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How to Write a Research Paper

Author: Dr. Rey Rosales
Published on: Aug 28, 2019
Updated on: Mar 26, 2024
Table of Content
  • STEP 1. How to start research topic?
  • STEP 2. Find information
  • STEP 3. Make your thesis statement
  • STEP 4. Make research paper outline
  • STEP 5. Oganize your notes
  • STEP 6. Literature review
  • STEP 7. The research question(s)
  • STEP 8. Research methodology
  • STEP 9. Writing the results, analysis, discussion, and conclusion
  • STEP 10. The process of writing a research paper
  • STEP 11. Write your first draft
  • STEP 12. Review your paper
  • STEP 13. Tools for research paper help
  • STEP 14. Some words of encouragement

When an average student hears about writing a research paper, apprehension and anxiety always arise. Contrary to popular belief, it’s easier than writing an average college assignment. Essentially, what is a research paper in basic terms? It is a type of academic writing that must follow instructions to the letter and adhere to certain standards. Since writing a research paper is based on the original research already done by another person, your task involves analysis, processing, and interpretation of research outcomes.

Since it’s a time-consuming process, it’s only natural to feel stressed without clear knowledge regarding where to start. If you write a research paper for the first time, things can become even more difficult. As students need to learn more about research paper structure peculiarities, they often write hastily and skip through all the essential elements that make research papers accurate.

This helpful guide will provide advice and assistance as you navigate the challenges of research paper writing. The article on how to write a research paper will include all the recommended steps that must be followed to earn the best grades. We shall also provide helpful tips and 14 steps to help you choose a good topic, write without stress and collect all the necessary information. It is precisely what helps to start up research work and achieve success.

You will also learn more about citation basics and free online tools that can help you check certain things and achieve clarity in your tone and the writing flow as you write. Read on to learn how to compose an A+ research paper!

STEP 1. How to start research and find a good topic?

The most challenging part is knowing how to start a research paper by narrowing things down. You must start by choosing a subject that interests and motivates you the most. Your motivation and general attitude will always differ when you feel inspired by the research problem. It will also help determine things you might already know regarding the subject.

Stay focused on keeping your content narrowed down. If you are talking about social conflicts, specify what types of problems it represents by talking about location and the sample group. When unsure, always talk to your academic advisor and seek topic approval first to ensure you are on the right track. It will always help you to avoid confusion in the future!

Finding a suitable topic problem or how to make your paper stand out!

When you have several research topics that inspire you, focus on those you know better and think about subjects that can be supported with solid argumentative evidence. Invest your time in a preliminary study of the subject and pay attention to detail because it will help you to see the shortcomings and advantages of choosing a particular subject.

Once you can achieve this goal for your paper, you will also meet most grading rubric requirements. As you choose your research paper writing topic, try to determine research questions early, as it will help you to see how to work with the methods section, analysis, and discussion, among other vital elements. Make sure you look at similar research paper topics by checking what else is available online.

This type of exploration is always essential because you must make your research paper stand out from the rest by offering something unique. You must do relevant explorations to see what other authors have done so you do not repeat the same work. Outline the objectives you wish to follow and develop the thesis or a hypothesis for your future work. Ask yourself what kind of work has already been done as you focus on your chosen topic.

Ask yourself whether some bits and pieces have yet to be explored. This way, you can shed some light on a subject and provide a new research method that has yet to be explored. Moreover, it will help you to publish your work in the future and present it at various academic venues! When your professor sees that you have done your homework correctly, it will become a cornerstone in your academic career!

Narrowing things down!

The most common mistake most college students make is taking a narrow approach when starting with research work. The trick here is to narrow things down and focus on the vital information you have obtained. Consider the statistical data, literature reviews, and facts supporting your main arguments. It means you do not have to choose all the available information and write it down in your work. Such an approach will only make your paper sound generic and take the research part away.

Think about choosing another method by focusing on elements that interest you the most! Seek the value in every sentence and add your author’s voice as you process information and present something of your vision. It will also help to explain why your research paper is important as you talk about the significance of your work.

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STEP 2. Finding credible sources of information

One of the first elements of proper research work is finding the information required for an outline. Consider finding relevant general information online by visiting libraries or university resources. You may also use search engines and approach online resources such as Britannica. Still, try to implement Google Scholar as well by checking relevant publications.

