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The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 7, 2022.

The writing process steps

Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

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what are the steps to writing a research paper

Table of contents

Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, frequently asked questions about the writing process.

Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

Coming up with a topic

If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

Doing the research

Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:

Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.

This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.

To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.

Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.

The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.

When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.

The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.

Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.

Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.

Evaluating the first draft

It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.

It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.

Right now, you’re looking for:

For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.

For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.

Redrafting and revising

Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:

You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.

Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.

Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency.

Editing for grammar and clarity

When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:

In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:

Proofreading for small mistakes and typos

When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:

Use your word processor’s built-in spell check, but don’t expect to find 100% of issues in this way. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.

For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:

Proofreading for stylistic consistency

There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:

Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.

Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

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A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers

About the slc.

what are the steps to writing a research paper

(adapted from Research Paper Guide, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2010) 

Step 1: Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar 

Even before your paper is assigned, use the tools you have been given by your instructor and GSI, and create tools you can use later. 

See the handout “Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar” for more information.

Step 2: Understand the Assignment 

Step 3: Select a Topic 

Step 4: Initial Planning, Investigation, and Outlining 

Make a rough outline, a guide for your research to keep you on the subject while you work. 

Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials 

Step 6: Make a Final Outline to Guide Writing 

Step 7: Write the Paper 

Step 8: Revise and Proofread 

Carolyn Swalina, Writing Program Coordinator  Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley ©2011 UC Regents

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Basic Steps in the Research Process

The following steps outline a simple and effective strategy for writing a research paper. Depending on your familiarity with the topic and the challenges you encounter along the way, you may need to rearrange these steps.

Step 1: Identify and develop your topic

Selecting a topic can be the most challenging part of a research assignment. Since this is the very first step in writing a paper, it is vital that it be done correctly. Here are some tips for selecting a topic:

Once you have identified your topic, it may help to state it as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about the epidemic of obesity in the American population, you might pose the question "What are the causes of obesity in America ?" By posing your subject as a question you can more easily identify the main concepts or keywords to be used in your research.

Step 2 : Do a preliminary search for information

Before beginning your research in earnest, do a preliminary search to determine whether there is enough information out there for your needs and to set the context of your research. Look up your keywords in the appropriate titles in the library's Reference collection (such as encyclopedias and dictionaries) and in other sources such as our catalog of books, periodical databases, and Internet search engines. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings. You may find it necessary to adjust the focus of your topic in light of the resources available to you.

Step 3: Locate materials

With the direction of your research now clear to you, you can begin locating material on your topic. There are a number of places you can look for information:

If you are looking for books, do a subject search in the Alephcatalog. A Keyword search can be performed if the subject search doesn't yield enough information. Print or write down the citation information (author, title,etc.) and the location (call number and collection) of the item(s). Note the circulation status. When you locate the book on the shelf, look at the books located nearby; similar items are always shelved in the same area. The Aleph catalog also indexes the library's audio-visual holdings.

Use the library's  electronic periodical databases  to find magazine and newspaper articles. Choose the databases and formats best suited to your particular topic; ask at the librarian at the Reference Desk if you need help figuring out which database best meets your needs. Many of the articles in the databases are available in full-text format.

Use search engines ( Google ,  Yahoo , etc.) and subject directories to locate materials on the Internet. Check the  Internet Resources  section of the NHCC Library web site for helpful subject links.

Step 4: Evaluate your sources

See the  CARS Checklist for Information Quality   for tips on evaluating the authority and quality of the information you have located. Your instructor expects that you will provide credible, truthful, and reliable information and you have every right to expect that the sources you use are providing the same. This step is especially important when using Internet resources, many of which are regarded as less than reliable.

Step 5: Make notes

Consult the resources you have chosen and note the information that will be useful in your paper. Be sure to document all the sources you consult, even if you there is a chance you may not use that particular source. The author, title, publisher, URL, and other information will be needed later when creating a bibliography.

Step 6: Write your paper

Begin by organizing the information you have collected. The next step is the rough draft, wherein you get your ideas on paper in an unfinished fashion. This step will help you organize your ideas and determine the form your final paper will take. After this, you will revise the draft as many times as you think necessary to create a final product to turn in to your instructor.

Step 7: Cite your sources properly

Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources.

Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes: it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. The  MLA  and the  APA  Styles are two popular citation formats.

Failure to cite your sources properly is plagiarism. Plagiarism is avoidable!

Step 8: Proofread

The final step in the process is to proofread the paper you have created. Read through the text and check for any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure the sources you used are cited properly. Make sure the message that you want to get across to the reader has been thoroughly stated.

Additional research tips:

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what are the steps to writing a research paper

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English Center

The Process of Writing a Research Paper


Planning the Research Paper

The goal of a research paper is to bring together different views, evidence, and facts about a topic from books, articles, and interviews, then interpret the information into your writing. It’s about a relationship between you, other writers, and your teacher/audience.

A research paper will show two things: what you know or learned about a certain topic, and what other people know about the same topic. Often you make a judgment, or just explain complex ideas to the reader. The length of the research paper depends on your teacher’s guidelines. It’s always a good idea to keep your teacher in mind while writing your paper because the teacher is your audience.

The Process There are three stages for doing a research paper. These stages are:

While most people start with prewriting, the three stages of the writing process overlap. Writing is not the kind of process where you have to finish step one before moving on to step two, and so on. Your job is to make your ideas as clear as possible for the reader, and that means you might have to go back and forth between the prewriting, writing and revising stages several times before submitting the paper.

» Prewriting Thinking about a topic

The first thing you should do when starting your research paper is to think of a topic. Try to pick a topic that interests you and your teacher — interesting topics are easier to write about than boring topics! Make sure that your topic is not too hard to research, and that there is enough material on the topic. Talk to as many people as possible about your topic, especially your teacher. You’ll be surprised at the ideas you’ll get from talking about your topic. Be sure to always discuss potential topics with your teacher.

Places you can find a topic: newspapers, magazines, television news, the World Wide Web, and even in the index of a textbook!

Narrowing down your topic

As you think about your topic and start reading, you should begin thinking about a possible thesis statement (a sentence or two explaining your opinion about the topic). One technique is to ask yourself one important question about your topic, and as you find your answer, the thesis can develop from that. Some other techniques you may use to narrow your topic are: jot lists; preliminary outlines; listing possible thesis statements; listing questions; and/or making a concept map. It also may be helpful to have a friend ask you questions about your topic.

For help on developing your thesis statement, see the English Center Guide to Developing a Thesis Statement .

Discovery/Reading about your topic

You need to find information that helps you support your thesis. There are different places you can find this information: books, articles, people (interviews), and the internet.

As you gather the information or ideas you need, you need to make sure that you take notes and write down where and who you got the information from. This is called “citing your sources.” If you write your paper using information from other writers and do not cite the sources, you are committing plagiarism . If you plagiarize, you can get an “F” on your paper, fail the course, or even get kicked out of school.


There are three major different formats for citing sources. They are: the Modern Language Association (MLA) , the American Psychology Association (APA) , and the Chicago Turabian style . Always ask your teacher which format to use. For more information on these styles, see our other handouts!


After you’ve thought, read, and taken notes on your topic, you may want to revise your thesis because a good thesis will help you develop a plan for writing your paper. One way you can do this is to brainstorm — think about everything you know about your topic, and put it down on paper. Once you have it all written down, you can look it over and decide if you should change your thesis statement or not.

If you already developed a preliminary map or outline, now is the time to go back and revise it. If you haven’t developed a map or outline yet, now is the time to do it. The outline or concept map should help you organize how you want to present information to your readers. The clearer your outline or map, the easier it will be for you to write the paper. Be sure that each part of your outline supports your thesis. If it does not, you may want to change/revise your thesis statement again.

» Writing a research paper follows a standard compositional (essay) format. It has a title, introduction, body and conclusion. Some people like to start their research papers with a title and introduction, while others wait until they’ve already started the body of the paper before developing a title and introduction. See this link for more information about writing introductions and conclusions .

Some techniques that may help you with writing your paper are:

If you’re having difficulties thinking of what to write about next, you can look back at your notes that you have from when you were brainstorming for your topic.

» Revising The last (but not least) step is revising. When you are revising, look over your paper and make changes in weak areas. The different areas to look for mistakes include: content– too much detail, or too little detail; organization/structure (which is the order in which you write information about your topic); grammar; punctuation; capitalization; word choice; and citations.

It probably is best if you focus on the “big picture” first. The “big picture” means the organization (paragraph order), and content (ideas and points) of the paper. It also might help to go through your paper paragraph by paragraph and see if the main idea of each paragraph relates to the thesis. Be sure to keep an eye out for any repeated information (one of the most common mistakes made by students is having two or more paragraphs with the same information). Often good writers combine several paragraphs into one so they do not repeat information.

Revision Guidelines

After you are satisfied with the content and structure of the paper, you then can focus on common errors like grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, typos, and word choice.

Proofreading Guidelines

For more information on proofreading, see the English Center Punctuation and Grammar Review .

After writing the paper, it might help if you put it aside and do not look at it for a day or two. When you look at your paper again, you will see it with new eyes and notice mistakes you didn’t before. It’s a really good idea to ask someone else to read your paper before you submit it to your teacher. Good writers often get feedback and revise their paper several times before submitting it to the teacher.

Source: “Process of Writing a Research Paper,” by Ellen Beck and Rachel Mingo with contributions from Jules Nelson Hill and Vivion Smith, is based on the previous version by Dawn Taylor, Sharon Quintero, Robert Rich, Robert McDonald, and Katherine Eckhart.


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How To Write A Research Paper

How To Write A Hypothesis

Nova A.

How to Write a Hypothesis for a Research Paper

Published on: Aug 5, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

How to Write a Hypothesis

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Hypotheses are essential in science. The word ‘hypothesis’ is derived from the Greek words ‘hupo,’ meaning ‘under,’ and ‘thema,’ meaning ‘idea,.’ So, a hypothesis can be considered an idea held under consideration. In other words, it's a testable statement about the natural world.

Writing a hypothesis is one of the first steps in conducting any type of research. It is an important part of the scientific method. A hypothesis can be defined as an educated guess about how something works.

This blog post aims to provide you with a short guide on how to write a hypothesis. You will also find examples of hypotheses found in research papers across different disciplines (i.e., biology, chemistry, psychology).

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What is a Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is a tentative explanation for the natural phenomena that have been observed. It is not a guess but rather an educated guess which will be proven or disproven through the research methods.

By considering the following questions, you will be able to generate a research hypothesis that is both clear and focused:

Types of Research Hypothesis

The following are the most common types of hypotheses.

Let’s discuss them in detail.

Simple hypotheses give probabilities to potential observations. It is a testable prediction reflecting the relationship between a single dependent variable and a single independent variable.

A complex hypothesis describes how more than two variables relate to each other.

The empirical hypothesis is not just an idea, but it becomes a reality when the theory begins to be put to tests through observation and experiment.

It is donated by ‘HO..’ The null hypothesis suggests that there is no relationship between two variables.

It is donated by ‘H1’. An alternative hypothesis is one in which the researchers describe a difference between more than two variables; that's to say - it can't be attributed to chance.

It is a proposed explanation that has limited to no evidence. Generally, a logical hypothesis is turned into an empirical hypothesis and put through the test.

A statistical hypothesis is a guess about the population parameters or form of the distribution for designated populations. It can also be more broadly applied to any probabilistic mechanism that generates observations from which we want to draw conclusions.

How to Write a Hypothesis?

A testable hypothesis can be written in different ways and for different areas. That’s why students usually ask the following questions.

The goal of any hypothesis is to offer an introduction to the scientific experiment and its intentions. Here are the steps that you need to follow for writing a compelling hypothesis.

Make sure that the hypothesis clearly defines what your focus will be during experimentation. This helps readers understand why they want to join in on testing out hypotheses themselves or reading about various experiments with other scientists.

You can identify the variables in the  if-then  form where "if" starts with something like "If I do X" while also stating what would happen next - for example, 'Then Y.’ This way, even if people can't read through all of them, they'll get at least a glimpse into the key ideas.

Hypothesis Examples

A hypothesis is a statement that typically proposes the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more factors. It's best to write your hypothesis in simple, declarative sentences as opposed to statements phrased as questions like "Who will be better prepared for an English exam?" You should present it with confidence and not ask any rhetorical questions.

Here you can find some hypothesis examples for your better understanding.

Writing Tips for a Great Hypothesis

The following are some expert tips on how to write a good hypothesis.

