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How to Write a Research Paper

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❶Once you've found at least 5 reputable sources, outline the information you've learned through your research.

Welcome to our toolkit for writing research!




These are articles or books written by experts in your field of interest, whose work has been read and vouched for by other experts in the same field. These can be found in scientific journals or via an online search. Take a trip to your local library or university library. Although it may seem old fashioned, libraries are chock full of helpful research materials from books to newspapers and magazines to journals.

Typically, websites that end with. That is because these websites belong to schools, the government, or organizations dealing with your topic. Try changing your search query often to find different search results for your topic. There are special search engines and academic databases available that search through thousands of peer-reviewed or scientifically published journals, magazines, and books. Look for databases that cover your subject only. For example, PsycINFO is an academic database that holds nothing but works done by authors in the field of psychology and sociology.

This will help you to get more tailored results than a very general search would. Take advantage of this ability to ask for specific information by using as many of the query boxes as you can. Visit your school library and ask the librarian for a full list of the academic databases they subscribe to, as well as the passwords for each. Get creative with your research. This should contain many more books and journals that are about your topic as well. This step is very important: Make marks on anything that you think might be remotely important or that could be put to use in your paper.

As you mark off important pieces in the research, add your own commentary and notes explaining to yourself where you might use it in your paper. Writing down your ideas as you have them will make writing your paper much easier and give you something to refer back to.

Annotating your research can take quite a bit of time, but needs to be taken one step further in order to add a bit more clarity for the outlining process. Organize your notes by collecting all of your highlighted phrases and ideas into categories based on topic.

For example, if you are writing a paper analyzing a famous work of literature, you could organize your research into a list of notes on the characters, a list of references to certain points in the plot, a list of symbols the author presents, et cetera.

Try writing each quote or item that you marked onto an individual note card. That way, you can rearrange and lay out your cards however you would like. Color code your notes to make it easier. Write down a list of all the notes you are using from each individual resource, and then highlight each category of information in a different color.

For example, write everything from a particular book or journal on a single sheet of paper in order to consolidate the notes, and then everything that is related to characters highlight in green, everything related to the plot mark in orange, et cetera. As you go through your notes, mark down the author, page number, title, and publishing information for each resource. This will come in handy when you craft your bibliography or works cited page later in the game.

Identify the goal of the paper. Generally, speaking, there are two types of research paper: Each requires a slightly different focus and writing style which should be identified prior to starting a rough draft. An argumentative research paper takes a position on a contentious issue and argues for one point of view. The issue should be debatable with a logical counter argument. An analytic research paper offers a fresh look at an important issue.

The subject may not be controversial, but you must attempt to persuade your audience that your ideas have merit. This is not simply a regurgitation of ideas from your research, but an offering of your own unique ideas based on what you have learned through research.

Who would be reading this paper, should it be published? Although you want to write for your professor or other superior, it is important that the tone and focus of your paper reflect the audience who will be reading it. The thesis statement is a sentence statement at the beginning of your paper that states the main goal or argument of your paper. Although you can alter the wording of your thesis statement for the final draft later, coming up with the main goal of your essay must be done in the beginning.

All of your body paragraphs and information will revolve around your thesis, so make sure that you are clear on what your thesis is. What is the primary question or hypothesis that you are going to go about proving in your paper? Your thesis should express the main idea of your paper without listing all of your reasons or outline your entire paper.

Determine your main points. The body of your essay will revolve around the ideas that you judge to be most important. Go through your research and annotations to determine what points are the most pivotal in your argument or presentation of information.

What ideas can you write whole paragraphs about? Which ideas to you have plenty of firm facts and research to back with evidence? Write your main points down on paper, and then organize the related research under each. When you outline your main ideas, putting them in a specific order is important.

Place your strongest points at the beginning and end of your essay, with more mediocre points placed in the middle or near the end of your essay. Main ideas can be spread out over as many paragraphs as you deem necessary. Depending on your paper rubric, class guidelines, or formatting guidelines, you may have to organize your paper in a specific way.

For example, when writing in APA format you must organize your paper by headings including the introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

These guidelines will alter the way you craft your outline and final paper. With the aforementioned tips taken into consideration, organize your entire outline.

Justify main points to the left, and indent subsections and notes from your research below each. The outline should be an overview of your entire paper in bullet points.

Write your body paragraphs. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, writing your introduction first may be more difficult to accomplish than starting with the meat of your paper.

Starting by writing the main points focusing on supporting your thesis allows you to slightly change and manipulate your ideas and commentary. You can start your introduction with a few sentences which announce the topic of your paper and give an indication of the kind of research questions you will be asking. This is a good way to introduce your readers to your topic and pique their interest. In scientific papers this is sometimes known as an "inverted triangle", where you start with the broadest material at the start, before zooming in on the specifics.

It provides the reader with an indication of the content of the essay and encourages them to read on. Consider referring to key words. When you write a research paper for publication you will be required to submit it along with a series of key words which give a quick indication of the areas of research you are addressing.

