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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 29, 2022.
The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your topic and get the reader interested
- Provide background or summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.
Table of contents
Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.
The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.
The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.
For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:
A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:
Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.
This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.
In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.
Argumentative paper: Background information
After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.
Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .
Empirical paper: Describing previous research
For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.
This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.
Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.
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The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.
Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance
In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.
Empirical paper: Relate to the literature
In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:
- What research gap is your work intended to fill?
- What limitations in previous work does it address?
- What contribution to knowledge does it make?
You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.
Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.
The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).
Argumentative paper: Thesis statement
The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.
Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis
The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.
Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.
A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.
- This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
- We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.
If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.
For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:
The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.
In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.
If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.
- This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
- This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …
Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.
The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
and your problem statement
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an overview of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 great research paper topics.
One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper can be just finding a good topic to write about. Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of 113 interesting research paper topics. They've been organized into ten categories and cover a wide range of subjects so you can easily find the best topic for you.
In addition to the list of good research topics, we've included advice on what makes a good research paper topic and how you can use your topic to start writing a great paper.
What Makes a Good Research Paper Topic?
Not all research paper topics are created equal, and you want to make sure you choose a great topic before you start writing. Below are the three most important factors to consider to make sure you choose the best research paper topics.
#1: It's Something You're Interested In
A paper is always easier to write if you're interested in the topic, and you'll be more motivated to do in-depth research and write a paper that really covers the entire subject. Even if a certain research paper topic is getting a lot of buzz right now or other people seem interested in writing about it, don't feel tempted to make it your topic unless you genuinely have some sort of interest in it as well.
#2: There's Enough Information to Write a Paper
Even if you come up with the absolute best research paper topic and you're so excited to write about it, you won't be able to produce a good paper if there isn't enough research about the topic. This can happen for very specific or specialized topics, as well as topics that are too new to have enough research done on them at the moment. Easy research paper topics will always be topics with enough information to write a full-length paper.
Trying to write a research paper on a topic that doesn't have much research on it is incredibly hard, so before you decide on a topic, do a bit of preliminary searching and make sure you'll have all the information you need to write your paper.
#3: It Fits Your Teacher's Guidelines
Don't get so carried away looking at lists of research paper topics that you forget any requirements or restrictions your teacher may have put on research topic ideas. If you're writing a research paper on a health-related topic, deciding to write about the impact of rap on the music scene probably won't be allowed, but there may be some sort of leeway. For example, if you're really interested in current events but your teacher wants you to write a research paper on a history topic, you may be able to choose a topic that fits both categories, like exploring the relationship between the US and North Korea. No matter what, always get your research paper topic approved by your teacher first before you begin writing.
113 Good Research Paper Topics
Below are 113 good research topics to help you get you started on your paper. We've organized them into ten categories to make it easier to find the type of research paper topics you're looking for.
- Discuss the main differences in art from the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance .
- Analyze the impact a famous artist had on the world.
- How is sexism portrayed in different types of media (music, film, video games, etc.)? Has the amount/type of sexism changed over the years?
- How has the music of slaves brought over from Africa shaped modern American music?
- How has rap music evolved in the past decade?
- How has the portrayal of minorities in the media changed?
- What have been the impacts of China's one child policy?
- How have the goals of feminists changed over the decades?
- How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?
- Analyze the history of the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
- What factors contributed to the current decline in the rate of unemployment?
- What have been the impacts of states which have increased their minimum wage?
- How do US immigration laws compare to immigration laws of other countries?
- How have the US's immigration laws changed in the past few years/decades?
- How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected discussions and view about racism in the US?
- What impact has the Affordable Care Act had on healthcare in the US?
- What factors contributed to the UK deciding to leave the EU (Brexit)?
- What factors contributed to China becoming an economic power?
- Discuss the history of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies (some of which tokenize the S&P 500 Index on the blockchain) .
- Do students in schools that eliminate grades do better in college and their careers?
- Do students from wealthier backgrounds score higher on standardized tests?
- Do students who receive free meals at school get higher grades compared to when they weren't receiving a free meal?
- Do students who attend charter schools score higher on standardized tests than students in public schools?
- Do students learn better in same-sex classrooms?
- How does giving each student access to an iPad or laptop affect their studies?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Montessori Method ?
- Do children who attend preschool do better in school later on?
- What was the impact of the No Child Left Behind act?
- How does the US education system compare to education systems in other countries?
- What impact does mandatory physical education classes have on students' health?
- Which methods are most effective at reducing bullying in schools?
- Do homeschoolers who attend college do as well as students who attended traditional schools?
- Does offering tenure increase or decrease quality of teaching?
- How does college debt affect future life choices of students?
- Should graduate students be able to form unions?
- What are different ways to lower gun-related deaths in the US?
- How and why have divorce rates changed over time?
- Is affirmative action still necessary in education and/or the workplace?
- Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?
- How has stem cell research impacted the medical field?
- How can human trafficking be reduced in the United States/world?
- Should people be able to donate organs in exchange for money?
- Which types of juvenile punishment have proven most effective at preventing future crimes?
- Has the increase in US airport security made passengers safer?
- Analyze the immigration policies of certain countries and how they are similar and different from one another.
- Several states have legalized recreational marijuana. What positive and negative impacts have they experienced as a result?
- Do tariffs increase the number of domestic jobs?
- Which prison reforms have proven most effective?
- Should governments be able to censor certain information on the internet?
- Which methods/programs have been most effective at reducing teen pregnancy?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of the Keto diet?
- How effective are different exercise regimes for losing weight and maintaining weight loss?
- How do the healthcare plans of various countries differ from each other?
- What are the most effective ways to treat depression ?
- What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods?
- Which methods are most effective for improving memory?
- What can be done to lower healthcare costs in the US?
- What factors contributed to the current opioid crisis?
- Analyze the history and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic .
- Are low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
- How much exercise should the average adult be getting each week?
- Which methods are most effective to get parents to vaccinate their children?
- What are the pros and cons of clean needle programs?
- How does stress affect the body?
- Discuss the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
- What were the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials?
- Who was responsible for the Iran-Contra situation?
- How has New Orleans and the government's response to natural disasters changed since Hurricane Katrina?
- What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
- What were the impacts of British rule in India ?
- Was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?
- What were the successes and failures of the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
- What were the causes of the Civil War?
- How did Abraham Lincoln's assassination impact the country and reconstruction after the Civil War?
- Which factors contributed to the colonies winning the American Revolution?
- What caused Hitler's rise to power?
- Discuss how a specific invention impacted history.
- What led to Cleopatra's fall as ruler of Egypt?
- How has Japan changed and evolved over the centuries?
- What were the causes of the Rwandan genocide ?
- Why did Martin Luther decide to split with the Catholic Church?
- Analyze the history and impact of a well-known cult (Jonestown, Manson family, etc.)
- How did the sexual abuse scandal impact how people view the Catholic Church?
- How has the Catholic church's power changed over the past decades/centuries?
- What are the causes behind the rise in atheism/ agnosticism in the United States?
- What were the influences in Siddhartha's life resulted in him becoming the Buddha?
- How has media portrayal of Islam/Muslims changed since September 11th?
- How has the earth's climate changed in the past few decades?
- How has the use and elimination of DDT affected bird populations in the US?
- Analyze how the number and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past few decades.
- Analyze deforestation rates in a certain area or globally over a period of time.
- How have past oil spills changed regulations and cleanup methods?
- How has the Flint water crisis changed water regulation safety?
- What are the pros and cons of fracking?
- What impact has the Paris Climate Agreement had so far?
- What have NASA's biggest successes and failures been?
- How can we improve access to clean water around the world?
- Does ecotourism actually have a positive impact on the environment?
- Should the US rely on nuclear energy more?
- What can be done to save amphibian species currently at risk of extinction?
- What impact has climate change had on coral reefs?
- How are black holes created?
- Are teens who spend more time on social media more likely to suffer anxiety and/or depression?
- How will the loss of net neutrality affect internet users?
- Analyze the history and progress of self-driving vehicles.
- How has the use of drones changed surveillance and warfare methods?
- Has social media made people more or less connected?
- What progress has currently been made with artificial intelligence ?
- Do smartphones increase or decrease workplace productivity?
- What are the most effective ways to use technology in the classroom?
- How is Google search affecting our intelligence?
- When is the best age for a child to begin owning a smartphone?
- Has frequent texting reduced teen literacy rates?
How to Write a Great Research Paper
Even great research paper topics won't give you a great research paper if you don't hone your topic before and during the writing process. Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers.
#1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early
Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper. Every sentence in your research paper will relate back to your thesis, so you don't want to start writing without it!
As some examples, if you're writing a research paper on if students learn better in same-sex classrooms, your thesis might be "Research has shown that elementary-age students in same-sex classrooms score higher on standardized tests and report feeling more comfortable in the classroom."
If you're writing a paper on the causes of the Civil War, your thesis might be "While the dispute between the North and South over slavery is the most well-known cause of the Civil War, other key causes include differences in the economies of the North and South, states' rights, and territorial expansion."
