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There are many times in the course of study, both undergraduate and postgraduate, a student is needed to write a detailed or a simple research paper on a subject of interest. At some point, one may have no idea what the paper is all about and how he/she can go about it. Do not fret, by the end of this article on how to write a research paper; you will have enough information to get your research paper going and ready for submission.

What is a research paper?

A research paper is an academic writing that is based on original research on a specific topic. It can be in the form of an essay paper, dissertation, or thesis. This article will give a step by step guide on how to write an excellent research paper. To gain perfection and excellence, you will need to start somewhere and believe in your ability to succeed, and before you know it, you will be writing A+ grade research papers.

How to start a research paper

Research paper writing can be a tediously long process or a great experience depending on how you have prepared for it. In this section, I will tell you what you should read and what you should know about the paper you are about to write. To prepare, consider doing the following:

● Choosing the best topic for the research paper

In this case, have a list of potential topics that significant to your areas of interest. Do some more research to find out which topic has unlimited materials online and offline and still excites you when you think about writing it.
What is the topic?
Why is the topic significant?
What are the relevant background materials?
What should be my purpose statement/thesis statement?

● What information should be prepared

Depending on the topic you have chosen, note down the list of materials you need to get the writing started. Are you content with the documents?
Preparing a list of sources that can be used in the research paper will guide you through the writing process. You will know your point of reference, and that will make the process so much easier since you will not have to be searching for materials amid the writing. Nonetheless, you will be certain that the contents are enough for the paper. Therefore, you will not be stressed about being short or leaving the topic midway to start another due to limited materials.

● What references should be used

Use references that you have noted in your body or research. In case the information is a product of original research, note that too. For instance, if you have reported data that you got from the field, reference it as "field data, 2019."

How to do a research paper

  • The process involves
  • Choosing a topic
  • Finding information
  • Writing a clear thesis statement
  • Making an outline
  • Organizing notes
  • Writing the first draft.
  • Revising the outline and the draft
  • Typing the final paper

    Choose a topic

    The writing process starts with doing extensive research, where you will choose a topic that interests you. You must make sure that your topic was chosen also challenges you. The subject you select should be manageable; in this case, you are advised to avoid the topics that may be too challenging or too technical and also avoid topics that are narrow since you may get to a point where you will run out of materials to write and may be forced to start from scratch

    Finding relevant information

    After selecting the topic, the next step should be to find information on the subject. In this case, you should check the background information, useful URLs, and, generally, information that is online on the topic. Using search engines would be suitable for a start. Nonetheless, visit your nearest library and find books that may be of relevance to the research topic. You should check:

  • Vertical files
  • Atlases, and catalogs
  • Newspapers
  • Constitution
  • Dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Telephone directories

    Writing a thesis statement

    The next step should be to make the thesis statement. It is always recommended to have a thesis statement, but not all schools need that. It is, therefore, advisable to ask the instructor if there is a need to write it. It should be provided early in the paper to dive into the central idea of the research paper. This would be informing the argument that you will try to prove or disapprove through the paper. You can simply declare your conviction or state somebody else's belief/ argument on the matter. The thesis statement should be intriguing to the reader, explain how the subject matter has been interpreted from your point of view, and tell the reader what the paper is about.

Making an outline

Making the outline of the research paper should be the next step in the writing process. It involves noting down the subtitles and title of the research paper. Different papers require different outlines depending on volume and level of study.

How to write a college research paper

Title page
The abstract
Table of content
Chapter 1: introduction
Chapter 2 literature review
Chapter 3: research methodology
Chapter 4: findings/ results
Chapter 5: discussion
Chapter 6: recommendation

How to write a Short research paper

Most long research papers follow the above format; however, different institutions incorporate different methods/flow of writing. You are therefore advised to consult with the instructor what the actual format for the school is. if the research paper is not very long, the format may include

How to write an introduction to a research paper

Where the research question or the thesis statement will be stated. You will also present the background information and context if the article. Strong opening statements should be used with the aim of engaging the reader. The purpose and approach of the paper should be explained here.

How to write the Body of a research paper

Where the arguments and the research results will be reported. The outline comes in handy at this point. You must find supporting arguments for this part of the documents. Present the points that are definite first and use the pyramid principle, whereby you introduce a statement or a word, and then proceed to break it down an explain so that readers can understand.

