Q. What is the difference between an opinion paper and a research paper?
In an opinion paper, you will focus on a topic about which you have personal thoughts, beliefs, or feelings. Your goal is to persuade your reader that your position on this topic is the best one. You won’t accomplish that goal with a rant or diatribe. Instead, you will need to support your claim with facts, statistics, real-life examples or published research studies. So, despite its name, an opinion paper will require some research.
The most common research paper assignment (particularly in undergraduate courses) is a lot like a literature review. You will conduct a thorough search for scholarly sources about your chosen topic, then carefully read and summarize them. But beyond simply describing the books and articles that you read, your goal is to participate in the scholarly “conversation” surrounding your topic. You can do that by:
- Organizing your paper by themes or trends that you discovered in the literature
- Identifying and explaining controversies surrounding your topic
- Pointing out strengths and weaknesses in the studies that you read
- Identifying aspects of the topic that need further research
Sometimes (more commonly in graduate courses), you will design your own study and write about it. While this kind of research paper includes a literature review section, it will also require you to describe your study’s methodology, data analysis and results. The graduate section of [email protected] offers advice for students working on original research papers.
Can a Research Paper Have Opinions
The student who has never written a research paper in his life is not a student. The fact is that the writing of such works is precisely what characterizes a student at educational institutions.
First of all, let’s try to define what is a research paper and why do we need to write it. The research paper is a work or experiments that you do in order to expand existing knowledge and gain new knowledge, to test scientific hypotheses, to establish patterns that are manifested in nature and society, scientific generalizations, and the scientific substantiation of projects.
The purpose of the research paper is to instill in students the initial skills of research work. Some kind of creative research in the essay is not foreseen, the opinion of students on the given topic is often not required, or even inappropriate. This is a dry research paper, a review of the literature and other materials in a certain field. But we need to write in for general development. Ideally, the abstract should be the first step on the path to more complex independent work, diploma, Ph.D. and other high and capacious work.
Few of the students know that there are four types of assignments that are usually given to a student, each of them must be written differently. These are educational, official, control and creative works.
The educational assignment is the most common type of work, which, in fact, every student has to deal with. Its goals are: to teach the student to work independently, to carry out research, to prepare him for writing more serious works.
Control assignments are compulsorily submitted upon admission to graduate school and to universities. Their goal is to determine a person’s readiness for independent research work, the level of his scientific training.
Creative assignment a person usually writes for himself, using his opinion, without pursuing any specific goals.
Usually, the process of making a research paper is divided into the following stages:
- Collection of information and materials.
- Processing of literature and other collected materials.
- Writing the work.
Can you include your opinion in a research paper?
And that’s why very often students have got such question: can research papers have opinions? Or better to ask: can research papers have personal opinions?
And the answer is yes. But let’s try to look deeper into this question. A research paper should contain an opinion, as it is more subjective types of work, not objective. But it is important this opinion be supported with some documents and other reliable sources. It is also very important to write the text of the work in simple language for the correct and clear formulation of its main topics and questions.
In addition, a very important role is played by the style of presentation, the skill of drawing up short sentences and expressing one’s opinion in an accessible and understandable form that does not allow for different interpretations. It is necessary to observe the generally accepted uniformity in the use of terms, abbreviations of words, measures of length and weight, conventional notation.
So, can you use opinions in a research paper?
In order to do this correctly, you need to collect as many journals and articles as possible, which will help you find unique information. It would be nice to apply to the Internet, for the benefit of students there is now just paradise, a huge amount of information on any topic. However, do not get involved in the World Wide Web: do not forget that on the Internet information is not checked by anyone and there can be a lot of mistakes. And of course, teachers do not like too much when abstracts are downloaded from the Internet.
Such kind of work as a research paper is theoretical, that is why the author has to persuade a reader that it is worse to consider this or that opinion. You shouldn’t convince, but use arguments and present attempt to persuade the reader. Your research paper should show that it is logical and valid and is important and reliable.
A researcher carries out his work using different methods that do not depend on the sphere of his studies. And as a conclusion, he has to give his arguments. If you ask once again can a research paper be opinionated? The answer will be yes.
Here are some pieces of advice to make it easier to tell your opinion.
Try not to choose a topic, writing which it will be difficult to use new ideas and opinions. This can ruin even a good job, because the conclusions that you expected to have, regardless of the associated research results, will have to be adjusted to the desired result, instead of indicating the real one. Instead, you should ask continuous questions about the topic at each stage of your research, and it is better to use hypothetical terms, not conclusions. That way, you will show that these statements can be challenged, and you are even ready to change your opinion of the process of work.
Answering the question, can research paper have your opinion in it? It is also worth mentioning that reading notes, opinions and other people’s thoughts on this topic can help you improve your own opinion, or they have raised questions in the basis of the argument, but left them unanswered. Do your own scientific research.
