Writing research papers are never easy, Period! There are no two ways about it. You will never see the students were delighted at the thought of having to write a research paper. It is a daunting task. Throughout the college life, the students are asked by their professors to write research papers.  The students are constantly put to test and evaluation.

As you write a few research papers, you can get used to the strenuous process, but even after having written many research papers, you might not be sure as to what needs to be done to make it a good one. And if you are writing one for the first time, it can seem to be the most difficult task in the world.

One of the biggest problems with writing a research paper is that there is no stipulated format or way for you to make it a good one. You need to think about yourself and work according to the best of your ability. Many students fail to impress the examiner with their research paper even after having written quite a few of them. These students are left wondering as to what are the elements that make a research paper of the best quality or at least a good one.

Well, to help you with the next research paper, here are a few of these elements:

1. A good topic

If the college or the professor has assigned you the topic to develop your research paper on, then this point is useless for you. But if you are in a position to select the topic yourself, then you would want to read this.

A good topic is one of the most important elements that make the best quality research papers. Also, choosing a good topic is one of the first steps that you take towards writing the research paper. There are some questions that you need to ask yourself before finalizing a topic. You need to ask yourself whether or not there is enough research material available on the topic that you are selecting. The topic should be a unique one so that you have the room to write your opinions without having to compromise on including the already available information and facts. If there are no restrictions, you can go for a topic that you think you will enjoy writing on. It would make it easier for you to prepare the research paper.

2. Properly researched information and facts

This goes without saying. You cannot expect a good research paper without researching properly and extensively. It is imperative that the information and facts that you put in your research paper are absolutely correct. Nothing looks worse on a research paper than some false facts. No matter how hard you work for the paper, if the professor sees some false facts in the paper, he is going to think that the author is nothing but lazy and careless. Therefore, to make your research paper of the best quality, you need to make sure that the smallest of fact you include in your research is correct and that you can show some proof or the basis of the fact if required.

To make sure that you select only true facts, you can try going a bit slow with the research and examine the smallest of facts. After all, once you have selected the topic, the next step is to research and collect as much information as you can. So, make sure that you put in some handsome time and research properly.

3. A good structure and an outline

This is an element that you need to be very careful of. Because no matter how good your research material is… no matter how much information you have collected to put in the research paper if the structure and the outline of your essay are not good, it all goes to waste.

Your research paper should have a proper structure. Having a proper structure does not necessarily mean that you classify every part of the essay by giving it a name. But it surely means that when you write a paragraph, you maintain uniformity throughout. You cannot write something that is supposed to be written in the conclusion, in the main body of the text. All that it will do for you is make sure that the examiner or whoever reads it fails to understand your point.

Therefore, it always helps to prepare a draft first and then read it to find out any mistakes that you have committed with the structure and outline. You can try consulting somebody. An outside eye is more likely to identify the real problems. Since you would have written the article, you will understand it and thus, you won’t be able to identify the problems.

4. The research paper should have a purpose

Many students do not even understand that the research paper they are writing is bound to serve a purpose. If you are one of such students, you need to learn. Before beginning to write the paper, you need to think about the goal of the paper. You need to ask yourself whether you are writing the paper to put forward some arguments or you are writing the research paper to answer a question. You need to ask yourself whether you are writing the paper to raise a few questions or you are writing the paper to put forward some findings or you are simply writing an analytic research paper.

The reason you need to do is that the format and the style of the paper will solely depend on the purpose that you need it to serve. For instance, if you write an argumentative research paper, you need to take a topic and present your point of view. You need to argue with that view. At the same time, you need to make sure that the argument is logical and feasible. On the other hand, if you write an analytic research paper, you need to present your ideas and then convince the audience that the ideas have some merit.

5. A good thesis statement

The thesis is a short statement that you are supposed to write at the very beginning of your research paper. This statement, at the beginning of the paper, states the goal or the argument of the paper. Once the thesis statement has been developed and written in the paper, the entire paper is bound to revolve around it. Therefore, the statement should be such that just by reading it once, the reader or the examiner understand the goal or the subject of the paper.

