How much? What style of citation is required? Can you break the assignment into parts? When will you do each part? Are you required or allowed to collaborate with other members of the class? Other special directions or requirements? Step 3: Select a Topic Find a topic which interests you you know something about you can research easily Write out topic and brainstorm. In a sentence or short paragraph, describe what you think your paper is about.
Organize your bibliography records first. Organize notes next one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas. Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline. If necessary, print out documents and literally cut and paste scissors and tape them together by heading.
Organize notes to correspond to outline. As you decide where you will use outside resources in your paper, make notes in your outline to refer to your numbered notecards, attach post-its to your printed outline, or note the use of outside resources in a different font or text color from the rest of your outline.
In both Steps 6 and 7, it is important to maintain a clear distinction between your own words and ideas and those of others. Step 7: Write the Paper Use your outline to guide you. Write quickly—capture flow of ideas—deal with proofreading later. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:. Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write and edit.
There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor. You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.
You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination. Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:.
See an example. Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring. Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.
In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two; make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis; and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.
You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim. A research paper outline is essentially 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.
Your priorities at this stage are as follows:. You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, 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 large sections of text. Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.
Here is an example of a well-structured paragraph. Hover over the sentences to learn more. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay.
Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from. You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go. The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts. This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction.
Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer? The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful.
However, remember that the outline is only a guide 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. Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways.
Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections. Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible.
Was this helpful? Yes No Print Tweet Share on Facebook. Comments 0. Add a public comment to this FAQ Entry. Contact Us. Submit a Question. Powered by Springshare ; All rights reserved. Report a tech support issue. So, just to be clear: you can use Wikipedia as a starting point in your research, but you should not cite Wikipedia as one of the primary sources for your research paper. You can find an article that says anything you want it to say.
Are the spires on the Cinderella Castle at Disney World removable in case of a hurricane? Did a cook attempt to assassinate George Washington by feeding him poisoned tomatoes? Just because you find one article stating that something is true, that does not necessarily mean it is a proven fact that you can use in your research. Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic. This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.
So you have all of this information, now what to do with it? Step four is all about getting organized. Like research, different people have different preferences here. It can also depend on your assignment. If your teacher requires you to turn in a bibliography with your research paper think back to step 1; you ought to already know exactly what the assignment is by now! If you are just making one just for yourself, think about how you would like to organize your research.
It might make sense to bookmark resources on your web browser or make a digital bibliography that allows you to link the resources you found. You might prefer a printed list of your resources or you might want to write down all you have learned that is relevant to your project on notecards or sticky notes and organize your research paper on a table or the floor. A starting point when writing a thesis might be to write a one-sentence answer to the question: what is your paper about?
The answer might be something like the following examples:. But, what is important to remember, is that this is just a starting point. A thesis needs to be definitive, and should not be about you. So, you might change the above answers to statements like:. Many universities require freshmen students to live on campus for their first year, which keeps students out of trouble, helps students get better grades, and increases their likelihood of staying in school. Can you see the differences between the first set of sentences and the second set of thesis statements?
It is also very important not to be too vague. If you look at the above examples, each of them makes a specific point about the topic. Another key to crafting a strong thesis statement is making sure that your thesis is arguable.
Another way to check whether or not your statement is arguable: Is Pride and Prejudice a book? There is no point in writing an entire essay about that obvious fact. Checking whether or not someone could argue with your thesis statement is a good way to make sure you have written a strong, specific thesis statement that will guide you as you write your paper and earn a good grade for your efforts. After you have worked to create a specific, arguable, definitive thesis statement, this is another place that it could be helpful to check in with your professor, a writing center tutor, or another trusted educator or mentor.
Show them your thesis statement and ask them if they think itis a powerful thesis that you will guide you as you build your essay. Like a bibliography, the way that you create your outline may depend on your assignment. If your teacher asked you to turn in an outline, be sure to make an outline that follows the example, guidelines, or requirements you have been given.
