Writing a research paper can be either time-consuming and complex, or simple and organized. Knowing the structure and some general tips about the process can help you switch from the first to the latter. Once you master the process, you will find that an argumentative research paper is simply another assignment you have to write before a deadline.
To help you prepare for all the stages of writing a great research paper, we prepared the following guide with tips for each step:
Step 1: Get Informed
Start by learning the basic structure of an argumentative research paper. As every other type of academic assignment, research papers also have specific features and structure you should follow in writing.
Don’t stop there. Getting informed includes reading and re-reading the instructions by your professor. It is best to ask for clarifications before you start, than understand you haven’t followed the rules when it is too late.
Step 2: Develop a Thesis Statement
The requirements and structure should give you some general ideas for the essay, so the next logical step is to create a statement. This statement serves to help you turn your ideas into writing.
In an introduction, the thesis statement is located at the end of the first paragraph.
An argumentative paper requires a thesis that is arguably, so focus on this factor first. The thesis statement should be clear and expressed in a way that you set a clear position for the reader to see. In addition, a research paper should provide a sufficient amount of detail that supports this thesis, and setting this statement will ensure you are on the right path when researching.
Step 3: Select a Topic
There is a myriad of argumentative research paper topics you can select for the paper. If you have several in mind, do some brainstorming and select the one that:
Is argumentative by nature
You can find sources to use to support your idea
Is provocative and interesting
Step 4: Research
Start gathering phrases and key terms to use in the argumentative essay. Once you develop the key terms, visit the library or online sources that will help you build an argument. Ensure that all sources are credible and accepted by the school’s guidelines before you use them in writing.
Step 5: Develop an Outline
How do you develop an outline for a research paper?
Use the research notes you gathered and write an outline where you organize this information in the order you are planning to use them. This outline is going to guide your writing process.
Step 6: Write the First Draft
The introduction is the first thing you should write for a research paper. An argumentative research paper should begin with a trial-like opening statement. This means that you should present the issue you are about to discuss, provide some background, and put forth the thesis statement.
Here is what you should do:
Start with a hook that gets the reader interested in your paper and the topic
Include background that will help the readers understand the remaining of the research paper
State the thesis in one concise, short sentence that sums up all the points you are trying to make
What follows are the body paragraphs. These paragraphs should discuss all aspects of the argument, and the specifics you left out in the introduction. Make sure that each of the body paragraphs focuses on one aspect of the argument, and they all contribute to your idea. Everything that is irrelevant should be excluded.
Follow up with evidence from the research and sources you found, but remember to cite all these sources in the way it is requested by your professor.
Finally, develop a conclusion that:
Rephrases the thesis
Synthesize your discussions
Explains why the topic you discussed is important
Step 7: Revise Until the Final Draft
The best thing you can do to ensure that the paper is flawless is to put aside the paper for a while. Take a break after the first draft, and revisit it with a fresher perspective.
All done! When you are done with this checklist, your argumentative research paper is ready to be submitted!