Always refer back to this guide for how to put together an effective & strong hypothesis. If not, then expert writers at  CollegeEssay.org  can provide assistance that's second-to-none when it comes down to any type of academic paper or  college essay . With this, you can complete assignments on time without worry.

We make sure our team produces quality work. In addition, we have years of experience working with clients just like you who are looking for customized essays at affordable rates.

Contact us now for the best writing help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 required parts of a hypothesis.

The three main parts of the hypothesis are: 

What are 5 characteristics of a good hypothesis?

The main five characteristics of a good hypothesis are: 

What should not be characteristic of a hypothesis?

Complexity should not be a good characteristic of a hypothesis. 

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!

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Academic writing is an important aspect of higher education, as it helps to develop critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. However, for many people, writing an academic essay can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will take you through the process of writing an academic essay, step by step, so that you can approach your next writing assignment with confidence.

From understanding the assignment and researching the topic to developing an outline and revising your work, we will cover all of the key elements of the academic essay-writing process. We will also provide tips and tricks for overcoming common challenges and improving your writing skills. Whether you’re just starting out in your academic career, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to refine your writing skills, this blog has something to offer.

So, if you’re ready to take your academic writing to the next level, read on and discover how to write an academic essay that will impress your readers and help you achieve your goals.

Table of Contents

Writing an Academic Essay

1. introduction.

The introduction is one of the most important parts of an academic essay, as it sets the stage for what’s to come. The introduction should provide background information on the topic, establish the purpose of the essay, and clearly state your thesis. The purpose of the introduction is to engage your reader and make them want to continue reading.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong introduction:

1. Start with a hook

Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab the reader’s attention. This could be a quote, a statistic, or an interesting fact related to the topic.

2. Provide background information

After the hook, provide some background information on the topic to give context to the reader. This information should be relevant to the topic and help the reader understand why it’s important.

3. State your thesis

The thesis statement is a clear and concise statement of what you will argue in your essay. It should be placed near the end of the introduction and should reflect the focus of your essay.

4. Preview the main points

Preview the main points of your essay, so the reader knows what to expect. This will give your reader a roadmap for what is to come and will help you to stay focused as you write your essay.

5. Engage your reader

The introduction should engage your reader and make them want to continue reading. Avoid using too much technical language or jargon, and instead, focus on making your introduction accessible and interesting.

Writing a strong introduction to an academic essay is crucial for engaging your reader and setting the stage for what’s to come. By starting with a hook, providing background information, stating your thesis, previewing the main points, and engaging your reader, you will be well on your way to writing a strong academic essay.

2. Literature Review

The literature review is a critical component of an academic essay, as it provides a foundation for the rest of your research. The purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize previous research on the topic and to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. The literature review should be more than just a list of articles and books, but rather an evaluation of the relevant literature.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a literature review :

1. Choose the right sources

Start by identifying relevant sources for your literature review. This may include academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and theses. Make sure to choose only the most relevant and up-to-date sources.

2. Read and take notes

Once you’ve identified your sources, it’s time to read and take notes. Use a system to keep track of the information and be sure to note the author, date, and key findings of each source.

3. Summarize the literature

In your literature review, you should summarize the key findings of each source, highlighting their relevance to your research. You should also synthesize the information, looking for patterns, similarities, and differences among the sources.

4. Evaluate the literature

A strong literature review should not just summarize the sources, but also evaluate them. This means examining their strengths and weaknesses and assessing their relevance to your research question .

5. Identify gaps in the literature

As you evaluate the sources, look for gaps in the existing knowledge and areas where further research is needed. This will help you to identify the significance of your research and justify the need for your study.

6. Organize your literature review

Once you’ve completed your evaluation, you should organize your literature review clearly and logically. This could be chronologically, thematically, or based on methodology.

By choosing the right sources, reading and taking notes, summarizing and evaluating the literature, identifying gaps, and organizing your review, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported foundation for the rest of your essay.

3. Methodology

The methodology section of an academic essay is where you describe the methods you used to conduct your research. This section is an opportunity to explain the steps you took to answer your research question and to justify why you chose these methods. The methodology should be detailed, precise, and transparent so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong methodology:

1. Define your research question

Before writing your methodology, you should have a clear understanding of your research question. This will guide the choice of methods you use and the information you collect.

2. Choose the right methods

The choice of methods should be guided by the research question. For example, if you’re conducting a survey, you would use a different method than if you were conducting a case study. Consider the strengths and limitations of each method, and choose the one that is best suited to your research question.

3. Explain your methods in detail

In your methodology, you should describe your methods in detail, so that others can understand how you conducted your research. This should include information on the sample size, how you collected the data, and any instruments or techniques you used.

4. Justify your methods

You should justify why you chose the methods you used and how they are appropriate for answering your research question. This might involve a discussion of the limitations of your methods and how they affect the results.

5. Address ethical considerations

If your research involved human subjects, you must address ethical considerations in your methodology. This might include information on informed consent, data confidentiality, and any potential risks to participants.

6. Be transparent

Your methodology should be transparent and honest so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary. Be sure to report all of the methods you used, even if the results were not what you expected.

By defining your research question, choosing the right methods, explaining your methods in detail, justifying your methods, addressing ethical considerations, and being transparent, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported methodology for your essay.

The results section of an academic essay is where you present the findings of your research. This section should be clear, concise, and objective, and should present the data without any interpretation or discussion. The results should be organized logically and should include tables, figures, and other visual aids as necessary.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong results section:

1. Summarize the data

The first step in writing the results section is to summarize the data you collected. This might involve calculating means, standard deviations, and other descriptive statistics , depending on the type of data you collected.

2. Organize the results

This might involve presenting the results for each hypothesis, each research question, or each variable, depending on the nature of your study.

3. Use visual aids

Visual aids, such as tables and figures , can help to clarify and simplify the results. Make sure to label each visual aid clearly, and provide a caption that explains what the visual aid is showing.

4. Be objective

The results section should be objective, presenting the data without any interpretation or discussion. The interpretation of the results should be left to the discussion section.

5. Report results accurately

The results section should report the results accurately and precisely. This might involve rounding numbers to a specified number of decimal places, or using appropriate units of measurement.

In summary, by summarizing the data, organizing the results, using visual aids, being objective, and reporting the results accurately, you will be able to present your findings in a clear and compelling manner.

5. Discussion

The discussion section of an academic essay is where you interpret the results of your research and relate them to your research question and the broader literature. This section is an opportunity to conclude, make recommendations, and reflect on the strengths and limitations of your study. The discussion should be well-organized and should provide a clear and concise interpretation of the results.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong discussion section:

1. Interpret the results

The first step in writing the discussion section is to interpret the results of your study. This might involve comparing your results to previous research, explaining any unexpected results, and drawing conclusions about the implications of your findings.

2. Relate the results to your research question

The discussion should relate the results of your study to your research question, demonstrating how the results answer the question and providing insights into the topic.

3. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of your study

The discussion should include an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of your study, addressing any limitations that might affect the validity of the results, and suggesting areas for future research.

4. Draw conclusions

The discussion should conclude the results of the study, make recommendations based on the findings, and discuss the implications for future research.

5. Consider the broader context

The discussion should consider the broader context of the research, relating the findings to the broader literature and making connections to other related fields.

6. Write clearly and concisely

The discussion should be well-written and easy to understand, using clear and concise language. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to define any terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader.

6. Conclusion

The conclusion of an academic essay is the final section in which you summarize the key points of your argument and provide closure to your reader. This section should be concise and to the point, reiterating the main points of your essay and providing a final perspective on your topic. The conclusion should also reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong conclusion:

1. Summarize the key points

The first step in writing the conclusion is to summarize the key points of your essay. This might involve restating your research question, summarizing your findings, and reiterating your arguments.

2. Reflect on the implications of your research

The conclusion should reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field. This might involve discussing the potential applications of your findings, considering any ethical implications, or discussing future directions for research.

3. Provide closure

The conclusion should provide closure to your reader, bringing your argument to a logical end and tying up any loose ends. This might involve suggesting a conclusion based on your research, or providing a final perspective on your topic.

4. Avoid introducing new information

The conclusion should avoid introducing new information or arguments that were not discussed in the body of your essay. This might confuse your reader and undermine the coherence of your argument.

5. Write concisely

The conclusion should be concise, using clear and concise language to summarize the key points of your essay. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is easy for your reader to understand.

By summarizing the key points, reflecting on the implications of your research, providing closure, avoiding introducing new information, and writing concisely, you will be able to provide a compelling conclusion to your argument.

7. References

The references section of an academic essay is a crucial component that provides a list of the sources you used in your research and writing. The purpose of the references section is to give credit to the authors whose work you have used, to provide evidence for your arguments, and to support the validity of your research.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong references section:

1. Follow a specific citation style

The first step in writing the references section is to follow a specific citation style. There are several citation styles used in academic writing, including APA , MLA , and Chicago , and it is important to choose the one that is appropriate for your discipline and the type of essay you are writing.

2. Cite all sources used in your essay

The references section should include a citation for all sources that you used in your essay, including books, journal articles, websites, and other types of sources.

3. Follow the format guidelines

The references section should be formatted according to the specific citation style that you have chosen. This might involve including information such as the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and the page numbers for any direct quotes or paraphrased material.

4. Alphabetize the references

The references section should be alphabetized according to the author’s last name, or the first word of the title for sources without authors.

5. Check for accuracy

Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the references section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the sources are cited properly.

By following a specific citation style, citing all sources used in your essay, following the format guidelines, alphabetizing the references, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented references section for your essay.

8. Appendices

The appendices section of an academic essay is an optional component that provides additional information that supports the main argument or research findings. This section might include materials such as graphs, tables, maps, images, or other types of data or supplementary information.

writing an academic essay

Here are some key steps to writing a strong appendices section:

1. Decide what to include

The first step in writing the appendices section is to decide what to include. This might involve evaluating the relevance of different types of information and determining which information is necessary to support your argument.

2. Label and organize the appendices

The appendices should be labeled and organized clearly and consistently, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. This might involve including a title or description for each appendix, and numbering the appendices in a logical order.

3. Refer to the appendices in the main body of your essay

The appendices should be referred to in the main body of your essay, helping to connect the appendices to your argument. This might involve including a reference to the appendix in your text, or including a cross-reference to the appendix in your table of contents.

4. Use clear and concise language

The appendices should be written using clear and concise language, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is accessible to your reader.

Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the appendices section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the tables, graphs, and other materials are properly labeled and organized.

By deciding what to include, labeling and organizing the appendices, referring to the appendices in the main body of your essay, using clear and concise language, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented appendices section for your essay.

In Conclusion

Writing an academic essay is a complex and challenging task that requires careful planning, research, writing, and revision. From developing a strong thesis statement and researching the topic to writing the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references, each step in the essay writing process requires attention to detail and a commitment to producing a high-quality essay.

By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this blog, you will be able to write a clear and well-structured essay that effectively communicates your argument, supports your claims with evidence, and meets the expectations of your reader.

In conclusion, writing an academic essay is a multi-step process that requires time, effort, and dedication. However, by breaking the process down into manageable steps, and by focusing on the key elements of writing an effective essay, you will be able to produce a high-quality essay that meets the expectations of your reader and contributes to your academic or professional success.

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How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps

Matt Ellis

A research paper outline is a supporting document that lists all the topics to include in a paper in the intended order, usually divided by paragraphs. The typical outline of a research paper also consists of other details like subtopics and evidential sources to help the writer stay organized. Some even have individual sentence topics and early ideas for phrasing. 

Want to know how to write a research paper outline? This guide explains step by step what to include and how to write one yourself, including research paper outline examples. 

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What is a research paper outline? 

The outline is an integral part of how to write a research paper . The main purpose of a research paper outline is to structure the topics, data, and all other inclusions in the paper (like direct quotes) so you stay organized and don’t forget anything. 

Conventionally, writers compose outlines after choosing a thesis statement and sourcing research evidence, but before writing the first draft . Making structural changes is far more efficient in the outlining phase than after you write the first draft; you can remove certain topics early on without wasting time writing them and add new topics before the drafting phase so you can write everything all at once. 

The typical outline of a research paper is broken up into sections and paragraphs , listing each paragraph’s topic and the related evidence or data to include therein. The depth of detail can change depending on your writing style or the requirements of the paper, as we explain below. 

Are there different kinds of research paper outlines?

In short, you decide what details to include in your research paper outline, although the requirements of the assignment influence what’s necessary. For example, a basic college research paper outline for a one-page assignment might contain only a list of four or five paragraph topics, whereas a formal research paper for a scientific study might outline each sentence in all five parts of a research paper: introduction, review of literature, methods, results, and discussion. 

