How to Write a Research Paper

Research comes from the French word rechercher, meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.

Let’s be honest: most students hate research papers. They think it an assignment that is both picky and tedious. Wrestling with the correct format of a footnote drives them loopy. That, in a nutshell, is how you really feel about the research paper. Many students feel exactly the same. Yet for all the anxiety that the research paper provokes, it has outlasted generations of its student haters. Obviously it must be good for something, or else it would have been swept away long, long ago.

In fact, the research paper is an excellent tool for learning about a topic of your choice. Writing it will expose you to the rigors of research, acquaint you with the protocol of making correct citations to sources consulted, and teach you how to forge a mishmash of researched opinions into a single, coherent viewpoint. Of course, it is possible that your instructor will assign a specific topic for your paper, but typically topic choice is left up to the writer. Finding and shaping the final topic is usually regarded as a test of the student’s judgment. The student who chooses a vast topic, such as wars throughout the ages, has taken on too big a job. On the other hand, the student who chooses to write on the history of the tire iron is proposing a topic that is too small. So how to write a research paper? Our writing guide is arranged following the logical steps of writing process.

Research Paper Writing Guide


I. How to Start a Research Paper

II. How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper

III. How to Write a Research Plan

IV. How to Do Research

A. How to Conduct Online Research

B. How to Use a Library for Research

C. How to Conduct an Original Research

V. How to Take Notes While Researching

VI. How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

A. Research Paper Outline Format, Examples, and Templates

VII. How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

A. Examples of Good Thesis Statements

VIII. How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft

A. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper


1. Research Paper Introduction Examples

B. How to Write a Body of a Research Paper

1. Examples of Effective Research Paper Transitions

C. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

D. How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

IX. How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper

X. How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper also has practical effects that could help you in later life. Research is research, and the techniques you learn from writing a research paper about, say, why the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe was so appealing in his day, will also apply to writing a business paper about, say, why a certain product isn’t selling today. In both instances you would be researching causes. The research paper, in other words, is not art for art’s sake; it’s art for student’s sake. And the research paper can also be fun.

But you must make it fun. The first step in doing that is to choose a subject you genuinely like. You may even discover an interest in a subject that you didn’t know you had. Research into any subject tends to lead to self-reflection. As you learn about your subject, whatever it may be, you also get glimpses into your own heart. Self-discovery of this kind is not unusual among students searching for a research topic. For some students the experience becomes a turning point in their lives that leads to permanent career changes. Remember, too, that a topic that might seem humdrum to you might to some readers come as a bolt of revelation. For example, a student from Afghanistan never wrote about her country until an instructor pointed out the fascination a paper on the customs and traditions of the Afghan people might hold for American readers.

Reasons for the Research Paper Writing

One obvious reason for writing the research paper is that writing it forces you to learn lots about your chosen subject. Sifting through the pros and cons of opinions on any subject is a priceless learning experience. Another reason is that writing the research paper teaches you the conventions of academic writing, among them the accepted styles of documentation and the ethics of research.

A third reason is that you will become familiar with the library through the “learning by doing” method. Even the simplest library is an intricate storehouse of information, bristling with indexes, encyclopedias, and abstracts. How to seek out from this maze of sources a single piece of information is a skill you learn by actual doing. Writing a research paper may also mean interviewing experts about your subject and blending their ideas with your own distinct point of view. In short, you, like everyone else, can profit from knowing how to do research.

There are other benefits as well. Writing the research paper is an exercise in logic, imagination, and common sense. As you chip away at the mass of data and information available on your chosen topic, you learn:

  • How to track down information
  • How to organize
  • How to use the Internet in your research
  • How to discriminate between useless and useful opinions
  • How to summarize
  • How to budget your time
  • How to conceive of and manage a research project from start to finish

Report Papers and Thesis Papers

Papers assigned in colleges are one of two kinds: the report paper or the thesis paper. The report paper summarizes and reports your findings on a particular subject. You neither judge nor evaluate the findings; you simply relate them in a logical sequence. For instance, a paper that describes the opinions of experts in the debate over global warming is a report paper. Likewise a paper that chronologically narrates the final days of Adolf Hitler is a report paper.

Unlike the report paper, the thesis paper takes a definite stand on an issue. A thesis is a proposition or point of view that you are willing to argue against or defend. A paper that argues for the legalization of stem cell research is a thesis paper. So is a paper that attempts to prove that air bags save lives. Here are several more examples of topics that might be treated in report papers and thesis papers:

  • Report paper: How the Beatles got started as a rock group.
  • Thesis paper: The Beatles’ lyrics gave hope to a disenchanted youth during the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Report paper: A summary of the theories of hypnosis.
  • Thesis paper: Hypnosis is simply another form of Pavlovian conditioning.
  • Report paper: The steps involved in passage of federal legislation.
  • Thesis paper: Lobbyists wield disproportionate influence on federal legislation.

Usually, college and university professors are more likely to assign a thesis paper than a report paper, for obvious reasons: Writing a thesis paper requires you to exercise judgment, evaluate evidence, and construct a logical argument; writing a report paper does not.

Research Paper Writing Services

Writing a research paper is always difficult because research papers demand a lot of time and attention. You need to have a strong hold over the subject you are dealing with and have to substantiate your arguments with valid and authentic background information, statistics, facts and descriptions. An analytical mind and good judgment are also required to produce a research paper of high caliber. If you lack such skills or do not have the required time to devote to a research paper, it can affect your grades significantly which can, in turn, cast a shadow on your future.

If you get in touch with us, we can deliver high-quality, totally authentic custom research papers that can ensure high grades from your professors. We have a team of professionally trained paper writers who have the capability to write research papers on any topic under the sun, whether it’s a controversial topic such as abortion and cloning or environmental ones such as air pollution and climate change. Our writers pay special attention to the instructions given by your professors on research paper formats and follow them religiously so that you can pass the test with flying colors.


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