It will be a good starting point to consider! Ensure you look at the domain extensions representing educational institutions, the .edu or .org domains (non-profit organizations). Likewise, you can locate accurate and verified information at .gov extension websites. Just remember that there may be a certain political bias, depending on the government.

Be careful with commercial .com websites as you write research papers. Many such websites can be excellent for research purposes, yet many tend to contain poor quality or advertisements that may make them less relevant. You can look at Network Solutions websites to learn more about what extensions this or that type stand for. Quality sources are not easy to find, so you must learn how to evaluate websites critically and eliminate those sources that are not peer-reviewed. If you are looking for sources in print or seek digital books for your academic paper, consider checking the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) library.

Conduct preliminary research based on a chosen subject!

When you are visiting a library online to write a research paper or considering visiting one in person, make sure to check the following as you write and take notes:

  • Almanacs, atlases, and scientific catalogs;
  • Government publications, guides, and reports;
  • Vertical files;
  • Encyclopedias and Dictionaries;
  • Magazines and Newspapers;
  • Yellow Pages.

Speaking of online resources, you can safely consider web-based information as long as you can check the original or consider multimedia sources in audio and/or video format:

  • Online reference materials at SIRS, ProQuest, or eLibrary;
  • Indexing is done for periodicals and newspapers (onlinenewspapers.com);
  • Newspapers and scientific magazines;
  • Answers.com;
  • International Public Libraries;
  • Wall Street Executive Library;
  • Online Encyclopedias like Britannica or Canadian Encyclopedia;
  • Google Scholar.

Remember to check public and university libraries, read business press releases related to your subject, or check governmental agencies as you write. You can also talk to people by hosting interviews for the primary sources. Always document your sources, and do not use anything without a solid reason. When collecting your research paper writing resources, take notes of all the citing and/or bibliographical information.

It must include the author’s name, full title, place of publication, information about the publisher, publication date, and page numbers. Include the URL, DOI, or ISBN, depending on the publication’s type and the paper type you must write. As a rule, information not providing sufficient bibliographical data is virtually useless for citation purposes. If you are unsure of some source, it’s better to avoid it.

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STEP 3. Make your thesis statement clear

A thesis statement is the heart of every research paper because they deliver the main thesis or an assumption that is made. As a rule, the thesis must be created when you work on your paper’s outline. While some research papers may not require a thesis, the list of objectives must be presented in any case to help your target audience understand what they might expect. A thesis is the main idea of your research and a central point that should be outlined after your introduction part. The arguments must be clear and related to your chosen subject and topic.

In most cases, a thesis statement should present one sentence only. You can approach it as a declaration of your vision and the message that you wish to deliver. This is how you defend your point!

Developing a thesis statement before you do all the rest is recommended. A thesis usually appears at the end of your introduction paragraph and can be placed in italics. Starting with your thesis statement when you already have certain arguments written down is not recommended, as it will require post-adjustment work.

Likewise, your thesis statement must be supported by the evidence and literature sources you have obtained. Take your time to analyze available materials and come up with a clearly formulated statement for your research paper. It will help you to develop your ideas further as you move to the body parts of your research.

Do your best to avoid generic or vague statements and always focus on the subject and keywords included in your main subject. Your paper should inspire the audience and reflect the main idea presented in your introduction. Remember to avoid placing citations in the same paragraph with your thesis. It is precisely where your unique ideas and vision must be offered instead!

Your thesis statement should achieve the following as you write:

  • Outline and explain how you approach a particular research subject.
  • Address the research questions you have been given to write a research paper.
  • Explain what to expect from your research work.
  • Present various claims and set up a dispute.

Your thesis statement should be valid and possible to achieve. It is recommended to share it with your academic advisor as you may receive brief revision comments and address all the weak points. If it’s impossible, proofread it aloud and check if it can be supported.

Here is a list of questions to consider as you write a scientific paper:

  • Does my thesis address the main problem of my research paper?
  • Can I support my thesis with sufficient evidence?
  • Does my thesis provide interesting and inspiring data?
  • Is my statement clear and precise to present academic value?
  • Can my thesis position be disputed and challenged? As a rule, the answer should be “yes”.

Remember that changing your thesis’s wording is possible as you work on your assignment. It will help you shape better ideas and increase your precision. Speaking of helpful research paper tips based on writing a powerful paper, you should focus on the credibility of your writing by checking things twice. Your strong and clear thesis shows that you have done your homework correctly and know the subject well!