How to write a Conclusion for a research paper

It is where the key points will be summarized and the significance of the topic restated. The thesis statement should be restated, but it must be reworded, the points made are summarized here and a brief explanation of why the points support the claim you had made in your thesis statement. In case the research is inconclusive, point out the reasons why you believe that there is a need for further investigation.

Organize Notes

All the information that you have gathered for the research paper must be critically analyzed and checked for accuracy to verify if the information of factual. Correct and up to date support materials will help you retain only the best possible materials for the paper. In this stage, you will sort, synthesize, analyses, and also digest all information gathered.

Writing the Draft

The next step should be writing the first draft. In this stage, you will paraphrase, quote, and summarize ideas that will be used in the research paper. You will need to apply the method you are most comfortable with, e.g., cheat sheets, note cards, and videos, etc. use symbols or highlight areas you feel you will need to revisit. The draft will have in-text citations, a list of keywords, state methods used, and the results achieved. After that, you will Revise the outline and the draft you have made. While editing, you will look for;

  • Incomplete sentences;
  • Easily confused words
  • Dangling modifiers;
  • Spelling mistakes;
  • If the quotation rules are obeyed;
  • Use of commas;
  • Unnecessary contractions

    Type the final paper

    Type the final paper from your drafts and outlines and notes. This should be proofread and passed through several engines such as grammar and Turnitin to ensure that it is free form typing and grammar mistakes and also plagiarism before printing for submission. The final paper should be ready three or two days before the deadline. This will save you stress and also give you a chance to triple and double-check the document before handing it in.
    Checklist when revising the paper

  • Is the thesis statement concise and clear?
  • Is the paper organized well, and does it have a good flow?
  • Are there, repetitions?
  • Are your sources appropriately cited?
  • Have you checked for plagiarism?

    Tricks and tips for writing a good research paper

    This part will enlighten students on the hacks they can use to write an exceptionally good research paper.

    How to write a good research paper

    To write an exceptionally good research paper you should:

  • Select a topic that inspires you
  • Create a precise thesis statement
  • Find a topic that is wide and has a vast amount of literature
  • Find the most reliable resources and sources
  • Group, sequence, and document all the information in the paper.
  • Write a substantial outline.
  • Have the sources cited and the bibliographies formatted
  • Have the necessary tools for editing the paper

    Editing a research paper

    This refers to the process of revising the essay in an attempt to improve it. It involves correcting errors by making sentences more clear, compelling, and precise. In this case, you:

    1. Check for the overall organization of the paper - does the paper has a logical flow of the introduction, body, and conclusion? Are they effective and coherent to the discussion topic? If not, reorganize your paper.
    2. Check the paragraph level concerns - are the ideas within the paragraphs detailed enough to support the generalization and summary? Are transitions well used? If not, edit the information.
    3. Sentence level concerns - are word choices, spelling, punctuations, and sentence structures good? If yes, proceed.
      While editing, you can choose to use Grammarly for the spell checks and sentence structure checks and Turnitin for plagiarism check.

      How to proofread a research paper

      Proofreading skills and proficient editing are vital for effective writing. It means critiquing the writings thoroughly and correcting grammar, style, spelling, and writing errors. There are different ways of proofreading your works, the different methods that can be applied include:

  • Do not rely on the spell checkers - they help you with high-level checking errors but are incapable of identifying the common grammatical errors. They can also be misleading.
  • Do not proofread all errors at the same time - if you focus on many mistakes at a time, it is easier to miss critical errors.
  • Read each word slowly and out loud - when you hear the words, you will identify the errors.
  • Circle the punctuation marks to make sure they are correct.
  • Breaking texts into smaller sections- this will make proofreading more manageable. You will b able to give through to one section before you move to the next.
  • Take note of the common errors. This will help you have a grasp of the strengths and weaknesses that you may have and work towards resolving them.


    Writing is an art that every student should master. Most times, it is not optional but mandatory to write a research paper. The article guided you on how to write a research paper, and hopefully, you have severed all the information. Key takeaways:

  • Choose a topic that triggers your curiosity and interests you
  • Do enough research prior to commencing writing to ensure that you will have enough materials
  • Write a clear thesis statement
  • Write an outline
  • Write a draft
  • Edit and proofread your work.
  • Reference and in-text cite your work
    Now you are good to go!
    All the best in writing your next research paper!

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