Do not start writing your work before you haven’t made any researches. It would be much easier for you if you understand what this topic is exactly about and what you need to do in this area. You need to have a couple of methods that you will use to work on your research paper and solve all problems you may face with.
As well, it would be great if you like the chosen topic. What is more, use only reliable sources, check if they are original and up-to-date. As we live in a technological era, you can use the internet to communicate on the topic of your research paper with other people who may have a similar or different opinion. Find online discussions, blogs, forums, etc.
Can a research paper include opinion, is a very important question? To express your opinion better try to specify the main idea. After you have done the research, go back to the chosen topic. At this point, it is very important to emphasize the only major thesis that you disclose, the opinion that you will defend in your work, as well as the content and conclusion that the reader understands.
Your thesis is the basis of your essay, the idea that you will defend in all chapters. If it is superficial, then all the work will seem tasteless. Build a thesis so that it confirms that your report is interesting to you. If you are sure that your ideas are expressed clearly and clearly, start writing the first drafts.
The Fundamentals of Writing a Good Research Paper
At some point during their college careers, most students will have to face the challenge of writing a research paper. As those who have written one before know, it is no easy task. But the writing process should not intimidate students. Even those who write well do so only after many attempts and by practice. Many students come to college unprepared to write a custom research paper simply because they have not had the opportunity to do so during high school. Thus, they do not know the basic components of a research paper and are bewildered when assigned to write one. This paper attempts to remedy the situation and provides an overview on the fundamentals of writing a good research paper. This paper focuses on the major elements of a research paper and explains them in detail. In addition, this paper includes a list of dos and don’ts that work for most research papers. Finally, for interested students who are reading this article, (and chances are you are a pretty good one concerned with your grade) some strategies on how to get the grade that you deserve are discussed.
A good research paper is basically a sustained inquiry about a particular subject. Not only is the student answering a question, but he/she must also ensure that the statements one is making are valid. Thus, the research element comes into play. Most teachers are not only interested in the student’s opinion, but also in the manner by which students support them. Students need to substantiate their claims when custom writing a research paper. For example, the statement, “Many women are no longer content to be housewives,” is your opinion. Your opinion, of course, matters; however, what is more important is how you support your claims. Thus, the student would need to research sources that support the statement made. For instance, the student could dig up sources that describe why women are no longer content to be housewives. Or, the student could find sources that explain what exactly women are doing, now that they are no longer content with being housewives. Thus, conducting research is one of the most important parts of the paper.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will come across a lot of facts when conducting research and only some of these facts will be relevant to your paper. It takes some skill to separate the wheat from the chaff. The following categorization is quite helpful. Research can be divided into three categories: background information, supporting information and opposing information. The background information should be brief and to the point. It is basically a summary that either a) explains why the topic that you chose is significant or b)provides a brief history of your chosen topic. Either option provides the reader with a context in which to situate your topic. Supporting information helps to drive your argument forward. It is basically research that validates your opinion. Each source that you include in your paper should help make your opinion more believable and plausible to the reader. Opposing information is useful when it is necessary to strengthen your position on an issue. Many writers like to include opposing information before they substantiate their claims. One thing to remember is that the reason you are including opposing information is to counter it. After you state your opposing information, it is important to also state why it is not valid. This is a useful tactic to persuade the reader to take your side. Thus, the key points to remember is that research is necessary to validate your opinion and that research can be organized into the following categories: background, supporting and opposing information.
Finding a topic to write a custom research paper on should be easy but it isn’t. Many students, from the outset, pick a topic that is too broad or too narrow for the purposes of their papers. This can be a big mistake. For example, imagine writing a five-page essay on “How Confucianism manifests itself in Chinese cultural beliefs.” It is impossible! A trick to narrow down your topic is to focus on a particular aspect of the subject by asking the questions: Why? How? Who? and When? Let us apply this advice. For the previous example, we could ask the question, “Who?” and narrow down the subject to focus on “How Confucianism manifests itself in Chinese business practices.” That is much more manageable. Thus, when choosing a research topic, students must be careful that it fulfills the requirements of the paper.
The heart of any research paper is the thesis statement. You will here this time and time again. It is important for a reason. A thesis statement lets the reader know a) your position on a particular issue or b) what exactly you are trying to prove or substantiate. Your paper should be organized around your thesis statement. Each paragraph should move towards supporting your thesis statement. Think of it this way: the thesis statement is your main argument while all other paragraphs are formed around sub-arguments or validations. If you think slowly and carefully about the direction of your paper, it is not even necessary to write an outline. Just keep asking yourself “How does this support my thesis statement?” and your paper will follow a logical trajectory.
The supporting paragraphs should all work to support the thesis statement. A tip to keep in mind is that the supporting statements will focus on a particular aspect of the thesis statement. Supporting statements can a)clarify your position on an issue b)provide key definitions related to the topic and c) discuss the “how” and “why” aspects of the thesis statement and d)discuss patterns or inconsistencies in development. Just remember, your supporting statements are important because they develop your thesis further and explain your position or perspective on a particular subject or issue.