Research paper outlines can be one level, two level, and so on, depending on their intricacy. One-level outlines display just the section headings or main topics, while four-level outlines get very detailed with paragraph and sentence breakdowns. 

There are three popular formats for research paper outlines: alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal . Below, we’ll explain the details of each and illustrate their differences with the research paper outline examples, focused on the same topic: “Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Who’s the Best Basketball Player?”

Alphanumeric research paper outline

Alphanumeric is the most common outline format—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, specific points for each subtopic as Arabic numerals, and further details for individual points as lowercase letters. 

You would write the information in quick blurbs—just a few words—instead of complete sentences. 

Alphanumeric research paper outline example

I.  Michael Jordan

A. Career Highlights

1. Six NBA Championships

a. Six NBA Finals MVP

2. US Olympics Basketball Team

a. 1984 Gold Medalist

b. 1992 Gold Medalist

3. Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections

a. Three NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards

B. Achievements

1. Record-holder scoring average

a. Regular season (30.12 points per game)

b. Playoffs (33.45 points per game)

2. Other accolades

a. 1996 Space Jam

b. Owner of Charlotte Hornets

II. LeBron James

1. Four NBA Championships

a. Four NBA Finals MVP

a. 2008 Gold Medalist

b. 2012 Gold Medalist

3. Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selections

1. Philanthropy

a. LeBron James Family Foundation

b. Social activism

a. 2021 Space Jam

b. First player to accumulate $1 billion as an active player

III. Analysis and Discussion

A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better

Full-sentence research paper outline 

Full-sentence research paper outlines have the same organization as alphanumeric outlines—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, subtopic points as Arabic numerals, and details for each point as lowercase letters. 

However, the significant difference is that you would write the information in incomplete sentences instead of quick blurbs. The advantage is that your outline is more specific and easier to share with colleagues when working as a team. The disadvantage is that it takes a little longer to write. 

Full-sentence research paper outline example

I. Michael Jordan is often considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

A. Jordan’s career in basketball is full of accomplishments and accolades. 

1. During his career, Jordan won six NBA Championships.

a. Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP all six times he was eligible. 

2. Jordan twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team. 

a. Jordan’s first Olympics was in 1984 when he won the gold medal.

b. Jordan won a second gold medal as part of the 1992 “Dream Team.” 

3. Jordan was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game fourteen times.

a. Jordan won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times. 

B. Jordan’s legacy encompasses achievements on and off the court.

1. Jordan still holds a couple of significant records in the NBA. 

a. Jordan holds the record for the highest average of points per game  during the regular season (30.12 points per game).

b. Jordan also holds the record for the highest average of points per  game in the playoffs (33.45 points per game).

2. Jordan has notable success even when not playing basketball. 

a. Jordan starred in the original 1996 film Space Jam.

b. Today, Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets.

II. LeBron James is often considered Jordan’s strongest rival for the greatest basketball player. 

A. James’s career mimics, and in some cases surpasses, that of Jordan’s career. 

1. During his career, James won four NBA Championships. 

a. James was named NBA Finals MVP all four times he was eligible. 

2. Like Jordan, James twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team. 

a. James won the 2008 gold medal as part of the US basketball team.

b. James won the gold medal again in 2012. 

3. James was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game eighteen times. 

a. James won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times. 

B. James has a rich life outside of basketball as well. 

1. More than Jordan, James is known for his philanthropic work. 

a. James started the LeBron James Family Foundation charity. 

b. James fearlessly took public stances on controversial social issues.

2. Aside from charity, James has a few other distinctions from his lifetime. 

a. James starred in the 2021 Space Jam remake. 

b. James is the first NBA player to accumulate $1 billion as a player.

III. Considering the highlights of both athletes’ careers, who is better? 

A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better. 

Decimal research paper outline 

Decimal research paper outlines forgo the alphanumeric system and instead use a system of numbers with increasing decimal points—with main topics listed as whole numbers (1 or 1.0), subtopics with one decimal point (1.1), points under a subtopic with two decimal points (1.1.1), and further details with three decimal points ( 

Each new piece of information uses the subsequent number (1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.), so you always know where you are in the outline. You would write the content for each line in quick blurbs, just like the original alphanumeric formal. 

Decimal research paper outlines are the most thorough but can get complicated. They’re recommended for writers who prefer technical precision or for lengthy outlines with many topics and subtopics. 

Decimal research paper outline example

1 Michael Jordan

1.1 Career Highlights

1.1.1. Six NBA Championships

1.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team

1.1.3 Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections

1.2 Achievements

1.2.1 Record-holder scoring average

1.2.2 Other accolades

2 LeBron James

2.1 Career Highlights

2.1.1 Four NBA Championships

2.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team

2.1.3 Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selection

2.2 Achievements

2.2.1 Philanthropy

2.2.2 Other accolades

3 Analysis and Discussion

3.1 Of course, Michael Jordan is better 

7 steps to follow when outlining a research paper 

1   choose your thesis and gather sources.

Your outline is not the first step in writing a research paper. Before that, you first need to choose a thesis and then gather primary and secondary sources to back it up. 

Your thesis is essentially what the research paper is about. Your thesis is given to you in some assignments, but sometimes, as with independent research, you’ll have to develop one on your own. 

Once you’ve settled on a thesis, you’ll need evidence to support it. Collect all the relevant sources and data early on so that you know what to write about. Researching often reveals new aspects of your topic that you hadn’t known about before. It may dispel any misinterpretations you have—better to find out you’re wrong sooner rather than later. For help on how to cite your sources, use our free Citation Generator . 

Keep in mind that the outline is just one part of writing a research paper. If you want to read more advice, take a look at our full guide on how to write a research paper . 

2   Make a list of all the topics, subtopics, and points you want to cover

Go through your research and note each topic, subtopic, and supporting point. Be sure to keep related information together. Remember that everything you discuss in your paper should relate to your thesis, so omit anything that seems tangential. 

If you’ve highlighted any specific passages or quotes from your sources, feel free to include them too. They aren’t necessary for all research paper outlines, but they save you time when you’re in the middle of writing your first draft. 

3   Choose the best type of research paper outline for the assignment

Choose the type of research paper outline that best matches your topic, the assignment’s length, and the complexity of your paper. Simple papers only require simple outlines, but more advanced topics with lots of research can benefit from more detailed outlines. 

Consider whether you’re sharing your outline with other team members or whether you’re writing it solo. Likewise, consider the length and amount of topics. The decimal format can help organize long papers, but feel free to stick with alphanumeric if it makes you comfortable. 

4   Consider the structure and sequence of your topics

Before actually writing the research paper outline, think long and hard about the order in which you present your topics. What is the most logical sequence? What structure would communicate most clearly to your readers, who may be unfamiliar with these topics? 

Keep in mind that some topics only make sense if they come after other topics. Before presenting new findings or revelations, you may want to add background or contextual information first. All other factors being equal, a chronological sequence is often the most logical structure. 

5   Create the framework for your outline

Rather than writing your research paper outline entirely at once, start with just the framework. Try putting the main topics in order without yet including any subtopics or supporting points. 

Starting with the framework gives you a clear look at the backbone of your research paper. Now would be a good time to rearrange the order if there’s a problem or add a new topic if you find something is missing. It’s never too late to go back and conduct more research to flesh out the areas you feel are lacking. 

6 Add in more details

After you’re satisfied with the framework, go ahead and add the details. Most research paper outlines benefit from including the paragraph structure , so feel free to add lines about your topic sentence, development/support sentences, and conclusion for each paragraph. 

If you want to get meticulous, you can add a few notes about sentence structure . Be careful of getting too detailed, though—otherwise, you’re writing a first draft instead of an outline! 

7 Revise to improve structure

Finally, check your completed outline to see if there’s room for improvement. This is your last chance before you begin the first draft. 

Double-check that all your topics are presented in the optimal order for your reader. Also, look over your research notes again to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Once your outline is the way you want it, it’s time to begin writing your research paper. 

Research paper outline FAQs

What is a research paper outline.

A research paper outline is a supporting document that defines the structure of a research paper. The author creates the outline before the first draft to stay on track when writing . 

How is a research paper outline structured?

Research paper outlines are generally divided into sections, paragraphs, and individual sentences or points. The amount of detail in a research paper outline varies depending on the writer’s style, the assignment requirements, and the complexity of the topic. 

What are the different formats of research paper outlines?

Three popular formats for research paper outlines are alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal .

what are the steps to writing a research paper

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Step 2: Summarizing The Evidence: Free Sample Research Paper To Follow

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Nursing , Patient , Model , Knowledge , Health , Practice , Exercise , Science

Published: 03/08/2023


Introducing evidence-based practice

Part 1 Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a lung infection that is usually brought about by a critically ill patient being fitted with mechanical ventilators which are beneficial for their breathing system. The condition has been identified as a major factor contributing to morbidities and mortalities amongst patients in the acute care settings. Additionally, individuals who acquire VAP while in the critical unit stay longer in the hospital a factor which adversely impacts on their satisfaction levels and outcomes. The ventilators fitted onto these critically ill patients may be helpful in addressing their breathing problems even though there are challenges that are usually associated with using them. In the event that they are not well observed, they usually act as a leeway through which disease-causing pathogens end up in the patient’s lungs (CDC, 2016). The standard practices that have to be observed in addressing this problem are by making sure that the patient can breathe on their own thereby reducing the employment of the ventilator in the care provision process. Nurses are also tasked with ensuring cleanliness of their hands before and after touching the ventilator by the use of alcohol-based hand wash or soap and water. The equipment used on different patients is supposed to be cleaned. Finally, the inside the patient’s mouth needs to be checked regularly. In addition to the standard care practices, elevating the head of the patient’s bed to a position between 30° and 45° has been observed as a useful intervention in addressing VAP. According to the guidelines provided by the National Guideline Clearinghouse on VAP, the head of the bed of a patient is supposed to be elevated at an angle between 30° to 45° for patients who are being assisted in breathing using mechanical ventilation (National Guideline Clearinghouse, 2015). This recommendation has been proposed in the event that medical contraindications are not available. It should be noted that maintaining the bed at an angle lower than 30° has very minimal successes in preventing the condition.

The ACE Star model is essential in understanding the nature and general characteristics of the bodies of knowledge used in providing evidence-based care to patients. This model incorporates old and new models in the care provision process with the intentions of utilizing the most suitable practices (Texas University Health Science Center, 2015). For instance the model can be used to assess the suitability of elevating the head of patient on ventilator and other standard practices such as maintaining oral hygiene of the patient (CDC, 2016). Such a model is beneficial in addressing problems brought about by VAP since it takes into consideration the nursing profession in utilizing the EBP in serving patients. It is made up of five steps.

Step 1: Discovery Research

This is the knowledge discovery stage where traditional and scientific inquiries concerning a particular disease are made. The research is carried out using randomized tests, causal relationships, and qualitative studies.

After carrying out the discoveries, the knowledge gotten is converted into meaningful statements which are useful in scientific terms. This step focuses on using randomized controlled trials and summarization. As such, this stage is the knowledge generating phase. This phase assists in reducing large quantities of research to manageable sizes.

Step 3: Translating knowledge into guidelines

This step incorporates the translation and integration of data into practice that can comfortably address the costs, time and standard care practices of addressing VAP (Texas University Health Science Center, 2015). It is from this phase that clinical practice guidelines are generated to be used in the nursing of these patients.

Step 4: Integration into practice

This stage is useful both to healthcare providers and the organization since it makes use of both official and unofficial conduits. The factors that are given attention in this phase are the rate at which the organization will adopt these practices in addition to the aspects that have to be considered in changing the practices into a suitable system.

Step 5: Evaluation of the process outcomes

The generated knowledge in addressing VAP is then evaluated in terms of outcomes on the patients, efficiency levels, patient satisfaction, the impact on the health status of the VAP patient and the economic effects of the changes. This phase is aimed at improving the overall well-being of patients.

Rationale for using the model Based on the fact that this model is vital shows the various ways through which knowledge is converted into practice by following the cycles, it provides a framework which is useful in translating EBP models into practice. Additionally, the knowledge generated is also important since it is classified according to its strengths. Such a realization is important in the care provision process since the practices being used have been tested and proven in showing a cause and effect relationship (Texas University Health Science Center, 2015). Consequently, the model is essential in addressing VAP since it examines and applies EPB practice within the required confines of medical attention.

