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Sunday, January 24, 2016

How to write a Research Paper


Research papers usually have five chapters with well-established sections in each chapter. Readers of the paper will be looking for these chapters and sections so you should not deviate from the standard format unless you are specifically requested to do so by the research sponsor.
Most research studies begin with a written proposal. Again, nearly all proposals follow the same format. In fact, the proposal is identical to the first three chapters of the final paper except that it's writtten in future tense. In the proposal, you might say something like "the researchers will secure the sample from ...", while in the final paper, it would be changed to "the researchers secured the sample from ...". Once again, with the exception of tense, the proposal becomes the first three chapters of the final research paper.
The most commonly used style for writing research reports is called "APA" and the rules are described in thePublication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Any library or bookstore will have it readily available. The style guide contains hundreds of rules for grammar, layout, and syntax. This paper will cover the most important ones.
Avoid the use of first person pronouns. Refer to yourself or the research team in third person. Instead of saying "I will ..." or "We will ...", say something like "The researcher will ..." or "The research team will ...".
A suggestion: Never present a draft (rough) copy of your proposal, thesis, dissertation, or research paper...even if asked. A paper that looks like a draft, will interpreted as such, and you can expect extensive and liberal modifications. Take the time to put your paper in perfect APA format before showing it to anyone else. The payoff will be great since it will then be perceived as a final paper, and there will be far fewer changes.

Style, layout, and page formatting

Title page

All text on the title page is centered vertically and horizontally. The title page has no page number and it is not counted in any page numbering.

Page layout

Left margin: 1½"
Right margin: 1"
Top margin: 1"
Bottom margin: 1"

Page numbering

Pages are numbered at the top right. There should be 1" of white space from the top of the page number to the top of the paper. Numeric page numbering begins with the first page of Chapter 1 (although a page number is not placed on page 1).

Spacing and justification

All pages are single sided. Text is double-spaced, except for long quotations and the bibliography (which are single-spaced). There is one blank line between a section heading and the text that follows it. Do not right-justify text. Use ragged-right.

Font face and size

Any easily readable font is acceptable. The font should be 10 points or larger. Generally, the same font must be used throughout the manuscript, except 1) tables and graphs may use a different font, and 2) chapter titles and section headings may use a different font.

References

APA format should be used to cite references within the paper. If you name the author in your sentence, then follow the authors name with the year in parentheses. For example:

Jones (2004) found that...

If you do not include the authors name as part of the text, then both the author's name and year are enclosed in parentheses. For example:

One researcher (Jones, 2004) found that...

A complete bibliography is attached at the end of the paper. It is double spaced except single-spacing is used for a multiple-line reference. The first line of each reference is indented.

Examples:

     Bradburn, N. M., & Mason, W. M. (1964). The effect of question order on response. Journal of Marketing Research 1 (4), 57-61.

     Bradburn, N. M., & Miles, C. (1979). Vague quantifiers. Public Opinion Quarterly 43 (1), 92-101.





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