#2: Back Every Statement Up With Research
Remember, this is a research paper you're writing, so you'll need to use lots of research to make your points. Every statement you give must be backed up with research, properly cited the way your teacher requested. You're allowed to include opinions of your own, but they must also be supported by the research you give.
#3: Do Your Research Before You Begin Writing
You don't want to start writing your research paper and then learn that there isn't enough research to back up the points you're making, or, even worse, that the research contradicts the points you're trying to make!
Get most of your research on your good research topics done before you begin writing. Then use the research you've collected to create a rough outline of what your paper will cover and the key points you're going to make. This will help keep your paper clear and organized, and it'll ensure you have enough research to produce a strong paper.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.
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How To Write a Research Paper: The Ultimate Guide ￼
Regardless of the degree or program, you enroll in, writing research papers is inevitable. The process can seem daunting due to the time and effort it takes. But with the proper approach, you’ll make it.
This article will guide you on how to write a research paper perfectly, including how to write a thesis statement for a research paper, how to write a conclusion for a research paper, etc. More specifically, there are nine steps you need to follow to pave the way to a successfully written research paper.
But before that, let’s learn what a research paper is.
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper can be considered an extended version of an essay. The research paper aims to present your interpretation, argument, or evaluation. In contrast to essays, research papers are more complex and require deep research on a particular matter. Research papers are characterized by the inclusivity of the presentation of other scientists’ opinions.
A research paper is more than a summary, collection of other sources, or literature review. At its core, the research paper analyzes and argues your point of view, further backed up by other studies.
Completing a research paper is a challenging task. But, with our help, you can start and build your way to a good end. Let’s get started!
How To Write a Research Paper
Writing a research paper sounds easy; you pick the topic, develop your argument, research what other studies have said, and conclude it. Those are the general rules. But writing a successful research paper requires you to be more attentive, consistent, and detailed.
The following steps will guide you through a more detailed process of writing a research paper.
Get familiar with the assignment
Writing a research paper takes more than just listening to the instruction while your professor explains. Because many students are not cautious enough to carefully listen and analyze every given step, they end up with a poorly graded assignment or, in the worst case, even fail.
Spend some time reading every instruction, and when in doubt, ask questions! Professors are always open to answering any questions you might have.
Choose a topic for your research paper
Deciding on a topic is usually time-consuming since there are so many topics available. If you need help deciding on a topic, think about what you are passionate about, but always remember to stay within the lines of the instructions. When choosing a topic, keep the following in mind:
- Choose a topic relevant to the length of the paper: If your professor has instructed a longer paper than usual, keep your topic broad, for example, “Internships.” On the other hand, if it’s shorter, try to narrow your topic to something more specific such as “Internship’s impact on interpersonal skills.”
- Consider topics that allow you to discuss or analyze rather than summarize: If you’re writing anything literature related, focus on how, for example, a particular scene leads to a specific theme. Avoid choosing a topic that plainly describes scenes or characters.
- Find a topic with many previous studies available: Since research papers mainly focus on your research, you must ensure plenty of studies can support your arguments.
Do the research and take notes
Now it’s time to research what different scholars have written about the topic. Since this step requires a lot of reading and comprehension, it’s crucial to know how to read scholarly articles effectively and efficiently. The pieces you will go through will be lengthy, and sometimes only a few parts within those papers will be helpful. That’s why it is essential to skim and scan.
Secondly, find reliable sources. Visit sites such as Google Scholar, and focus on peer-reviewed articles since they contain information that has been reviewed and evaluated.
Next, keep track of what you have read so far. It’s vital to save everything you have read and consider influential in one place. Instead of going back and forth between different sites, you can have everything in one place. You can bookmark the sources or link those sources to a document. That will save you valuable time when you start writing.
And remember: always stay focused and within your topic area.
Formulate your thesis statement
Research until you reach your own opinion or argument on the topic, otherwise known as a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an introductory statement that puts forward your explanation or point within the paper. When formulating a thesis statement, remember the following:
- Don’t be vague.
- Make a strong statement.
- Make it arguable.
Checking in with your professor after you have developed a clear, persuasive thesis statement can be helpful. Ask them whether they agree your thesis statement is the right one. And if you get a positive answer, you’re ready for the next step.
Create an outline for your research paper
Even if it’s not required by your instructor, creating an outline will help you greatly in the long run. A structure will simplify the writing process, regardless of length or complexity. It should contain detailed information for the arrangement of each paragraph and identify the smaller components per each paragraph in order, such as the introductory sentence and the supporting evidence.
The outline will create a visual board and help you define what to include and where. And most importantly, in this part, you can identify possible mistakes and not have them in your drafts.
Write your first draft
And now you’ve made it to the real deal. The work you’ve done till this point matters a lot. If you succeed in having a good topic, a strong thesis with backup evidence, and an already structured paper, half of the job is already done—you just have to fill in the blanks at this point.
As you first start writing, remember that this is the first draft. Trust your memory and avoid going between sources and your paper. This way, you can prevent plagiarism and be original instead. Start with the introduction and the body, and work through a conclusion.
Introductions to research papers are always unique. It is the part where you set up the topic and hook your reader. Additionally, you must provide background to the existing research, position your approach, and put forward the thesis statement. Furthermore, you need to explain why your topic deserves immediate attention.
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An introduction highlights all you’ve gathered from your research. While it may seem fine to write the introduction first, we suggest you focus on the body of the paper first. Then you’ll find it simple to build a clear summary.
This is the longest part of the research paper. You are required to support your thesis and build the argument, followed by citations and analysis.
Place the paragraphs in a logical arrangement so each key point flows naturally to the next one. Similarly, organize the sentences in each paragraph in an organic structure. If you have carefully arranged your notes and created an outline, your thoughts will automatically fall into place when you write your draft.
After introducing your topic and arguing your points, the conclusion will bring everything together. Focus on developing a stimulating and informative conclusion. Make it possible for readers to understand it independently from the rest of the paper.
These are some of the suggestions that will lead to a well-written conclusion:
- Provide a clear summary
- Emphasize issues raised and possible solutions
Write your second draft
Usually, the first draft is followed by a second one. However, before proceeding with the process, highlight the errors and points you would prefer to avoid including in the final draft. With the help of a second draft, you will be able to notice mistakes and create a definitive outline for the final draft. Furthermore, you can communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively by creating multiple drafts.
Cite sources and prepare a bibliography
Citations are what characterize the research paper. The importance of citations lies in reliability: citing sources will make your writing more reliable. But how do you cite correctly? The problem is that there is more than just a set of rules. If your professor has set no rules, you can ask them. After being given the right instructions on what citation style to use, do plenty of research and make sure to cite correctly.
Edit, edit, and edit some more
Now it’s time to strive for perfection. Start editing with a fresh perspective. Firstly, focus on the content. It would be beneficial to create a checklist you can follow. You can produce a list that follows the instructions of your professor. If everything checks right, you can submit it. Otherwise, you’ll need to work toward perfecting the paper. Here are some things you need to check:
- Are you within the lines of the assignment?
- Have you achieved the right length?
- Do sentences communicate your ideas?
- Is the supporting evidence conducted correctly?
It is also crucial to edit for grammar. Plenty of online tools, such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, can help you during the process. You can also ask your peers to check it after you’ve done your part. Their fresh perspective will pick up on many things you might have missed.
The Bottom Line
Writing a research paper is one of the essential parts of academics. The process might seem straightforward, but there are many steps you should carefully follow. And remember: always stay on track with your progress; otherwise, you will get lost in tasks.
We hope by the time you have read this guide, you’ve been able to pick up the essential parts. But if you haven’t, you can go through it again.
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How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps
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
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
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 (18.104.22.168).
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
1.2.1 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
2.2.2 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 .
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Write great papers
Write great papers with microsoft word.
You may already use Microsoft Word to write papers, but you can also use for many other tasks, such as collecting research, co-writing with other students, recording notes on-the-fly, and even building a better bibliography!
Explore new ways to use Microsoft Word below.
Let’s get started by opening Microsoft Word and choosing a template to create a new document. You can either:
Select Blank document to create a document from scratch.
Select a structured template.
Select Take a tour for Word tips.
Next, let’s look at creating and formatting copy. You can do so by clicking onto the page and beginning to type your content. The status bar at the bottom of the document shows your current page number and how many words you've typed, in case you’re trying to stay maintain a specific word count.
To format text and change how it looks, select the text and select an option on the Home tab: Bold, Italic, Bullets, Numbering , etc.
To add pictures, shapes, or other media, simply navigate to the Insert tab, then select any of the options to add media to your document.
Word automatically saves your content as you work, so you don’t have to stress about losing your progress if you forget to press Save .
Here are some of the advanced tools you can try out while using Microsoft Word.
Type with your voice
Have you ever wanted to speak, not write, your ideas? Believe it or not, there’s a button for that! All you have to do is navigate to the Home tab, select the Dictate button, and start talking to “type” with your voice. You’ll know Dictate is listening when the red recording icon appears.