You may also have certain key words in your title which you want to establish and emphasise in your introduction. Define any key terms or concepts. It may be necessary for you to clarify any key terms or concepts early on in your introduction. You need to express yourself clearly throughout your paper so if you leave an unfamiliar term or concept unexplained you risk your readers not having a clear understanding of your argument.

Introduce the topic through an anecdote or quotation. If you are writing a humanities or social science essay you can find more literary ways to begin your introduction and announce the topic of your paper. It is common for humanities essays in particular to begin with an illustrative anecdote or quotation that points to the topic of the research.

This is a variation of the "inverted triangle" technique and can generate interest in your paper in a more imaginative way and demonstrate an engaging writing style.

If you use an anecdote ensure that is short and highly relevant for your research. It has to function in the same way as an alternative opening, namely to announce the topic of your research paper to your reader. For example, if you were writing a sociology paper about re-offending rates among young offenders, you could include a brief story of one person whose story reflects and introduces your topic.

This kind of approach is generally not appropriate for the introduction to a natural or physical sciences research paper where the writing conventions are different. Include a brief literature review. Depending on the overall length of your paper, it will be necessary to include a review of the existing literature already published in the field. This is an important element of your paper which demonstrates that you have a strong knowledge and understanding of the debates and scholarship in your area.

You should aim to indicate that you have a broad knowledge, but that you are engaging in the specific debates most relevant to your own research. It is important to be concise in the introduction, so provide an overview on recent developments in the primary research rather than a lengthy discussion.

A strong literature review presents important background information to your own research and indicates the importance of the field. Use the literature to focus in on your contribution. A concise but comprehensive literature review can be a very effective way to frame your own research paper. As you develop your introduction, you can move from the literature to focus in on your own work and its position relevant to the broader scholarship. By making clear reference to existing work you can demonstrate explicitly the specific contribution you are making to move the field forward.

You can identify a gap in the existing scholarship and explain how you are addressing it and moving understanding forward. Elaborate on the rationale of your paper. Once you have framed your work within a broader context you can elaborate more fully on the rationale of your research and its particular strengths and importance.

The rationale should clearly and concisely indicate the value of your paper and its contribution to the field. For example, if you are writing a scientific paper you could stress the merits of the experimental approach or models you have used. Stress what is novel in your research and the significance of your new approach, but don't give too much detail in the introduction. State your research questions. Once you have indicated where your research sits in the field and the general rationale for your paper, you can specify the research questions the paper addresses.

The literature review and rationale frames your research and introduces your research question. This question should be developed fluently from the earlier parts of the introduction and shouldn't come as a surprise to the reader. An example of a research question could be "what were the consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the Mexican export economy? A good research question should shape a problem into a testable hypothesis. After you have specified your research questions you need to give a clear and concise articulation of your hypothesis, or your thesis statement.

This is a statement which indicates your essay will make a specific contribution and have a clear result rather than just covering a broader topic. If possible try to avoid using the word "hypothesis" and rather make this implicit in your writing. In a scientific paper, giving a clear one-sentence overview of your results and their relation to your hypothesis makes the information clear and accessible.

Outline the structure of your paper. In some cases the final part of an introduction to a research paper will be a few lines that provide an overview of the structure of the body of the paper. This is not always necessary and you should pay attention to the writing conventions in your discipline. In a natural sciences paper, for example, there is a fairly rigid structure which you will be following.

Sample Research Introduction for Humanities. We have developed a prototype decision tree also available online from Penelope Research to help you choose the right reporting guideline for your work. This wizard only includes common reporting guidelines for generic study types and does not include most guideline extensions. You might also want to supplement a common reporting guideline with any specific guidance for your clinical area or study type. The Library is a searchable database of all reporting guidelines.

Use the drop-down menus to see all of the reporting guidelines and extensions for a study type. You can also search for guidelines written specifically for certain clinical specialties or sections of the research paper with these drop-down menus. It explains why we need standardised reporting of important details in health research publications and how to use reporting guidelines.

It also has chapters on the guidelines most commonly required by journals. You can read some sample chapters here:. You can read more about the textbook here. Several guideline development groups have published articles with examples of good reporting for each item on their checklist.


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How to Write a Research Paper. What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. This Chapter outlines the logical steps to .

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You and your research, Hamming’s famous talk on how to do great research. The Navigators Research Book of Style is a slide deck from the Navigators research group at the University of Lisbon. It covers choosing a research topic, doing research, and writing and submitting a paper.

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Writing papers: model 2 Idea Do research Write paper Idea Write paper Do research! Forces us to be clear, focused! Crystallises what we don’t understand. 7 Steps to Writing a Great Research Paper. by Cathy Keller Brown. As you begin taking more upper-level courses, you may be distressed to find that your grades hinge on one assignment—a major research paper.

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Reviewers do not wish to review papers that are not readable. Badly written papers are often recommended as “REJECT” by the Reviewers ACS Publication office helps to edit the language for accepted manuscripts, but this only happens if the English was good enough to be reviewed. To do even better . How to write a great research paper using reporting guidelines Welcome to our toolkit for writing research! Using the resources you find here will set you on the right road to writing a great research paper using reporting guidelines.