So you’ve been assigned a research paper for class… When I received the prompt for my first research paper I was so lost and didn’t know what to do. I began looking for resources (kind of like how you found this article!) and was hoping for some guidance. By the end of this article you will be ready to tackle that research paper with confidence! Grab your pencil and get ready to jot down a few notes!
8 Steps to Writing a Great Research Paper
1). Read the prompt and pick out a topic that addresses all of the key points in the directions.
2). Do a basic google search and see if there is information on this topic already out there. You can also search in the your school library’s databases. Make a list of the sources that you want to use to write your paper. Make sure to cite the information in the correct citation style for your class. Always include a bibliography at the end of the paper.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE EVER! You will get caught and you will be in big trouble. Please don’t ever take someone’s ideas and try to submit them as your own. ALWAYS include citations from where you got your materials.
3). Create a thesis statement for your paper. What will you argue in the paper? A good thesis statement will be included in the introduction and conclusion of your research paper.
4). Create an outline for your paper. I like to separate research papers into the following categories: introduction, body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, body paragraph 3, and conclusion. This is the most basic outline you can create. There can be more body paragraphs or additional literature reviews if needed. Always write your thesis statement at the top of your outline. Connect all supporting paragraphs back to the thesis statement.
5). Write a rough draft of your paper. Take all of the ideas you wrote in the outline and develop them into sentences. You can move the ideas and paragraphs around to make your argument stronger.
Make sure that each paragraph has a topic sentence. The topic sentence will help organize the paper and give it structure.
6). After writing a rough draft of your paper you can ask your professor or TA to look at it. You can then incorporate their feedback into your paper to make it stronger and get a better grade!
BONUS TIP: Many universities have writing centers that you can visit as well. You schedule an appointment and they help you fix grammar, style, and clarity issues. The writing center at my university was so helpful – I took several papers there.
7). Write a final draft of your paper incorporating all of the feedback you received from the professor and writing center. Read and reread the paper before submitting it!
8). Upload your paper to the dropbox or turn it in to your professor!
I hope these research writing paper tips were helpful! Stay tuned for more helpful tips!
Happy Writing! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