MLA format is typically used for literary research papers and uses a ‘works cited’ page at the end. This format requires in-text citations.
Most research papers fall into one of three categories: analytical, expository, or argumentative. If you’re presenting an analysis of information, then your paper is analytical. If you’re writing to explain information, then your paper is expository. If you’re arguing a conclusion, then it’s argumentative or persuasive. Your thesis statement should match the type of paper you’re writing.
Research paper writing consists of several stages. The first stage consists of choosing a relevant topic and making a thesis statement that shows the objectives and goals of your investigation. It is followed by the research and experimental stage during which a student studies the matter, works with relevant literature, and collects data for the written part of this project. Then you have to write the paper itself. The last stage is less stressful as you already have all the necessary information and only need to analyze and present it in a proper manner, however, it requires knowing and following the basic principles of academic writing.
Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach. (You know, the one where you throw in every bit of interesting research you uncovered, including the fungal growth in the U-joint of your kitchen sink?) Everything you learn may be fascinating, but not all of it is going to be relevant to your paper.
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