Writing a Research Paper

A research paper is an analytical paper that provides the basis of in-depth, independent research study, explanation and argument.

They are similar to academic essays, but they typically include longer and more comprehensive tasks that test not only your writing skills, but also your academic research skills. To write a research paper, you must demonstrate a clear knowledge of your topic, discuss a number of sources and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from your task to the review of your final draft.

Understand the task

To successfully complete a research paper means to perform the unique tasks set for you. Before you start, make sure you understand the task sheet thoroughly:

Read it carefully and look for something unclear that you can need to explain with your instructor.

Identify assignment objective, date, defined duration, formatting and method of submission.

Make a bulleted list of key points and then reverse completed things as you write.

Consider the timeline and word cap carefully: be practical and spend enough time researching, writing and editing.

Choose the subject of a research paper

There are many ways to create an idea for a research paper, from a brainstorm with a pen and paper to a fellow student or a professor.

You should try to write freely, which requires a broad subject and writing continuously for two to three minutes to find something which may be important.

Inspiration may also be derived from other studies. The research papers discuss or suggestions also contain ideas for other particular topics that need further review.

When you have a broad field, restrict it to choosing a topic which interests you, satisfies the requirements for your assignment and can be researched. Target ideas which are both original and specific:

A paper following the World War II chronology would not be sufficiently original or specific.

During World War II a document on the experience of Danish people living close to the German border would be specific and sufficiently original.

Conduct preliminary investigations

Take note of any discussions that seem pertinent to the subject and try to locate a problem you should work on. To make sure you don’t miss something, use a range of outlets like journals, books and reputable websites.

Don’t only check your theories, but look for sources that contradict your views.

  • Do people tend to miss something in the sources you research?
  • Are there heated discussions that you should discuss?
  • Do you have a specific approach to your subject?
  • Have any recent advances been based on existing research?

It may be helpful to formulate research questions to guide you in this step. Try finishing the following sentence in writing research questions: “I want to know how/what/why…”

Develop a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a statement of your key point — it describes your paper’s intent and position. If you began with a research question, answer the thesis argument. It should also indicate what facts and logic you are going to use to support your answer.

The thesis argument should be succinct, controversial and consistent. This means that you should summarize your argument briefly in one or two sentences, make a claim which needs additional proof or examination and make a coherent point relating to each section of this paper.

You can revisit and refine your thesis statement as you do further research, but it can be a reference throughout the entire writing process. This central argument should be supported and developed in every paragraph.

Create an outline of a research paper

A researcher’s overview is basically a list of main subjects, claims and proofs, separated into parts with headings, so that you know what the paper looks like before you start to write.

A design outline will make the writing process much more effective, so it is worth spending time creating one.

Write the research paper’s first draft

Your first draft will not be flawless — later on, you can polish. At this point, your priorities are as follows:

Keep the momentum ahead — write now, perfect later.

Pay attention to the simple organization and logical arrangement of paragraphs and sentences to help you reach the second draft.

Express your thoughts as simply as you can, so you know what you tried to mean when you returned to the text.

You don’t have to write the introduction. Start where it feels most comfortable for you – some choose to complete the most difficult parts first, while others select the easiest portion. When you have built a contour, use it as a guide while you are working.

Do not remove big text bits. When you begin to hate something you wrote or if it doesn’t work, transfer it to another text, but don’t lose it — you never know if it might be helpful later on.

Structure of the paragraph

Paragraphs are the fundamental science paper building blocks. All should concentrate on a single claim or concept that helps to determine the overall statement or intent.

An example of a well-structured paragraph is given here. Flip over the phrases to learn more.

An example of this paragraph.

The 1946 essay “Politics and English Language” by George Orwell continued to influence reflection on the relationship between politics and language.

This impact is especially evident in the light of the numerous critical analysis articles that referred to the essay recently.

Consider, for example, Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in the National Review Online, “Perversion of Language; or Orwell Revisited” (“activist,” “civil rights advocate,” “diversity,” and more) in which he analyzes some common terms.

Falcoff’s close study of the uncertainty in the language of politics purposely reflects Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of his day’s political language.

Sixty-three years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by modern thinkers.

Quotation of sources

In order to prevent unintentional plagiarism, it is also necessary to monitor the quotations at this stage. Make sure that you take note of where the information came from any time you use a source.

You can automatically generate quotes and save your reference list as you go with our free quotation generators.

Write the prelude

The introduction to the research paper should answer three questions: What, why and how? After the introduction is over, the reader should know what the paper is, why it should be read and how you will construct your arguments.

What? What? Specify the subject of the document, present the context and identify main words or concepts.

Why? Why? This is the most critical part of the presentation, but also the most complicated. Try to answer the following questions briefly: What are you providing new content or insight? What important questions does your essay help to describe or react to?

How? How? In order to let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, a “map” of what is to be covered and the main elements of the paper in chronological order should be presented.

Write a persuasive text body

The biggest struggle faced by most authors is how to arrange the details contained in the document. Note, however, that the outline is just a reference and, when writing, the order in which the facts and arguments are presented may be flexible.

One way to keep track is to use your thesis statement and the subject phrases. Check: Check:

Theme sentences against the assertion of thesis;

Theme sentences, for similarity and logical ordering, against each other;

And each sentence against that paragraph’s topic sentence.

Know paragraphs which seem to cover the same items. If two paragraphs talk about something similar, the subject should be approached differently. In order to create seamless transitions between phrases, paragraphs and sections.


The conclusion of the research paper is meant to help your reader out of the debate and give them a sense of purpose.

Trace the trajectory of the paper and emphasize how the thesis is proved together. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader knows how the problems posed in the introduction have been resolved.

The more general implications of the argument may also be discussed, what the paper offers potential students about the subject, and any questions raised by the paper, which can be answered or not.

You need not to:

  • Provide new claims or critical facts
  • Take more room than you need
  • Start with stock phrases that indicate you end the paper (e.g. “Final”)

The Second draft

The second draft contains four primary factors.

Check how your view of the paper is consistent with your first draft and, more importantly, how your paper responds to the task.

Identify any conclusions which can require (more substantial) justification, with the viewpoint of your reader in mind. Remove these claims if they cannot be further substantiated.

Be open to rearrange your thoughts. Check if any parts sound out of place and if the ideas can be organised better.

You should cut them out or condense them if you notice that old ideas do not suit as you expected. You could also notice that fresh and suitable ideas came up during the writing process.

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