Tips for using Dictate
Speak clearly and conversationally.
Add punctuation by pausing or saying the name of the punctuation mark.
If you make a mistake, all you have to do is go back and re-type your text.
Finding and citing sources
Get a head start on collecting sources and ideas for a big paper by searching key words in Researcher in the References tab of your document.
Researcher uses Bing to search the web and deliver high-quality research sources to the side of your page. Search for people, places, or ideas and then sort by journal articles and websites. Add a source to your page by selecting the plus sign.
As you write, Researcher saves a record of your searches. Just select My Research to see the complete list.
Keep track of all your sources by using Word's built-in bibliography maker. Simply navigate to the References tab.
First, choose the style you want your citations to be in. In this example, we’ve selected APA style.
Select Insert Citation and Add New Source .
In the next window, choose what kind of work you’re citing—an article, book, etc.—and fill in the required details. Then select OK to cite your source.
Keep writing. At the ends of sentences that need sources, select Insert Citation to keep adding new sources, or pick one you already entered from the list.
As you write, Word will keep track of all the citations you’ve entered. When you’re finished, select Bibliography and choose a format style. Your bibliography will appear at the end of your paper, just like that.
Make things look nice
Make your report or project look extra professional in the Design tab! Browse different themes, colors, fonts, and borders to create work you're proud of!
Illustrate a concept with a chart or a model by navigating to the Insert tab and choosing SmartArt . In this example, we chose Cycle and filled in text from the writing process to make a simple graphic. Choose other graphic types to represent hierarchies, flow charts, and more.
To insert a 3D model, select Insert > 3D Models to choose from a library of illustrated dioramas from different course subjects and 3D shapes.
Invite someone to write with you
If you’re working on a group project, you can work on a document at the same time without emailing the file back and forth. Select Share at the top of your page and create a link you can send to other students.
Now, everybody can open the same file and work together.
Check out more Microsoft Word training and support
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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.
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.
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!
- George, E. Identifying keywords for scientific papers: A simple 5-step guide. Researcher.Life Blog. Available online at https://researcher.life/blog/article/identifying-keywords-for-scientific-papers-a-simple-5-step-guide/
- Herron, C. How to Choose the Best Keywords for Your Research Manuscript. Redwood Ink. Available online at https://redwoodink.com/resources/how-to-choose-the-best-keywords-for-your-research-manuscript
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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Writing a Research Paper
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
The pages in this section provide detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.
The Research Paper
There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.
Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.
The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:
- Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
- Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics, whether the topic be one that is assigned or one that the student chooses themselves.
- Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
- Where Do I Begin - This section concludes the handout by offering several links to resources at Purdue, and also provides an overview of the final stages of writing a research paper.
- Writing Worksheets and Other Writing Resources
- The Writing Process
A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers
About the slc.
- Our Mission and Core Values
(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
- Free topic choice or assigned?
- Type of paper: Informative? Persuasive? Other?
- Any terminology in assignment not clear?
- Library research needed or required? How much?
- What style of citation is required?
- Can you break the assignment into parts?
- When will you do each part?
- Are you required or allowed to collaborate with other members of the class?
- Other special directions or requirements?
Step 3: Select a Topic
- interests you
- you know something about
- you can research easily
- Write out topic and brainstorm.
- Select your paper’s specific topic from this brainstorming list.
- In a sentence or short paragraph, describe what you think your paper is about.
Step 4: Initial Planning, Investigation, and Outlining
- the nature of your audience
- ideas & information you already possess
- sources you can consult
- background reading you should do
Make a rough outline, a guide for your research to keep you on the subject while you work.
Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials
- Use cards, Word, Post-its, or Excel to organize.
- Organize your bibliography records first.
- Organize notes next (one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas).
- Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline. If necessary, print out documents and literally cut and paste (scissors and tape) them together by heading.
Step 6: Make a Final Outline to Guide Writing
- Reorganize and fill in tentative outline.
- Organize notes to correspond to outline.
- As you decide where you will use outside resources in your paper, make notes in your outline to refer to your numbered notecards, attach post-its to your printed outline, or note the use of outside resources in a different font or text color from the rest of your outline.
- In both Steps 6 and 7, it is important to maintain a clear distinction between your own words and ideas and those of others.
Step 7: Write the Paper
- Use your outline to guide you.
- Write quickly—capture flow of ideas—deal with proofreading later.
- Put aside overnight or longer, if possible.
Step 8: Revise and Proofread
- Check organization—reorganize paragraphs and add transitions where necessary.
- Make sure all researched information is documented.
- Rework introduction and conclusion.
- Work on sentences—check spelling, punctuation, word choice, etc.
- Read out loud to check for flow.
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.
Writing a Research Paper
This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper.
Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.
Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic
- Try to find a topic that truly interests you
- Try writing your way to a topic
- Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic
- Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved
Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
You will need to look at the following types of sources:
- library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
- primary vs. secondary sources
- journals, books, other documents
Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information
The following systems will help keep you organized:
- a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
- a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
- a system for taking notes
Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
Consider the following questions:
- What is the topic?
- Why is it significant?
- What background material is relevant?
- What is my thesis or purpose statement?
- What organizational plan will best support my purpose?
Writing the Introduction
In the introduction you will need to do the following things:
- present relevant background or contextual material
- define terms or concepts when necessary
- explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
- reveal your plan of organization
Writing the Body
- Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
- Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
- Integrate your sources into your discussion
- Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
- Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization
Writing the Conclusion
- If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
- If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
- Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
- Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.
Revising the Final Draft
- Check overall organization : logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
- Paragraph level concerns : topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
- Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
- Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.
Academic and Professional Writing
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Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics
Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing
Job Materials and Application Essays
Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs
- Before you begin: useful tips for writing your essay
- Guided brainstorming exercises
- Get more help with your essay
- Frequently Asked Questions
Resume Writing Tips
CV Writing Tips
Proposals and Dissertations
Resources for Proposal Writers
Resources for Dissertators
Planning and Writing Research Papers
Quoting and Paraphrasing
Writing Annotated Bibliographies
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Topic: Apparel , Clothes , Trends , Fashion , Men , Sports , Performance , Popularity
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A suit is the modern gentleman's armor. There are many intricate facets of a suit that a company has to consider while crafting such an important garment; mainly, its functionality. Today, the designers and producers of sportswear focus not only on the attractiveness of their cloths, but also on functionality of the apparel. The demands for this type of cloths elevated with the sophistication of the customers, increased competition in the market, popularity of sport and healthy lifestyle, and the desire to combine comfort and functionality. Sportswear has become a necessary attribute for the sportsmen, active sport enthusiasts, and those who participate in sport events occasionally. One of the main reasons for the change in the attitude towards the sportswear is the increasing popularity of the professional cloths and equipment among the consumers (Gupta 323). This specificity demands from the producers to create apparel that will reflect the functionality of the professional sport clothes and remain attractive and comfortable for the everyday use. The design of functional sport apparel has to take into consideration the human anatomy, which plays a huge role when it comes to creating the perfect suit. Muscle movements, bone structure and comfort are all key aspects to consider as well. Not only it is essential to note the importance of human anatomy, but aerodynamics also comes into play. A truly functional suit should be able to enhance performance, reduce excessive weight and improve overall efficiency. It should essentially be “active” sportswear. For the last several decades, the boost of technologies produced a wide variety of possibilities for the apparel producers by supplying this market with new methods of sewing, innovational materials, and functionality. The design of highly effective, functional, and attractive sportswear requires a thorough research of new tendencies existing in the sportswear industry, current trends in this segment, as well as the past experience connected to the design and manufacturing of men’s apparel. The analysis of past, present, and future of this market segment will allow the company operating in this area to gain success and competitive advantage.