STEP 4. Creating a research paper outline

Let’s continue with the basic research paper outline template that can be used further for research paper writing purposes. Here is the research paper outline format with universal elements:


a) Provide a brief overview of a problem or issue you plan to research. Include your main assumption or an argument outlined in your thesis statement.

b) Include a justification of your research work. It is basically a reason why your readers should care and follow your research paper. Also known as the study importance, you must write it clearly and explain why your subject is meaningful.

c) Write down a brief outline of the paper’s range and the planned methods you will use to approach your issue or problem.


a) Provide a background history of a problem.

b) How does your issue impact society and/or the academic environment?

c) Critical factors related to your research problem.

d) Possible solutions that will be explored in your paper.


a) A list of theories and concepts (textbooks, journal articles, or other relevant publications.

i. Offer a description of how these theories help to explain your problem and represent a solution.

ii. How were these concepts of theories explained by others?

iii. Describe how these theories help to explain your research problem.

b) Empirical research literature (mostly journal articles)

i. Provide an overview of relevant empirical studies based on chronology.

ii. Offer a summary of the methodology.

iii. Talk about major findings.

iv. What were the limitations you faced?

c) Talk about what has been discovered in a literature review

i. Talk about concepts and definitions you plan to use based on other authors.

ii. Describe all the unique concepts you have faced.

iii. Describe what method fits your research best and based on what reading(s).


a. Offer specific research questions that you address.

b. Describe your research method and data collection processes.

c. Justify your method’s rationale and explain why you have chosen it.


a. Write down your major findings.

b. Write about statistical information and facts to explain your research outcomes.

c. Discuss and write about the relevance of findings based on prior studies.

d. Was there anything unusual or not-so-common? Write about unusual discoveries.

e. The discovered limitations of your study as you wrote a research paper.


a. Provide a brief overview of the issue examined and outline major findings.

b. Remind your readers (briefly) about the goals of your study and write down your accomplishments.

c. Offer recommendations and talk about how other researchers can benefit from your findings.

Depending on the type of research you have to write, you can write a scientific paper with an outline that can be formal or informal. The authors use an informal outline to narrow down and organize their ideas. You can revise, add, edit, or remove certain bits mentioned in your paper without keeping it strictly focused. You can use it as a writer who wants to keep on track.

Now, things are totally different when you are asked to present a formal outline and research paper. A formal outline always uses a clear structure by following numbers, letters, and logic. Every paper heading is essential here, along with sub-headings that must be grouped exactly as they appear in your research paper. The capital Roman numerals are usually used for coordination purposes.

An example of an outline to help you write a research paper:

Paper Title: Open Scouting Movement in Flanders, Belgium. An Analysis of Scouting Branches


a. Importance of Open Scouting Movement in Belgium.

b. Define the major differences between Open Scouting and the National Scouting Movement.

c. A brief history of Open Scouting in Belgium.

d. Examination of statistical data to determine the involvement of scouting branches.

e) Justification of the study’s importance.


a. Analysis of popular theories in youth movements in Belgium: Chiro, KSA, and Vrije-school movements.

b. Review of youth studies done based on local coverage and accessibility.

c. Gaps and areas that lack coverage and discussion in literature and the media.


a. Visiting Open Scouting branches in person.

b. Behavior codes across branches to compare the rules.

c. Data collection methods: staff surveys and group interviews.


a. Differences and similarities of scouting branches review.

b. Analysis of practical differences of Open Scouting in Belgium (write a research paper based on observations).

c. Outcomes of surveys.

d. Usefulness and accuracy of relevant methods (write research paper points related to your methodology).

e. Limitations of the implemented methods.


a. Main points mastered by the research.

b. The importance of Open Scouting in practice.

c. Further recommendations for parents, educators, and camp leaders.

As you do a research paper, it is recommended to narrow things down and keep your outline to the point based on what data you have obtained for your paper. When you have an outline, you can avoid being vague and keep your structure relevant to a certain logic. When you have a good outline and write a research paper correctly, it is essential to write an excellent one. Remember to follow our templates and that an outline should include an introduction, body content, and a conclusion.

