6 Essential Components of University Research Project Writing

6 Essential Components of University Research Project Writing

What are the differences between a university research project paper and any other university essay? This article hopes to answer just that question. The Purdue OWL defines a research paper as, “the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition.” Looking at this definition, it doesn’t look like it means much. Obviously, a research paper requires research, but so do many other college papers, so what sets a research project apart? Read the following tips to learn how to write a great university research paper.

University Research Project Writing

  1. Not Just a Summary

In high school, you may have written research papers that required you to research a certain topic, and then write about your findings. While doing that is a part of writing a university research paper, there is much more to it. Rather than just giving a summary of what you have learned, you are expected to also share your own thoughts on what you have learned. Basically, you need to interpret the research for yourself and write about it.  So, instead of simply writing, “Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492, which caused a number of events to occur,” you would write something like, “Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492, and these are my opinions on the implications of his arrival to the continent.”

Expanding on the “not just a summary” topic, it is important that if you are doing a research project based on a book, or another piece of literature, you will not simply be writing a summary in a book report. You will likely need to summarize and quote parts of the book, but you should also give your own opinions and interpretations of the book or relate it to another piece of literature.

  1. Prove Yourself with Sources

Giving your views on the research you have discovered is important, but proving that you know what you are talking about is also important. For example, if you are stating a fact that is not common knowledge, you will need to cite your source. If another well-respected academician shares the same views as you on a particular research subject, quote them.

While using sources, try to use primary sources and secondary sources more than any other type of source. You can remember this easily by saying, “Primarily use primary sources.” Primary sources are the most reliable, which is why they are the best source to use in a research paper.

  1. Correct Formatting

Citing your sources is important, so you are going to need to know how to do it right. In high school, many classes focus on MLA formatting for papers and citations, but it is used less often in university classes. Always check on the assignment rubric, syllabus, or ask your professor which style guide you should use. Using the wrong one could cost you major points on your assignment. For a list of all the major citations styles and how to use them.

  1. Use the Correct Structure

There is no perfect or exact way for you to structure your paper. After all, every research paper is different, and most subjects need to be written about in different ways. For example, a medical research is going to be written in a slightly different structure than a humanities paper would be. Luckily, there are two general ways in which you can format your paper.

Option 1:

  • Introduction
  • Research Summary
  • Interpretations of Research
  • Conclusion

Option 2:

  • Introduction
  • Some Research Summary
  • Some Interpretation
  • Some Research Summary
  • Some Interpretation, Etc.
  • Conclusion

Using either one of these styles on your paper is likely to be a helpful outline. However, if you are unsure which one to use, ask your professor which one they prefer.

  1. Length

Research project papers are typically longer than the average university essay. This is because they also typically take more effort and time to complete. However, not all research papers need to be the same length. To know how long your project needs to be, it is best to consult your assignment rubric of your professor. There’s no better way to find out how long your paper should be than by simply asking.

  1. Spelling and Grammar

If you are writing a university research essay, your professors are likely going to assume that you know the finer points of the English language, including spelling and grammar. Using poor spelling and grammar will just make your paper look less, and it may even make you look less credible as a writer.

To avoid this problem, simply use a grammar and spelling checker. Sometimes the spelling and grammar checkers that are pre-built into typing documents, like Word and Google Docs, just aren’t good enough. For a real-life example, this article was initially written in Google Docs, but then spell and grammar checked using (a free version of) Grammarly. Doing something as simple as that can make your written paper look more professional, and it can help you get a better grade, too!

To put it plainly, writing a university research paper is going to take a lot of work, as it’s not just an ordinary college essay. Hopefully, if you follow some of the tips given in this article, you will be able to not only know how to write a basic university research paper but a great one! Good luck!