Any successful academic paper is the result of heavy work: a college student needs to research a topic or question through reading, analysis, and synthesis of various information sources. In fact, it takes considerable time to find and review relevant sources, read and examine the information from them, take notes, create an outline, and write drafts, edit the final version.
Want to write a good research paper? Do it correctly! It is crucial to divide a project, including a written one, into manageable steps. This music research paper writing guide is to help you write a music research paper as required in most colleges accordingly at each stage of writing. Let’s see what they are in your research paper.
Choosing Music Topics to Research on Paper
In order to write a research paper, you need to choose a topic with which you’ll deal preferably with pleasure. What are these topics on which you’ll immediately start working? Make sure that a topic corresponds to the assignment requirements and your own interest.
It is not less important to carefully define the title of a research paper. Stick to the title that is 5-15 words in length. The successfully chosen titles are narrowly focused according to 4 goals:
- Predict the content of a paper;
- Compel the reader’s attention;
- Reflect the tone of writing;
- Contain keywords to search for a paper.
10 Title Examples for a Music Research Paper
Spend some time to look at the list. Maybe, you’ll find something interesting for yourself as a researcher:
- Musicology: What Does a Music Study Involve?;
- Music and Musical Activities from a Historical Perspective;
- The Development of Music: Top Innovations in the Music Technology;
- The Perception of Music during Different Eras;
- The Concept of “a Musical Work” in the Art: The Interpretation of a Work’s Meaning;
- The Modern Stylistic Development in Music: A Trending Analysis;
- The Musical Environment in the 21st Century: What Makes Music Modern?;
- The Significance of Music for Different Communities;
- The Interaction Between Music and Identity (National, Racial, Gender, Individual);
- The Relationship between the Human Body, Health and Music.
If you feel uncertain about what to choose, you can explore some ideas about music during interesting TED Talks. After you decide what topic you’ll cover, you’re ready to go on.
Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
Searching for Reliable Information Sources
A good research paper entails searching for detailed information on the topic of choice. There are a number of great sources to help you research your topic. You can get more information by surfing the Internet or referring to books and journals from the library.
Approach the research process as a detective whose job is to find the clues and strong evidence. For that reason, you should discover attentively all works written in your research area – music. Where to find them?
Here you are some reliable sources of information for your research paper:
- JSTOR. It is an online platform where more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources are easily found. Be sure to find the valuable works just clicking the subject you need.
- Oxford Music Online. It is an authoritative resource with over 51,000 articles written for music research. You’ll surely find what you expect.
- RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. It is a global music research community that represents the full-text articles from over 200 journals. Access them based on the bibliographic records.
5 Useful Search Tips from Our Academic Writers:
- Search for your topic by using and combining keywords when looking for journal articles in the electronic databases. For example, if you investigate a topic ‘The Development of Music: Top Innovations in the Music Technology’, what keywords you’ll type? Right – ‘music technology’, ‘development of music’ and ‘music innovations’.
- Take advantage of the Advanced Search in the electronic databases. For example, you can specify the publication data as the latest studies are required to be mentioned (the works written within 10 years are more desirable in many colleges than older ones).
- Find it helpful to look through the sources cited in the article. Depending on the size of your paper, a different number of sources can be used. That’s why you can use some relevant sources from a pattern of references in the article that you can find in the database.
- Note down the names of journals/titles of articles that you come across during the search. Don’t be lazy to take a pen and write. Otherwise, you risk losing the prominent sources in your field. To make it easy, you can keep records in a computer or electronic devices as most sources are online. Just use a copy/paste option.
- Use a reference manager to organize your own library of stored papers. You simply download articles on your computer with one button click. Then you can easily to compile the reference list for your research paper with the help of either EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero.
Only after all the theoretical material is found and properly analyzed, you can proceed with writing a research paper.
Writing the Rough Draft of Your Research Paper
It is worth to start with an outline that will show visually what you’re going to speak about. This outline can be expanded gradually turning into a rough draft. The vast majority of academic paper can be broken down into different constituent parts. Let’s see what you should include into your research paper outline:
- introduction and thesis statement;
- literature review;
- main body of the paper/argument;
- list of sources.
No matter how you prefer to write a paper by hand or typing, try to do it in the following way – create some document files marked out according to the part of the research paper you’re working on. If you’re going to work on an introduction, name it “Introduction” and start dealing with it. Continue working in the same manner with the rest of the parts. After all of them are completed, you can combine them into one document file under the title ‘My Music Research Paper’.
