Urban Studies Research Paper: Basic Recommendations on How You Can Cope with One

Writing guide
Posted on January 16, 2019

Urban studies is a broad field of study that involves engineering, architecture, planning, social, and political factors. Thus, writing a research paper on urban studies is challenging for students because of the broad topics that fall under the area of study. The process takes not only a significant time to craft a paper but also requires profound research, in-depth understanding of the subject, intricate data analysis, and proficient writing skills. Writing a research paper may not be your strong forte, but your ability to put together a comprehensible scholarly paper will influence the outcome of your final grade. This urban studies research paper writing guide provides you with a step-by-step process that will help you improve your research paper writing skills and enhance the likelihood of your attaining high grades in your urban studies assignment. Each step is important in the writing process. Thus, take note of every guideline.

Selecting a Topic for Your Urban Studies Research Paper Writing

The first challenge in your writing process is choosing an interesting research topic. Students whose lecturers assign research paper assignments based on a particular topic do not face the topic selection challenge. However, it is common for professors to provide students with the freedom and flexibility to choose topics that interest them within the urban studies field of study. Here are some tips to help you choose a topic for your research paper:

  • The research paper will be more informative and relevant if you care about the topic. Hence, select the topic you are interested in. The interest may be based on the need to explore a certain idea, to provide a solution to an urban development issue or be based on issues affecting your daily experiences such as poverty in the metropolitan cities.
  • Narrow your ideas to come up with a manageable topic:
    • If the topic is too broad, use limiters to narrow it down to ensure it has a specific focus. Limiters may be based on geographical location, periods in the history of urban development, or populations.
    • The topic should not be too narrow or too broad as it will lose focus.
    • Background research of existing literature on urban studies can help you choose and limit the scope of your topic.
  • If your assignment has guidelines regarding the topic selection, review them and choose topics based on the guideline. Better still, ask your instructor for possible suggestions.
  • If brainstorming for topic ideas does not yield any results, refer to your lecture notes and texts on urban studies to refresh your knowledge of the urban studies unit.
  • Talking to peers may help you acquire knowledge of issues that you did not consider. Peer discussion can help focus your topic.
  • Think and analyze the who, what, when, where and why questions that guide in formulating an appropriate topic:
    • Why did I choose this topic? What interests me about it? Do I have an idea and opinion about the issues involved in the topic? Why is the topic relevant?
    • Who are the information providers on this topic? Who does the topic affect?
    • What are the likely major questions for this topic? Is the topic controversial or of interest to the intended population? What are the range of issues and viewpoints to consider under the topic?
    • Where is the topic important: at the local, national, or international level?
    • When is the topic significant? Is it a current occurrence or a historical aspect?

Possible topics for your urban studies research paper may include:

  • Urban Marginality and Public Transit Politics: Trains and Automobiles;
  • Exclusionary Housing Measures and Their Influence on Segregation: a Case of Baltimore;
  • Social Justice and Urban Economic Development;
  • Social Determinants of Urbanization and Health Disparities in Manhattan;
  • Recreational Planning in Urban Ecology.

Important Pre-Writing Tips for your Urban Studies Research Paper

  • Decide on a topic. As highlighted in the topic selection section, choosing a topic is the first important aspect of the research paper writing process. Ensure the topic you select falls within the urban studies subject and is interesting to you. The topic and the research paper content should add some value to you and the reader by introducing ideas and approaches, persuading adoption of certain practices, or reinforcing claims and opinions.
  • Conduct research. The research step is important as it directly influences your research paper content and equips you with a basis for your arguments, and evidence to support articulated claims. It is appropriate to research both primary and secondary sources to obtain a diversity of ideas.
  • Take notes. While conducting your research, take notes of the important arguments, themes, theories, statistics, and facts documented in your sources. Taking notes ensures you do not forget major issues. Besides, it helps during the paper writing process by providing quotes and accurate reference and citation pages. It would be unprofessional to submit a research paper with inaccurate citations or without proper quotes, whether direct or in parenthesis. However, do not overuse quotes unless the professor requires you to do so.
  • Clustering and outlining. On a piece of paper, write your major points and use links to put together matching or related ideas. Clustering helps you to develop themes that create more focus. Once you have completed clustering, outline why the topic and research are significant, identify relevant background material, the thesis and purpose statements, and the organizational plan for major and supporting ideas.

Creating an Appropriate Title and Thesis Statement for Your Urban Studies Research Paper

Research Paper Title

A research paper title is the first thing that draws the readers’ attention and determines whether the reader will be interested in the paper or not. Therefore, an effective and appropriate research paper title should:

  • Summarize the paper content in a few words;
  • Capture the reader’s’ attention;
  • Differentiate the research paper from other papers of the urban studies subject area.

