the results section all you need to do is provide all the data collected in a tabulated form. You will provide tables that show all the statistical procedures you have applied to your collected data. In the discussions section you will discuss the results and analyze them, here you will provide other researchers’ findings if it supports your findings. The discussion section is the most difficult to deal with as it is less structured.


The conclusions comes out naturally from your discussions section. In the conclusions section do not tempt to go in too much details. The much needed details are already present in the discussions section. The best way to write conclusions section is to use bullets or numbers. It should follow the order that you have used in the discussion section.

Generally speaking, for new researchers there are some tips to write a good research paper.

  1. The first tip is to be specific in every possible way: develop a specific research topic, stay specific to that topic until the end.
  2. Do not get tempted by writing in too much detail, you should know the maximum number of words limit and should stick to it.
  3. Know the order and structure of the research paper and this should be done first thing first if you are writing for the very first time.
  4. Your research paper should have reviews in the review of literature section. The research paper should not become a mere review of other peoples’ work. It should have enough new knowledge that you discovered.
  5. Also cautiously check the spelling and grammar, its better to have some native English speaker proof your research paper.
  6. Each paragraph in your research paper should have a unique theme. Paragraphs following each other should have an order and sequence.
  7. Take notes accurately and while taking notes write down all the information that you will need to provide reference for your note.
  8. Avoid repetition of ideas, repetitions make a research paper monotonous and loses interest.
  9. Cite your sources properly otherwise your research paper will become plagiarized.


  • Perneger, V. T., Writing a Research Article: Advice to Beginners,  International Journal for Quality in Healthcare, https://academic.oup.com/intqhc/article/16/3/191/1814554, Retrieved on 10/29/2018
  • How to Write a Research Paper, https://www.aresearchguide.com/1steps.html, Retrieved on 10/30/2018



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