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Complete Guide on the Geography Research Paper Writing

The General Concepts of a Geography Research Paper

In general, Geography is quite a fascinating subject which covers plenty of fields and describes everything about the Earth and its composition. Therefore, you will be required to conduct in-depth research. While writing the Geography research paper, you will find some exciting and even sometimes fun information about the planet we are living in. All research papers, including geographic ones, demonstrate a certain issue to describe it or even find the solution. Besides, you have to take into consideration the fact that the research paper should be not too general, and as a result, it is better to select specific issue. It becomes evident that writing the Geography research paper is not an easy task, and consequently, you should apply only valid information from reliable sources. You should be very careful while using the ideas from other researches to avoid plagiarism since as you may know all academic papers should be original and unique. However, you are obliged to support your arguments with different studies. Apart from that, you have to select the most recent sources and choose a relevant issue to make your Geography research paper useful for yourself and other people. It has to be mentioned that you will be able to utilize your paper for your further studies, and therefore, you have to make your research paper detailed and accurate. Hence, to write a thorough Geography research paper, you should use not only scientific researches but also national statistics and reports. Therefore, it can be claimed that this type of research paper requires a significant amount of literature review and background research data.

Most Popular Types of Research Papers

research paper types

The well-known fact is that there are two major types of research papers, namely argumentative and analytical, and each of them has special requirements for content and structure. Therefore, you have to select one of them and strictly follow its requirements to receive a high mark. Besides, it should be mentioned that sometimes the type of essay depends on the topic of a research paper. Consequently, two types of research papers mentioned before are going to be presented below to assist you in choosing the most appropriate one.

  • Argumentative Research Papers. For this type of research paper, you should select relevant debatable or controversial issue to be able to present some arguments. Those arguments have to be supported by evidence from diverse primary sources to persuade the reader. Therefore, it can be claimed that the most significant goals of the argumentative research paper are relevant arguments and persuasion. If you choose this type for your Geography research paper, you may research different relevant issues, such as how people can prevent coastal erosion, flooding, or desertification. As it becomes evident, there are plenty of issues that can be analyzed and researched.
  • Analytical Research Papers. Due to the name of this type of research paper, many students become confused, but there is nothing to worry about if you understand its central features. First of all, unlike the argumentative research paper, it requires a research question that should be answered at the end of the paper. Second of all, just like in case of the argumentative paper, you should select a relevant debatable or controversial issue. However, unlike an argumentative research paper, you should not persuade the reader but explore and evaluate the selected issue. Moreover, to write a good research paper, you have to apply strong arguments and critical thinking. For this type of research paper, you can describe deforestation and propose some solutions on how to combat this problem. However, you should be very careful with such topics since they are too general, and as a consequence, it is better to choose a more specific area which will be discussed. As you may notice, this type of research paper is not so difficult as it may appear at first sight.

How to Choose a Topic and Take a Stance?

Usually, the instructor provides you with the list of appropriate topics for your research paper, but if you do not have it, create it by yourself. For most students, it seems to be effective to select the topic on their own because they can discuss the issue of their interest. However, some students prefer to choose the topic from the instructor’s list since it is much easier. When you create the topic on your own, you should be very careful since not all topics are appropriate for Geography research paper. You have to remember that the research paper is detailed academic writing which requires in-depth research, and therefore, you should avoid selecting too broad topics. Therefore, the topics presented below can be considered for your Geography research paper:

  • How Does China Contribute to Climate Change?
  • The Role of Geographical Information System;
  • How to Prevent Coastal Erosion?
  • What are the Consequences of Hurricane Katrina?
  • The Effects of Landslide;
  • Geographical Peculiarities of Gujarat.

The selected topic should be relevant because modern issues are easier to explore as plenty of studies, statistics, and researches can be found on the Internet. On the contrary, you may propose some new solutions or perspectives on the issues of the last decades to show how it might be prevented or solved. In addition, while you are creating your topic, you may think of some key terms and phrases that will help you to search sources. For example, if you choose “How Does China Contribute to Climate Change?” for your Geography research paper, the particular words and phrases, such as factories, smog, nuclear power plant, emissions, Fukushima, Nagasaki, and greenhouse gas, may help you to find appropriate sources. Hence, when you have chosen the topic for your research paper, you may proceed to search for reliable sources.

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The Importance of Appropriate Sources

Due to the fact that Geography is not a simple subject, you should start as soon as possible to allocate a sufficient amount of time searching for information. Usually, students try to find the necessary sources on the Internet since not all of them have enough time or ability to go to the library. This part of writing is significant since it will help you to find sources that will support your arguments. In general, there are three types of sources, namely primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary sources are direct evidence or firsthand testimony which were created with the help of investigation. Those sources were created during the period when the issue happened or by a person who was directly involved in the event. There are particular subtypes of primary sources, such as research data, interviews, novels, and speeches. Hence, if you decide to discuss the consequences of hurricane Katrina, you may apply the interviews of witnesses and victims. Furthermore, secondary sources can be applied as well since they interpret and analyze primary sources. This type of sources contains various textbooks, journal articles, encyclopedias, and maps. The last type of sources is the tertiary one, which is also known as access tools; its central goal is to locate both primary and secondary sources. Different databases, search engines, and online catalogs are examples of tertiary sources that can be utilized in academic writing. Moreover, when you find an up-to-date article or book on your topic, you may scan the bibliography to gather some additional sources. The following tertiary sources suit your Geography research paper:

  • The Geographical Journal (Royal Geographical Society);
  • Applied Geography;
  • European Journal of Geography;
  • GEOBASE (a multidisciplinary database);
  • Web of Science;
  • GeoSearch.

Therefore, when you have found all the necessary information, you should proceed to the pre-writing activities to collect the ideas and organize your research paper.

The Pre-Writing Activities as a Solid Basis for Your Piece

Before you start writing your Geography research paper, you have to generate some ideas to understand what you desire to describe. The pre-writing activities are considered to be the first stage of the writing process. There are many types of those that are likely to help you to collect some ideas. However, only the most popular ones will be described. The first activity is called “Brainstorming.” It will help you to write all the ideas that come to your mind. When you finished completing the list of ideas, you should group similar ideas. Furthermore, you can apply the next activity which is called “Freewriting.” The central concept of this pre-writing activity is to write nonstop for some period of time to create the first draft. If you complete the previous activity, it will be easier for you to perform this one. When you finish writing, you have to review the text and highlight the most useful points. Furthermore, you can utilize “Mind mapping” for your research paper to expand your ideas. For this pre-writing activity, you have to choose at least two major ideas and put them in circles. Then, you should draw some lines to write some arguments to support your main ideas. The last activity is called “Questioning.” The central aim of it is to ask different questions to yourself, such as “Who?”, What?” , “Why?” , “When?” , “Where?” , and “How?” to extend your topic and make it as detailed as possible. Besides, you may outline your research paper to organize your future paper properly. If you complete at least one of the pre-writing activities mentioned before, it will be easier and faster to perform this one. As you can see, this stage of writing is quite important because it helps you to organize your research paper and accumulate some ideas.

The Structure of a Geography Research Paper

This part of the writing process is of high significance since it helps the reader not to be confused and perceive the information properly. The structure of the Geography research paper is quite similar to any other types of academic writings because most of them consist of Introduction, Main Body paragraphs, and Conclusion. Therefore, if you structure your paper accurately, it will be easier to support your argument, and consequently, the readers will be able to understand your ideas properly. Geographical peculiarities of Gujarat will be taken as an example to show you the approximate structure of your Geography research paper.

Introduction

Just like the research paper as a whole, its paragraphs have their structure. The introduction should contain background information, some arguments, and the thesis statement that should be supported throughout the main body paragraphs. Generally, you have to present the topic of your research paper. In this section, you are not allowed to use any in-text citations and quotations. Hence, it can be stated that you should present general information about the selected topic. Since “Geographical Peculiarities of Gujarat” is selected as the topic for the Geographic research paper, the following thesis statement can fit: “Thanks to Gujarat’s location, it is one of the most developed industrialized states of India.”

