An education research paper is a text including original research by the author and intended for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Its size may vary and largely depends on the requirements of the topic – there is no strictly assigned minimal word count. It is quite possible to publish a fairly short paper if your findings can be expressed in a short text.
A research paper is intended for review by other researchers in the field, which means that you have to be ready for opposition and counter-arguments to your ideas. Therefore, it pays to be prepared and includes references to potential opposing views and their reputation in the text of a paper.
Peer-reviewed papers are the main method of sharing one’s research and progressing science. If you are not going to become a teacher but intend to study the theory of education academically, you will have to learn how to write them – and it is better to begin early on. In this guide, we will try to help you with this education research paper tips from our experts.
The main purpose of a research paper as an academic assignment is to evaluate your ability to do independent, unsupervised research in your field. As a result, usually, you are free to choose any topic within the confines of your discipline. However, even if your choice is rigidly limited by your instructor’s guidelines, usually you have enough leeway to pick something sufficiently convenient to write about.
Here are some topics to give you an impression of what you should be aiming for:
A thesis statement is a concise statement of the purpose of your research: your opinion on the subject matter is based on the research you have carried out. It is different from the topic – a topic merely describes what your research paper is about, the thesis statement additionally declares your point of view. E.g., “Free College Tuition: Flaws and Benefits” is a topic. “Based on my research, free college tuition puts serious economic stress on the country while decreasing the quality of education” is a thesis statement.
A thesis statement is more or less your entire research paper confined in a single sentence. After reading it, anybody should get a good impression of what to expect in the rest of your paper. This is why you should take care to place it at the beginning of your text, preferably in the first or second paragraph. This way the reader won’t have to scan through your paper looking for it.
Make sure it is:
The value of your education research paper to a considerable extent will be evaluated based on the quality and number of sources you use for information. The most important type of sources that should constitute the bulk of your bibliography is peer-reviewed papers published in well-reputed academic journals and magazines. However, other sources are acceptable as well: books and other publications, newspapers, mass media, websites, blogs, videos and so on. They are, however, treated as sources of poorer quality, and you shouldn’t rely on them too much.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can use any peer-reviewed paper without reservations. You should carefully evaluate each source you are about to use. This is done primarily by following a checklist of questions to ask yourself:
You should also know how to differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources are factual first-hand accounts, such as documents, statistics, diaries, journals, mass media accounts, photographs and so on. They aren’t interpretive – they tell about facts without analyzing them.
Secondary sources are the ones that interpret and analyze primary ones. Research papers, biographies, book reviews, analytical evaluations of experiments all go in this category. Primary sources aren’t better or more valuable than the secondary ones – they simply follow a different goal and should be used when appropriate. A high-quality research paper maintains a healthy balance between the two.
An outline is a short summary or plan of your paper where you mark down its structure and enumerate all the important points you have to make in particular places. It is done mainly to organize your thoughts and to make sure you don’t forget anything when writing. Some students forgo writing an outline believing that they know enough about the topic to write about it without notes, but we don’t recommend to do so – in the long run, ten minutes writing an outline can save you hours you would otherwise waste rewriting things after you remember to put something in the middle of an already finished segment.
There are two types of outlines:
Writing the main part of an education paper, i.e., its body paragraphs can be done much easier if you follow these principles from the outset:
No matter how good you are at writing, your research paper needs revision, and you should consider it to be a legitimate part of the writing process. Therefore, set aside a specific amount of time to do it and don’t decide to proofread the text if there is some time left after writing. If you don’t decide in advance that you are going to proofread it and how much time you will need for it, there won’t be any time left. Ideally, you should finish your paper at least a few days before the official deadline – this will give you enough breathing room.
Writing an education research paper doesn’t come to one easily, but this education research paper writing guide will lead you through writing your first education research paper – and after that, you can concentrate on developing a style of your own.