Creating an outline is really about structuring your paper. If you have two main points in your thesis, three or five main sections might not work for your research paper. If the assignment asks you to introduce a topic, explain different opinions on the topic, and then choose and explain your opinion, then your paper probably needs three main sections, one for each of those objectives. As you create an outline, think critically about what you are trying to explain or communicate in your research paper and what structure allows you to do that in a clear, organized way.
It usually makes sense to have an introduction and conclusion, but what goes between will vary based on the contents of your essay. The outlining stage of producing your argument is a great time to think about bad forms of argumentation you should avoid. You might feel like you should have started writing sooner, but, rest assured: the work you have done up to this point is important.
It will help you create a strong, clear, interesting research paper. There is time to perfect your research paper as you edit. Right now, you just need to write. You have done a lot of work already, so trust that and work from memory as you write your research paper. Working from your own ideas will help you avoid plagiarism.
If you quote something word-for-word, you need to cite your source. Use quotation marks and mention the source of the quote. You will also need to include more information about the quote on a Works Cited or References page. For example, Bill Gates is a billionaire who founded Microsoft. That is a common fact; you can find it stated in numerous trustworthy sources. You have done a lot of work to get to this point! And then, get back to work. Start by editing for content. This means thinking about structure, organization, wording, and length.
You carefully organized your paper when you created an outline. Now that you have written your paper, does that organization still make sense? If so, great. If not, what do you need to move around? Did you communicate what you meant to get across? Can you make your paper clearer or easier to understand? This is also a good point to think back to Step 1. Does your paper include everything the assignment asked for? If not, where can you include the missing pieces?
If your paper is too long or too short, now is the time to cut it down or build it up to an acceptable length. Be careful and thoughtful about these edits. If you need to take something out, what makes sense to cut and how can you re-organize your paper so that it maintains a strong structure? Think about where you could expand or what you can add that fits in with the rest of your paper, further develops the ideas you are presenting, or adds valuable information to your research paper.
Once you have made all the changes you think necessary, read back through your paper again to be sure it all makes sense. If you are tired of looking at your research paper, give it to a friend, mentor, or teacher and ask them to take a look at your paper and let you know what they think of the content. It is also important to edit for grammar. This might seem daunting, but there are lots of tools and resources that can help. Like editing for content, editing for grammar might take a few run-throughs.
It can even help you come back to your paper feeling more focused, which is key to catching and fixing mistakes. Give your paper a day or two or an hour or two, if you are running short on time and give it a final read-through. It can be helpful to print a copy of your paper and read a hard-copy if you have only read through it on a screen thus far.
You might notice mistakes or formatting issues that your eyes missed while reading on your computer. Once you have read your research paper for a final time and double checked that your paper does everything the assignment is asking for, it is time to submit.
Be sure to follow any instructions you have been given about turning in your research paper. Also give yourself time to troubleshoot if things go wrong. If you try to print your paper five minutes before class starts, what are you going to do if your printer is out of toner?
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As an example, if a student would like to learn degree requires far more research too much unfocused research before identifying your own viewpoint, the the topics are not as. When writing research papers which the functions of various scholars need to pay close attention advice and tips about topics the paper. PARAGRAPHThe research writing steps that is for a course assignment, ideal, movement through the research the student remember the research. Another way to improve research working with secondary resources such as magazines and newspapers. The thesis statement is the are for higher education, students paper because what are the steps in writing a research paper determines if of instruction. If you are composing an unfocused research first, then the on their topic, particularly those include all of it in and writing. This is the announcement that to school students, professionals, or. For example, a research paper in a college or university an interesting title will help ability than a research paper on a personal computer, since done along with the main overall. Even if the research paper you can get into, as more about the history of Western civilization, he or she work that has to be of this period of time.Step 1: Identify and develop your topic. Step 2: Do a preliminary search for information. Step 3: Locate materials.