CDC. (2016). Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/vap/VAP_tagged.pdf National Guideline Clearinghouse. (2015). National Guideline Clearinghouse | Prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Health care protocol. Retrieved from http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=36063&search=ventilated+associated+pneumonia Texas University Health Science Center. (2015). The ACE Star Model. Retrieved from http://nursing.uthscsa.edu/onrs/starmodel/star-model.asp

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How to choose and use keywords in research papers

How to choose and use keywords in research papers

Academic writing is vital for PhD student and researchers, and identifying appropriate keywords in research papers is a crucial part of the process. However, not many academics understand the importance of keywords in research papers and why you need to get this right. When used well, keywords in scientific papers ensure more accurate indexing and allow search engines to find your work from the large amounts of information available online.

With more research articles and journals available to researchers, it is important to choose and use keywords in research papers effectively to maximize the reach and impact of your research article by making it easier to discover, access, and reference by a diverse audience. In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose and effectively use keywords in research papers to improve your visibility and help you reach your intended audience.

what are the steps to writing a research paper

How to choose keywords in research papers

Choosing the right keywords for your research paper is critical because the quality of online search results is directly related to the quality of the keywords used. A well-chosen keyword can help your paper get discovered, while a poorly chosen keyword can lead to your paper being overlooked. Here are some simple steps to choose the right keywords for your research paper. 1

Understand the research question or topic

Know the central theme of your research paper and write down keywords that are most relevant and will capture the essence of your work. Examining your research question or topic closely can also help you identify keywords in research papers that are frequently used in your field of study.

Check standard author guidelines

Most reputed journals mention specific instructions regarding the number and length of keywords in research papers. Be sure to check the author guidelines carefully as some even suggest that authors choose from a set of predetermined keywords for scientific papers covering specific research topics.

Create a pool of relevant keywords

When shortlisting keywords in research papers, consider your target audience and keep in mind what they typically use to search for articles on topics like yours. A good idea would be to use phrases or word clusters that are used repeatedly in your manuscript as readers will also likely be using these to search online. Add synonyms and different phrases that describe your concept (avoid newly coined terms or unusual abbreviations) to increase the chances of your research being discovered. You can also ask your supervisor or consult experts in your field to identify the most relevant keywords in research paper.

Pick specific, 2-4-word phrases as keywords

Single words often lead to false matches or are misconstrued so it’s advised to choose keywords that are phrases with 2-4 words, and not longer. It’s important also to be specific when choosing keywords in research papers to ensure your work stands out. For example, if the paper is about leg pain, use alternative and more specific phrases like leg cramps, spasms in the leg, or muscular leg pain to help your work stand out from generalized online searches on pain.

Use optimized keywords in research papers

Maximize your potential visibility by using optimized keywords in research papers. For example, authors writing on medical and health-related topics can find help with keywords and terms by looking through the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus. The MeSH thesaurus also includes effective and popular keywords and terms that are used in PubMed and other databases. 2 Similarly, online search engines also index scholarly literature across an array of disciplines.

How to include keywords in your research paper

Once you have identified the most relevant keywords for your scientific papers, the next step is to include them effectively. Optimizing your academic writing with keywords is a straightforward process that requires some attention to detail. Here are some tips on how to include keywords in research paper and what to avoid.

Include keywords in title and abstract

The title and abstract are the first sections people read when searching for scholarly articles and understanding the relevance of your work. Include keywords in research paper titles and add the most important keywords in the first sentence of your abstract. This will help search engines and academic databases quickly identify the central theme of your research paper and categorize your work correctly. However, note that some journals do not advise using keywords that overlap with words used in your research paper title. 2

Add keywords across all sections

Try to use keywords strategically in all sections of your research paper, including the introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. However, while adding keywords in research papers, ensure they read naturally and are in context to maintain the quality of your academic writing. Subheads are another good way to use keywords as they allow readers to quickly scan your paper. Creating descriptive subheadings that include the main keywords in research papers work well to guide readers smoothly through your article.

Use variations of main keywords

Apart from the list of shortlisted keywords for your topic, make sure you also use variations of your keywords in research papers to ensure it is easily found by readers. Using synonyms and related terms that describe the same concept can help increase the visibility of your paper in online searches while ensuring the main keywords in scientific papers don’t seem spammy and make your writing seem repetitive.

Refer to highly cited works on similar topics

Check relevant journal databases or conduct a quick online search to see how keywords have been used in previously published papers in your field. If you can find the right papers for the keywords you are searching for, you know that it has used keywords effectively. This may give you an idea not only on how and where to use keywords in research papers but may also help you formulate or add to your chosen keywords.

Avoid irrelevant keywords and overstuffing

Finally, it is important to use only relevant keywords in research papers as irrelevant keywords can mislead readers and result in your paper being excluded from relevant searches. Also make sure you are not using too many keywords in research papers. Force-fitting keywords could make your writing seem cluttered and confusing; your work may also be penalized for keyword stuffing by online search engines. It’s best to stick to a few specific, relevant keywords that accurately reflect your research and use them strategically to ensure your article is coherent and engaging for readers.

what are the steps to writing a research paper

Identifying effective keywords for research papers must be a priority for researchers and not an afterthought in their manuscript writing and publishing journey. The use of right keywords not only offers readers easier access to your paper through online searches, but it also significantly increases the frequency of citations. Therefore, be sure to choose and use keywords in your research paper with care. All the best!


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what are the steps to writing a research paper

How to Write an Article Critique Step-by-Step

20 Feb 2023

Quick Navigation

❓What is an Article Critique Writing?

📑Main Steps How to Critique Article

☝️Article Critique Outline

📝Article Critique Formatting

✒️Write a Journal Article Critique

📃 Write a Research Article Critique

🔍 Article Critique Research Methods

✅An Article Critique Tips

Do you know how to critique an article? If not, don't worry – this guide will walk you through the writing process step-by-step. First, we'll discuss what a research article critique is and its importance. Then, we'll outline the key points to consider when critiquing a scientific article. Finally, we'll provide a step-by-step guide on how to write an article critique including introduction, body and summary. Read more to get the main idea of crafting a critique paper.

What is an Article Critique Writing?

An article critique is a formal analysis and evaluation of a piece of writing. It is often written in response to a particular text but can also be a response to a book, a movie, or any other form of writing. There are many different types of review articles . Before writing an article critique, you should have an idea about each of them.

To start writing a good critique, you must first read the article thoroughly and examine and make sure you understand the article's purpose. Then, you should outline the article's key points and discuss how well they are presented. Next, you should offer your comments and opinions on the article, discussing whether you agree or disagree with the author's points and subject. Finally, concluding your critique with a brief summary of your thoughts on the article would be best. Ensure that the general audience understands your perspective on the piece.

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How to Critique an Article: The Main Steps

If you are wondering "what is included in an article critique," the answer is:

An article critique typically includes the following:

When critiquing an article, it is essential to critically read the piece and consider the author's purpose and research strategies that the author chose. Next, provide a brief summary of the text, highlighting the author's main points and ideas. Critique an article using formal language and relevant literature in the body paragraphs. Finally, describe the thesis statement, main idea, and author's interpretations in your language using specific examples from the article. It is also vital to discuss the statistical methods used and whether they are appropriate for the research question. Make notes of the points you think need to be discussed, and also do a literature review from where the author ground their research. Offer your perspective on the article and whether it is well-written. Finally, provide background information on the topic if necessary.

When you are reading an article, it is vital to take notes and critique the text to understand it fully and to be able to use the information in it. Here are the main steps for critiquing an article:

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Article Critique Outline

When assigned an article critique, your instructor asks you to read and analyze it and provide feedback. A specific format is typically followed when writing an article critique.

An article critique usually has three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

You should provide your analysis rather than simply agreeing or disagreeing with the author. When writing an article review , it is essential to be objective and critical. Describe your perspective on the subject and create an article review summary. Be sure to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, write it in the third person, and cite your sources.

Article Critique Formatting

When writing an article critique, you should follow a few formatting guidelines. The importance of using a proper format is to make your review clear and easy to read.

Make sure to use double spacing throughout your critique. It will make it easy to understand and read for your instructor.

Indent each new paragraph. It will help to separate your critique into different sections visually.

Use headings to organize your critique. Your introduction, body, and conclusion should stand out. It will make it easy for your instructor to follow your thoughts.

Use standard fonts, such as Times New Roman or Arial. It will make your critique easy to read.

Use 12-point font size. It will ensure that your critique is easy to read.

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How to Write a Journal Article Critique

When critiquing a journal article, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

When critiquing a research article, evaluating the author's argument and the evidence they present is important. The author should state their thesis or the main point in the introductory paragraph. You should explain the article's main ideas and evaluate the evidence critically. In the discussion section, the author should explain the implications of their findings and suggest future research.

It is also essential to keep a critical eye when reading scientific articles. In order to be credible, the scientific article must be based on evidence and previous literature. The author's argument should be well-supported by data and logical reasoning.

How to Write a Research Article Critique

When you are assigned a research article, the first thing you need to do is read the piece carefully. Make sure you understand the subject matter and the author's chosen approach. Next, you need to assess the importance of the author's work. What are the key findings, and how do they contribute to the field of research?

Finally, you need to provide a critical point-by-point analysis of the article. This should include discussing the research questions, the main findings, and the overall impression of the scientific piece. In conclusion, you should state whether the text is good or bad. Read more to get an idea about curating a research article critique. But if you are not confident, you can ask “ write my papers ” and hire a professional to craft a critique paper for you. Explore your options online and get high-quality work quickly.

However, test yourself and use the following tips to write a research article critique that is clear, concise, and properly formatted.

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Research Methods in Article Critique Writing

When writing an article critique, it is important to use research methods to support your arguments. There are a variety of research methods that you can use, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. In this text, we will discuss four of the most common research methods used in article critique writing: quantitative research, qualitative research, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis.

Quantitative research is a research method that uses numbers and statistics to analyze data. This type of research is used to test hypotheses or measure a treatment's effects. Quantitative research is normally considered more reliable than qualitative research because it considers a large amount of information. But, it might be difficult to find enough data to complete it properly.

Qualitative research is a research method that uses words and interviews to analyze data. This type of research is used to understand people's thoughts and feelings. Qualitative research is usually more reliable than quantitative research because it is less likely to be biased. Though it is more expensive and tedious.

Systematic reviews are a type of research that uses a set of rules to search for and analyze studies on a particular topic. Some think that systematic reviews are more reliable than other research methods because they use a rigorous process to find and analyze studies. However, they can be pricy and long to carry out.

Meta-analysis is a type of research that combines several studies' results to understand a treatment's overall effect better. Meta-analysis is generally considered one of the most reliable type of research because it uses data from several approved studies. Conversely, it involves a long and costly process.

Are you still struggling to understand the critique of an article concept? You can contact an online review writing service to get help from skilled writers. You can get custom, and unique article reviews easily.

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Tips for writing an Article Critique

It's crucial to keep in mind that you're not just sharing your opinion of the content when you write an article critique. Instead, you are providing a critical analysis, looking at its strengths and weaknesses. In order to write a compelling critique, you should follow these tips: Take note carefully of the essential elements as you read it.

It is important to be clear and concise when creating an article critique. You should avoid giving your opinion and instead focus on providing a critical analysis. You should also use evidence from the article to support your points.

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Guide On How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper with Examples

Published 20 Feb 2023

An Abstract in a Research Paper: Definition 

The chances are high that you have already seen an abstract section in a research paper as you browsed through various magazine articles or scientific publications. An abstract is like a condensed summary of your research paper or a concise representation of your thesis statement. It has to represent an original work and must not turn into a repetition of what follows in the actual paper. Learning how to write an abstract for a research paper, you must understand that it has to be a summary of your research about what is to follow, like a brief book review. 

An abstract definition should not be taken out of context, as the primary abstract for research paper purpose is to avoid making it an excerpt or a passage that sounds out of place. It must be done uniquely to allow your target audience to learn about your paper by making the content self-contained. It must make enough sense without any extra references or a necessity to consult additional materials.

In other words, it is a brief outline or a summary of your research paper or a complex project that has been done. As a rule, it must include an introduction, body elements, and the conclusion as a single independent paragraph (unless specified otherwise!). The wording must be clear and accessible to a broader audience, even if the research paper contains more complex terms and conventions. 

The Goals or What to Include?

Now, what is an abstract in a research paper? It is a section that seeks to provide a clear summary of your research paper. Include a brief yet precise statement about your problem or an issue you are researching. You have to provide a description of your research method and the tools that have been used to approach a problem. If there are specific major findings, they also have to be mentioned. In case you have reached specific conclusions, describe them briefly. The goal you have to reach is clarity, which is why it is recommended to keep things short to a point and provide only the most critical data. 