The Past and Modern Trends in Menswear Fashion
It is important to mention that the menswear was developing alongside the historical, political, and social developments in the world. It is impossible to claim that menswear emerged at some point in the time, as cloths or its resemblance existed for ages. Yet, it is customary to begin the history of menswear from the 1900s due t the fact that apparel of the 19th century was overwhelmed with frock coats, feathers, tophats, and pocket watches (Boyer 181). While in the Georgian period men were wearing heels and panty hose, which are difficult to consider a men’s suit in the traditional understanding of this meaning. In the beginning of 1900s, the menswear was utilitarian and quite creative, as men were wearing the cloths of long and lean athletic form. It was customary for men to wear three piece suits that had sack coat, waist coat, and contrasting trousers. Also, coats had to match, which is quite familiar to the modern men. Also, trousers tended to be much shorter than those worn today with so-called “turn-ups” (Boyer 182). The tendencies changed at some point in 1920s after the war. It is possible to claim that it was a breaking point for the menswear, as it became more functional and comfortable. Several classic designs were introduced after the war, including cargos and trench coats. As business managed to develop quite fast, Americans have more money to travel which affected the aesthetics of the menswear as well. It was claimed that England was the most influential destination for the fashionable menswear that further affected the trends in this segment among the American men. Also, in the 1920s, the American college students began to add new specificities to their apparel, like button-down shirts, colorful socks, natural shouldered jackets (Boyer 185). During those days, the Prince of Wales had become the first style icon in terms of menswear. In newspapers and magazines, Prince managed to wear fashionable and beautiful cloths that became his trademark and made the others to follow his style, as people are following the style icons today. So as in the present realities, the producers and advertisers of cloths managed to use Prince’s image to sell their products. However, in 1930s during the great depression, American men in their majority could not afford good cloths and fashionable accessories. Yet, it was the time when the Hollywood movies started to popularize the image of contemporary men with stylish attributes and sleek apparel. Men of 1930s admired such style icons as Clark Gabel and Cary Grant (Boyer 186). In addition, in this period, the American taste in apparel elevated competing with the European fashion. It was admitted that the 1930s was the time when men realized that they have to wear clothes that does not hide the natural lines of the body by starting to wear comfortable apparel that emphasized the masculine physique (Boyer 188). It was high time when men recognized that clothes have to enhance and complement body, rather than hiding it. The next decade brought the frustration of the World War II, which decreased the importance of fashion and tailoring replacing it with mass production of cloths and increase in their functionality. It was realized that high standards and classic principles of tailoring are expensive for everyday routine. With the intensification of industrialization and technological development, working class men could not afford such cloths. This period enabled men to buy ready-to-wear apparel produced by the brands still operating today. The introduction of mass market had both pros and cons. Firstly, the cost for cloths decreased significantly, but the producers could not propose a variety of styles for the consumers. Also, it was the period when the producers realized that they can change fashion trends every season or year in order to popularize mass production of cloths. Magazine industry was used for the advertisement of new cloths and further development in marketing shifted the main attention from the classic suit to the mass production. Additionally, the producers discovered that the manufacturing of the flattering apparel boosts the sales. In the result, in the 1950s, the producers developed the age of conformity, where men were eager to look similar and to be “part of the club” rather than emphasizing their individuality. Ivy League look has become the most popular among men in this period. It is customary to think that “boxy sack suit, oxford shirt, rep tie, and loafers” () were the result of mass market advertisement that made ill-fitting cloths extremely popular among men. His main reason for this fashion trend was the eagerness of men who have just come from the field to look employable and smart. The garment and materials have to be easy to wash and wear as well as to be durable. In the result, synthetic material was used for unfitting menswear apparel, especially what concerns suits. Natural fibers are considered to be better, yet men in the 1950s could not afford such clothes due to the mass market and increase in price for the production of natural fabric. Conservative grey suits and minimum accessories were the main attributed of that epoch. In the 1960s, there were a time of conflicts and rebellion against the government structure and the conservatism which were popular a decade ago. Fashion reflected these tendencies by introducing so-called “dandies” who diversified the clothes and made the mass production to produce more variety of clothes and accessories. It was the time when men tried to match everything with anything without any rules. It was the first time in history of menswear when adults wanted to look younger. This tendency in fashion carried away the classic principles of tailoring popular in the 1930s. In the early 1970s the rebellion continued which was reflected in fashion of menswear. The well-recognized trends of those days include tie dye shirts, and military surplus clothing. Due to the popularity of hippie movement, the materials made of natural materials gained new popularity. Such things as necklaces, headbands, and bracelets were made of wood and leather. At some point in 1970s, men started t wear three-piece suits again, which were made of fabrics of a wide variety of colors. Again, the fashion proposed baggy and ill-fitting cloths that reflected in flared trousers and high-rise waistcoats. In ten years, a new image emerged in the American fashion scene. Bold colors and graphic fabric represented the suit of a new businessman with classic ties and suspenders. The fashion of 1990s is considered the worst of all due to its unfitting and inconsistent apparel that were neither functional, nor flattering. It has to be noted that the fashion for baggy clothes that can be observed nowadays was initiated in 1990s. Popularization of tattoos and piercings produced non-conformist groups, which reflected in fashion as well. The main trends of those days included T-shirts, oversized hoodies, and sneakers. It was the time when the trend of Business Casual emerged in fashion. In general, it meant that the style of the businessmen became less formal causing the suite to become bigger and baggier. Also, in the beginning of 2000s menswear was affected by the rise of hip-hop that increased the popularity of baggy clothes, metal chains, and baseball hats. Yet, the suits became slimmer and cut in order to become more flattering for men’s figures. Introduction of internet opened the doors for all fashion enthusiasts enabling people to familiarize themselves with new trends in fashion abroad. In 2009 a first menswear blog was launched that started the popularity of such resources for men's fashion. Next year, the popularity of fashion bloggers elevated and mass market seeing the boost of such trend managed to use it for reviews, style guides, and ads for their merchandize. The clothes of that period can be characterized as comfortable, functional, stylish, and appealing. With the introduction of online shopping, it became easier for both the producers and the consumers to purchase new apparel and follow the latest trends in fashion. Nowadays, it is possible to access all brands and buy clothes from all over the world, which affected fashion significantly. There is a wide variety of clothes that can satisfy all tastes and needs. It is possible to claim that today is the time when smaller indie brands increase their popularity and uniqueness has become an essential characteristic of the men’s style. In a way, the trends or even the idea of men’s fashion existing in the 1900s was rediscovered in 2010s by empowering the specificities and uniqueness of clothes. Limited edition and exclusive clothes have become particularly popular in modern men. At some point it became fashionable to use the services of tailors or to buy exclusive suits from individual designers, which of course are affordable only by upper and upper-middle class. Also, a lot of modern designers managed to create cheaper solutions for the middle class consumers. The most vivid examples are Versace Jeans Couture, Miu Miu, and Marc by Marc Jacobs (). The popularity of the sportswear also has become on the rise today. While the sportswear had become popular since the 1960s, only several decades later it became customary to wear fashionable sports apparel during the hikes, running routine, and the gym. Sports activities have become popular in the 1990s, which marked the day when the clothes were designed to be more comfortable, durable, and functional. With the rise of popularity of functionality in everything in order to increase performance, the sportswear began to evolve with every decade.
Modern and Future Trends of Sportswear
Today, clothes and especially sportswear are required to be multifunctional, appealing, and durable. In this case, functional clothing refers to the apparel that can fulfill multiple functions, like increasing the performance of the user, consider physiological functions of humans, their muscle and bones structure, reduce its weight, and be particularly comfortable for the consumers. One of the most important trends in the sportswear today is the division of apparel according to the type of sport. For instance, Nike has performance and casual clothes, and its sports apparel is divided into the departments with regard to the specific type of sport (Nike). The company sells apparel for running, gym, basketball, tennis, skateboarding, and daily fashion (Nike). Other companies like Under Armor, Adidas, and Reebok implement the same tendencies in their companies’ main strategy. The sportswear business is on the rise, as according to sources, its net worth increased from $200 billion in 2008 to $300 in 2016 (Euromonitor). Also, it was reported that consumers tend to buy sports clothes more often comparing to the last decade. It is possible to explain this trend by the increasing popularity of active life and sports in general. Both the bigger brands like Nike and Under Armor and smaller ones, like Athleta have the ability to attract the consumers. Yet, the sportswear producers have to take into account new trends emerging together with the technological advancement, like new materials, sewing techniques, functionality of models that consider body movements during performance and bodily functions. One of the most popular trends in the sportswear today is compression clothes, as a growing body of research claims that it provides more benefits in terms of performance and circulation of air (). Particularly, it was discovered that compression clothes increases the circulation in 30% that improves the strength, stamina, and endurance of users as well the provision of oxygen to the body (). Another trend is the necessity to produce performance clothes of moisture-wicking fabric. Dry-fit and polyester shirts enable the natural moisture to move away from the body, which is comfortable for the users and decrease the chances to develop bacteria on the skin. Nowadays, the synthetic fibers are hydrophobic, which means that natural moisture does not hit the yarn. While such fabrics are not as soft as cotton, the functionality and durability of synthetic sportswear are more significant. The latest trend that becomes popular in the sportswear is antimicrobial technology that can protect the human body from the development of dangerous bacteria. The main goal here is to minimize the odor during the performance, which can be a problem for a lot of consumers. Also, antibacterial apparel tries to minimize the chances to get skin infections produced by active sweating during the performance. Such tendencies as eco-friendliness of the apparel regarding the fabrics and technologies have become popular among the consumers as well. Bamboo, coconut, and wool are used today for producing “green” sportswear apparel. The popularity of natural fabrics increased, yet, today the sportswear companies tend to invest into innovational techniques that combine the synthetic fabric and their eco-friendliness. For instance, it is estimated that the fibers used for the production of sport apparel will continue to use the benefits of high-technology elastometric fibers (Shishoo 73). It is estimated that the future trends in sportswear fashion will include the utilization of memory fibers that will benefit the swimwear and compression sport clothes. Also, the sportswear has to protect the body from the possible injuries during the performance. For example, the producers of running shoes increase the distance between the foot and the ground by providing the support for the heel. In the same manner, the producers for professional swimwear create super-streamlined swimsuits that increase the speed of the sportsmen during the competitions. It is possible to produce the apparel with the same characteristics that will be functional and enabled the consumers to increase their performance. One of the most vivid examples of using such technology is Speedo that created its FASTSKIN Racing System that includes the swimsuit, cap, and goggles by creating a united system that increases the hydrodynamic efficiency, comfort, and reducing the use of oxygen that provides around 16% of improvement during the performance (Innovation Textiles). As for new technologies existing in the production methods of manufacturing the sportswear, three-dimensional CAD software is utilized for designing the clothes and ultrasonic sewing technique is introduced for production of the apparel (Mao, Li and Wang). There is a technology to assist in aerodynamic drag reduction, which was introduced by Nike in the production of Pro TurboSpeed uniforms that is made of smooth and even material that increases the performance of the athletes (Nike). Such fabrics increase the elasticity of the clothes, incorporate flat and smooth waistband and decreases the bulkiness (Innovations in Textiles). New fabrics used in the sportswear production have to be produced by using the innovative technologies of “multi-ply verses single ply cutting, colour matching, needle and thread choices, stitch types, feed types, ultrasonic and high frequency welding, bonding, heat sealing, and fusing” (Innovations in Textiles). Laser-cutting is one of the latest trends in designing clothes including the sport apparel. While this technique is not new, it was not used in the sportswear in that scale. The technological support for the production of sports apparel is immense due to the variety of methods available today in the market for the comfortable, innovational, and functional clothes. The companies today are forced to introduce innovations as frequently as possible, where the producers of sportswear are not exclusion from the rule. Due to the popularity and high demand for the sport apparel, even the companies that produce casual clothes introduce the sportswear lines into their brands. The examples include Gap, Forever21, Old Navy. For example, due to the popularity of such activities as yoga, there are a lot of brands specializing specifically on this activity and producing leggings, tops, shirts, and accessories for this sport, like for example Lulu Lemon (Lewis).