So, you’ve finally made it to the end of the paper. Now, all you have to tackle is the conclusion of your essay. A good way to remember the purpose of the conclusion is to think of it as a “wrap-up.” The conclusion is where you restate your thesis, preferably using different words, and sums up your argument. This is definitely not the time to add a new point or aspect of a subject. Don’t mess up your conclusion by leading your reader astray. You may also want to briefly recap some of the major supporting statements. If you really want to impress your teacher, you may even want to discuss implications for further research. Or, in other words, state how your research can either be further developed or how it ties in to related areas of study. Thus, the conclusion should leave the reader feeling as if he/she has understood your point clearly.
Following is a list of Dos and Don’ts related to writing a good research paper:
- Do conduct a sufficient amount of research. Don’t make the mistake of looking over five sources for a twenty-page paper. And don’t overdo it by using ten sources for a three-page paper. Make sure that the research conducted fits in with the paper requirements.
- Do organize as you go. Don’t make the mistake of writing your custom research paper without any thought of its direction. Organize your sources into background information, supporting arguments and opposing arguments. That way your paper will follow a logical path.
- Do write a strong thesis statement that will be able to carry the supporting arguments. A thesis statement should be broad enough to cover the supporting arguments but narrow enough to bring focus to the paper.
- Do follow paper instructions. Many students will make the mistake of not following their professor’s instructions. Most professors will list the paper length, the number of required sources and the format of the bibliography. Follow their instructions precisely.
- Do validate your opinions. Unless specifically instructed, do not leave your opinions unsupported by research. Writing a research paper shows that you know exactly how to substantiate your claims. Prove it to the teacher.
- Don’t add new points in the conclusion. Remember, the conclusion is a wrap-up. You are acting as a guide and the reader should not be confused by a new point when what is expected is a wrap-up.
- Don’t forget to proof-read your paper. A good paper can be detrimentally affected by poor spelling and grammar. Your brilliant ideas are wasted if the teacher has a hard time reading it. Your teacher will end up feeling frustrated by spelling errors and take his/her frustration out on your grade.
- Don’t plagiarize. This mistake can be deadly. Remember always cite your sources both in-text and in the bibliography. Most style manuals (such as APA, MLA and CMS) will give you exact instructions on how to cite sources and write up the bibliography or works cited page.
Now that you have gotten the basics of writing a good research paper down, here are some added tips to ensure that you get the grade that you deserve. Remember to always proofread your term paper or essay. One cannot stress enough the importance of doing a spelling and grammar check. Another tip, a skill that comes with practice, is to become familiar with the tone of each source that you read. Just like you, the writer of a book or article is attempting to validate his/her opinion and wanting to persuade you to agree with him/her. An argument can be made more powerful if the student is acutely aware of the argument that the author is trying to make. Finally, the motivated student should make time to visit their professor’s or T.A.’s office hour to get help on all aspects of the research and paper writing process and double-check if he/she is following instructions.
Spelling and grammatical errors have no place in a research paper. Many professors are quite strict about them and will find fault with your paper if it is littered with typos. Many word processors have a spelling and grammar checker. Become familiar with it. In addition, it is also important to review your work after the spelling and grammar check because sometimes they will miss particular errors. A good paper indicates that the student has paid careful attention to its presentation. Hence, the importance of proof-reading.
Most issues have two or more sides to them and a highly analytical style of writing is to organize your research paper into the different camps presented. This shows that you are not merely a “fact-seeker” but a person who can critically understand the dynamics of making an argument. In the beginning, most writers will assume that all that they read is factual. That is okay. But once a student becomes used to researching, they will notice that each source provides a particular perspective on an issue. A careful researcher will be able to discern the subtle inflections of an author and will be able to understand his/her arguments more thoroughly. Once a students becomes familiar with this type of reading, he/she can further develop his/her position by organizing their paper according to the different arguments made. This technique shows the reader that the student is quite capable of understanding arguments and making strong ones of his/her own.
The last word of advice is to visit your professor or T.A. during office hours. That way you can ensure that you are following their instructions precisely. It is also the perfect time to voice and questions or concerns that you may have about the paper. In addition, most teachers will be more than happy to help you find sources relevant to your paper. They hold a wealth of information in their field of study and are glad to share it with you, if you have the time to listen. These leads can help cut down research time and give you confidence that you are headed in the right direction. Make the effort to talk with your teacher during office hours.
In conclusion, this paper has provided a discussion on the fundamentals of writing a good research paper. It has examined the major components of a research paper and discussed them in detail. In addition, it has provided a list of major do’s and don’ts that apply to most research paper. Finally, it has provided some added tips on how to get the grade that you deserve. This advice will come in handy and hopefully give students the knowledge they need to write good research papers.
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