When Do We Write an Abstract? 

The common rule is to start with the abstract part only when the rest of your research paper has already been finished. In other words, it is the last thing you must compose because accuracy plays a critical role here. Provide a summary of your thesis along with the findings and keep things within the rules and conventions of the subject and the university's rules. Depending on whether you have a dissertation paper or research work in a classic sense, your abstract may or may not contain relevant keywords. Make sure to talk to your academic advisor when in doubt! 

How Long Should An Abstract Be?  

According to the rules of academic writing, an abstract for a research paper should be around six sentences long, which equals about 150 words or less. If you are majoring in English Literature, Healthcare, or Psychology, your abstract may go up to 250 words. Still, writing less for an abstract section of a research paper is recommended because it removes the main purpose. The only different case that may take place is when you are dealing with a thesis or an abstract for a scientific conference. It may be up to 400-450 words in such a case. It will also depend on the total length of your research paper and the subject you are dealing with. 

What is the Purpose of an Abstract? 

It is to provide a summary of an academic writing piece. Usually, it will be a journal article, a dissertation, or a term paper research. There are traditionally two purposes that a researcher must achieve: one has to assist the target audience in understanding the relevance of your paper for general research or consulting purposes. The other focus must be communicating your research results to those needing more time or resources to read the paper. If you are looking for relevant materials, reading through the abstract will help you to understand whether the paper is what you need. 

Research Paper Abstract Structure 

The structure and the correct information positioning are essential in creating concise data that aims to explain your research. As you learn how to write an abstract for a research paper and take notes, make sure that you take time to learn more about the structure. 

Here are the main elements that you have to include and consider before you start: 

What is the Correct Abstract Writing Style?

The correct style and formatting of the abstract must start with a brief statement of the main problem and describe the methods used. The rest of the paragraph should describe the major findings and explain the conclusions reached. 

Types of an Abstract and Examples 

There are different types of abstracts for a research paper that you may encounter. Let's learn more about them with a brief example of an abstract for a research paper in each case. While the most commonly used types are indicative and informative, there are also three other types worth checking, depending on your research work and the subject. 

For example: “ The number of farmers in Arizona is determined according to the types of households ”. 

For example: " It has been found that the state of California has seen a decrease in cybercrimes in 2019, while its closest competitors Texas and Arizona have also seen a decline because of regulations introduced by the latest bills ". 

As you can see, the main purpose is to inform the readers about what your paper researches. 

For example: " This research presents a study of the modular synthesis based on the available synthesizer modules in the market from 2010 to 2022 with the critical evaluation of the entries and the accessibility ". 

For example, if we are researching scouting groups in NYC, the headers for an abstract would include "Gender", "Age Group", "Family Heritage", "Involvement", "Methods", and "Results". As a rule, one must fill the table columns with relevant data. 

For example: “ As has been pointed out by Dr. Rogers (2018) in NASA Particles Analysis Conference Paper, the information obtained by the automation is not entirely correct. Certain points (outlined in appendix 5) must be double-checked. The current methods used are insufficient for the correct representation of newly obtained data, as seen from the research done in this paper ”. 

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to write an abstract for a research paper is much easier than it sounds because you have to complete your research paper and only think about starting with the abstract section. The majority of students often skip this simple rule and have to edit things over and over again. 

Here are the simple 7 steps that you have to take: 

Step 1: Read through your complete paper by taking notes . 

Think about why your work is important and explain it simply, as you have to keep things accessible and clear right from the start. 

Step 2: Review the requirements for your research by mentioning them in your abstract introduction.  

It will help you outline the goals or scientific objectives you plan to reach with your research work. In a certain sense, it should act as an outline for a research paper where you must focus on what had to be done and why exactly you have chosen a particular method. Make sure to keep things short to a point! 

Step 3: Consider your target audience and the keywords that will make it easier to locate your research paper.  

Only introduce what is already included in your research paper. Stay true to your thesis statement, and make sure to add it to your abstract as well. 

Step 4: Explain the problem you are approaching and why.  

Talk about the problem implications and your research's importance. It helps narrow things down as you learn how to write an abstract for a paper without overdoing it. 

Step 5: Talk about your methodology and its benefits.  

Keep this part short and avoid rewriting your methodology word by word. 

Step 6: Describe the results you have obtained with a brief explanation.  

You have to explain what you have found and provide your readers with information that may help them support their assumptions with evidence (your research paper). 

Step 7: Talk about the applicability in your conclusion part.  

Explain where and how your paper fits by providing several examples based on what you have found. Make it simple and clear, as the task is to provide a strong conclusion that will impress people to read your paper at a later stage or consult it further. 

Step 8: Provide a list of keywords (if relevant).  

Think about what keywords describe your subject, methodology, country, limitations, tools used, and anything that can help the scientific databases sort and locate your work based on a keyword. It is also important for publishing purposes.

Learn How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Expert Tips

Writing an abstract for a research paper should be relatively easy, even if you have to write a mini-version of your large paper. The trick is to make it independent and start only after completing all the other parts of your assignment. Depending on the subject and work type, follow these helpful expert tips: 

Making Your Abstract Stand Out! 

Unfortunately, many college and university students believe that writing an abstract for a research paper is not that important, which is why they fail to learn how to correctly write an abstract for a research paper. They believe it is just one of those parts that must be done. Yet, they need to understand that this section of their research work also helps to locate information in the scientific community and help fellow researchers understand the importance of their work. 

When a publisher or a scientific magazine seeks information on a certain subject, they will look into the abstract part of your paper and will evaluate whether it is worth being published. Remember that an abstract must not be a copy of your research paper introduction , as it must represent a stand-alone statement you make for others to hear! You have to work extra hard to make your abstract stand out from the rest because of extra clarity and an argument that instantly clarifies your scientific goals. 

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what are the steps to writing a research paper

what are the steps to writing a research paper

Epidemiology Research Essay: A Guide with Steps, Insights, & Tips

what are the steps to writing a research paper

As a nursing student, one of the best pieces of advice you will get is to learn how to write an epidemiology essay. Although not so challenging, an epidemiology class can easily fall within challenging nursing school classes . We are here to change that narrative. Epidemiology is the scientific study of the distribution and determinants of disease and health-related events in a specific population. While these essays or research papers seem challenging at first, you will be on your way to getting a top grade on your paper once you get the hang of it. The following guide will exhaustively explore all the steps you need to write a high-quality paper.

Steps for Writing an Epidemiology Essay

In nursing or med school, you will be assigned to write an essay about a specific disease either of your choice or one that your professor or instructor specifies. Instead of panicking, we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide to writing an epidemiology research essay to help you write a paper that meets the rubric requirements. Our epidemiology essay writers find the entire process thrilling and rewarding, albeit tiresome. Having gone through the process endless times, we have mastered all it takes to write a perfect epidemiology research essay, and here are the steps:

1.   Pick a Topic (Disease)

Sometimes professors will ask students to choose a topic for their epidemiology paper. While this is exciting, it can become challenging because there are tons of epidemiology topics available, and you may need help to pick the right one. To make things easier, you must be clear about the topic.

First, you need to understand what epidemiology entails. Consider any topic that covers health risks for people due to genetics and environmental conditions. Make sure you pick an interesting topic that can lead to powerful results.

Related Reading: Steps for choosing the best nursing dissertation topic .

2.  Conduct the Research

You must have all the suitable material to write a compelling epidemiology essay. If your instructor still needs to give you materials for your research, start by doing the work yourself. The best places to start include organizations such as the CDC , WHO , PubMed , NIH , NHS , etc. You need to gather as much information as possible so that when you start writing, all the information flows well.

3.  Come Up with an Outline for Your Essay

To write a well-structured essay, you need to have a relevant outline. An outline will help organize your thoughts, which helps in creating a well-balanced paper. An example of an outline for an epidemiology essay would be like this:


Related Reading: Get over the embarrassment when you repeat a class .

This section introduces your topic, background data, and details of the research to the reader. If you are writing a paper about a disease like HIV/AIDS, share how it has affected people worldwide and briefly state how it is spread. Then show the aim of your essay. For instance, you can say: “ the following paper will provide a compelling overview of what HIV/AIDS is, including the social determinants leading to its progression.

Simultaneously, the essay will provide the epidemiological triangle showing how the disease is spread, the actions taken by the community health nurse, and the contribution made by the different government agencies…etc.”

Describe the Chosen Disease

Now that you have decided which disease to write about, it is time to describe it. The definition of the disease should be as straightforward as possible. Also, please provide what you think are the possible causes, common symptoms, how it is transmitted, complications, and treatment.

Moreover, include a demographic of interest (incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality). Incidence refers to the measure of disease that makes it possible to determine the probability of a person being diagnosed with a particular disease in a given period. For instance, if five women are diagnosed with HIV from a group of 200 women (HIV-free) for a year, then the incidence of HIV will be 0.025.

Prevalence is the measure of a disease that makes it easy to determine a person's likelihood of getting a disease. In other words, prevalence is the total number of disease cases in a given population.

Morbidity is simply another name for a disease. A patient can have several morbidities. These can range from heart disease to cancer and so much more. Mortality is also referred to as death. The mortality rate is the number of deaths caused by a disease.

Still, in this section, say whether the disease is reportable. If it is, provide details such as when it is reported and to whom.

Write Down the Social Determinants of the Disease

Social determinants are non-medical causes that influence the outcome of a disease. These conditions influence health outcomes, including stigma, poverty, lack of education, access to quality healthcare, etc. As you list them, show how they lead to the development of a disease.

This section is crucial, as it will help understand where the disease is coming from and those likely to be impacted. For instance, if you are writing about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, you can say that poor people or those with proper education are the most likely to get the disease. Some can be lured to engage in sexual activities with promises of money, food, and shelter.

Discuss the Epidemiology Triangle Related to the Disease

As an epidemiologist, it is imperative to understand the process by which a disease spreads is essential. They use a tool to help them understand how this process occurs. This tool is referred to as an epidemiology triangle . In other words, an epidemiology triangle is a simple tool for explaining the organisms that cause disease and the conditions that allow this to happen.

You should be aware that diseases such as HIV/AIDS spread from one person to another. An epidemiology triangle can guide people to understand how disease spreads from one person in a given situation.

This triangle consists of the following:

In the same example of HIV/AIDS, the causal agent is HIV. The host is the organism carrying the virus and transmitting it to another person. The environment is the social and economic factors that influence the rate at which the disease spreads.

You should also note whether any considerations are given to schools, communities, or the public. If so, please list them down. Also, mention if these regions are responsible for the spread of the disease through inappropriate behavior or practices. Show how all these people can benefit from measures that will keep them safe. These measures could be things like education, posters, and pamphlets.

Discuss the Role of Community Health Nurses

A community health nurse is responsible for encouraging healthy living, preventing diseases, and providing medical treatment. Research their role in case finding, reporting, data collection, data analysis, and follow-ups, and include them in your essay.

Additionally, say why the demographic data is essential. Demographic data encompasses all aspects of a population. This data helps in providing greater accountability and treatment measures. When done correctly, this data can help treat people of different ethnic backgrounds, gender, and age difference. These people can be treated with the correct data by considering specific demographic factors.

Point Out the Organization that Organization Helping Out

If an organization (s) addresses the disease you are discussing, please mention it. Also, mention the measures they have in place to resolve or combat the impact of the disease.

For instance, say how governments are actively involved in helping to find solutions to a particular disease. Include measures put in place by governments to support these organizations and society in general. You can list government-funded institutions that conduct studies to solve health problems. 

What are the Global Implications?

List down the implications for the disease in question. What is the mortality rate? Have there been any economic damages or social or psychological impacts? How do different countries address these impacts? Has it affected different cultures? Is the particular disease endemic? All these questions are essential and must be addressed in the paper. For instance, if you are writing epidemiology of HIV, you can say the implications are;

HIV affects people in every country, thus resulting in governments and healthcare institutions prioritizing it. Researchers in every country have been engaged internationally to study and find ideas to help manage the disease.

In this section, write down the summary of your paper. Say what the epidemiology has discovered about the disease in question. Also, add what government agencies and international communities should do to solve the health problem.

Remember that this is a concluding paragraph and should be a summary of what you have written. Refrain from introducing any new points or ideas.

This section provides detailed information about all the materials you used in your epidemiology paper. Write this section in a separate paper and ensure you follow the same formatting style.