Writing an introduction and other elements for your research paper structure

  • INTRODUCTION: This is where you have to introduce your research problem and include a clear thesis. Ask yourself about the main reason why you are researching something and outline it here. Explain how you plan to approach an issue in your research paper. Depending on the research type, you can focus on the facts, review relevant literature, or offer an analysis of a problem. This is also where you must explain all the major points mentioned in your paper and why they matter!
  • BODY CONTENT: Present your strongest to weakest arguments by supporting your thesis statement. This section is also divided into several parts. It will always depend on your academic discipline, requirements issued by your professors, subject, and many other things. To write a good research paper, your body parts usually contain elements like a literature review, methodology or methods section, analysis, research outcomes (results), sample analysis, and a discussion section.
  • A CONCLUSION: This is where you must state your thesis and research question in simpler terms. Do not introduce any new ideas. Try your best to summarize existing arguments. Explain why you came up with a specific conclusion. Your paper must represent at least 15% of the final part. Explain again why your research matters and how the results can be replicated or used for future research.

STEP 5. Organize your notes

Keeping your notes organized is essential as you have to ensure that every vital point has been mentioned as it is presented in your outline. As you write a research paper, evaluate your research data critically and check for accuracy. If some information has not been updated in a while and has missing citation data, it’s always better to skip it as you work on your paper. If some beliefs or views oppose your main thesis, write a research essay section that mentions them in a counter-arguments paragraph.

It is one of the most important stages to consider when writing a research paper. It is where you must sort, analyze, and evaluate your available data. It will help you to learn new things and determine the main purpose of your objectives. Think about eliminating less important aspects as you take notes of your ideas, thoughts, concepts, and research findings.

As you write a research paper, avoid information that is not relevant to your research issue! Do not include facts that cannot be supported by a clear piece of evidence or a direct citation. At the same time, using only up to three citations per 300 words is recommended to avoid possible plagiarism risks. As you write a research paper, use paraphrasing instead whenever possible! If an idea is not yours, always provide a reference and document it accurately.

When you sort and classify your notes as you make a research paper stand out, do your best to provide detailed bibliographic data for each citation before you create a References or Works Cited page. As you work on the notes, you have prepared to write a research paper, use different outline codes or colors to mark the types of sources, depending if they are in print or online, related to the first, second, third argument, and so on.

STEP 6. A literature review or learning of available resources

This part basically stands for knowing what data is available out there. It is precisely where you have to do all the research work and a reason why it differs from most other assignment types you might encounter as a college or university student. The purpose here is not simply to list all the information available on a particular subject but to contribute something based on your vision and thoughts.

One of the ways to do that is to go through the literature review process and narrow things down as you look for background information related to a particular subject. As you start with a literature review for your paper, you automatically determine what is already known about an issue you plan to explore. A comprehensive literature review for a professional research paper will help you save time and discover what aspects of a subject have yet to be reviewed. Likewise, you will know what has been done before.

  • Internet research based on keywords. It’s one of the easiest methods to start with as you look for information online and use specific keywords that reflect your chosen topic. You can consider the information available on various websites or general publications. Most students who write research papers will turn to academic research and scientific databases. Finding peer-reviewed sources and sorting out unnecessary social media websites or blogs is safe. Remember that places like PubMed or ScienceDirect are more trustworthy for an academic research paper than a post on Twitter, even though the latter may represent a primary source.
  • Checking prior research on the topic. The next step worth taking is exploring all the prior work that other researchers have done. You can visit official organizations that work in the field of your research. This way, you can collect statistical information and see what they have found before and what information has been made available. Focus on whether research work is funded publicly or done privately. If the research is affiliated with a certain company, consider checking things twice for possible bias, especially if your paper must be neutral. Always check for credibility and try to locate information about the author(s)
  • Visiting the university library. As a rule, if you are enrolled in Automotive Industry at MIT, you will have access to unique materials at the local library. The chances are high that your academic advisor may already provide you with a recommended or even obligatory reading list. As you brainstorm various steps in writing a research paper, take your time to research what’s available at the university or college library. Turn to research databases and look through the online index by entering keywords related to your paper. Most of them will have available citation info to save you valuable time.
  • Using academic sources. These include peer-reviewed journals that you can access either in print or online. As a rule, such publications receive the highest level of credibility from most professors and should be considered first. It is partially because of the unbiased review and cross-linked publications. If you are dealing with a citation from someone who knows the subject well, you will increase the credibility of your research paper. Likewise, if your research paper becomes published or you present it publicly, you increase your chances of being cited and quoted by others in the chosen scientific field.

