Writing a Research Paper: Basic Steps

Before writing a research paper, it is essential to find out what a research paper is. Actually, it is a large academic paperwork that entails extensive research and logical and concise representation of the main arguments and findings in relation to the given topic.

When writing a research paper, you are expected to work with dozens of scholarly sources that should be preferable peer-reviewed and taken from credible databases and libraries. It is essential for research paper writing as you have to base it on expert opinion. In other words, the information you get from scholarly sources can be further used as supporting evidence for the claims you put forward. Still, writing a research paper entails far more than simply summarizing the sources and conducting a literature review. You need to implement analysis regarding your topic and discuss the given topic from multiple perspectives if needed. Further, you need to make sure that the research paper is united by a central idea that is clearly and precisely conveyed in the thesis statement. All in all, regardless of the topic or type of research paper you provide, it is essential to ensure that you provide your own arguments supported by expert opinion.


Just for a comparison: if a lawyer needs to write a research paper, he/ she fist needs to carry out a thorough research and investigate many cases that can help work on his/ her own case. Information and knowledge acquired from reading those case studies assist in supporting scientific principles and providing examples as supporting evidence. This strategy works well with different research paper topics (not only when it has to do with law). For example, when writing a paper on history, it is essential to study a lot of history materials in order to explore numerous sources and find similar and different views on the same topic.

Some people view a research paper as an extended essay that, apart from literature review, presents one’s own arguments, analysis, and evaluation supported with ample evidence. The main difference between an essay and a research paper is that the former can mainly involve your personal experience on a subject, whereas the latter deals with analysis and evaluation of information that you know about the subject along with supporting expert opinion. As such, when you write a research paper, you need to investigate and analyze information taken from reliable sources in the corresponding field of knowledge.

In this article, you will find guidelines on how to organize your research paper and make navigation through it as easy as possible. Besides, you will learn the basics of how to formulate a strong thesis statement, develop research questions, organize body paragraphs, and document your sources.

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Tips on Research Paper Writing

  • If you were not assigned a topic by your professor, make sure you select a topic that matches your research field and academic interest. Make sure you select a topic you are curious about so that the whole process of research is not boring.
  • Design an outline. It will serve as a backbone for your paper and will help you maintain better organization of writing. If you need some outline examples, you can easily find them online.
  • Plan the pre-writing stage. Brainstorm ideas taken from multiple sources. As you read some information from textbooks, articles or journals, make sure you take notes and jot down important information that will fit well into your research.
  • Formulate a strong thesis statement, where you introduce the main focus of the paper in a brief and concise way. You may develop a rough version of thesis during your pre-writing stage. It is totally understandable that you may modify it. Nonetheless, it is essential to develop a thesis that will guide your research.
  • Double-check the paper for transitions to ensure that the paragraphs and ideas are logically united. Besides, make it clear what you plan to write next.
  • Make sure that the use of citations, quotes, statistics, facts, and figures is well-balanced. Do not make your paper look like a compilation of quotations. Make sure you incorporate your own analysis. When using a direct quotes, make sure they are relevant to the paper topic and the realm of your studies.
  • Avoid plagiarism and make sure you cite materials properly according to the required citation style.
  • Keep the list of your sources from the very beginning of writing. Do not postpone the process of reference list organization till the very end. It is far easier to insert in-text citation as you are writing the body of the paper. Therefore, a “running bibliography” is a better option than struggling with references organization upon the order completion.
  • Study the style standards carefully and make sure you are aware of the latest style updates. Make sure that all indentions, headings, subheadings, and page formats are formatted in accordance with the academic style requirements. Make sure you follow the required edition of the style since some professors may give preference to the older ones.
  • After the paper completion, formulate a clear and effective title for your research work. It should be brief but convey the central message as effectively as possible.

Free Research Paper Sample from PrimeEssays.com

As a student, your task is to write dozens of research papers. You will have to deal with a great number of topics and a heap of research paper instructions. You cannot simply ignore it, because each research paper contributes to your final grade. No matter if you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, you certainly feel worried about your writing skills. Many students have exceptional skills and talents for writing research papers, but they fail simply because they do not have enough confidence to begin the process of writing. Do not worry. You can certainly write a paper that meets all requirements developed by your professor. Forget about your anxiety. Forget about your fears. It is your time to excel in research paper writing. Follow our recommendations, and you will enjoy the process, as well as the result. You will remember it as some of the brightest experiences in your academic life.

Therefore, what you need to do is devoting some of your time to training. We do not say that you lack some writing skills. What we mean is that you will need to refine them before you can start writing your brilliant research paper. Nothing comes easily, and even the most famous writers had to spend years before they managed to write a short story or a novel. Being a research paper writer is not that difficult, but it is not that simple. You will have to devote all of yourself to writing. So, be ready to sit down in a quiet place without even minor distractions. Focus on writing. Follow these points to become a great research paper writer:

  1. Genre- Here you will learn how different research papers differ by tone, genre, and mode of writing.
  2. Topic selection – Here you will learn how to choose the best topics for your paper and what topics will best suit your research paper task.
  3. Audience – Here you will learn how to determine your target audience and craft a research paper that will meet its learning needs.
  4. How to Begin -Here you will learn how to format and structure your research paper correctly.
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