Related Reads:

How to Format Your Epidemiology Paper

When writing your epidemiology essay, your paper should have the following sections: title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and references when writing in APA format

The purpose of an introduction paragraph is to provide the reader with a clear picture of what the body will be about.

A good introduction should summarize, incorporate and evaluate the collected data in a way that will set the stage for the body of the essay. It should also have the thesis statement of your paper, which is the main idea or argument in your entire paper.

If you want the readers drawn to reading your epidemiology paper, ensure that you have a catchy or thought-provoking hook statement or attention grabber.

Ensure there is also a logical flow of ideas to avoid confusing your readers. You can also signpost ideas so that the readers have a clear roadmap of the paper right from the start.

Related: Tips for writing an outstanding nursing class essay.

This is the longest and most important part of your essay. It contains all the main ideas and points you are trying to convey. This is where you guide the reader through all ideas, arguments, and points supporting your research topics. You must explain all of them in detail.

Related: How to formulate a PICOT Question or statement .

Use the insert page breaker feature in Microsoft Word to begin a new page when setting up your reference paper. Remember that the header and margins are similar to that of the body, and the pagination will continue from the body of your essay. The header and page number will also appear correctly in the reference section if the paper is set correctly.

To format your entries, include the following:

Other rules to keep in mind for APA format:

Related Readings:

Tips for Writing a Compelling Epidemiology Essay

Nursing epidemiology essays, just like other academic writing, must meet specific criteria to be A+ level. Follow these tips to avoid mistakes that could cost you a higher grade.

Writing an epidemiology essay as a nursing student can be challenging at first. However, once you have all the correct information and steps with you, it will be a smooth ride. Ensure you understand the topic and have all the right data before writing. With this in place, you can follow the above steps to perfect your paper. Also, revise and proofread your work to meet the required standards.

Related Reading: The cost of getting your paper done at NurseMyGrade .

Are you stuck with an epidemiology essay or paper? Do you need someone to pay to do your epidemiology essay? We can help. Our established nursing and medical writers at NurseMyGrade have a wealth of knowledge in writing epidemiology papers. It does not matter whether it is tough or challenging; they always get it right. The good thing, they use scholarly peer-reviewed nursing journals that are country specific. So, if you are an Australian nursing or med student, they will only use relevant Australian-based peer-reviewed journals. The same applies to our clients from Canada, the USA, or the UK.

We write 100% original, non-AI generated, and well-polished papers that can serve as excellent references for inspiration when writing your future nursing or med school papers. Trust us today and get top-quality papers. We also handle online classes for nursing students at an affordable fee. Just tell us, “ do my online nursing class ,” and we will reach out to you and figure out a personalized approach for mutual benefit.

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Exploring How to Write a Term Paper Proposal

Table of contents.

Writing a term paper proposal is an essential part of the research process. A successful proposal will help you to choose and refine your topic and plan how to go about researching it. This proposal presents the results in a way that makes sense for your reader and provides a roadmap for creating the final paper. This article will help you learn how to write a term paper proposal that will set you up for success.

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What Is a Term Paper Proposal?

A term paper proposal is a document that outlines the ideas, objectives, research methods, and sources for an academic paper . It includes background information on the topic being studied and details on how the writer intends to explore it. The proposal serves as an outline of what will be covered in the final paper. It can help ensure that all aspects of the project are thoroughly thought out before writing begins.

Why Is a Term Paper Proposal Important?

A term paper proposal is important because it provides a roadmap to structure your paper. It helps you stay on track and aids in keeping the focus of the paper consistent. By creating an outline for your work, you can identify how all elements fit together and make a cohesive argument. A plan helps ensure that all research questions are answered, potential problems are addressed, and objectives are achieved.

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How to Write a Term Paper Proposal: 7 Key Steps

Here are the key steps on how to write a term paper proposal that is both comprehensive and well-structured:

Speak With Your Professor

Before you start writing the term paper proposal, it is essential to consult your professor. You must discuss the topic, scope of work, objectives, methodology, and other aspects of the assignment. This will ensure that you clearly understand what needs to be done before you begin writing.

Specify the Topic and Scope of the Work

Once you have established what your professor expects from the project, it is time to define a specific topic and scope for the work. Think about the subject of your research, the kind of sources you will use, and how long your paper should be for thorough completion.

Create a Brief Outline

A short outline helps keep your thoughts organized throughout the entire writing process. Begin by jotting down ideas related to your topic. Then, include all the key points and arguments you plan to make. This will allow you to easily visualize how everything ties together and ensure nothing important gets left out.

Define Your Goals

State the goal and purpose of your proposed project and its context – why this particular topic matters. Also, explain how this project could contribute to existing knowledge or further our understanding of the subject matter.

Describe the Methodology

Describe the methods that you plan on employing during your research process. This could include interviews, surveys, experiments, etc. Outline what kind of data you intend to collect and how you intend to analyze it.

State Your Thesis Statement

State the thesis statement for your proposal and explain why you believe it to be valid. And use evidence from reliable sources to support your arguments.


List all sources used to support your thesis alphabetically following a specific citation style (e.g., APA). Include both online references and printed ones, if applicable.

A term paper proposal is an integral part of writing a research paper. It helps you organize your thoughts and arguments, provides a roadmap for your paper , and ensures you cover all essential elements. Knowing how to write a term paper proposal can help you get good grades in college or university courses. This article outlines the steps of writing a term paper proposal to help you create a successful proposal for yourself.

Exploring How to Write a Term Paper Proposal

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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8 Important Steps in Writing Research Paper

How to Write Research Article?

Writing a research paper is the most essential part of our research process. research publication will explain to the world about our research work, our contributions, and impact of the work. It also helps other researchers to understand the benefits and research gaps from the research area. In this article, we are going to find out the 8 important steps in writing research paper.

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“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” -Terry Pratchet

Selecting a perfect title to our work is the first important step which also defines what our paper is all about. The title should be more informative and included all our major keywords in it.

2. Abstract

Statistics say, more than 90% of researchers read the abstract next to the title. It is a very important step defines writing a research paper. abstract is a summary of our research work it usually was written 100-150 words, this should be very crisp and clear about the research, what the whole paper is going to talk about.

3. Introduction

The introduction sets the first stage of our analysis and also predicts the tone and direction of our research paper. It helps readers to understand the paper even they don’t have any prior domain knowledge.

4. Methodology

Methodology describes our research paper’s goals and the procedures that what we carried out in the research work. a proper research methodology helps journal reviewer and readers to understand the entire concept of our research.

5. Conclusion

6. review of related studies.

Review of Related Studies places our research to define existing data and information about the previous research papers. It is very importat to clearly explain about our existing research experiment carried out in the same area that we used as a reference or base.

7. Recommendations

In the recommendation, carefully explain what needs to be done next and enumerate the possible steps that are needed to be taken. a proper recommendation will helps readers and other researchers to carry out their own research.

8. Bibliography

The last and eighth important step in writing a research paper is a bibliography. In this, we have to list the source materials we used or consulted in making our research paper.

Whenever you start to write a new research paper make sure these 8 important steps in order to help the readers to be more comfortable and easy understanding.

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A photo of a student drafting a research paper for university.

How to write a research paper.

A big paper can seem tough, but anyone can write one with these steps.


What is a research paper?

Make research papers sharable as PDFs

Steps for writing a research paper

Citations and style for research papers

Research paper basics

A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on independent research that also provides analysis and interpretation of that research. Research papers are particularly important to graduate students , but students at all levels of education will have to write one at some point, whether it’s for high school, college, or even middle school.

Research can mean many different things. It can mean designing and carrying out an experiment, reviewing the literature of a given topic, or conducting interviews. It can also be a deep dive into a literary source or piece of art or a thorough examination of a historical time period or event. 

Make research papers sharable as PDFs.

Once you’ve completed your research paper, it’s time to share your knowledge with professors, colleagues, advisors, and the wider world. One great way to do that is by converting it to PDF .

PDFs are readable on just about any device and always look the same no matter what you open them on. That way, if your academic advisor is reading your findings on a phone or tablet, they’ll still see any important graphs, photos, graphics, or other elements that are essential to your paper. It’s also a great way for your academic advisors to leave comments and provide their thoughts on your work. 

Steps for writing a research paper.

Research papers are big undertakings, but like all large tasks they can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Understand expectations.

There are many different kinds of research paper, and the first step to writing a good one is understanding the expectations of your academic discipline. Know what your teacher, instructor, or professor is looking for when you start. Familiarize yourself with the citation style your field uses (more on that below) as well as formatting process and how long your paper needs to be. Research papers can vary in length a great deal. They can be as short as 2,000 words, or as long as 10,000 words.

Choose a topic and thesis statement.

Your topic should be something that interests you. Research papers can be very labor-intensive, and your topic will live in your brain for a long time while you’re working on it. Choose something you’ll enjoy investigating.

Your research paper should have a clearly defined thesis statement. That is, a primary idea or claim that you’re trying to prove or disprove with your work. You should clearly state your thesis statement in the first part of your paper.

An Academic Research Submission page on a university's website.

Conduct original research.

Research papers can draw on three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary and secondary sources are far more important than tertiary sources, so most of your work should focus on those.

1. Primary sources

Primary sources include original research (like interviews or experiments you conduct), research-based journal articles, or government reports. If you’re studying history, primary sources include documents like newspapers and personal journals from the time period you’re examining. If you’re studying art or literature, the works you’re examining are primary sources. Primary sources are good sources of facts and insight, and you should focus on them when writing your research paper.

2. Secondary sources

Secondary sources are works intended to distill or discuss research or academic works. Textbooks or research reviews, literary criticism or reviews of journal articles, or critiques of research or methods are all secondary sources. Secondary sources are a good place to see what the scholarly consensus is around a topic, and you should cite them as a way of demonstrating what other researchers have said about your topic.

3. Tertiary sources

Tertiary sources are, for the most part, intended for a wider audience. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, Wikipedia, and books written for a nonacademic audience are all tertiary sources. Generally, you shouldn’t cite tertiary sources in a research paper, unless you want to demonstrate what a nonacademic audience might think about a topic. No serious academic, though, is going to cite Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica as a source of facts.

Write your paper.

Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to actually write your paper. Research papers usually consist of the following, though structure can vary depending on your area of study.

1. Introduction

Your introduction should outline the what, why, and how of your research paper. This is where you posit a hypothesis or thesis statement, ask questions, and summarize how you plan to answer or solve that question. Set up how you’re going to explore the space around your research question, why it’s important, and give a brief introduction to how you’re going to answer it.

2. Literature review

A good research paper delves into the work other people have done to answer questions similar to yours. Include credible sources like journal articles and academic publications related to your field of study. All sources should be properly cited according to whatever citation style you’re using, whether you’re citing them directly or paraphrasing them.

This is where you talk about how you did your research and what exactly it entailed. If you did an experiment, talk about the equipment you used, how long it took, and the details of everything that went into it. Your teacher, instructor, or professor is going to review your work, and there should be enough information in your methods section for them to replicate your research.

The results section is where you state the payoff of your academic research and show what you found using your research methods.

5. Discussion and conclusion

The last section of your research paper should distill your results into an answer. Or, if you had negative results, clearly state that you were not able to find an answer. Negative results are still results, after all. Whatever you found, zoom out and give a big picture view of your main points and takeaways. This is also the place for your own ideas or speculations about what your results could mean.

The discussion section is also where you provide recommendations about what to do next. Every answer raises more questions. Even negative results let you rule out a potential path of inquiry, which clarifies where to look next.

A photo of a student reading a book and researching topics for their school paper.

Citations and style for research papers.

Research paper writing is all about documentation and adhering to a given style of academic writing. As you’re doing your research, keep track of every source that you pull information from. Organize it so you can easily cite it later. The writing process for a research paper can sometimes feel rote or routine, but it’s important for you to communicate where you’re getting your information and how you know what you know.

Cite every source you use.

Citing sources consists of listing the source of your information either within the text of your paper in footnotes or parentheses or in a bibliography at the end of your paper, depending on the style you’re following. It’s one of the most important parts of the writing process. If you don’t cite your sources in the right way, you might open yourself up to accusations of plagiarism .

Use the right style guide.

Your teachers, professors, or advisors will usually ask you to adhere to a specific kind of style for your research paper. These styles differ mostly in how they format citations, page numbers, headings, and other details.

Research papers take a lot of effort. After weeks or months of rigorous study, it’s time to share your work with the world — and show off the knowledge you’ve uncovered in your academic pursuits.

