Step-by-Step Research Paper Writing Manual

A research paper is often assigned in college so that students can practice their research and writing skills. There is an expected process to follow in properly crafting a research paper. Hints and tips for writing papers can be found all over the internet, but if you are looking for a step by step manual to follow, here is a condensed version:

  1. Choose a topic. Find a topic that interests you or choose one from the list if the topics are teacher assigned topics. The topic will need to be narrowed down to a research question or an argumentative statement. Choosing something that you are passionate about or already have firm ideas about is a good strategy.
  2. Locate good sources. A variety of sources is the best. Books, academic and professional journal articles, interviews with experts in the field, government or university websites and published academic papers are all reputable sources for information for your research paper.
  3. Write a thesis. The thesis outlines the goal of the research paper. It is the thesis that you will be attempting to support with evidence from your research and reading.
  4. Write the essay. The introduction tells the reader what the topic and question are all about; it proposes the thesis. The body of the essay will contain all the support for your statement that you have researched. It will all be written in your own words even though the ideas were harvested from other sources. The summary or concluding paragraph will wrap up what was presented in the research paper and leave the reader thinking. If your objective was to persuade the reader to agree with your stand on the research statement, then the closing paragraph is your last chance.
  5. Proofreading and editing. Although this step can be accomplished by you, it is preferable to have someone else assist you. The proofreading should be a thorough job to catch all the errors and correct them. The editing should be done by someone else if possible, so they catch your errors. If you edit your own work, then wait a few days after writing to do the editing. It gives you a fresh perspective.

Following the above 5 steps will help you get your research paper written and edited and ready to submit to your teacher. Stay away from distractions and set aside specific time every day to work on your essay and you will be surprised how easy the process becomes.

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