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How to Write A Research Paper? Step-By-Guide

If you're a college student, you'll almost certainly be required to write at least one college-level research paper before graduating. It can be intimidating if you've never written a research paper before. Few things terrify academics more than the dreaded research paper, a term that conjures up images of long hours and arduous labor.

Fortunately, there's a trick to getting through them. You'll find that if you know how to write a research paper properly, they're not so bad... or at least less stressful.

Writing a research paper might be difficult, but with experience, it can become a valuable component of your academic and professional toolset.

We'll show you how to write a research paper step by step in this guide. Here are the processes and information you'll need to compose a quality research report, as well as a checklist to make sure you've done everything correctly.

But, before we get into the specifics, let's define a research paper and how it differs from other types of writing.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is mainly reliant on extensive study and analysis. It is designed to assess a student's research abilities, as well as their ability to document facts and provide unique, meaningful insights into the study topic. The main objective of a research paper is to share your opinion on the research you discovered during the study procedure.

Research papers are the most effective means to communicate information over a large network and are a foundation of modern research. Most individuals, on the other hand, are familiar with research papers from school; they are frequently used in college courses to examine a student's understanding of a particular subject or their research skills in general.

Research papers are equivalent to analytical essays, but they emphasize mostly on the use of statistical data and previous research, as well as a precise citation code.

How long should the Research Paper be?

The length of a research paper is determined by the subject matter or assignment. The average length of a research paper is 4,000–6,000 words, but shorter papers of 2,000 words or longer papers of 10,000 words are typical.

If you're writing a school paper, the assignment should provide an acceptable length. Otherwise, let the length of your essay be dictated by your subject: Complicated themes or in-depth study will necessitate additional explanation. 

Research Paper or Research Proposal: Same or Different?

Now you may ask how a research paper is different from a research proposal. These two terms are frequently confused by students, even though they are completely distinct. A research proposal is a summary of your motivation and goals for a certain topic. It outlines why you choose to explore a specific topic and what you hope to accomplish. It also emphasizes how your research can aid in the advancement of its relevant field, and it concludes with a summary of how you intend to undertake this study.

A research paper, on the other hand, is a detailed description of your research. It takes up a lot more space than a research proposal. In contrast to a proposal, it also offers a full discussion of your research findings.

Steps to Write A Research Paper-

You must demonstrate a solid mastery of your subject, engage with a variety of sources, and bring something unique to the conversation in a research paper. 

A step-by-step strategy for preparing a research paper for students, rather than professional researchers, is provided below. While some of these steps to write a research paper may or may not apply to your specific assignment, consider them as a general guideline to keep you on track.

Be familiar with the assignment

Accomplishing a research paper necessitates completing the specific obligations allocated to you. Before you begin, double-check that you properly understand the assignment task sheet:

  • Read everything carefully, looking for any misunderstandings you should discuss with your lecturer.
  • Determine the objective of the assignment, the deadline, the length requirements, the formatting, and the mode of submission.
  • Make a bulleted list of the most essential aspects, then check them off as you write.

Consider your deadline and word count carefully: be reasonable and provide adequate time to research, write, and edit.

Select a topic for your research paper 

From brainstorming with a pen and paper to discussing it with a classmate or professor, there are several ways to come up with a research paper topic. 

You may attempt free writing, which entails picking a broad topic and writing constantly for two or three minutes to find anything pertinent that might be interesting. 

Other research might also be a good source of ideas. In the discussion or suggestions sections of research publications, ideas for other specific areas that merit further inquiry are frequently offered. 

Once you've identified a broad subject area, narrow it down to a topic that interests you, meets the requirements of your assignment, and is researchable. Strive for concepts that are both unique and specific.

Start with some research approach

Make a mental note of any issues that appear to be significant to the topic, and try to narrow down a problem to which you might concentrate your study. Consult a variety of sources, including journals, books, and credible websites, to ensure you don't miss anything crucial.

You should not only double-check your views but also seek out sources that contradict them. 

  • Is there anything in your sources that you think folks are missing?
  • Are there any challenging topics you could address?
  • Do you have a unique point of view on your topic?
  • Is there any new study that builds on previous studies?

You might find it useful to create some research questions at this point to help you focus your efforts.

Try to complete the following statement when writing research questions: "I want to know why/how/what..."

Produce a thesis statement 

When you write a research paper, a thesis statement sets the goal and stance of your article by stating your key point. The thesis statement should answer the research question if you start with one. It should also state what facts and logic you'll utilize to back up your claim.

The thesis statement should be concise, provocative, and well-structured. That is, it should summarise your thesis in one or two sentences, make a claim that requires further verification or analysis, and make a logical point that unites all sections of the work.

Although you will most likely alter and polish your thesis statement as you perform more research, it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should attempt to support and expand on the main point.