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what are the steps to writing a research paper

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7 steps to help you write a research paper.


When writing a research paper, your main responsibility is to discover something new on the basis of the already investigated knowledge. Basically, that’s the main purpose of an academic paper or essay. Although you can conduct a brand new research and have a scientific discovery, you still must present it in the right format. This implies that you must follow some academically accepted steps to write a research paper. Therefore, whether you are the next Nobel or Einstein, these steps will enable you to achieve the best results possible from your research paper.

Step 1: Select a Subject

You must be careful when selecting the subject or topic for your research paper because a topic will have a significant impact on your final grade. Ideally, choose a topic that suits your capability. To write a great research paper, choose a topic that you are interested in and make it as narrow as possible. While selecting a topic, state your objective clearly. What do you intend to achieve by conducting research and writing the paper? Choose a topic that enables you to find sufficient materials for research so that you can complete the paper with ease and accomplish your goals.

Step 2: Craft out an Initial Bibliography

Every research paper must be supported by information from credible and properly referenced sources. Therefore, come up with bibliography cards or even use a computer program to enter sources that you intend to use in your research. This makes referencing sources in the final paper easier. Use bibliography cards to store information about the books, internet sources and journals that you use to write your research paper.

Step 3: Prepare a Working Outline

An outline is a framework or a skeleton of the paper that you intend to write. A good outline makes writing a research paper easier and faster.

Here are some of the things that you should include in your outline:

Step 4: Start Taking Down Notes

Use books, journals and credible internet sources to conduct research on your topic and take down notes. Gather all the necessary information in your field. Focus on finding the main ideas, evidence and samples that you will use to support your thesis. Reference every note to make it easier to reference when writing the paper.

Step 5: Outline the Paper

Once you have taken notes, organize your information. Plan how you will use the information or notes to write your research paper. Decide what information will go where in your research paper. Organize your data in a way that maintains logical flow of information. Make sure that your organization makes ideas flow logically and smoothly. This includes where you place your supporting points, evidence and examples in the paper.

Step 6: Write the Rough Draft and Edit it

At this step, just write the paper without paying attention to grammatical and spelling errors. Focus on including the information that you gathered during research in the paper logically. Make sure you write a paper that meets the specified word count. The most important thing at this step is to have the writing done. Therefore, focus on including the topic sentence, elaboration, examples and evidence in the paper. Write a rough draft with the introduction, body and the conclusion.

After writing the rough draft, edit it carefully and thoroughly. Remove all spelling errors, sentence structure issues, typos, and factual errors. Check every sentence and paragraph of the paper to ensure that your message comes out succinctly and accurately.

Step 7: Write the Final Draft

Once you have written and edited the rough draft, compose the final draft of your research paper. Make sure that the final draft maintains a coherent structure and that one part flows to the next smoothly and logically. Make sure that your final draft maintains a clear linkage. Additionally, supporting evidence and examples must come out clearly in the final draft. Check the paper carefully to ensure that it addresses what you set out to address based on the title and thesis of the paper. References should be incorporated in the paper and the conclusion should wrap up your argument in a way that brings the paper to a logical end.

The above-listed steps will only guarantee you an extensively researched and successfully written paper if applied. However, you may not have time to write a research paper on your own. In that case, use a reliable research paper writing service to complete your paper.

Author’s bio:

Amy Wilson is a freelance writer at PaperWritten, her vocation is mentoring, which she does with pleasure. Thanks to Amy’s curiosity she finds everything in the world as a positive experience for a better future living.

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How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step [2023 Upd.]

Only two words, but you already feel a chill down your spine. A research paper is no joke. It’s a super detailed piece of academic writing where you analyze a chosen issue in-depth. The main aim of such torture is to show how knowledgeable you are and that your opinion can be a valuable asset for the field.

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for $13.00 $10.40/page

However, you should worry too much about it. The secret to a fabulous paper is to break it down into small tasks! Therefore, to successfully finish this task and stay sane, we only need to answer one question: What are the steps to writing a research paper? Continue reading this article by Custom-Writing.org experts, and soon you’ll get the answer!

🔗 References

Research papers can be kind of compared to essays since they both share a similar structure. However, the kind of paper we are talking about here is much longer and more detailed.

A typical research paper is much longer & more detailed than an essay.

Moreover, unlike with essays that present your writing skills, the research paper is needed to check your scholarly abilities. It makes sense that you would also need to spend more time looking through various sources and picking only the most credible ones. You need more self-managing skills to finish this assignment on time and with no stressing. But you can find everything you need in this short guide, which explains every step from getting ready to proofreading and editing!

👣 How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

You’ll find more details on how to write a research paper in the below sections and in another useful article from this blog.

🕵 Step 1. Choosing Your Research Paper Topic

The first step to writing a research paper is to choose a topic . It should be:

How to title a research paper according to your subject? Try rereading – you will find many exciting things in your notes to turn into a research paper title.

It’s also useful to read some works written by previous students. Ask your professor where you can find examples, and investigate their topics . It will inspire you to write a paper on an important issue.

🔎 Step 2. Doing Preliminary Research

How to start a research paper? By doing research, of course! In the beginning, you should determine where to find information. We have some tips on how to use the sources most effectively.

❗ Step 3. Making a Thesis Statement

While analyzing the sources, try to take some notes and put down any questions that pop up in your head. For instance, if there is something you think is worth mentioning in your research paper, write it in the form of a question. This way, you prepare for the next step, which is creating a thesis statement. And if you already decided on a research question, this statement should be able to answer it.

You need a decent thesis statement because it serves as a central element of your writing. Essentially, it allows your readers to understand the purpose of the paper.

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.

An effective thesis statement should be short but coherent and comprehensive . You need to describe your main arguments and briefly mention the evidence in only a couple of sentences. Typically, it is written at the end of the introduction.

It doesn’t have to be the final version since you can make changes throughout the whole writing process. As you conduct more research, you may find more ideas for the paper. However, even the version you create right now can serve as a guide later. While you’re working on the research paper’s main body, make sure every paragraph supports the thesis statement. It is vital that all of your arguments relate to it.

📑 Step 4. Making a Research Paper Outline

If it’s your first writing assignment of this type, perhaps, parts of a research paper aren’t familiar to you. Below all the categories that should be present in a research paper outline .

✒️ Step 5. Drafting Your Research Paper

Now it’s the time to start writing your paper. We collected several techniques and tricks that will help you write all of the outline components listed above.

Research Paper Title

Many students face this problem: you have a research paper topic and even some written material but don’t know how to title your work. If you don’t develop a good research title, the pages don’t make any sense. What are you creating? Why is this important? The audience will ask many questions. But it is you who actually should ask yourself first.

Just $13.00 $10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic paper according to your instructions

Then combine the answers you get into a clear, informative title for a research paper.

Research Paper Abstract

The abstract isn’t a typical section for students who only write essays. So it may be a challenging task. Let’s look at the main characteristics of a good abstract :

Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is your first chance to make a great impression on the audience.

For success writing an introduction to a research paper, make it perfect with the help of:

Methods Part of a Research Paper

Some call the methods section of a research paper the core of the writing. Its importance relates to the fact that all the tools of your investigation are listed here.

What can you include in the methodology of a research paper?

Research Paper Results

The results of a research paper show the outcome of your work. To develop an excellent scientific research paper, you should prepare your surveys and investigations so the results will be effortless to formulate.

Here are the main tips on how to do it:

Discussion Section of a Research Paper

To write the discussion section of a research paper, find some points that will state your ideas. You should talk about:

This is a section where self-criticism takes place—you can’t draw a good conclusion if you don’t evaluate your work with all its advantages and flaws. It would help if you also showed in this paragraph whether your research proved the results of other specialists or not.

Research Paper Conclusion

The question of how to end a research paper is an important one. You may think: We’ve already had a results section; why do we need a conclusion ? A conclusion for a research paper doesn’t only show your achievements. The main function of this section is to leave the reader with a final impression. For example, you can invoke in people the desire to be more conscious of nature by sharing the facts about global warming.

Research Paper References

It’s always essential to write a bibliography , noting every article, book, or lecture that helped develop your project. When writing a reference page for a research paper, make sure you’re following the chosen format, such as APA or MLA style. Incorrect formatting can lead to a lower grade and less value to your paper.

The reference section is a challenging part. Each type of source should be written according to its specific rules. If you have any doubts on how to make the references, take a look at our APA and MLA research paper samples in the corresponding section. And the next one contains useful links that will help you format your research paper.

🔤 Step 6. Revising and Formatting Your Research Paper

The format of a research paper varies depending on the college or university you’re writing for. Be careful to follow the instructions your professor gives. You’ll know what length you should make your writing, what style to use for quotations and references, how to make a title page, and so on. No need to worry if something’s difficult to memorize. For instance, you can use an APA title page generator to at least cross this part of the paper off of your to-do list.

If you want to learn more about paper editing and revising, feel free to read this article . We also developed detailed guides on MLA and APA styles. You can use them for your research paper. The examples of how to properly cite books can be downloaded on your computer to use whenever it’s needed:

How to Cite Books in MLA

How to Cite Books in APA

😸 Research Paper Examples

Below you’ll find two research paper examples. The first one is APA, and the second is MLA. Note that the full versions of the texts are downloadable for free!

Example #1: Child Abuse in Low-Income Families in the US (APA)

Child abuse is more prevalent in low-income families when compared to other populations in the United States. The global prevalence of this issue is at 22.3%, and the people living in poverty experience abuse as children more often when compared to others (Levely et al., 2017). Among the effects of child abuse on a person’s wellbeing, there are mental health problems, including trauma and low resilience to suicidal behavior. Additionally, physical health problems, for instance, chronic inflammation, are also associated with child abuse. However, there is no single intervention strategy that would target child abuse mitigation, which was tested and proven effective by multiple studies because this issue requires more research to define the exact causes. This study examines the different causes of child abuse in low-income families in the United States.

Example #2: Business Ethics (MLA)

Business ethics is a rapidly developing and promising academic field. Although some of its forms can be traced back to the earliest trading practiced in prehistoric human society, as a full-fledged discipline, it emerged in the second half of the last century (Wood 627). The discipline’s main objective is to equip entrepreneurs and managers with instruments allowing them to make more responsible decisions. The notion appeared to replace business philosophy in which the “greed is good” mantra dominated till the 1990s (Wood 632). The discipline will be investigated in the context of its relevance and applicability in the modern business. Business ethics is an indispensable academic field and instrument that prompts a company to reach the desired growth without employing morally dubious methods.

✏️ Research Paper FAQ

It could be useful to describe your personal experience in a research paper if you are considered a recognized expert in the field. Otherwise, you shouldn’t do it since the evidence and facts you use to support the arguments need to be strong. Therefore, it would only be wise to use trustworthy and respectable outside sources.

Writing a criminal justice research paper is easy if you follow our step-by-step guidelines. You only need to concentrate on the chosen field of study to pick the topic, and the rest of the process is explained!

Before you start picking up a topic for your research paper, it would be wise to spend an extra minute and reread the requirements. It could help you set the right objectives and prevent any future mistakes if you misunderstood the task.

The basic structure of any paper consists of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. You should always put your thesis statement, which describes your research paper’s main idea, at the end of the first part.

You have discussed all the topics which I need. Thanks for sharing it

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How To Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Posted by Rene Tetzner | Aug 5, 2021 | Paper Writing Advice | 0 |

How To Write a Research Paper Step by Step

How To Write a Research Paper Step by Step This step-by-step guide to how to write a successful academic or scientific research paper outlines the steps that must be taken when writing about advanced research for formal publication, conference presentation, university credit, online sharing and other means of professional dissemination. Beginning with the development of an engaging and relevant research topic and one or more research questions or hypotheses, authors are advised to follow eight essential steps to meet requirements and prepare a well-written and carefully organised research paper that clearly communicates with readers.

The arrangement of the steps as I present them here will prove effective for most research papers in the arts and sciences, but it is important to remember that there can be considerable overlap among these steps, and the order in which they are completed may vary depending on the topic and the author’s approach to research and writing. The different aspects of a research paper tend to develop gradually as the planning and writing process advances, with work on one step frequently affecting work on earlier as well as later steps. A flexible approach to the writing process that accommodates the unique nature of the current research and the positive role of reflection and revision will enable the best use of this step-by-step guide.

what are the steps to writing a research paper

Eight Essential Steps for Writing an Excellent Research Paper STEP 1: Choosing and Developing the Research Topic An interesting and relevant research topic is an absolute necessity for a successful academic or scientific research paper. There will always be trendy or fashionable topics that prove, at least for a fleeting moment, interesting to an extremely wide audience, but most advanced research is reported primarily for rather specific groups of readers, such as fellow researchers within a discipline and professional practitioners. Those targeted or ideal readers should therefore be anticipated and kept firmly in mind to inspire the development and refinement of a robust topic that will demand original research and help the author generate valuable new knowledge.