The past, present, and future trends enables my company to combine the popular trends and innovative techniques in order to produce highly functioning, attractive, and durable clothes that will reflect the current fashion trends. Today there is a variety of sportswear companies, both big and small, that can find its own niche in the market. The main goal of my future company is to combine the latest innovations in fabric and production techniques to create apparel that will become armor for the skin by safeguarding the body from the injuries and increase the performance of the athletes. I aim to design the sportswear for the usual users and the athletes that require durability, functionality, and protection from the garment and accessories. It is possible to combine the future trends with the classic of the past experience and to create elegant, flattering apparel that will emphasize the advantages of the body and improve the appearance of the users. Yet, the main focus of my company will remain on the comfortable clothes that will not distract the consumers from their sport routine. The company has a goal to become a competitive player in the international and local markets in the production of innovative and highly-technological performance apparel that will satisfy the demands of the most sophisticated buyers and increase their performance during the routine.
Boyer, Bruce G. True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear. Philadelphia, PA: Basic Books, 2015. Gupta, Deepti. Functional Clothing - Definition and Classification. Indian Journal of Fiber and Textile research, 36, 321-326. Innovations in Textiles. Texprocess 2013: New technologies for innovative sportswear. 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2016. Lewis, Hanna. 8 New Sportswear Brands You Need To Know Now. Marie Claire. 10 Jul. 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2016. Mao, Aihua, Li, Yi and Wang, Shuxiao. A CAD system for multi-style thermal functional design of clothing. Computer-Aided Design, 40(9), 916-930. Nike. Nike Men. Web. 29 Mar. 2016. Shishoo, Roshan. Textiles for Sportswear. Waltham, MA: Woodhead Publishing, 2015.
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How ChatGPT Can Help Teach Students to Write Better Research Papers
A first foray into the ai classroom.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to teach a second-year digital humanities course next fall exploring how to use generative AI in research and writing. So last week I gave my current third year history students the option to write their major paper using ChatGPT. In a class of twenty-six, thirteen opted to take-up the challenge. It’s exciting and it forces me to articulate answers to two important questions: what does a history paper written with ChatGPT look like? What are we trying to teach and learn in the process?
I know my answers will change by next fall—things are evolving at breakneck speed and who knows what capabilities GPT-4 may bring —but right now I think AI is most effectively deployed as a co-pilot. Papers do not (yet) write themselves but AI can speed up the research process and improve writing. For students, I think its most important role is as a writing coach and tutor—one that is available 24/7 and does not get tired or annoyed.
Here is my hypothesis: the quality of average papers written with ChatGPT will improve significantly, but the effects will be less pronounced at both the bottom and top ends of the scale. I’ll let you know in a few weeks how it turns out, but for now here is how I am deploying AI in the classroom.
The Same Old Generic Research Paper
First some context. The assignment is a traditional 4,000 word research essay based on eight secondary sources and two to three primary sources, in this case on some aspect of the North American fur trade. Students submitted a research proposal and preliminary annotated bibliography weeks ago and received feedback on a research question and a list of sources. It’s a bread and butter history paper.
Spoiler: I suspect that AI won’t change the basic mechanics of assignments like this as much as some people fear. It is simply inefficient (at present) to use AI to generate long papers from scratch. To get good results, you need to understand how to use AI tools effectively and this itself is a learned skill. You also need a good general knowledge of the subject matter to know what to ask it to do and to spot hallucinations. This is especially important with sources: ChatGPT cannot be trusted on citations. This is why book reviews, short answer questions, and discussion questions are most vulnerable to disruption by plagiarism. Research papers, less so.
In thinking about how I wanted students to use ChatGPT, I drew on my own recent experience using it as I return to coding. In my younger days, I built websites and was fairly comfortable with Visual Basic so I have some grounding in the area. I have been learning Python from ChatGPT and it’s amazing. You can ask it to give you a series of lessons and then when you start writing code it will debug it, provide suggestions, and allow me to ask endless questions. I am shocked at how quickly I’ve progressed and I think it’s because the learning process is so streamlined. No more flipping through books or websites for 30 minutes looking for an example that fits your specific use-case. Now I just type: “I want to do x, show me how” and it does.
The Importance of Prompting
I think this is how chatbots will be most relevant to my history students too: they can use them to have an efficient conversation with a skilled guide as they navigate the process of researching and writing a paper. On their assignment sheet, my students’ first task is to talk to ChatGPT about their project, specifically their research question. The goal here is to get them familiar with using the tool, including how prompting can change its behaviour.
Prompting (especially the initial one) is essential. Although ChatGPT engages in conversations, it is still a computer program and prompting is the user’s way of programming the chatbot to get the desired type of response. An effective prompt should provide context for an AI to understand the problem, clear directions about what you want it to do and why, and information about how it should behave.
With ChatGPT, more context is almost always better and can include citations, parts of documents, and any other material you think it might need, up to around 3,000 words. Telling ChatGPT to adopt a certain persona (like that of a history professor) can also be helpful as it tells the AI what the conversation should “look like”. Think of this like a drama improve exercise: more information makes for a better scene.
AI Tutors and Co-Pilots
At the end of this initial conversation, students will hopefully come away with a more refined research question, but also more familiarity with how ChatGPT actually works. The next task is for students to actually conduct their own research, much in the same way they normally would. Again, ChatGPT will be their co-pilot.
One of the biggest problems students always seem to face is that they have difficulty effectively navigating the keyword search functions in databases like America: History and Life and JSTOR . Sure, for some people this might be laziness: it is always tempting to choose the first sources, rather than spending time finding the most relevant ones. But for most, the biggest thing is a lack of experience. It takes time to figure out how to sift through dozens of results efficiently.
For this assignment, I told my students to explain their research question to ChatGPT and the to use cut and paste to “show” it their keyword search terms as well as the results they get from the databases. They can also use the abstracts provided to ask it whether a specific source is likely to be relevant or not. In my experiments, I found that ChatGPT does a good job of suggesting better search phrases and identifying relevant results, even from a basic list of titles.
The goal is to get the students using the best sources quickly. Then they still need to read them and make notes—I know: so old fashioned. Yes, I also know that some students will use AI to speed up the process, asking it to summarize the papers etc for them. Nevertheless, I am confident that those who put in the work of actually reading will get the best results.
Making an Outline and Writing the Paper
The next stage is for students to use ChatGPT to develop and refine their thesis and a skeleton essay outline, with the AI acting as a personal tutor. In the assignment guide, I asked students to “show” ChatGPT their thesis and point form supporting arguments in order to get it to generate a fuller outline. From this, they will start to work-up their paper. I told them that they can do this in “chunks” with ChatGPT, using the sentences and even the paragraphs it generates in their paper. But I also explained that, although it might sound counterintuitive to those looking for a major shortcut, the reality is that ChatGPT is a better editor than it is a writer.
This is also why in finalizing the paper, students must pay close attention to sourcing and factuality. While it’s always important, with Generative AI it is an absolute necessity. Papers with unsourced information or factual errors cannot pass. They never should, but now they can’t. This is also why they must cite their use of ChatGPT in the paper’s first footnote, explaining how they used it in the research and writing process.
