How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner’s Guide

A inquiry newspaper is a piece of academic publish that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth mugwump research .
inquiry papers are similar to academic essays, but they are normally longer and more detail assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but besides your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong cognition of your topic, lease with a assortment of sources, and make an master contribution to the consider .
This bit-by-bit guide takes you through the stallion write action, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft .

1. Understand the assignment

Completing a research wallpaper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make certain you thoroughly understanding the assignment job sheet :

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

cautiously consider your timeframe and bible restrict : be realistic, and plan adequate time to research, write and edit .

2. Choose a research paper topic

There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and composition to talking it through with a companion student or professor .
You can try exempt write, which involves taking a broad topic and writing endlessly for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be matter to .
You can besides gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers frequently include ideas for early specific topics that require far examination .
once you have a across-the-board subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, meets the criteria of your assignment, and is potential to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and particular :

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

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3. Conduct preliminary research

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an topic that you can focus your newspaper approximately. Use a variety of sources, including journals, books and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glare .
Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view .

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this degree, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the follow sentence : “ I want to know how/what/why… ”

4. Develop a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the aim and status of your newspaper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should besides show what evidence and reasoning you ’ ll use to support that answer .
The dissertation statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a prison term or two ; make a claim that requires further tell or psychoanalysis ; and make a coherent degree that relates to every part of the newspaper .
You will probably revise and refine the dissertation instruction as you do more research, but it can serve as a guidebook throughout the write work. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central call .

5. Create a research paper outline

A research paper sketch is basically a list of the key topics, arguments and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing .
A social organization outline can help make the write process a lot more effective, so it ’ south worth dedicating some time to create one .

6. Write a first draft of the research paper

Your beginning draft won ’ thymine be arrant — you can polish belated on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows :

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the insertion. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first gear, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work .
Do not delete big sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn ’ thymine quite burst, move it to a different document, but don ’ triiodothyronine lose it completely — you never know if it might come in utilitarian later .

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic build up blocks of inquiry papers. Each one should focus on a unmarried call or mind that helps to establish the overall argument or aim of the paper .
here is an case of a well-structured paragraph. Hover over the sentences to learn more.

Example paragraph

George Orwell ’ south 1946 test “ Politics and the english Language ” has had an abiding shock on think about the relationship between politics and language.This affect is particularly obvious in fall of the respective critical reappraisal articles that have recently referenced the essay.For case, consider Mark Falcoff ’ second 2009 article in The National Review Online, “ The perversion of Language ; or, Orwell Revisited, ” in which he analyzes respective common words ( “ activist, ” “ civil-rights leader, ” “ diversity, ” and more ) .Falcoff ’ s close psychoanalysis of the ambiguity built into political lyric intentionally mirrors Orwell ’ s own point-by-point psychoanalysis of the political language of his day.Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell ’ mho try is emulated by contemporaneous thinkers .

Citing sources

It ’ second besides crucial to keep racetrack of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism. Each time you use a informant, make certain to take note of where the information came from .
You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference number as you go .
APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

7. Write the introduction

The research paper presentation should address three questions : What, why, and how ? After finishing the initiation, the reader should know what the newspaper is about, why it is worth read, and how you ’ ll build your arguments .
What? Be specific about the topic of the newspaper, introduce the background, and define identify terms or concepts .
Why? This is the most authoritative, but besides the most unmanageable, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions : What new material or insight are you offering ? What authoritative issues does your essay help define or answer ?
How? To let the lector know what to expect from the stay of the newspaper, the introduction should include a “ map ” of what will be discussed, concisely presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological decree.

8. Write a compelling body of text

The major contend faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is thus useful. however, remember that the draft is merely a steer and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented .
One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences. control :

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraph that seem to cover the like things. If two paragraphs discuss something alike, they must approach that subject in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraph, and sections .

9. Write the conclusion

The research paper ending is designed to help your reader out of the newspaper ’ sulfur argument, giving them a sense of finality .
Trace the course of the newspaper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the composition a sense of finality by making certain the proofreader understands how you ’ ve settled the issues raised in the introduction .
You might besides discuss the more general consequences of the controversy, outline what the paper offers to future students of the subject, and suggest any questions the newspaper ’ s argument raises but can not or does not try to answer .
You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

10. The second draft

There are four independent considerations when it comes to the second draft .

  1. Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  2. Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  3. Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  4. If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

11. The revision process

The finish during the rewrite and proofread procedure is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is a well-articulated as possible .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the contentedness of each paragraph, making certain that :

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

following, think about conviction structure, grammatical errors and formatting. Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for misprint, cut unnecessary words and check for consistency in aspects such as heading format and spellings .
finally, you need to make indisputable your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA drift or create an APA entitle page .
Scribbr ’ s professional editors can help with the rewrite process with our award-winning Proofreading & Editing, Clarity Check and Structure Check services .
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Research paper checklist

Checklist: Research paper

0 / 14

  • I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

  • My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

  • My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement.

  • My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings.

  • Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence.

  • Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

  • I have used appropriate transitions to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

  • My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

  • My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

  • My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

  • I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

  • I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style.

  • I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

  • I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

Well done!

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Free lecture slides

You can use, download, and modify these lecture slides to teach students about how to write a research paper.
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