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A Guide to a Social Work and Human Services Research Paper

A ‘research paper’ is the phrase, which evokes anxiety and depression among students. Learners realize that they will have to put many efforts and time into crafting their paper if they want to get a high mark and impress their groupmates with surprising findings. An individual should be able to organize the writing process and complete all parts of the research paper to reach the desired result and contribute to the field with his/her findings. The following social work research paper guide will be helpful when you do not know how to start or stuck with a particular part of your work.

Pre-Writing Tips from Our Academic Writers

At this point you should clearly understand the difference between a research proposal and a research paper. Although these two works are interconnected, they differ much in lengths, content, structure, goals, etc. The writing process is similar as you will have to gather information on the problem, select a topic for your research and analyze it using a particular framework. However, the primary purpose of the research proposal is to introduce the issue and convince the audience that the study worth conducting. This paper is similar to a pitch as you will have to engage the audience and motivate them to focus on your issue. Besides, you will formulate your research goals and describe what you are going to investigate in your study. On the contrary, the research paper is a finished project in which you present all the details of your work and tell about the main findings. In this study, you should expand on the topic, explain your position on the issue and introduce the results of the study. There are a set of features, which set a research paper apart from the research proposal:

  • A research paper is approximately a 10-pages document, but the lengths of the paper might differ greatly depending on the topic, methodology, the audience, type of the study, etc.;
  • A research proposal is shorter as it should only introduce the problem and convince the reader that it is worth studying;
  • A research paper should be backed up with 8-15 credible sources, so you will need to carry out an in-depth investigation of the problem;
  • A research paper presents the results of the study and describes all the details.

These features might help you to differentiate between two documents and correctly structuralize your study. It is essential to understand the central singularities between to work to craft a perfect paper and get the highest mark.

How to Select the Social Work Research Paper Topic

In most cases, students are assigned a particular topic, which they should develop and investigate in their study. In this case, you can skip this point and come to the research process. It is essential to gather more information to make the work exciting and insightful. Nevertheless, some instructors want their learners to conduct an investigation and collect more data on the issue. On the one hand, a student can look into the field of Social Work and gather information about relevant problems and existing solutions. At the same time, the writing process might become more challenging and time-consuming as a learner will have to focus on different fields, develop options, weigh up alternatives and decide on the best topic for the paper. In this case, it is possible to make a list of the most relevant and actual problems in the community and choose the one, which will meet your interests and preference. Furthermore, you might think about your profession and pick up the issue, which you might face at work. In such a way, you may develop practical solutions, which you will be able to apply in the real-life situations. If you run out of ideas, you may select a topic from the following list:

  • The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Social Wellbeing;
  • Early Intervention in Special Education and its Effect on the Life of Troubled Families;
  • Trauma Grief and Loss among Veterans;
  • Intervention Techniques for Adopted Children;
  • Diversity and its Effect on US and Canadian Communities;
  • An Interconnection between Increased Crime Rate and Drug Addictions;
  • Protection of Children’s Rights in Muslim Countries;
  • Generation Gap and its Effect on Culture;
  • Social Services for Refugees;
  • Innovative Counseling Techniques for Individuals with Disabilities, etc.

Deep Dive in the Research Process: Key Points

Before you start writing your paper, it is vital to gather more information on the topic and get a better understanding of the Social Work and Human Services field. The stage is essential since it will provide you with the necessary data and help to establish the foundation for your study. The research process might assist you with the following tasks:

  • Understand your subject;
  • Find the problematic areas and focus on them;
  • Select a relevant and exciting topic for your paper;
  • Develop a persuasive thesis statement;
  • Discuss the issue with the authority and gather primary data from your groupmates or an instructor.

The first step is to find resources, review it and analyze it. Nonetheless, you should be careful about selecting the sources for your paper as some of them might be incredible, which will negatively affect the value of your study. You might use for the following resources and incorporate them in your research paper:

  • Google Scholar;
  • Online Encyclopedias and databases:
  • Scientific Journals;
  • Newspapers;
  • State publications;
  • Official reports, etc.

Identify the keywords in your topic and search for the available information on the Internet. In such way, you will see whether your problem is relevant to the community. Additionally, you will have a chance to look at the findings of renowned scholars and analyze their solutions to a problem.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?