Here are the basic urban studies research paper writing tips to consider while writing a title for your urban studies research paper:

  • Keep the title attractive, brief, and simple. Keep the title brief and clear since it will serve as a precise summary of the paper content. Avoid unnecessary details and complex noun-based phrases and use active verbs. A good research paper title should have 10 to 12 words. In other words, it should not be too short or too long. A lengthy title takes the readers’ attention away because it is unfocused while a short title may be too broad.
  • Use appropriate descriptive words. Use keywords that define the nature of your research and those used in the manuscript. Use terms people would use to search for your research paper and have them as part of your title. Keep in mind that they should add meaning to the research paper topic and content.
  • Avoid jargon and abbreviations. Unless the abbreviations are well known and common in the urban studies field of study, avoid their use. In this case, leave out lesser known terms or abbreviations not familiar to the intended audience.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement should present a summary of your research paper topic in one or a few sentences. It should also provide the readers with your paper’s argument and direction of what to expect. In other words, craft a thesis statement that informs your readers about the subject of your paper and the position you will take in the discussion. A good thesis statement should:

  • Make a limited, clear, and definite assertion that should be explained and supported by scholarly evidence;
  • Have a specific point that provides the direction of your argument;
  • Not be too big for your paper such that it would be impossible to explore every aspect of your claim;
  • Present an argument that can be proven or argued against. Ensure your intended audience does not instantly accept your thesis statement;
  • Show your perspective and position on the urban studies topic and direction of your argument;
  • Allude to the methods you will use to provide evidence to support your arguments.

Writing an Outline for Your Urban Studies Research Paper: Top Picks from Our Writers

Writing the Introduction

The introduction of your research paper should provide your readers with an overview of the entire paper but should be slightly different from the abstract. It should introduce the topic of the paper and set it in a broader context. When crafting your introduction, narrow down the topics gradually to a research issue, thesis statement, and hypotheses or research questions, depending on the nature of the research paper and topic of discussion. If your urban studies research paper is based on providing solutions to a pressing issue, the introduction should explain how you intend to solve the research question, and should create ‘leads’ that entice the reader to want to delve further into your research paper. You should assume the paper is aimed at people with a good working knowledge and understanding of the urban studies field. However, it is important to provide some working definition for the terms specific to the research paper topic.

You will need to ensure your introduction includes the following elements:

  • Contextual material or relevant background of the discussion topic;
  • Definition of concepts and terms where necessary;
  • Explanation of the paper focus and its specific purpose;
  • Your organization plan for the main themes and major points in the paper.

Moreover, the introduction may include the background or history section if the chosen urban studies topic requires one. This type of information is not a mandatory part of a paper involving research. However, it is often necessary to explain the development of a particular issue that may help put your topic within the required context.

Writing the Body

The body forms the largest part of your research paper. This is where you write the information you have gathered and arrange the relevant evidence to support the claims you make. The evidence is aimed at convincing the reader of your argument. Thus, it should be organized logically. The body of the research paper can have partitions depending on its length and the number of issues being discussed. The partitions are in the form of headings and sub-headings.

As noted above, the body paragraphs in your research paper focus on research and are broken down into sections that focus on particular aspects of your research. You should have the following goals in mind when writing the body paragraphs:

  • Incorporation of relevant and current (five to seven years) research as it pertains to your chosen urban studies topic;
  • Presentation of evidence in a balanced and objective manner;
  • Appropriate use and acknowledgment of primary and secondary sources.

Remember the outline made during the preparation phase of your research writing process? Use the outline as a flexible guide into the ideas that should be written in each body paragraph. Moreover, analyze, summarize, explain, and evaluate the primary and secondary sources you use in your research paper rather than reporting their content. Move from the generalization of concepts to varying levels of presenting relevant information about the topic of the discussion.

Unless it is necessary to use direct quotes from the existing literature on urban studies, stick to using parenthetical citations when referencing another author’s work in the body of your text.

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion of your research paper should summarize the major points and arguments of the paper and restate the thesis statement in different words. You can also highlight the significance of your research findings. If you adopt an inductive approach in your research, add your opinions and explain their impacts and significance to the research. Importantly, transit from details to a generalized consideration of the topic. You can also recommend further research of the topic if you feel it needs further exploration.

Post Writing Tips to End It Up

The post writing tips focus on revising the final draft of your research paper. When proofreading, check the organization of the paper to ensure coherence, logical flow of information, and in-depth discussion of ideas.

You should also revise the sentence structure and ensure there is consistent use of appropriate citations.

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