Once you complete a detailed literature review and are ready to pursue the next steps to write a research paper, you will receive sufficient background information to understand your subject’s peculiarities. Much of this work will help you shape your research paper thesis much better because you will automatically address numerous objectives and know all the limitations and research gaps. You will learn what must be done to keep the research accessible and clear based on the chosen topic.

STEP 7. The research question(s)

Before moving to the Methodology section, exploring the answers that address your research objectives is crucial. Most importantly, you must keep your research paper data within the scope and timeframe of the issue. When dealing with scientific research, you must keep information clear to a certain point. It must be possible to replicate and measure your actions. Whether using quantitative or qualitative methods (or both), it should be trustworthy and possible to replicate.

Always consider what methods to use and what sources to put forward, depending on your subject. If you are talking about the violence of video games and their effect on teenagers, the best solution to write such a paper would be to use surveys or other methods in your research paper guidelines to determine your sampling method and avoid bias. Likewise, you may use various means and technical tools to receive answers to your research questions, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of each.

STEP 8. Research methodology

It’s one of the most challenging steps to consider as you have to choose a particular research method based on your research paper subject, the type of research, and the sources you have obtained. Here are the most popular research methods that you may consider:

  • Focus group. It can be a suitable method if the author’s goal is to obtain information from a small group of people. It might be a safe choice for your research paper if you cannot invest time and funds. It usually comes to asking questions and taking notes as you determine a limited sample group. While it can be convenient, findings from a focus group method might not fit those cases where you need to be more careful with a selection. It means that you must avoid it for legal or medical studies. After all, as you write a research paper based on that, a fellow researcher can make a limited conclusion regarding the findings because of the limited sampling approach.
  • Survey. It’s another popular method that can be used for a large sample group where participants are chosen randomly. Such a method is often recommended when dealing with peer-reviewed research sources. When writing a scientific paper, remember that most paper surveys you can write down also have weaknesses since participants may not provide honest opinions or politically correct answers. Numerous factors also influence them, so a certain bias is always possible.
  • Field experiments. These are also helpful when you wish to experience information in practice and explore a certain community. The methods used here include field analysis, lab experiments, direct observation, participant control, case study replication, and many non-conventional methods that researchers can use to address their research objectives. The same is true for the technical equipment tools you can use to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
  • A word on replication: It must be noted that writing down the methods section for your research paper must be precise and accurate. Other researchers should be able to replicate your method and come up with the same findings and outcomes. Replication is critical in the research process, as your results must be valid!

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STEP 9. Addressing a research paper’s results, analysis, discussion, and conclusion sections

Once you finish the data collection and methods section for your research assignment, it’s high time to move to the results part of your paper and do analysis work. You must use this space as a researcher when dealing with results, analysis, discussion, and conclusion.

The main purpose is to interpret your findings and explain what you could achieve. You can compare your research paper results to prior findings and discuss potential limitations and implications for other researchers.

  • Results. Start this section by discussing the findings you could obtain from your research work. Address what research paper questions have been addressed. If you created a series of hypothesis statements or made certain educated guesses in your research paper, state if they have been supported or rejected. It will help if you include tables, graphs, statistical data, and other visual elements to help your readers understand the results.
  • Analysis. As a researcher and analyst, you must interpret and explain your findings based on the thesis statement. You have to state whether your research is significant and showcase if your findings support (or reject) prior research findings. Remember to provide a piece of evidence for every fact that you have obtained. Talking in context, explain by comparing and contrasting the facts. It’s also necessary to explain how your findings hold up against other findings conducted by researchers in your field.
  • Discussion. Once done with the analytical part, this section should outline and discuss your findings in an accessible way. Remember to mention your research work’s main benefits and limitations. Focus on transparency and allow your readers to determine the weaknesses and specifics of your research. Speaking of tips for writing a research paper analysis part, try to be self-critical but do not overdo it! This part must not introduce any new ideas as you write but help future researchers come up with new methods and try out other things to address the shortcomings of your study.
  • Conclusion. This section allows you to summarize and state your thesis again, with a brief overview of the research findings. A conclusion should discuss the main points, starting with the main research questions, the list of methods you have used, the results, and your findings. A research paper’s conclusion should be sufficient to understand the type of work done. Imagine that a reader has no time to read the entire paper and include all the important bits in your conclusion. The key is to write and help everyone understand your content well by reading the conclusion alone!

