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The AP Research Paper Example

The AP Research Paper is an integral part of the Advanced Placement program, a set of rigorous and challenging courses offered by the College Board to high school students. This paper is designed to help students develop the skills required for college-level research and writing. In this guide, we will provide an overview of the research process, share an example research paper, and highlight common mistakes to avoid.

Overview of the Research Process

  1. Choosing a Research Question: The first step in the research process is to identify a research question or problem. This question should be specific, meaningful, and relevant to the chosen discipline.

  2. Collecting and Analyzing Sources: Once the research question is established, the next step is to gather and analyze appropriate sources, which may include books, journals, and online resources.

  3. Organizing the Paper: Once the research is complete, it’s time to organize the paper. An AP Research Paper is typically divided into four sections: introduction, literature review, methodology, and results.

  4. Citing References: Proper citation of sources is important in demonstrating the credibility and reliability of the research. Ensure to consistently and accurately cite sources that have been used throughout the paper.

Example Research Paper

Here is an example of an AP Research Paper that received high marks from the College Board:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Adolescent Mental Health

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Problem Statement: To investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of adolescents.

Research Question: How does social media use by adolescents affect their mental health?

Key Elements of the Paper:

  • Clear and concise problem statement and research question
  • Comprehensive literature review
  • Well-designed methodology
  • Thorough analysis of results
  • Accurate and consistent citations of sources

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Some common mistakes students make while writing their AP Research Paper include:

  • Not selecting a specific and well-defined research question
  • Inadequate analysis of sources
  • Poor organization of the paper
  • Improper citation of sources

To avoid these mistakes, it is important to carefully review the requirements and guidelines set forth by the College Board, and plan accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • The AP Research Paper is an important part of the Advanced Placement program, designed to prepare students for college-level research.
  • The research process includes selecting a research question, collecting and analyzing sources, organizing the paper, and citing references.
  • A good AP Research Paper should have a clear problem statement, well-defined research question, comprehensive literature review, well-designed methodology, and thorough analysis of results.
  • Common mistakes to avoid include inadequately defined research questions, improper analysis of sources, poor organization of paper, and incorrect citation of sources.


What is the Advanced Placement (AP) program?

The Advanced Placement program is a set of college-level courses and exams that high school students can take to earn college credits and demonstrate their readiness for higher education.

How long should an AP Research Paper be?

The guidelines set forth by the College Board recommend that an AP Research Paper should be between 4000 and 5000 words. However, the length may vary based on the discipline and specific requirements of the course.

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