During university education as well as in the working environment, research papers became a very common way to elaborate specific topics. An academic research paper is more than a summery of numerous books or other sources. It is an analysis of a certain perspective or topic and argues a particular point. Therefore, the following essay is especially intended for the less experienced, to inform them not only about some textual and formal aspects about a research paper, but also about the approach and the preparation to get the best possible result.
The first and most important step when writing a research paper is picking the right topic. One crucial aspect according to the subject is that it should not only attract the readers of the research paper, but also the writer itself, because using a personal interest leads automatically to more precise and careful research. Choosing a topic requires an intensive analysis of various subjects and thus it is a very time consuming process, which depends on the extent of the work. "Austria During the Interwar Period," for example, might be too broad of a theme for a research paper, so it is important to get familiar with the general topic, e.g. via preliminary reading, and then narrow it to a more specific one like, "The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye." In other words, the topic of the academic research paper should neither be too broad, nor too narrow, but doable within the given timeframe and extent (Gibaldi 6-8).
Another important aspect for a successful research paper is a precise preparation. To get a general overview of the chosen topic and its available literature preliminary reading is essential. Evaluating the appropriate literature is a long process, because it is important to read as much and as many different kinds of sources of texts as possible, to get a broad overview of all the relevant primary and secondary literature and its contents.