To my mind, this reflects how AI writing is and will be deployed in the “real world”: it’s main virtue is that it is a major timesaver, which only holds true if it is also accurate. In the very near future, effective writers will be adept at using AI to speed up the research and composition process, but this will also increase our expectations about the results they achieve. And that is why I am optimistic about how generative AI will impact the humanities: it simply puts a new spin on the skills we already claim to teach.
The Final Product
To return to my initial hypothesis, I suspect that “C” or “B” students will benefit the most from this process. “A” students too will improve their writing, to be sure, but the gains will be comparatively limited. At the other end of the spectrum, students that do not put in the effort—assuming ChatGPT will do all the work for them—stand to lose the most with unsourced and potentially error-ridden papers. I am anxious to see what the students think, because I have asked them to write up a brief reflection on the process.
In terms of the skills I hope students learn, my working assumption is that AI writing needs to be managed and that we need to teach our students to be its minders. This assignment is designed to teach students to maximize its (current) benefits while teaching them its limitations. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
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Writing Research Papers
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One of the most important skills that you can learn in this department is how to write a research paper. For many of you, this will be in fulfillment of the Psychology B.S. Degree Research Paper requirement and/or the Psychology Honors Program Thesis requirement. You may also be writing an American Psychological Association (APA) formatted research paper for a Psychology course (such as a term paper or a summary of an empirical research paper). In some cases, such as for certain job, graduate school, and fellowship applications, you may be asked to provide a writing sample; a well-written research paper can be ideal for that purpose. The ability to write research papers is crucial for those who wish to pursue graduate school and research careers. To assist with these potential goals, we’ve gathered important information and helpful tips for you.
Should I Use a Specific Format and Style?
In the psychological sciences, it is common for research papers to adhere to the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (papers in other fields often use APA format as well). APA guidelines not only specify the types of sections that a research paper should have, but also the order of those sections, the manner in which scholarly sources should be cited in the text and in a separate references section, appropriate methods of reporting experimental and statistical results, the proper use of language, and other details. A well-written psychology research paper typically follows those guidelines .
How to Write a Successful Research Paper in APA Style
For more information on writing research papers in APA style, please checking out the following pages. Here you’ll find details on multiple aspects of the research paper writing process, ranging from how the paper should be structured to how to write more effectively.
- Structure and Format – the critical components of each section of an APA-formatted research paper (Introduction, Methods, and on), as well as how those sections should be formatted according to APA guidelines.
► Structure of Research Papers in APA Style
► Formatting Research Papers in APA Style
- Finding, Evaluating, and Citing References – how to search databases, how to obtain references, how to take notes when reading references, what types of references to use, how to include in-text citations, and how to create an APA-formatted reference list.
► Using Databases and Finding References
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- Writing a Literature Review, the Writing Process, and Improving Writing – how to write a literature review (an overview or summary of prior research, which is a common technique of introducing a research topic in the early sections of a paper), as well as recommendations for the writing process, improving clarity and conciseness, examples of adequate and better paragraphs, and links to resources on improving writing.
► Writing Literature Reviews
► Writing Process and Revising
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- Avoiding Plagiarism – how to make sure that your research paper represents your writing and ideas and does not erroneously or unethically appropriate the works of others.
► Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
- How-To Videos – for video guides to the different major sections of research papers, plus literature reviews and references, please see the following:
► Writing Research Papers Videos
In addition, you may be interested in downloading “ How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller, “ Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers ” (a short summary of multiple aspects of the paper-writing process), and an Example B.S. Degree Research Paper written in APA Style .
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- For in-person discussion of the process of writing research papers, please consider attending this department’s “Writing Research Papers” workshop (for dates and times, please check the undergraduate workshops calendar).
- How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
- Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
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- OASIS Language and Writing Program
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- APA Style Guide from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- APA Tutorial on the Basics of APA Style
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- How to Write an APA Style Research Paper from Hamilton University
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- Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
- Sample APA Formatted Paper
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- WikiHow Guide to Writing APA Research Papers
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- Research Paper Structure
- Formatting Research Papers
- Using Databases and Finding References
- What Types of References Are Appropriate?
- Evaluating References and Taking Notes
- Citing References
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- Writing Process and Revising
- Improving Scientific Writing
- Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
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ChatGPT can write your essays, but should you use it?
With the rising popularity of online writing tools, you may be wondering: can I use ChatGPT to write my essays? If you’ve never used the chatbot, it can generate several paragraphs of text within a matter of seconds. That’s certainly faster than any human can type, but there are many limitations to using it too. Here’s everything you need to know about how ChatGPT fares at writing essays and whether you should use it.
ChatGPT can write essays, but it isn't always the best choice as it suffers from a few technical limitations. Additionally, you may want to avoid using it if your work will be graded or judged in any capacity.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
Can ChatGPT write student essays?
Can professors tell if you use chatgpt.
- Should you use ChatGPT to write an essay?
How to use ChatGPT to write an essay
Yes, ChatGPT can write you an essay as it has been trained on a wide range of text. However, there are some downsides to using it for that purpose. For one, it lacks logical reasoning and critical thinking, qualities that are critical to writing an essay.
Generally speaking, writing an essay involves researching the topic, structuring your thoughts in a way that makes logical sense, and writing it in a convincing manner. ChatGPT can help you with each of these stages separately. However, it cannot fully replace a human presenting their own knowledge and opinion in an essay.
As for the actual writing part, ChatGPT can indeed generate an essay that looks and sounds like a human wrote it. However, the output is usually verbose and a bit simplistic, making it stand out in a professional setting. There are ways around this, however, as we’ll discuss in a later section. Some may also argue it’s unethical to use AI-generated text in essays as it doesn’t represent your views and thoughts.
So can you use ChatGPT to write essays responsibly? Absolutely — you can use it to detect spelling and grammatical mistakes in your own text. Likewise, ChatGPT can help with brainstorming new ideas or finding key points and angles.
For example, I asked ChatGPT to provide some potential angles on an essay titled “The negative effects of social media on society”. It told me that I could discuss how social media impacts mental health, aids the spread of misinformation and enables echo chambers. Finally, I requested ChatGPT to provide an outline that takes those points into consideration, which gave me a starting point for the essay.
Yes, teachers and professors now have access to online tools that can detect AI-generated text. Chatbots like ChatGPT work by using a machine learning-based model to predict future words using statistical probability. Humans, on the other hand, tend to piece together words much more randomly. So with a little bit of knowledge about how ChatGPT works, it’s not hard to weed out AI-generated text.
OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, already has an AI classifier that detects whether or not a certain piece of text was written by a computer. Likewise, GPTZero provides professors with plagiarism scores for text. It also highlights sentences that it suspects have been written by an AI. These tools become increasingly accurate as the length of the text increases, so it’s harder to evade detection if you’re using ChatGPT to write longer essays.
Should I use ChatGPT to write an essay?
Generally speaking, you should not use ChatGPT to write an essay for school for the simple reason that you cannot pass off someone else’s work as yours. Moreover, many educational institutions have strict policies against plagiarism. Using ChatGPT to write an essay may be viewed as a breach of academic integrity. Some boards, including New York City’s public schools, have explicitly banned ChatGPT on student networks and devices for this very reason.
If you writing a research paper, you’ll also need to properly cite your sources. And as you may already know, ChatGPT cannot provide citations or links to external sources as it doesn’t have access to the internet. In fact, that’s one of the major differences between ChatGPT and Bing Chat — the latter provides sources for factual statements. Unfortunately, the latter’s Creative only includes a handful of sources — not enough to use in a professional piece of literature.
Without citations, you also cannot guarantee the accuracy of ChatGPT’s responses. That’s likely not a problem if you’re writing an essay on a well-known concept. However, the chatbot can quickly go off the rails when it’s writing about obscure topics.
ChatGPT’s underlying GPT-3 language model was only trained on a limited number of text samples. That likely didn’t include organic chemistry, regional laws, and philosophical debates to name a few. In other words, it might not fare well in a liberal arts setting. ChatGPT will rarely turn you down if you force it to write about something it doesn’t know much about, but it will likely respond with fictional or made-up information.
If you want ChatGPT to write a high-quality essay, you’ll need to provide a clear input prompt. If you provide a single keyword, like “global warming”, you’ll get a generic output. To avoid this, you can offer more specific terms and topics that you need to be included in your essay. For example, you could use the prompt “Write an essay on global warming and its effects on Australian wildfires” to add some context.
In case you’ve never used ChatGPT before, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it:
- Go to the ChatGPT website .
- Click Sign up and create a new account with your email address.
- Once logged in, you’ll see a text box at the bottom of the page. This is where you enter your prompts.
- From this point, you can ask ChatGPT to write an essay on just about any subject you can think of. Remember to be as specific as possible. If you need to include certain ideas, specify them in the input prompt.
With longer essays, you might run into ChatGPT’s hidden character limit before it can generate the whole text. If that happens, simply ask the chatbot to continue from where it left off. Alternatively, you can ask ChatGPT to write an outline for your essay before generating it one section at a time.
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What Is a Research Paper and How Should You Write One?
Updated 24 Jan 2023
Students face tons of assignments at schools and higher education institutions. Among all the different academic written assignments’ types, research paper writing is often considered to be one of the most challenging and complex. Is it really that stressful and hard to handle? The answer depends not on the subject you are studying, but more on your personal abilities to comprehend your knowledge. What is the goal for such a task, what is a research paper, and how to write it? In this article, our expert writers provide you with the answers.
Defining the Term: What Is a Research Paper Exactly?
A research essay is a large scientific work. The main goal of this project, regardless of the subject, is defining a particular issue and providing new ways to solve it that can be used to further investigate the problem. So, what is the accurate research paper definition? Unlike regular essays, such projects imply thinking out of the box. Here are the major features that distinguish research papers from other academic tasks.
- More extensive in volume than other written assignments.
- Needs extensive investigation on a particular problem.
- Often requires conducting experiments along with further results’ analysis.
- Insights should be based on your own thoughts, as well as experiments.
- Purpose implies finding some novel solutions or approaches.
- Everything should be supported by solid, verifiable evidence.
- Findings should be good enough to serve as a basis for further study.
Basically, if you want to define a research paper, you would be speaking about academic work done completely independently. In such a project, you are supposed to present your own view on things you investigate. This is where students usually face difficulties, so many of them prefer seeking for alternative ways to get cheap custom research papers .
How Does a Research Paper Differ from a Research Proposal?
One should understand the difference between a proposal and a paper before the actual writing process begins, as these are different tasks. As its name implies, a proposal is a rationale for conducting research to be approved by an instructor. It should explain the purpose of future projects and what new aspects of knowledge it brings into the academic studies’ field. A research proposal’s specific structure should explain a methodology that appears to be the most sufficient for its purposes and anticipated outcomes. Unlike a research paper, a proposal must have a more extensive literature review section as it serves as the ground for rationale and ensures originality of suggested topic. You may ask yourself is this ethical to pay someone to write my research paper ? The answer is we won't judge you, but instead, we'll provide you reliable help.
Structure of the Research Paper
The general layout usually depends on the requested formatting style and specific instructions. Speaking about what to include in a paper in terms of obligatory sections, one can observe the following parts in any project:
- Research paper introduction
It should include a general background narrowed down to a specific problem under study and explain why you conduct the study. The purpose is embodied in a research question and original main argument. The key idea in this section is to provide a reader with a proper road map and a clear vision of the topic that goes from a broad perspective to a narrow one.
This is the longest part of your text that is essential for good research paper. A previously developed and presented narrow theme should be thoroughly discussed here following standard academic requirements for coherent papers. Each paragraph in this section is a mini-research paper since you first develop a specific claim related to the particular aspect of the main thesis statement, provide evidence gathered during literature search that proves the mentioned claim, present your own interpretation and ability to analyze facts, and, finally, wrap everything up with a concluding sentence that also brings the next point of discussion for subsequent paragraphs.
A general description of all outcomes and a summary of all main points of discussion will help your reader grasp the meaning of the entire paper. This section presupposes careful writing for you not to omit anything important as such drawbacks undermine your hard work’s quality.
These are basic requirements for a perfect academic paper, irrespective of its specific type and content as the readability and coherence of a written paper represent that one honed his or her writing skills. Every instructor highly appreciates these abilities.
Main Types of Research Papers
What is the key to getting the highest assessment? The main things that can help writing a research paper include understanding the task, its objectives and in-depth knowledge of the chosen topic. There are several common types of this kind of academic work. Each type is widely used in different educational institutions for different disciplines. Thus, understanding their peculiarities is important to grasp how to write a successful research paper:
- Compare and contrast: Describes the same issue from two different perspectives.
- Cause and effect: Should present a logical chain of causes and effects related to the chosen problem or subject.
- Persuasive/Argumentative: Discusses several sides of a particular issue and provides arguments in favor of one chosen side.
- Analytical writing demonstrates your best qualities, as such a task asks you to create a piece with deep analysis of various opinions regarding the same issue.
- Experiment: Students experiment and share their results.
- Report: Outlines previously conducted studies.
- Overview: Focuses on one, usually extensive scholarly study, so that the following tips on how to write a research summary would be extremely useful.
- Survey: Student conducts a survey among chosen participants, analyzes findings, and develops conclusions.
- Problem-solution: Presents a problem and ways to resolve it.
- Communication research paper: Dedicated to developing one’s ability to produce reasonable arguments.
Usually, all these projects are rather lengthy, so that a 5-page research paper is a minimum requirement in most cases. It is a misconception that instructors demand long writing without a reason as it is impossible to cover complex study areas, including all needed sections, and meeting requirements in just a page or two.
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Layouts, References, and Citations: Stages of Writing a Research Paper
Many first-year students feel quite at a loss about how to start a research paper. The first piece of advice: divide your project into small clear stages to know how to write a research paper step by step.
Stage 1: How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper
Before starting your project, read your guidelines thoroughly. Have a clear understanding of required work’s volume. Remember that division on clear sections is a representative feature of a good paper. Each of the research paper's steps has a purpose.
A typical outline contains:
- A separate title page (Your topic with all requested credentials);
- Abstract (Short summary of your work, no new information here);
- Introduction/Literature review (Presents what was written before in this area);
- Methods section (Describes how exactly your study was conducted and instruments for analysis);
- Results (Obtained during your experiment, analysis, etc.);
- Discussion (Your interpretation of results);
- Conclusion (Summarizing paper);
- References (All used sources listed here);
- Appendixes (Include tables or any other additional information that is needed for more complete understanding).
The above-mentioned parts are usually grouped into bigger sections – for example, methods, results, and discussion are referred to as the body of the completed paper.
Read Also: Chemistry Research Topics That Will Knock You Off Your Feet
Stage 2: Developing the Perfect Topic
Choosing a perfect topic is crucial. Whether you need History, Physics or Biology research topics , instructors may provide a list of ready-made problems so you can choose or give freedom to develop your own topic. An idea’s originality and necessity to bring something new in the study area is a key element in definition of research paper. There is an opportunity to come across some knowledge gaps even among research paper topics already discussed before by other scholars. In any case, you should think about whether a question you want to research is interesting, allows gathering necessary information, and developing a structured argument.
Stage 3: Searching for Sources
Preliminary research is necessary as you need to have a general understanding of a topic under study before looking closely at your own specific aspect so that you know how to set up a research paper. Use information available online, especially on credible websites located on .edu, .gov, .org domains, to find more about background information.
The next step implies gathering good reliable sources to develop a literature review. Rely only on online university libraries and digital databases of scholarly journals and other academic credible sources like JSTOR. Google Scholar search engine is helpful to find publications that are recent and relevant to your research.
Stage 4: Thesis Statement is the Central Point of Structure
In a piece as huge and complex as a research essay, the choice of a study focus is just a start. While reviewing literature you need to keep in mind the main claim and central idea of the paper in progress as well as the answer you expect to find. This claim is expected in the form of a thesis statement and the entire paper should aim at proving it.
Stage 5: Going on a Quest: Researching and Experimenting
That is the most time-consuming part of the project. During this step, you delve into gathered literature, conduct experiments, and analyze obtained results. Remember the initial outline and general structure so that gathered information will be located in the proper sections.
Stage 6: Compose and Write a Paper as Scholars Do
Now you have to write it all down and produce a research paper. Transform your notes into a coherent, logical text that defends your point. Style of such papers is very formal with lots of specific terms. Make sure facts from reliable sources support every statement made in your work.
Stage 7: Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading
What you have written in your first Word document is not a real paper yet – it is just a first draft. Then, you would have to sit down, re-read it multiple times, edit typos and style and format it according to the style requested by the instructor. Remember that typos and formatting mistakes are unacceptable as they undermine even perfectly researched and structured papers. Follow these three steps to ensure effective polishing: read your paper aloud, ask someone else to read it to have a fresh perspective, and use spell check software.
How to Write a Research Paper That Will Be Really Convincing
Analytical skills and the ability to logically expressing one’s thoughts in a formal manner are as crucial in academic writing as knowledge of the study area. Thankfully, there are many ways to optimize the process and finish task properly and on time:
- Plan your work and set deadlines for each part of the assignment. It is easier to focus on small, separate portions day by day than write a paper in a rush before your deadline.
- Discuss your thesis statement with the instructor. Together, you will make the thesis concise and focused on the point you are going to disclose in your writing.
- Think about the intended audience of your research essay before starting to write it: whether it is a general audience that does not know much about the topic or community of scholars. Both writing style and structure of writing differ significantly depending on the audience.
- Always take notes so that all important details are included and nothing is omitted.
- Be careful with sources as all of them must be reliable to give solid evidence.
- Add proper citations with page numbers for all facts that you collect during research. This will help you to avoid wasting time looking over all sources again while formatting the paper.
- You don’t know how to type a research paper? Indeed, the scope of work is immense, so a developing detailed written outline with all main arguments will be extremely helpful in the early writing stages as you keep the whole picture in mind.
