Creating a solid academic research paper: finding examples
The key to writing a strong research paper is, unsurprisingly, conducting high quality, rigorous research. But before you can design a proper study, develop your materials, and carry the experiment out, you must first read a great deal of background research relevant to your topic of interest. Existing research papers can serve as invaluable examples for both the design and the writing of your own research project.
Why should you find and read example research papers?
The first section of the average academic research paper is the introduction (also known as the literature review), in which the writer describes and defines their topic, and informs the reader about the body of preexisting research on that topic. This section should provide the reader and the writer with a firm theoretical and empirical base with which to understand the topic or phenomenon being described.
The literature review section should also flow smoothly into the hypothesis section of the paper, such that the reader can see how the present research project is a logical extension of existing knowledge. Put another way, the literature review section of the paper makes the case for the study conducted in the rest of the paper. As such, it should be persuasive and well supported, with a great deal of background research cited.
You should read academic research papers so that you can use them as examples in your literature review section. You should also rely on previous academic work for generation of your own research materials and methods. Finally, reading existing journal articles may also help you structure and write your own research paper. For all these reasons, it is imperative that you read a number of relevant research papers from academic sources before you design your study.
Where can you find example research articles?
Scholarly websites and research databases can provide you with access to a plentitude of research articles, research papers, and proposals for use in your own project. You may need to be logged into your university’s library system or web system in order to access many of these sources for free, so conduct your research on campus. Websites like GoogleScholar, WorldCat, and your state’s internal library loan system can help you locate articles and books on the topic you will be studying.
In addition, you should ask your adviser or instructor for recommendations. If there is a faculty member in your department who specializes in the subject you will be studying, you should go to them and ask for reading recommendations.