Develop an Outline before You Start Writing

When you conducted a study and gained basic knowledge about the sphere, you might already have the ideas for your research paper. You can develop an outline where you will include all the components of the work and incorporate your arguments. At this stage, it is significant to identify your position on the issue, which will tie up all the parts of your research paper since it will help you to develop an effective thesis statement.

Identify the Goal of the Study

You should write the primary goal of your study and make sure that it is realistic, attainable, specific and measurable. For example, the aim “to resolve the problem of homelessness” is not suitable for the research paper as your investigation will not help to address the issue in the global perspective. Instead, you should focus on realistic outcomes of you study, such as:

  • Investigate the positive and negative effects of health care reforms on the community;
  • Develop a smart solution to the problem of homelessness;
  • Evaluate the impact of innovation on the social work field;
  • Analyze the legal framework of social work in the United States and offer a set of amendments to the documents;
  • Identify the central issues in special education;
  • Analyze the effect of corporate social responsibility projects on the wellbeing of the society, etc.

These goals are attainable since you can achieve them in the scope of your study. Moreover, they are specific since they will let you focus on a particular problem and develop a discussion. Besides, these goals are realistic as you will be able to come up with a new solution and contribute to the development of the Social Work and Human Services field.

Writing Tips You Must Follow

  1. Introduction. In this part, you should present the background to your study and provide necessary information about the problem. It is an excellent idea to craft a strong opening sentence, which will quickly grab readers’ attention and engage them in the discussion. Individuals should be interested in reading the whole paper and look at the findings of your study. You might start with impressive statistics or a shocking fact, which will speak about the significance of the issue for the modern community. If you write a research paper, it does not mean that it should be boring. After that, you can state the primary purpose of your study and formulate the goal of the research. Explain how you organized your paper and what parts you want to include in the work. Finalize with a persuasive thesis statement, which will present your position on the topic and encourage readers to accept your point of view. You should cover the following steps in your introductory paragraph:
    • Create the context of the study;
    • Formulate the primary goal of the research and explain its value for the audience;
    • Conclude with a thesis statement.
  2. Main Body. You can use your outline here and include all your arguments in this part. The content of the main body is highly dependent on the type of your research and methods used. First, you can conduct a literature review and analyze the findings of other scholars. This step will help you to understand the field and provide readers with essential information on the topic. At this stage, you should identify the gap in the study and concentrate on the problem, which requires your attention. After that, you should write methodology and determine the methods and techniques, which you will apply in your research. Think over the steps, which will help you to get more data and investigate the topic in-depth. For instance, you can use interviews or questionnaires to obtain primary data, which will significantly help you in the research process. However, in this case, you will have to think over the target audience and their rights. Store the data on secure websites and databases to prevent leakages and disclosures, which will negatively affect your study and reputation. After you analyzed the previous works and obtained results, you can come to the discussion and list your main findings. It is an excellent idea to contrast your results with other scholars as it would help you to look at the problem from different perspectives and come to objective conclusions.
  3. Conclusion. Now, it is the time to summarize your findings and finalize the research paper. The majority of students restate the thesis statement, which helps reads to remind about your goal and position on the topic. However, you must not copy paste the sentence from your introduction and insert it in the conclusion section. Persuasively reword your thesis statement and encourage readers to think over the problem. Additionally, you may identify the area for further research and explain why you feel scholars should continue investigating this topic.

Post-Writing Tips: Final Touches That Matter

  1. Editing and Proofreading. After you developed the draft of your work, you should ensure that you do not have any mistakes or errors in your work. Your instructor might mark down your paper if he/she finds misprints. Therefore, it is better to give the document to your friend and ask him/her to read it. This step will help you to listen to other person’s opinion and make necessary corrections. Moreover, you can use software to check the paper for grammatical, spelling or stylistic mistakes.
  2. References. Cite your sources correctly and pay attention to the format of your paper. You should follow the requirements and make sure that all books and articles are included in your work. However, every educational institution might have own standards, so it would be better to ask a professor to provide you with recommendations.
    The social work research paper tips listed above can simplify the writing and make it more joyful. Focus on your field and find interesting information that will grab readers’ attention. If you enjoy the research process and deep dive into the area, you are likely to get the highest mark and gain success with your social work research paper.