The topic of a research paper should also fit, in both focus and range, the intended venue, so learning about the goals and objectives of the peer-reviewed journal, scholarly website, professional conference or other destination for a research paper is vital. Remember as you work that the most engaging and promising research topics are not usually finalised in a moment, a day or even a week. Alterations and refinements are often motivated by writing about the new research as well as by reading about the similar work of fellow researchers, and even careful rereading of one’s own fully drafted paper can lead to significant and productive shifts in a research topic.

what are the steps to writing a research paper

STEP 2: Designing Research Questions and Hypotheses An excellent way to focus the report and discussion of original research is to design one or more research questions or hypotheses that can be answered or tested via the current research and the author’s interpretation of its findings. Research questions and hypotheses can help the researcher as well as his or her readers understand the purpose and value of the research. Designing them early, presenting them clearly in the paper’s introductory material and returning to answer and discuss them after the results have been reported provide a solid thread on which to weave a focussed and logical argument.

It is essential to give considerable thought to the nature and wording of research questions and hypotheses in relation to the research methods employed, ensuring in all cases that any questions can in fact be answered and any hypotheses tested through the chosen methods. For this reason research questions and hypotheses are often designed in conjunction with the research methods for a project. For some types of papers research questions and hypotheses are mandatory. Even if they are not, however, they can usually be included in any type of research paper and are especially useful writing tools, enabling the author to address a research problem and future readers to understand it in clear and constructive ways.

STEP 3: Preparing a Working Outline of the Research Paper Although some successful academic and scientific authors claim never to bother with outlines for their research papers, many others would never proceed without a carefully designed outline. A working outline offers the author, particularly an author new to writing about research, an excellent way in which to plan the content and structure of a research paper that will meet the many requirements usually associated with reporting advanced research in a professional and publishable manner. Obviously, whatever sections, subsections and other elements are needed to report and discuss the current research should be incorporated along with notes about the contents of these parts, but so too should the preferences indicated by a publisher’s guidelines for authors, a website’s instructions for contributors’ posts, a conference organiser’s rules for presenters or an instructor’s template for course papers.

For some papers the guidelines and requirements will be detailed and extensive; for others they will be brief or vague or virtually nonexistent. The trick in all cases is to discover the relevant guidelines and observe them with as much precision and consistency as possible as you plan a paper that also presents your work as clearly and concisely as possible. The length of a paper, its structure and the documentation style of its references are often determined by guidelines, so keep an eye open for details about these aspects of the paper in particular. Although preparing a detailed outline that includes internal headings and subheadings as well as notes about what each part of the paper should contain and achieve can be time consuming, such an outline can also serve as a working template for drafting the paper itself and thereby significantly increase the efficiency of the writing process.

STEP 4: Creating Tables, Figures and Other Support Documents Another strategy for rendering the writing of a research paper a more efficient and successful process is to assign certain information to tables, figures, appendices and other visual and support documents before beginning to draft the paper itself. Research results that consist of complex numerical data, detailed descriptions of research methods or in-depth case studies are examples of the kind of information that can effectively be presented in these visual and support documents. Such elements should be carefully designed to communicate their contents as clearly as possible, and consistency of design across elements of the same kind or those serving a similar purpose is advisable to enable comparative analysis.

If the visual and support documents for a research paper are designed and created before the main text is drafted, unnecessary repetition of information can be more easily avoided. In addition, arranging complicated information in the visual formats of tables and figures can help the researcher as well as future readers detect and better understand important patterns and trends in the results. This can, in turn, significantly enhance the interpretation and discussion of the findings, particularly when an author is dealing with complex data. Furthermore, separating helpful but not strictly necessary details from the running text of a paper and placing them in appendices or archives can make them more readily digestible while streamlining the main argument and rendering the research paper as a whole more appealing to general as well as specialist audiences.

STEP 5: Drafting the Research Paper Section by Section With a working outline and an early version of the tables, figures and other support documents in hand, the process of drafting the main text of the research paper can begin. Because every necessary part and detail of the paper must ultimately be completed and included in the right place, the outline should always be followed with care, ensuring that each section and element is drafted in some form on the first attempt, including any required preliminary and final material.

While every part of the paper should be drafted, however, the bits and pieces need not be drafted in the order in which they will finally appear for readers. A more practical approach may be to work at the first draft in whatever order proves easiest, starting, for instance, with the description of methods or the report of results, following those with drafts of the discussion and conclusion, and finishing at the beginning with background or introductory material. The title, abstract, keywords and other preliminary and final matter such as acknowledgements, image credits and professional declarations can be added at any time, but some of them – the abstract and acknowledgements, for instance – will be best written after all parts of the main text are drafted.

Each and every element of the research paper should be carefully written to achieve its specific purposes, whether those may be increasing accessibility and attracting potential readers or analysing and discussing research results. Language that is specific and precise in explaining facts and ideas is advisable for a research paper, and it is always essential to write well, using a concise and formal style, complete sentences and accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation to ensure clear and professional communication of all aspects of the research.

STEP 6: Adding Scholarly Citations and References Among the many aspects of an academic or scientific research paper that must never be neglected are the citations and references that acknowledge the work, publications and ideas of other authors and researchers. These should, of course, be included among the various parts of the research paper drafted in Step 5, but it is so very important to acknowledge sources, give credit where credit is due and generally tie one’s own research and its implications into the broader network of original research and advancing knowledge that I consider the addition of in-text citations and complete bibliographical references as a separate step here.

Many scholarly authors add the in-text citations, at least in a rough or cursory form, as they draft each section of the paper. Although this approach may not be strictly necessary, it is an extremely effective way to ensure that all the necessary citations are present and to avoid the dangers of unintentional plagiarism and embarrassing errors. These in-text citations can then be checked and finalised when the complete bibliographical references are listed at the end of the paper. As a general rule, every source cited should appear in the list of references and every source in that list should be cited in the text. Since most disciplines, publishers and instructors have stylistic preferences for scholarly references, guidelines must always be consulted, and correct and thorough information in the right style and order must be provided for every source used.

STEP 7: Proofreading, Editing and Refining the Paper It is a very rare and exceptional first draft of an academic or scientific research paper that ends up published by a reputable journal or awarded with a top-notch grade. Successful research papers are, generally speaking, papers that have been carefully written, revised, edited, proofread and often revised and edited all over again by their authors. Such careful attention and reflection enable the improvement of language and style, the clarification of content and structure, the refinement of argument and interpretation, the correction of errors and confusing information, and the development of logical transitions between the various sections and elements of the paper.

Numerical data, tables and figures, bibliographical references and any information that is repeated in different places in the paper are among those aspects that usually require special checks to ensure accuracy and consistency. If language problems prevent clear communication, the help of a professional proofreader or editor may be advisable, and asking a trusted mentor or colleague, particularly one who has successfully published research similar to your own, to read and comment on the paper is also an excellent idea. Remember, however, that this strategy will prove most useful to authors who are willing to receive the feedback in a constructive manner and seriously consider alterations and improvements.

STEP 8: Sharing or Submitting the Research Paper Appropriately Having dedicated so much time and effort to planning, drafting and perfecting a research paper, an academic or scientific author might be thought mad indeed to submit the paper to a potential publisher in any other manner than that required to ensure the best possible reception. Yet too any researchers come to the end of the writing process only to neglect submission requirements and generate a less than desirable initial response. This disappointment can easily be prevented by checking the guidelines or instructions carefully and submitting, for example, a perfectly formatted paper of the right length to a journal editor and accompanying it with a well-written and informative cover letter.

Never forget the importance of providing exactly what is wanted and expected. The organisers of a conference do not want a fifteen-minute paper that runs on for half an hour and the creators of a website do not want blogs formatted in ways that simply do not work on their site. The paper you provide must be appropriate for the venue, and professionalism should be maintained in this and other ways when working to publish and otherwise share advanced research. A professional perspective can be especially challenging to maintain when faced with less than positive comments from editors, peer reviewers and other early readers with strong opinions, so remember that achieving some degree of objectivity and focussing on producing the best research paper possible can be immensely helpful approaches.

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How To Write an Academic Research Paper in 8 Steps

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How to Write a Research Paper

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Chris Hadley, PhD . Chris Hadley, PhD is part of the wikiHow team and works on content strategy and data and analytics. Chris Hadley earned his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from UCLA in 2006. Chris' academic research has been published in numerous scientific journals. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 45 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 4,112,422 times.

Whether you’re in a history, literature, or science class, you’ll probably have to write a research paper at some point. It may seem daunting when you’re just starting out, but staying organized and budgeting your time can make the process a breeze. Research your topic, find reliable sources, and come up with a working thesis. Then create an outline and start drafting your paper. Be sure to leave plenty of time to make revisions, as editing is essential if you want to hand in your best work!

Sample Research Papers and Outlines

what are the steps to writing a research paper

Researching Your Topic

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Tip: If you need to analyze a piece of literature, your task is to pull the work apart into literary elements and explain how the author uses those parts to make their point.

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Drafting Your Essay

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Tip: Some people prefer to write the introduction first and use it to structure the rest of the paper. However, others like to write the body, then fill in the introduction. Do whichever seems natural to you. If you write the intro first, keep in mind you can tweak it later to reflect your finished paper’s layout.

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Revising Your Paper

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Tip: Try to give yourself at least 2 or 3 days to revise your paper. It may be tempting to simply give your paper a quick read and use the spell-checker to make edits. However, revising your paper properly is more in-depth.

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Chris Hadley, PhD

To write a research paper, start by researching your topic at the library, online, or using an academic database. As you conduct your research and take notes, zero in on a specific topic that you want to write about and create a 1-2 sentence thesis to state the focus of your paper. Then, create an outline that includes an introduction, 3 to 5 body paragraphs to present your arguments, and a conclusion to sum up your main points. Once you have your paper's structure organized, draft your paragraphs, focusing on 1 argument per paragraph. Use the information you found through your research to back up your claims and prove your thesis statement. Finally, proofread and revise your content until it's polished and ready to submit. For more information on researching and citing sources, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Steps in Writing a Good Essay

what are the steps to writing a research paper

Writing a good essay for a term paper or a research paper or for any other paper is of primary importance inside the class. The chief aim for all assignments set by the class teacher is to assess the students. The teacher needs to know how much of the taught portion has made sense to the students. He also needs to know whether the student is capable of applying the taught principles, in situations outside what has been taught in class. An essay assignment also tests the writing skills of the students and also checks whether they can express themselves well with a pen and paper. It also shows the teacher how much effort and research work the student has put into the given assignment. So whether you are writing about ‘Shakespeare’, or if you are writing about the ‘failure of dental implants’, your chief aim should be to show how well you have researched, analysed and expressed yourself on the given topic

Writing an academic essay involves many steps. It starts with choosing a good writing topic. This is a vital part in the whole process of essay writing. Always choose a topic that you find to be interesting and stimulating. Check whether there are available material to work on. It would not be advisable to choose a topic that is obscure, with not much previous research work done on it. Similarly a topic that has too much information, might also pose to be a problem. It may confuse the writer, and he may not be able to decide on what material to sieve out. So choose a topic that is interesting to both the writer and reader alike, but not too commonplace.

The next criteria would be to understand the topic very well. Check on all the details of the assigned paper, so that in future while working on it you do not lose focus. Clearly understand and define the topic and from here form the thesis. A thesis statement is important to understand the direction of the research paper. A complete understanding of the assigned topic is thus essential to write a good essay paper. Once the assigned topic has been clearly defined you can start your research work to find relevant material on it.

The next important step would be to read on the topic. It is essential for the writer to find as much as information as possible. Read books, magazines and other related articles. Browse the internet to find relevant information. Be careful while collecting information, and filter all your resources. Check all resources for their authenticity and reliability. Once you have gathered enough reliable information, it will then be necessary to analyse them. Analyse, understand and sieve out the facts that are unimportant.

Make an essay outline before writing the final paper. An outline will help you to keep focus and not lose direction. Do not forget to cite your paper correctly. There are certain fixed essay formats to be followed while essay writing. Find out from your instructor which one suits your assignment best and stick to that format. After writing your paper do not forget to proof read and edit. It will help you to submit a 100% error free paper.

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