A good thesis statement is an essential element of a good research paper. All the paragraphs and the information of the research paper are to be developed in sync with the thesis statement. Therefore, it is necessary that you develop this statement properly and clearly. Some people try to change the thesis statement when they prepare the final draft. It is actually a reverse process in which the thesis stamen is changed according to the paper, but it is wrong. Therefore, you should try to develop the final thesis statement in the first attempt only.

6. A good argument

Well, this goes without saying. By good argument, it does not mean that your essay should necessarily be an argumentative one. The argument here means the topic or the message or the overall essence of your research paper. You cannot afford to write a paper that has no clear argument. Ask yourself what the paper is really about and what is the paper trying to prove or show. When someone reads the paper, as he ends reading it, he should be able to get the overall point of it.

But the job does not end here. Just having a clear argument, is not it? It should be an argument that is worthy of inspiring an entire research paper. You should never go on writing every thought in your head just to meet the word count that you are supposed to meet. Doing so would only result in the examiner or professor thinking that you are careless. Writing every thought of yours in the research paper only creates an impression that you do not value the assignment at all.

Therefore, make sure that your paper contains a well-articulated argument that reaches a conclusion.

7. Good citations

As already mentioned, having a good argument or thesis statement is not it. It is not the entire job. It is just a fundamental job. The next step is to provide evidence to support your argument. The best research papers are the ones which not only provide facts and information but also provide evidences to support this information. Therefore, if you want to write a good research paper, you should provide the source of your information. You should cite all the sources from where you have obtained the information and facts.

Some of the professors will tell you that they need you to mention a minimum number of resources. Therefore, it is better to mention all the sources from which you have obtained your information. Be it research journals or newspapers or some book, you should cite all the sources in the paper. It will improve the credibility of the facts and information in the research paper and also add quality to your paper.

Doing all of this is important because it is not enough to just provide information to your readers. It is also very necessary that the readers actually believe what you have to say.

8. No mistakes at all

This is surely one of the most important things that a good research paper is supposed to have. You cannot afford to submit a paper that contains any sort of mistakes… be it grammatical mistakes, wrong words, spelling mistakes or anything else. If you are writing a research paper, you are probably in your master’s degree or at an even higher level of education. Therefore, you cannot afford to look like a fool by submitting a paper that contains mistakes.

Every student works on a laptop; and many times it happens that the spelling of all the words is correct and yet due to wrong choice of word, the entire statement becomes wrong. The software or application that the students work on is unlikely to point out this mistake and can lead to the submission of the paper as it is.

Therefore, do not solely rely on any application, software or anything else. You need to physically proofread your research paper multiple times. This is the most efficient and the best way to find any mistakes. Relying on autocorrect or spellcheck is one of the biggest mistakes that a student can commit. You can even ask someone else to proofread the article for you. An outside eye will help.

9. Plagiarism free content

If there is one thing that disgusts the examiner or the professor or anyone who reads your research paper, it is plagiarism. Always remember that having plagiarism free content in the research paper is of utmost importance. The problem is that the students do not even understand what plagiarism actually is. Many times, even if you use some of your own work and do not cite it, it can be considered plagiarism.

Committing plagiarism is one of the worst things you can do to anything you write. When a professor reads your research paper and finds you guilty of plagiarism, he does not look at it as a mistake. It is looked at as a sign of incompetence.

Many people will look at plagiarism as thievery. You might have committed an honest mistake and people will still think that you were trying to pass someone else’s work as your own.

Many students tend to believe that they can get away with plagiarism. Be assured of the fact that you cannot. And even if you can get away, writings something already is written is not going to make your paper great. After all, there is a reason it is called ‘Research paper’.

10. A good conclusion

This is one of the elements that people generally consider important. Usually, the students write the conclusion to their research paper as if it does not matter at all. And this is where they are wrong. The conclusion of your paper is as important as any other part of the essay. You can think of the conclusion as your mic drop. It should create an impact. It should make an impression; and that too, a good one.

What happens is that by the time a student reaches the conclusion, he is already very tired of all the hard work he has put in researching, going through the books, planning and doing all the other things.

As soon as he comes to the conclusion, the ending seems to be in the vicinity and at this point, no student wants to wait. But make sure you do not commit this mistake. The conclusion counts a lot. If you do not write a good conclusion for your research paper, it might ruin the way your entire research paper looks. And surely, you do not want that.