Genre and the Research Paper
This handout provides detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.
Contributors: Jack Raymond Baker, Allen Brizee, Ashley Velázquez
Last Edited: 2011-03-30 09:06:38
Research: What it is.
A research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition. It is, perhaps, helpful to think of the research paper as a living thing, which grows and changes as the student explores, interprets, and evaluates sources related to a specific topic. Primary and secondary sources are the heart of a research paper, and provide its nourishment; without the support of and interaction with these sources, the research paper would morph into a different genre of writing (e.g., an encyclopedic article). The research paper serves not only to further the field in which it is written, but also to provide the student with an exceptional opportunity to increase her knowledge in that field. It is also possible to identify a research paper by what it is not.
Research: What it is not.
A research paper is not simply an informed summary of a topic by means of primary and secondary sources. It is neither a book report nor an opinion piece nor an expository essay consisting solely of one's interpretation of a text nor an overview of a particular topic. Instead, it is a genre that requires one to spend time investigating and evaluating sources with the intent to offer interpretations of the texts, and not unconscious regurgitations of those sources. The goal of a research paper is not to inform the reader what others have to say about a topic, but to draw on what others have to say about a topic and engage the sources in order to thoughtfully offer a unique perspective on the issue at hand. This is accomplished through two major types of research papers.
Two major types of research papers.
Argumentative research paper:
The argumentative research paper consists of an introduction in which the writer clearly introduces the topic and informs his audience exactly which stance he intends to take; this stance is often identified as the thesis statement. An important goal of the argumentative research paper is persuasion, which means the topic chosen should be debatable or controversial. For example, it would be difficult for a student to successfully argue in favor of the following stance.
Cigarette smoking poses medical dangers and may lead to cancer for both the smoker and those who experience secondhand smoke.
Perhaps 25 years ago this topic would have been debatable; however, today, it is assumed that smoking cigarettes is, indeed, harmful to one's health. A better thesis would be the following.
Although it has been proven that cigarette smoking may lead to sundry health problems in the smoker, the social acceptance of smoking in public places demonstrates that many still do not consider secondhand smoke as dangerous to one's health as firsthand smoke.
In this sentence, the writer is not challenging the current accepted stance that both firsthand and secondhand cigarette smoke is dangerous; rather, she is positing that the social acceptance of the latter over the former is indicative of a cultural double-standard of sorts. The student would support this thesis throughout her paper by means of both primary and secondary sources, with the intent to persuade her audience that her particular interpretation of the situation is viable.
Analytical research paper:
The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a research question) on which he has taken no stance. Such a paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation. For example, perhaps one is interested in the Old English poem Beowulf. He has read the poem intently and desires to offer a fresh reading of the poem to the academic community. His question may be as follows.
How should one interpret the poem Beowulf?
His research may lead him to the following conclusion.
Beowulf is a poem whose purpose it was to serve as an exemplum of heterodoxy for tenth- and eleventh-century monastic communities.
Though his topic may be debatable and controversial, it is not the student's intent to persuade the audience that his ideas are right while those of others are wrong. Instead, his goal is to offer a critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources throughout the paper--sources that should, ultimately, buttress his particular analysis of the topic. The following is an example of what his thesis statement may look like once he has completed his research.
Though Beowulf is often read as a poem that recounts the heroism and supernatural exploits of the protagonist Beowulf, it may also be read as a poem that served as an exemplum of heterodoxy for tenth- and eleventh-century monastic communities found in the Danelaw.
This statement does not negate the traditional readings of Beowulf; instead, it offers a fresh and detailed reading of the poem that will be supported by the student's research.
It is typically not until the student has begun the writing process that his thesis statement begins to take solid form. In fact, the thesis statement in an analytical paper is often more fluid than the thesis in an argumentative paper. Such is one of the benefits of approaching the topic without a predetermined stance.
It is important to start thinking about the result since you begin the work. It is a wise solution to start thinking how to write a conclusion for a research paper once a student comes up with a good topic. Developing a research paper outline requires having an overall picture of the research paper conclusion.
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Defining a Good Research Paper Conclusion
Before moving to the straight answer to this question, it is important to define what a research paper conclusion is. The work itself is the collection of the findings from different studies the writer gathers during the process of in-depth observation of the primary sources (books, scholarly articles, scientific reports, academic journals, etc.) A conclusion is a closing paragraph or few of the academic/scientific/creative writing, which summarizes the main points of the story. These definitions will help to understand how to write a conclusion for a research paper.
Remember several things to exclude from the closing part of the study:
- New ideas – it is not a proper time to start discussing a new problem as a writer will have to provide an answer to it as well. Nobody starts a new topic in the end.
