Steps for a research paper

Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. A series of steps, starting with developing a research question and working thesis, will lead you through writing a research paper. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps.

The research for and writing of a paper will be more enjoyable if you are writing about something that you find interesting. For general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Although you may be limited by specific classroom or work related guidelines, choosing your topic is the first and most important step in your research paper project. To achieve supreme excellence or perfection in anything you do, you need more than just the knowledge. The one big mess that you can get into, as a student, comes from doing too much unfocused research before identifying your own viewpoint, the one that you will eventually need to support.

Failure to work within these guidelines may result in your proposed paper being deemed unacceptable by your instructor. Writing about something you enjoy certainly shows in the final product, making it more likely that you will be successful writing a paper about something you enjoy. In our opinion, these steps represent the best way to move through the writing process because they ask you to think and develop a research question before you actually do a lot of research. Like the Olympic athlete aiming for the gold medal, you must have a positive attitude and the belief that you have the ability to achieve it. The following steps outline a simple and effective strategy for writing a research paper. These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Many times your instructor will give you clear guidelines as to what you can and cannot write about. For example, sometimes you need to do just a bit of background research and reading before you can develop a research question.

Sometimes you need to go back and find additional sources to corroborate your viewpoint. Your instructor reads hundreds of research papers every year, and many of them are on the same topics (topics in the news at the time, controversial issues, subjects for which there is ample and easily accessed information). The research writing steps that we offer represent a general, ideal, movement through the research writing process. Regardless of whether your topic can be anything you want or has rigid requirements, it is important to keep a few questions in mind: Is there enough research available on this topic? How can you keep your paper unique and interesting if everyone is writing about the same thing?

Do a preliminary search of information sources to determine whether existing sources will meet your needs. If you are uncertain as to what is expected of you in completing the assignment or project, re-read your assignment sheet carefully or ASK your teacher. A research paper can be used for exploring and identifying scientific, technical and social issues. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research. Depending on your familiarity with the topic and the challenges you encounter along the way, you may need to rearrange these steps. When studying at higher levels of school and throughout college, you will likely be asked to prepare research papers. Writing a research paper involves four main stages: choosing a topic, researching your topic, making an outline, and doing the actual writing. These steps outline a simple and effective strategy for finding information for your research paper and documenting the sources you find.