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How to Write a Good Research Paper

The research paper is often the key to your grade. If it is sharp, original and well-defended, it boosts your grade. However, many papers are badly written and are hard to understand. That is why some students get poor grades and the good ideas that they have go under-appreciated. Following simple guidelines can dramatically improve the quality of your papers.

Please, carefully read the information below and learn about effective strategies which may help you write a good research paper.

Good Research Paper

1. Finding a Research Topic

Finding a good and feasible topic constitutes one of the most essential parts of writing a research paper. While some professors may give you a list of possible topics that you can choose from, other professors may ask you to find your own subject matter. Make sure that you clearly understand the expectations of your professors and find a topic related to the course content. If you are not clear whether you have a tangible topic or not, talk to your professor.

While choosing a research topic, avoid choosing too general or too narrow topics. Usually professors ask you to narrow your topic to allow you to conduct a more focused research. In addition, make sure that you have read adequate materials such as books or journal articles before you start writing your research project.


2. Resources to Help You Before Starting A Research Paper

3. Contents of the Research Paper

Usually research papers are 10-15 pages long and consist of the following parts:

When organizing your paper, keep in mind that different parts of your paper have different functions. Your introduction makes claims. The body of your paper provides evidence to support each claim. Evidence can be analysis, comparison, theorems, measurements, and case studies. In the conclusion, summarize your findings.

4. Academic Honesty and Citing Your Resources: How to Avoid Plagiarism

While writing a research paper, you need to be very careful about academic honesty. The rules regarding academic honesty may be very different at Binghamton University than the rules in your home country. Be very careful to cite the sources that you use in your paper. If you use somebody else’s idea without giving the appropriate citation, you may violate the ownership of their ideas. This is called plagiarism.

The consequences for a student found guilty of plagiarism are severe. If you are not sure how to cite the sources of your research, you will want to meet with your professor, teaching assistant or a research librarian before you write your research paper. They can help you practice so you know exactly what to do.

You will find the academic policies for academic honesty detailed at this web link scroll down to the section
“Rules Governing Academic Life”
BU Academic Policies

You will find more information on plagiarism at:
BU Library - Plagiarism

REMEMBER, always cite your research sources:

Be sure to format your citations according to the style guides required by your professor, such as
American Psychological Association (APA) Style:
APA Citation Guide

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style:
MLA Citation Guide

5. Quick Check – Planning is essential to a successful paper

Carefully check the syllabus for your courses, mark the deadlines for submitting your papers on your calendar.

If you run into obstacles when you are writing your paper, meet with your professor right away!

Remember to do the following:

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Last Updated: 12/3/13