STEP 10. The process of writing a research paper

We are finally ready to write it all down, which will be easier since we already have all the necessary information. As you write a paper for college, the most important thing is to keep the flow and remember to look into your outline. Your research paper must be structured per every section mentioned in your grading rubric and the outline (if you have one!).

Consider starting with an introduction and thinking about starting with the background information bit to present your thesis statement. As you proceed with your writing, a thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction part that will help to proceed with the further sections.

Remember the importance of having an outline? If you have been listening and creating one, supporting your thesis with relevant arguments and organizing your content from strong to weak will be easier. Just follow your writing with the sections already mentioned in your outline! Using topic sentences at the beginning that instantly explain your research and include bullet point structures to guide your readers will be helpful.

It also helps to narrow things down and outline the most important ideas and/or facts. A good paper outline will also help you work in chunks and save time, as you only have to grasp some research work simultaneously. It is recommended to allocate at least 2-3 hours to write a research paper to ensure you do not exhaust yourself by spending more as you deal with a lengthy research paper!

A good research paper can be finished, so taking one step at a time for each section will help you see what is left and what is already done. Do your best to avoid procrastination! Meanwhile, as you create a research paper, do not try to reach perfection, as it’s barely possible! Keep yourself disciplined and have a writing schedule, as it will help you to overcome the usual writer’s block issue. It is the best way to meet your deadline and stay on topic! See below for the essential 9 steps that are worth knowing:

research paper

STEP 11. The importance of writing your first draft

It must start with the first aspect of your research paper outline. It means that background information and the relevance of your topic must come first. Make sure to include all your notes and avoid citations unless it’s statistical information that you need to explain the importance of your research. Try to summarize the available information and alternate between paraphrasing and direct quotes as you write a research paper to decrease plagiarism risks.

An ideal scenario would be introducing an issue and continuing with the direct quote, followed by your analysis. Alternatively, writing a science research paper can use various techniques that fit you, like summaries, quotes, tables, or comparisons. Since it’s your first draft, do not spend too much time editing things yet!

Once you are ready with the first draft, remember that it does not have to be perfect because it is not meant for submission. As a rule, most students go through at least three different revisions until they submit the final paper version. Always follow your thesis statement to guarantee that you do not touch upon other subjects.

If you have an opportunity, ask a good friend or even a professional researcher to listen to your draft and help you identify the weaknesses or entire passages to change and improve. It has to be accessible and easy to understand. Always give your first draft enough time, and remember to take a break from your paper and get outside before you get back to it and continue with the revision.

STEP 12. Editing your paper

We are finally at the stage where it is necessary to review the research paper draft and ensure that everything is correct, adheres to the writing standards, and follows existing instructions and/or grading rubrics. To simplify things for any research project, we have created several checklists for you. These include helpful tips and tricks for writing research papers well. They allow you to save time and impress even the most demanding professors.

The main purpose of reviewing your work is to check your paper for any content and logical mistakes. Double-check all the facts and figures. Check your outline and arrange or rearrange ideas based on your notes. You must keep things logical and clear as you edit your paper for repetitions but remember to include all the necessary bibliography and additional notes when and if necessary.

First checklist for writing an excellent paper:

  • Is my thesis statement clear and concise for the audience?
  • Is the outline followed? Has anything been missed?
  • Are arguments presented from strong to weak in a logical way?
  • Are all in-text citations corresponding with the Bibliography page?
  • Is the thesis supported with strong statements?
  • Are intentions and methodology parts clear as to research objectives?

Note: Remember the importance of editing your paper for grammar and spelling mistakes. You can use a dictionary to check spelling and consult a thesaurus if necessary. MS Word and Google Docs allow you to check your spelling for typos and punctuation issues. Take your time to correct the mistakes and proofread your content aloud to ensure it is accessible. If possible, have another person proofread and check your paper, as you may have missed certain weak points. It’s only natural as you write a research paper and edit it repeatedly!

Second checklist for writing:

  • Does every body’s paragraph start with a relevant topic sentence?
  • Are my arguments supported with evidence and practical examples?
  • Have run-on or odd sentences been eliminated?
  • Have repetition issues been removed?
  • Is the length of sentences normal?
  • Is there an easy flow of ideas?
  • Has the content been checked for grammar and spelling?
  • Are citations accurate and in the correct citation style?
  • Is my research paper unbiased and objective?
  • Does the paper provide a strong sense of completion?

