A surprisingly high number of people refer to writing as their hobby. Sharing thoughts and ideas – especially in the age of media – is easy and, frankly speaking, pretty exciting. You can stay anonymous and avoid public judgment. You can elaborate on the topics that drive your interest. And you can make a positive change – and that’s the best part about it.

However, writing isn’t as easy as it seems at first. It’s one thing to come up with a caption for your Instagram post or publish a movie review on Rotten Tomatoes. A completely different thing is to work on an academic piece of work. With all standard and special requirements, writing cornerstones, and research downfalls, far from every skilled author remains enthusiastic and result-driven.

The first time a student meets face-to-face with a research paper is determinant. There are those who accept the format and get used to it; a few actually fall for academic writing, but the majority can’t ever resign themselves to the inevitable. With educational establishments getting more and more focused on research assignments, their originality, and quality, students were left with no other choice but to submit to the rules and go with the flow.

So you think you can write but can’t write a research paper? Bet you can follow a simple guide to learn a few valuable insights. Find out the answers to the questions that disrupt you from writing a winning paper and enable your academic spirit after a 3-min read.

First Things First: a Few Definitions and Explanations

Knowledge is powerful, but you are well aware of that. Otherwise, you wouldn’t spend precious time trying to understand the research paper format. To do something right, one has to get it right first.

Let’s skip empty rhetoric and get down straight to business.

What Is Research Paper Format?

There are a few ways to understand what is research paper format:

  1. A type of academic work.
  2. A style guide.
  3. An outline.

Depending on the intended meaning behind the term, you are referring to one of the above explanations. The research paper is a type (format) of academic work used by students to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject. It must be stylized according to different formatting guidelines, e.g., APA, MLA, CMS, Harvard, Oscola, etc. Besides, some mistakenly consider a paper plan or an outline to be a research paper format.

If all these seem confusing to you, don’t get carried away too fast. A format of a research paper is usually associated with its formatting requirements. Define the academic style guide (consult with initial requirements or your tutor) and build your paper writing process upon it.

What Are the Types of Research Papers?

There are different types of research papers. Depending on purpose, methodology, and scope of knowledge, your paper can fall into one of the following types:

  • Analytical
  • Argumentative
  • Cause and Effect
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Definition
  • Experimental
  • Interpretative
  • Survey
  • Report

The most common types in academia are analytical and argumentative research papers (also known as persuasive). It is essential to understand what is expected of you. Unless you clearly know the type of paper required, a failed assignment is just around the corner. Everything – from an outline to research – is built on the type of paper.

Where to Search Research Papers?

Wikipedia, of course! There isn’t a better place if you wonder where to read research papers. The sources are endless and crammed with valuable information. It is free, safe, and… It’s just a joke!

Forget Wikipedia if your goal is a good grade. Reputable knowledge sources are the only way to write a proper research paper. Google can offer you a couple of good samples, but searching for them can take hours.

Our best advice? Use special scholarly search engines to find reliable information references:

  • Google Scholar (and Books)
  • Refseek
  • Microsoft Academic
  • Science.gov
  • BASE
  • VLRC
  • iSeek
  • Infotopia

These websites and platforms offer a mind-blowing variety of the greatest academic works. You are definite to find the required samples and information. If not, try accessing library sources. Or ask an online writing company for help. Many ghostwriting services grant free access to paper samples that you can benefit from for referential purposes.

What Are Citations in Research Papers?

A citation is a formal reference to a published or online source you referred to and obtained information from while working on your research project. Whenever you include an outside piece of information to the paper, i.e., anything besides your very own thoughts, findings, actions, and results, make sure to document your source as a citation.

The way you style and arrange citations depends on the writing style guide prescribed for the paper (consult with initial requirements). APA, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, and other formatting guides dictate a special citation requirement. Moreover, some disciplines, like Law, use their unique citation methods.

How to Publish Research Papers?

Need to submit your paper for a peer review? It’s easier said than done. But impossible is nothing if you know how to do it:

  1. Find a relevant journal applicable for publishing your project.
  2. Submit your paper following the requirements provided by the journal (a guide for authors).
  3. Submit and wait for the approval.
  4. Share the news and promote your contribution.

It can take time and effort to find a suitable publisher, but the result is worth the shot.

Where to Next?

It is time to write a paper! Please don’t hold back and give it a try. A rocky start isn’t necessarily haunted by a failed result. If, at first, you don’t succeed – try and try again!

Suppose you need more information on research paper writing and format. Do not hesitate to search for more answers. Do not hesitate to ask questions or request a help session. Remember, you’re still learning. Your job is to gain new skills and develop as a professional, not to puzzle over an out-of-range problem.

Diana L. Larsen is a stellar contributing author who goes the extra mile to help students succeed academically. Besides reviewing online writing platforms, she passionately shares her experiences and knowledge with young learners. Diana thinks that her biggest achievement in life isn’t Ph.D. in English Language and Literature, but the job she does here. Her primary career goal is to help students find their potential and develop custom educational patterns that work best for them.


Diana Larsen

I’m Diana Larsen, I hold a Master’s degree in English literature, and I’m a former college lecturer. I founded this site - TopsWriting.com - to help all college students find a great service where essay writing help is reliable, cheap, and doesn’t miss deadlines.


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