Pick an Academic Discipline
Research papers look different depending on the academic field in which one is writing. In fields related to science, research papers require extensive data collection, either as a result of observation or controlled experimentation. This style of research is very different from the humanities, where a lot of research focuses on reviewing existing literature, interpreting its meaning, and providing a new perspective. Social sciences research tends to be somewhere in between. The need for controlled experiments is not as great as the sciences, there is greater room for interpretation but not as great as in the humanities, and there is often a data science element. Choosing a research discipline is necessary for the next step: finding a research mentor.