Main Body

This part of the research paper should contain more than two paragraphs since you should provide at least two arguments that will support your thesis statement. Furthermore, to support your arguments, you should apply some in-text citations and quotations. With the help of those two elements, your paper will seem credible. Therefore, to apply both in-text citations and quotations, you should follow the specific referencing style. For example, you may choose either MLA or APA. For MLA referencing style, you have to mention the last name of the author and the number of the page where you found the selected information. Thus, the reference should look like this “(James 123).” On the other hand, if you are asked to apply APA referencing style, you have to mention the last name of the author and the year when the source was published, and then, separate them with a comma – “(James, 2018)”. The more detailed information you can find on the website which is called “Purdue OWL.”

Apart from the citations, you may apply some digital charts to demonstrate the necessary figures. A well-known fact is that it is better to see figures in the table than written in the sentence. What is more, with the help of different charts, readers will be able to analyze and compare data on their own. However, if you find the suitable chart on the Internet, you must mention the source. Moreover, if you have chosen the topic similar to “Geographical Peculiarities of Gujarat,” you may insert some maps to show the location of the selected area and demonstrate its geographical peculiarities. Hence, it can be stated that the application of various digital sources may help you to present your topic better.
To make your paper smooth, you have to utilize various linking words, such as moreover, apart from that, on the contrary, etc. However, you should remember that the selected linking words should correspond to the context in order not to confuse the readers. As a result, it can be stated that this part of the research paper should have compelling content and a well-organized structure to get you the best grades.

Conclusion

The conclusion part is the last part of the research paper. However, it is as important as the previous ones. In this section, you should restate the thesis statement and support it with the help of the points mentioned in the main body paragraphs. In other words, it is your last chance to convince the reader. You should remember that just like in the introduction paragraph you are not allowed to apply any in-text citations and quotations here. Moreover, in this section, you cannot present any information that is not mentioned in the main body paragraphs. Thus, the concluding part of the research paper should look like the brief version of the entire research paper.

Proofreading

When you finished writing your Geography research paper, you should reread it several times. The best way to do it is through reading it again in a few days. In this case, you will be able to look at your paper from the fresh perspective. While proofreading the text, you should pay attention to grammar, punctuation, style, and content. If you want to check whether your paper is coherent and cohesive, ask someone to read it. However, you should remember that the selected person should have strong writing skills and be able to find any mistake and explain it. Furthermore, you may ask the person to tell what can be changed to improve the quality of the paper. What is more, that person may give some interesting ideas that will help you to expand your research paper. As a result, one can state that the outside help may essentially enhance your paper.

Moreover, there are some general features of a good research paper, and if your Geography research paper corresponds to most of the points presented below, you will receive a high mark:

  • Relevant (you selected the issue which is of high importance nowadays);
  • Credible (you supported your arguments with various statistics, studies, and other researches);
  • Logical (you structured your paper properly and applied linking words to make it smooth);
  • Informative (you presented some new ideas or solutions to the selected issue).

References

  1. Australian Geography Teachers Association. “Contemporary Geographical Issues.” GeogSpace, Education Services Australia Ltd., 2013, www.geogspace.edu.au/verve/_resources/2.2.2.3_1_contem_issues_media_pdf.pdf
  2. “Department of Geography, Environment & Society Writing and Research Guide.” University of Minnesota, 2018, cla.umn.edu/sites/cla.umn.edu/files/geographywritingandresearchguide.pdf.
  3. “Genre and the Research Paper.” Purdue Online Writing Lab, 2018, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/658/02/.
  4. “Prewriting Strategies.” KU Writing Center, 25 July 2017, writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies.
  5. “Types of Sources.” Widener University, 2018, www.widener.edu/about/campus_resources/wolfgram_library/documents/1_4_Types of Sources.pdf.
  6. “10 Great Topics for Your Geography Research Paper.” Motive Art, 2018, www.motive-art.org/10-great-topics-for-an-a-research-paper-in-geography.