Note: It is recommended to use “cannot” instead of “can’t” as you write a research paper, as well as “do not” instead of “don’t”. A research paper must be written in the third person unless specified otherwise.

Keeping your writing in style

If you wish to improve your English composition skills, check out “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk for an example of a classic book that addresses style issues in writing. The book’s contents focus on the main grammar rules, elementary principles of composition, useful words and expressions that are usually misused, and important reminders. The book teaches how to revise and rewrite the odd parts. It helps to learn how to avoid all the fancy words. See details of the book by checking The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., which is partially available online free of charge.

Correct citation and formatting issues

As you might already know, every research paper is written in an academic style like APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard. Students majoring in Healthcare will likely use AMA (American Medical Association) citation style. It will depend on your discipline or the style specified in your grading rubric. The most common styles are APA and MLA. The research paper styles that are uncommon are Harvard, Chicago Manual of Style, APSA (American Political Science Association), and the IEEE, which stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. You can check style guides before you check your formatting aspect.

  • APA (American Psychological Association) style is mostly used for social sciences subjects. Make sure to check your grading rubric and university templates for more information.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is the most common for Liberal Arts and Humanities. The most recent is MLA 8th Handbook style. Remember to check information on parenthetical citations in MLA to ensure that your research paper follows all the rules. If you are new to this style, check relevant examples for printed books, online sources, etc.

STEP 13. Tools for research paper writing help and accuracy

Once you are done with the editing part and review your draft more than once, it’s time to apply another evaluation method, also known as copy-editing. Thanks to AI-based tools, copy editing is now a more expensive and demanding task. Of course, it will work differently than professional editing because you should still check all the false corrections. Still, since it’s possible free of charge, there is little to complain about when you can write a research paper correctly. You can easily find These types of tools online:

  • Grammar checkers. They mostly correct issues like grammar, spelling, typos, and punctuation. It will also address lexical issues, a saving grace for most ESL learners. Remember that poor grammar may seriously ruin your paper, so check grammar checkers and enable them in Google Docs and MS Word.
  • Plagiarism checkers. It provides excellent help because you can scan your paper for similarities and balance direct citations and paraphrasing. It does not take more than five minutes to check things, so do yourself a favor and check one of the free or commercial ones. As a researcher, remember to cite your paper completely and give credit where it’s due.
  • Citation generators. These are helpful for cases when you cannot find ready-made citation information. When you compose your Works Cited or Bibliography pages, you must double-check the accuracy of citations with all the spaces, punctuation, and indents. The most common research paper styles such tools support are APA, Harvard citations, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, and more. Free research paper tools also make it possible to convert your sources from one style to another automatically. It is helpful when you have found a complete citation in Chicago but need it in MLA or Vancouver.
  • Title page generators. These are useful when brainstorming ideas for a good and inspiring title. After all, a title is what your professor will see first as you submit your paper. Many college students feel challenged as they work with all the indents and ideas, title case problems, and other formatting issues. Title generators help with this problem and will follow the relevant style.

Note: if you plan to get your research paper ready for publishing, read the eligibility rules twice and submit it for peer review. It is also necessary when you plan to attend a scientific conference. As a researcher, you must read and follow all the editorial guidelines before you submit a publication. If you fail to follow the guidelines, you may get rejected even if your paper is an excellent example of academic research.

STEP 14. Final words of encouragement

As we have reached the end of our guide to writing a research paper in 14 easy steps, we sincerely hope that you do not see it as a daunting and frustrating task any longer. Follow every section of our guide and take one step at a time to make things easier. The most important is choosing an inspiring topic you know well, as it’s already half of the task done. Take your time and research the subject that motivates you the most, as it will help you develop a message that makes a difference.

Once again, always pay attention to the literature review part and online research! It will help you to learn what subjects are popular and which need more effort and additional research. It always helps to narrow things down and find something you know well to occupy a research niche.

If you want to contribute something special, consider choosing something not widely researched. Once you are set on a topic for your research paper, think of a strong thesis statement and create an outline. It will help you see the entire picture and clearly understand what steps to take and in what order. It will eventually lead you to an excellent research paper!

If you face any challenges or feel lost when writing a research paper, our trained writers and editors are always ready to help you 24/7!

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Dr. Rey Rosales
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