Q. What is a research paper?
A research paper is not simply a summary of a topic using sources. It is not a book report or an essay. With a research paper, you need to investigate and evaluate sources with the intention of offering an interpretation of the source material in the context of the overall topic. In short, you use your source material and your own insights to prove your point.
College research assignments have your ask a question, to read widely in search of possible answers, to interpret what you read, to draw reasoned conclusions and to support those conclusions with valid and well-documented evidence (Hacker, 2009, p. 92). Thus, a research paper at the college level is a time-consuming, sometimes difficult, writing endeavor.
Here are additional resources on writing a research paper: