How to prepare a research paper?

Often, students ask me about the methods or writing a good research paper. Obviously, those are the students of English literature of graduation and post graduation levels. They have to prepare assignments and papers for seminars on different occasions. For the beginners, nevertheless, it’s never easy to pick up the pen and sheets of paper with so many books and start writing something as serious as a research paper! Therefore, the question ‘how to prepare’ a research paper about any topic in English literature is valid.

What is a research paper?

Be informed; that’s the best way to begin anything which is new! What is that which we call a research paper? While most of the time, the academicians in hurry and newly welcomed researchers in the league go for the arguments like:

“Research paper is something more than an informed article which is prepared with the help of primary and secondary sources.”

Those which are calm and often composed will put up with something like:

“An independent research carried by the students (mostly for the academic requirements) to establish certain facts about a particular topic related to subject concerned.”

Well, these are the definitions for the sake of being definitions! Limiting ourselves in the sphere of English literature, ‘tell me something I don’t know’. Students and teachers, most of the times, come with ‘research papers’ like ‘Realism in R K Narayan,’ ‘Women Characters in the Plays of Shakespeare,’ ‘Violence in Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Irony in the Novels of Jane Austen,’ ‘Andrew Marvel as a Metaphysical Poet,’ and many others which are ‘more than obviously known’ to the people who belong to the literary field. These titles are only worth if you are really coming up with ‘something new’ in your content and investigation. If you are unable to justify your arguments with new pieces of evidence (these titles are overused) and just reiterate the same age-old facts, you are not actually doing your ‘research’ but just passing the examination! To me, the definition of a research paper is entirely different. Take a look:

“A research paper, if asked to define, can be said the written document based upon your original investigations to establish or re-establish a proposition which you carry with the help of primary and secondary sources. However, it must not use the pieces of evidence which are already in popular use and it must come with ‘something new’.”

This is what I think a genuine research paper should be. It should actually find and establish facts or reinforce the old established facts with new instances. Otherwise, just writing things and copying text (under the guise of references) is nothing more than writing notes for those students who don’t want to work hard for their examinations.

Now that I have defined it and make you acquainted with my version of ‘what’ about the research paper, I will write, next time, to discuss the ‘how’ of it. My next post will be about the useful practices which will make a research paper worth reading and worth writing.