Outline your research paper 

An outline for a research paper is essentially a list of the main ideas, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so you can get a general concept of how the paper will look before you start writing.

It's worthwhile to devote some time to developing a structured plan because it can speed up the writing process significantly.

Prepare a rough draft of your research paper

It's okay if your initial draught isn't flawless; you can improve it later. At this point, your top priorities are as follows:

  • Keeping the momentum going - write now, perfect later.
  • Paying close attention to good arrangement and logical grouping of paragraphs and sentences will aid in the second draught.
  • Use as few words as possible to express your ideas so that you can remember what you were attempting to communicate when you returned to the text.

You do not have to begin with the introduction. Start where it feels most natural for you - some people prefer to finish the toughest sections first, while others prefer to start with the easiest. Use your outline as a road map while you're working.

Make an introduction

The research paper opening should answer three questions: what, why, and how. After reading the introduction, the reader should have a good idea of what the paper is about, why it's worth reading, and how you'll support your claims.

What?- Be clear about the paper's topic, provide background information, and describe significant terminology or concepts.

Why?- This is the most important part of the introduction, as well as the most difficult. Respond as briefly as possible to the following questions: What new insights or points of view do you have to offer?

How?- The introduction should include a "map" of what will be discussed, concisely outlining the important aspects of the work in chronological sequence, to let the reader know what to expect from the body of the article.

Create an engaging body of text

The majority of authors struggle to organize the content in their papers, which is why an outline is so beneficial. Keep in mind, though, that the outline is only a guide, and you can be as creative as you like with the order in which you present information and points when writing.

Using your thesis statement and topic phrases as a guide can help you keep on track. Check:

  • against the thesis statement, and topic sentences
  • Compare and contrast topic sentences for similarity and logical sequence;
  • Compare each sentence against the paragraph's topic sentence

Keep an eye out for paragraphs that seem to be about the same thing. If two paragraphs discuss the same subject, they must take different methods to it. Transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections should be as smooth as feasible.


The goal of a research paper's conclusion is to lead the reader out of the document's argument by offering closure.

Follow the flow of the paper, focusing on how everything connects to prove your argument. Make sure the reader understands how you solved the challenges listed in the beginning to give the piece a feeling of closure.

You might also talk about the argument's broader implications, highlight what the paper has to offer future students of the subject and propose any problems the paper's argument raises but cannot or does not attempt to answer.

You must not:

  • Make fresh arguments or provide important facts.
  • Don't take up any more room than is essential.
  • Begin with standard closing phrases (for example, "in conclusion").

Make a second draft

When it comes to the second draft, there are four major factors to consider.

  • Check to see if your vision for the paper matches the initial draught and, more crucially, if your paper still responds to the task.
  • Identify any assumptions that may require (more) justification, keeping your reader's point of view in mind. If you can't back up these claims with more evidence, remove them.
  • Be willing to rearrange your thoughts. Check to see if any sections are out of place or if your ideas could be better arranged.
  • If you notice that old concepts do not fit as well as you had hoped, eliminate or simplify them. You might also come up with new and well-suited ideas while writing the first draught; now is the time to include them in the paper.

The revision procedure

During the editing and proofreading phase, make sure you've completed all necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible.

Make sure your paper meets all of the specifications mentioned on your assignment page.

  • Check for logical flow and order in the paragraphs.
  • Compare and contrast paragraphs with the introduction and thesis statement.

Check each paragraph's content to ensure that:

  • Each sentence contributes to the topic sentence's success.
  • There is no unnecessary or useless information present.
  • All technical phrases that your audience might not be familiar with are defined.

Consider sentence structure, grammatical mistakes, and formatting text. Make sure you've utilized the right transition words and phrases to explain how your thoughts are connected. Look for mistakes, eliminate extraneous words, and double-check spellings and heading layout for uniformity.

Finally, double-check that your document is formatted appropriately according to the guidelines of the citation style you've chosen. You might need to incorporate an MLA heading or make an APA title page, for example.

The Bottom Line-

What do you do now that you've finished your research paper? The final step is to double-check everything to ensure that your work is complete and ready to submit. This is where our checklist can help in how to write a research paper:

  • Is it in compliance with all of the standards and instructions?
  • Is your paper focused on the specified topic and thoroughly discloses it?
  • Have you picked sources of knowledge that are credible, rational, and trustworthy?
  • Is your thesis well-supported, transparent, and debatable?
  • Are your paper's parts (as well as the concepts you provided there) well-organized and understandable?
  • Is your research paper one-of-a-kind?
  • Have you gone over your paper for proofreading and editing?
  • Is it properly formatted?
  • Are you prepared to submit it?

It can be difficult to study your selected topic, choose sources, organize information, and write your research paper. Hopefully, our tips for writing a research paper will assist you in producing a high-quality research paper.

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