- Extra supporting evidence like quotes – everything said above is enough to persuade the audience in the value of your findings (hopefully). A student has to cite/reference the sources properly – and that’s it!
- Clichés – do not break the standard set in work!
Are you ready to learn more secrets distinguished scientists use to succeed in their most famous scientific works? Look at the list of other mistakes to avoid.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper: Things to Cover before
Without having a clear idea of the way introduction and the rest of the work’s pats should look like, a student will not succeed with the assignment. This type of academic work has more parts than a regular essay. It is not a regular school essay with an introductory paragraph, 3-5 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. It is a scientific study, which aims to explore the problem under the loop.
Before moving to the question how to end a research paper conclusion, have a look at the table of contents to understand the problem deeper:
- Results & Discussion
How to Write an Effective Conclusion for a Research Paper?
If you wish to learn how to write an effective conclusion for a research paper meaning you need the highest possible score, pay attention to the abstract, introduction, and results. These sections predetermine the conclusion. An abstract arrives at the beginning of the work with a summary of the findings, but the student has to compose it after the rest of the sections are ready, including the conclusion. There is no way to develop an abstract without writing a final thought.
If a student wants to find out how to write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper, he/she should draw a parallel between the conclusion and introduction. In this situation, a concluding section depends on the opening one. The student should know what he will be writing about in the conclusion when developing an introduction. These two parts must be interconnected. The closing section restates the thesis statement mentioned in the beginning.
The final thing to pay attention to is the part that contains study results because the final paragraph must reveal the research findings once more and conclude everything mentioned in the Results & Discussion section by adding the ideas to further implement them and provide forecasts for the future.
How to Write a Good Conclusion for a Research Paper?
We are not interested in explaining how to finish the study – we are trying to explain how to write a good conclusion for a research paper, and these are different things.
The last section before the research paper conclusion is the discussion. This part predetermines the course of concluding section as it evaluates the way results reply to the main question and explain their relevance to the current knowledge in the proposed area.
All conclusion does answer the primary research question stated in the introduction. Try to reply to several questions succinctly even though the author should have answered part of them in the discussion section. The core idea is to leave some unanswered questions and propose forecasts. Other potential scientists will then use this information to support ongoing studies. One day the humanity may obtain the detailed information on the given problem (example: healthcare issue) thanks to your and your followers investigations.
Would you like other people to cite your words and recall your name through ages? In this case, it is important to understand how to write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper according to the rules of great scientific work.
Free Research Paper Conclusion Example
The students who are in search of the good research paper conclusion example. Example A:
“2 different designs of an emission-free fuel cell vehicle have been introduced in the study. The 1st automobile, a premium-class Jaguar functions thanks to hydrogen; the 2nd vehicle, a small family Suzuki, runs on a mix of hydrogen and oxygen. Every automobile has recyclable elements. Both cars meet the requirements of the Australian design standards regarding overall performance and security. The main point if that the 2nd automobile, Suzuki, is more economical in terms of manufacturing.”
The best way to write a conclusion for a research paper is to remain neutral concerning the participants if the study contains comparisons.
Another example is:
“The presented study presented a couple of environmentally-friendly automobile designs. The team revealed the information about the engine, materials, security, comfort, status, and accessories along with the sketches for every model. both would be more expensive than regular family automobiles, but they are good regarding the environment.”
These two types of conclusions may be used in a variety of settings. A team/single student may decide to compose the conclusion in the third-person voice or describe everything using the first-person voice. The main goal is to reveal the truth.
The Results & Discussion section is what predetermines the final part of the study, and it is critical to understand how to write a conclusion for a research paper with the help of so-called transitions words.
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Top Conclusion Transitions for Research Papers
Have you heard about the transition words? Starting from the English Composition 101 class, each student should know what these words mean and how to use them. Those are the building bridges between the sentences/paragraphs. These words help to unite various related ideas into one whole. Transition words constitute an integral part of any world’s language – keep in mind some of them to write papers of any complexity level!
Here is the list of the conclusion transitions for research papers:
- in the 1st place
- as a matter of fact
- coupled with
- in the same fashion
- in the light of
- by the same token
- be that as it may
- in reality
- after all
- with this intention
- with this in mind
- for fear that
- owing to
- inasmuch as
- due to
- as an illustration
- for this reason
- to put it another way
- under those circumstances
- in that case
- as shown above
- in the long run
- given these points
- in the meantime
- in a moment
- without delay
- in the foreground
- in the background
- in the center of
That is everything a student needs to know about the art of concluding a research paper. Was this information useful? If there are any questions left, it is possible to get the immediate help with any homework assignment from the professional academic & scientific writing company without leaving home!