10 Essential Steps for Writing Your Research Paper

Are you trying to write a good research paper for your next project? You must be confused about the important steps of writing the best research paper to impress your supervisor! This blog is the ultimate solution for you to look over the 10 essential steps or a checklist to go over to be sure that you wrote a good paper!

Step 1: Select a Topic

Research writing can be a challenge, but with a little practice, it can become an important part of your academic and professional toolkit.

Before you start writing, choose your topic carefully, keeping in mind the amount of time you have to write the paper, your intended audience, and the limits of the resources. Check in the library to make sure a reasonable amount of information is available on the topic you choose. Writing the paper will be much easier if you select a topic that interests you and that you can Forman an opinion or viewpoint about. In fact, it will be easier, later on, to narrow the topic if you choose a topic you already know something about.

Step 2: Ask a Question about the Topic

The subject of the paper is what you want to say about the topic. You need to read background articles about your topic in encyclopedias and other general references. Do not take notes at this time other than to write down possible main ideas. As you read, ask questions like the following:

  • Who are the important people involved?
  • What are the major issues?
  • What are my opinions regarding the topic?
  • Why is this an important (controversial, interesting) subject?
  • How has the problem (or issue) developed? When? Where?

The answers will also help you to narrow your topic. Remember to keep in mind the length of your paper.

Step 3: Begin Your Research

Before you begin your research for your paper, you need to compose a thesis statement that describes the viewpoint you are going to express and support in your paper. Since your purpose in the rest of the paper is to prove the validity of your thesis, your thesis statement provides a controlling idea that will help you choose the resource materials you will use and will limit your note-taking.

Example: Thesis statement: Ancient Greek culture is reflected in the lives of present-day Greeks. Controlling idea: "reflected in." The writer will look for materials that describe characteristics of ancient Grecian culture and characteristics of modern Grecian culture, and for any similarities between the two.

A thesis statement must not be an indisputable fact or an opinion that cannot be proven. For example, it would be difficult to write a research paper to prove the following thesis statements: the United States was the first nation to land on the moon. Compose your thesis statement carefully, for it is the key to a good paper. As a matter of fact, a good thesis statement can outline your paper for you. For example, the following thesis can be divided into three parts that, in effect, provide a rough outline. Much of Martin Luther King’s success resulted from the passive resistance techniques proposed by Mahatma Gandhi.
1. Martin Luther King’s success.
2. The passive resistance techniques of Gandhi.
3. The role of Gandhi’s passive resistance techniques in Martin Luther King’s success.

Step 4: Form a preliminary bibliography

A preliminary bibliography is a list of potential sources of information. There are other sources that will help you locate articles and books relevant to your topic.

as you select articles and books, record information regarding them just as you want it to appear in your bibliography.

Using 3×5 index cards is a good method. Later, when you complete your final bibliography, you will just arrange this information in alphabetical order.

Also Read: A Short Guide to Form a Preliminary Bibliography

Step 5: Prepare a Working Outline

A working outline is important because it gives the order to your note-taking. As you do your research, you may find that you need to review your plan if you lack information about a topic or have conflicting information. Nevertheless, it provides a good starting point and is essential before you start to take notes. Begin by listing the topics you want to discuss in your paper. Although you musrt have a general idea of these from the reading you have already done, just divide the items on the list into major topics and subtopics.

Step 6: Start Taking Notes

After you have gathered your materials and prepare a working outline, you can start to take notes. Each note should relate in some way to one of the topics on your working outline. Label each card with the appropriate topic; then you can easily organize your note cards later when you begin to prepare the final outline of your paper. Each notecard should also include the title of the source of information and the page number to use later for footnoting. This is very important because you must cite all material even if you have not used the exact words of the text!

Step 7: Outline the Paper

The final outline is similar to the working outline, but is more complex, with each topic being further divided into several subtopics. To accomplish this, sort your notecards into separate piles according to the topics at the top of each of them. Then, sort each pile into separate subtopics.

For example, one of the topics from our sample working outline might be subdivided like this: Religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks ceremonies feelings about death deities your final outline also should reflect the organizational format you have chosen for your paper. This will depend on the topic of your paper and your thesis statement. family life of baboons and humans, a comparison-contrast format would be more appropriate

Step 8: Write the Rough Draft

After you have completed your final outline, you can begin to write your rough draft. It is important to remember that this rough draft will be revised. Therefore, at this time, you do not need to worry too much about spelling or punctuation. Instead, you should concentrate on the content of the paper, following your outline and expanding the ideas in it with information from your notes.

Your paper should consist of three parts:

  • The introduction
  • The body of the paper, and
  • The conclusion.

The introduction should state the thesis, summarize the main ideas of the paper and capture the reader’s interest. The body of the paper should develop each section of the outline. And the conclusion should summarize your findings and restate the thesis.

Step 9: Edit Your Paper

  • When you have finished the rough draft, read through it again and revise it. Pay particular attention to the following questions:
  • Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that relates to the thesis?
  • Is each idea supported by evidence?
  • Are there clear transitions from one section to another, from your words to quotations?
  • Are there clear transitions to indicate to the reader when one idea is ending and another one is beginning?

Revision often requires many readings, each with its own purpose.

Step 10: Write the Final Draft

The final draft of your paper should be typed and must include citations and bibliography; some papers might require a title page, depending on the formatting style and/or the professor. The title page should include the title of the paper, your name, the name of the course, the instructor’s name, and the date the paper is due. Footnotes are a matter of style and you can check with your instructor on the format he/she prefers. In general, though, a footnote is indicated by an Arabic numeral raised a half-space above the line, placed after the sentence or passage to which it refers. Footnotes may be arranged in numerical order at the bottom of the page on which they appear or a separate page (labeled Endnotes) placed at the end of the paper just before the bibliography. The bibliography is simply a list of your sources; how it is arranged depends again on the formatting style.

Before handing in your paper, be sure to proofread it for any mechanical errors.

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