Composing a Music Research Paper Step-by-Step
The good idea is to get prepared thoroughly in advance. It will give you more chances not to suffer from the writing process. You just need to write about what you gather and analyze. Below you’ll be introduced to the tips on how you should work on each essential part. All the sections are presented in order of importance they are.
8 Parts that Make a Research Paper Well-Structured: How Make Them Full?
- Thesis statement. You need to have a thesis statement formulated, around which you will go while covering a research topic. Let your readers know how you address the research question(s) in one line long. Without a well-formulated thesis statement, there are little chances to come into contact with the readers. They won’t understand what you will aim at.
- Literature review. The research process entails the review of what the others have written about the topic under discussion. Starting by writing the review allows you to focus on the existing knowledge about the subject and ways how the research can be conducted. Then, you can base your paper on the others’ researches just referring to them correctly. The guide at the Writing Center will be helpful to know what you’re required in a literature review.
- The main body of a research paper. Don’t get confused that you aren’t still given the tips on how to write an introduction. Well, it is logical to write an introduction first. However, start writing with the main points that support your thesis. You’ll be able to slightly change your ideas during writing. So that you won’t do the double work, develop your main part where you need to provide detailed and strong evidence on an issue.
- Conclusion. After spending much time and energy presenting the points in the main body of the paper, you need to summarize briefly your findings. It is important to have the last word on the subject so vividly as to impress the reader. All the final words must be clearly stated. It is easier to write a conclusion when the main points covered previously are still fresh in your mind.
- Introduction. After the main points are presented, and the research results are obtained, don’t hesitate to introduce a topic. Eventually, you know all the aspects of a topic that will allow you to orient the reader in the correct direction – to grasp the idea of your writing.
- Methodology. You obviously need to know what methods you’re going to apply in a research paper. But when the main body of a paper is written, feel free to cover what methods help you achieve the results. By doing so, you won’t miss any important point of the research procedure.
- List of sources. You’re recommended to have the list of sources organized because you’ll work further on the parts where you’ll refer to different information sources. All of them are numbered and written in an alphabetical order. All it takes is referring to a source with the help of a number. Be careful with formatting a bibliography or list of references as your instructor may require you to use MLA, APA or any other style. Indeed, you can edit it after the writing process, or you can simplify the editing process just forming the correct reference list.
- Abstract. Not every academic paper requires an abstract. But if you write a long and complex paper, it will be useful to have an abstract. Actually, this part (from 100 to 300 words) is more important than you can think in the beginning – ‘Oh ☹ One more part I need to write?’ However, an abstract is particularly essential as you need to show the reader a broad overview of your paper. It is the first of the paper to which an instructor pays attention. Don’t write it hastily or carelessly like the other parts as well.
Editing a Research Paper Accordingly
Thinking, ‘I wrote all the parts, and now Dobby is free?’ You’ll go wrong if you decide to finish doing anything with a paper – for example, proofreading and editing according to the style of formatting (APA, MLA, Harvard, etc.) Although you are tempted to simply read your paper or use any online check tool, editing is meant to be a bit more in-depth.
Generally speaking, the effective editing process requires that:
- you reread your research paper carefully;
- you play the role of a reader rather than a writer;
- you use strategies to examine your writing.
3 Effective Editing Strategies from Our Experts to Find Some Typical Errors
The effective editing process requires that you know the types of errors that are frequently observed in research papers and that you have specific strategies for finding those errors. Be sure that your mind and eyes are fresh to work with a paper again.
- Read the paper aloud. This way, you can notice some incomplete phrases, sentences. Many students, and not only students, are used to skipping from one point to another. Read the whole paper to fix all possible mistakes in sentence structures. You can try to read the paper by looking at the words from right to left and starting at the bottom of the page.
- Print the paper out. You’ll be surprised how many typos you’ll find when the printed copy is in hand and in front of your eyes. It doesn’t show that you aren’t a very attentive student. Even qualified touch typists are able to make mistakes. Haven’t ever noticed different typos in books? There are such issues because most workers are used to writing on their computers, edit on them as well. Read the printed pages of your research papers aloud and backwards. Nothing better can be found.
- Stick to your personal patterns of error. Someone can be good at one field, another can be bad at it and vice versa. So, if you feel some difficulties with punctuation, go through the paper again by focusing on punctuation marks. The rules concerning punctuation marks in English can come in handy.
All in all, you’ve already discovered what makes a research paper powerful:
- a proper structure;
- meaningful writing of research ideas;
- the lack of errors.
Now, you can start writing your own music research paper by considering all the essential tips on how to write a really good academic paper. Keep healthy and study well!