- Think about the word count to be allocated to each part. Students often devote a large part of their papers to a background, leaving not enough space for their own analysis, which affects the quality of their argument.
- Do not work completely alone. Work together with your peers and show your first draft to the instructor for useful feedback.
- Leave enough time for final proofreading and formatting of the completed task. Be warned that this process takes more time than you usually expect. Overlooking small mistakes while rushing is plausible.
Checklist: Have I met all requirements of what is a research essay?
- Is my topic focused on discussing something new in my chosen field of study?
- Is there enough information available in this particular field?
- Have I utilized only reliable and academic sources?
- Is it possible to gather evidence and find proper answers to my research question and prove my claim?
- Have I included all the requested components mentioned in the outline? Is the research paper structure clear?
- Did I cite all facts and data taken from outside sources so that any plagiarism issues are effectively prevented?
- Did I summarize all my findings in a concise conclusion?
- Have I polished the paper before submission?
The Importance of Proper Formatting
This aspect of the research paper writing process depends not only on the general educational institution’s requirements or specific instructor’s guidelines but also on the chosen subject and field. Details about formatting demands are the last among research paper tips. The main demand for a student who wants to know how to format a research paper is to follow all features of the chosen style attentively. Do not mix different styles in one paper:
APA : Usually used in Medicine, Psychological and Social sciences;
MLA: Widely used in the Humanities;
Harvard: There is no particular study area that uses only this style, but it occurs more often in Social sciences and the Humanities;
Chicago/Turabian style citation generator is useful for formatting research papers in Business and History studies’ fields;
IEEE: Became standard for specialists in Engineering, Computer, and Information science;
ASA: Required for publications in the field of Sociology;
AMA: Prevalent in Healthcare, Nursing, and Medicine fields of study;
CSE: This style is obligatory for those who study Life sciences, especially Biology;
APSA: Students majoring in Political Science should know all details of this style.
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Choosing a topic, researching, conducting experiments, using formal language, checking if all formatting requirements are met - the whole process of writing a research paper may appear overwhelming, sometimes even scary. One might think: “How can I write my paper perfectly if it takes years to become a great writer?” And the answer is positive since there are quality " do my research paper " services that provide around-the-clock assistance of native-speaking writers with graduate degrees who can help you solve all academic writing issues. Learning is easier if someone can provide experienced backup with the research and writing process itself.
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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper
- Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
- Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.
In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:
- AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
- APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
- Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
- MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
- Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines
While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.
If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.
Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.
Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:
- Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
- Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
- Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.
General Formatting Guidelines
This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.
These are the major components of an APA-style paper:
Body, which includes the following:
- Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
- In-text citations of research sources
- References page
All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.
The title page of your paper includes the following information:
- Title of the paper
- Author’s name
- Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
- Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)
List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.
The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.
In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.
Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.
Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.
Margins, Pagination, and Headings
APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.
Use these general guidelines to format the paper:
- Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
- Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
- Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
- Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
- Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.
Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:
- Your title page
- The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
- Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract
APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.
The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:
- Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
- Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
- The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
- The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
- The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.
Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .
Table 13.1 Section Headings
A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.
Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.
Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:
Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.
In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.
This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.
Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.
Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).
Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.
As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”
Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.
David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.
Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.
Writing at Work
APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:
- MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
- Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
- Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.
The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.
The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:
- The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
- The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
- The full title of the source
- For books, the city of publication
- For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
- For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
- For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located
The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)
In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.
- Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
- Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
- APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
- APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
- In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
- In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.
Writing for Success by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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How to Write a Research Paper Title with Examples
What is a research paper title and why does it matter?
Making a title for your research is one of the most important decisions when writing an article to publish in journals. The research title is the first thing that journal editors and reviewers see when they look at your paper and the only piece of information that fellow researchers will see in a database or search engine query. Good titles that are concise and contain all the relevant terms have been shown to increase citation counts and Altmetric scores .
Therefore, when you title research work, make sure it captures all of the relevant aspects of your study, including the specific topic and problem being investigated. It also should present these elements in a way that is accessible and will captivate readers. Follow these steps to learn how to make a good research title for your work.
How to Write a Research Paper Title in 5 Steps
You might wonder how you are supposed to pick a title from all the content that your manuscript contains—how are you supposed to choose? What will make your research paper title come up in search engines and what will make the people in your field read it?
In a nutshell, your research title should accurately capture what you have done, it should sound interesting to the people who work on the same or a similar topic, and it should contain the important title keywords that other researchers use when looking for literature in databases. To make the title writing process as simple as possible, we have broken it down into 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Answer some key questions about your research paper
What does your paper seek to answer and what does it accomplish? Try to answer these questions as briefly as possible. You can create these questions by going through each section of your paper and finding the MOST relevant information to make a research title.
Step 2: Identify research study keywords
Now that you have answers to your research questions, find the most important parts of these responses and make these your study keywords. Note that you should only choose the most important terms for your keywords–journals usually request anywhere from 3 to 8 keywords maximum.
Step 3: Research title writing: use these keywords
“We employed a case study of 60 liver transplant patients around the US aged 20-50 years to assess how waiting list volume affects the outcomes of liver transplantation in patients; results indicate a positive correlation between increased waiting list volume and negative prognosis after the transplant procedure.”
The sentence above is clearly much too long for a research paper title. This is why you will trim and polish your title in the next two steps.
Step 4: Create a working research paper title
To create a working title, remove elements that make it a complete “sentence” but keep everything that is important to what the study is about. Delete all unnecessary and redundant words that are not central to the study or that researchers would most likely not use in a database search.
“ We employed a case study of 60 liver transplant patients around the US aged 20-50 years to assess how the waiting list volume affects the outcome of liver transplantation in patients ; results indicate a positive correlation between increased waiting list volume and a negative prognosis after transplant procedure ”
Now shift some words around for proper syntax and rephrase it a bit to shorten the length and make it leaner and more natural. What you are left with is:
“A case study of 60 liver transplant patients around the US aged 20-50 years assessing the impact of waiting list volume on outcome of transplantation and showing a positive correlation between increased waiting list volume and a negative prognosis” (Word Count: 38)
This text is getting closer to what we want in a research title, which is just the most important information. But note that the word count for this working title is still 38 words, whereas the average length of published journal article titles is 16 words or fewer. Therefore, we should eliminate some words and phrases that are not essential to this title.
Step 5: Remove any nonessential words and phrases from your title
Because the number of patients studied and the exact outcome are not the most essential parts of this paper, remove these elements first:
“A case study of 60 liver transplant patients around the US aged 20-50 years assessing the impact of waiting list volume on outcomes of transplantation and showing a positive correlation between increased waiting list volume and a negative prognosis” (Word Count: 19)
In addition, the methods used in a study are not usually the most searched-for keywords in databases and represent additional details that you may want to remove to make your title leaner. So what is left is:
“Assessing the impact of waiting list volume on outcome and prognosis in liver transplantation patients” (Word Count: 15)
In this final version of the title, one can immediately recognize the subject and what objectives the study aims to achieve. Note that the most important terms appear at the beginning and end of the title: “Assessing,” which is the main action of the study, is placed at the beginning; and “liver transplantation patients,” the specific subject of the study, is placed at the end.
This will aid significantly in your research paper title being found in search engines and database queries, which means that a lot more researchers will be able to locate your article once it is published. In fact, a 2014 review of more than 150,000 papers submitted to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) database found the style of a paper’s title impacted the number of citations it would typically receive. In most disciplines, articles with shorter, more concise titles yielded more citations.
Adding a Research Paper Subtitle
If your title might require a subtitle to provide more immediate details about your methodology or sample, you can do this by adding this information after a colon:
“ : a case study of US adult patients ages 20-25”
If we abide strictly by our word count rule this may not be necessary or recommended. But every journal has its own standard formatting and style guidelines for research paper titles, so it is a good idea to be aware of the specific journal author instructions , not just when you write the manuscript but also to decide how to create a good title for it.
Research Paper Title Examples
The title examples in the following table illustrate how a title can be interesting but incomplete, complete by uninteresting, complete and interesting but too informal in tone, or some other combination of these. A good research paper title should meet all the requirements in the four columns below.
Tips on Formulating a Good Research Paper Title
In addition to the steps given above, there are a few other important things you want to keep in mind when it comes to how to write a research paper title, regarding formatting, word count, and content:
- Write the title after you’ve written your paper and abstract
- Include all of the essential terms in your paper
- Keep it short and to the point (~16 words or fewer)
- Avoid unnecessary jargon and abbreviations
- Use keywords that capture the content of your paper
- Never include a period at the end—your title is NOT a sentence
Research Paper Writing Resources
We hope this article has been helpful in teaching you how to craft your research paper title. But you might still want to dig deeper into different journal title formats and categories that might be more suitable for specific article types or need help with writing a cover letter for your manuscript submission.
In addition to getting English proofreading services , including paper editing services , before submission to journals, be sure to visit our academic resources papers. Here you can find dozens of articles on manuscript writing, from drafting an outline to finding a target journal to submit to.
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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
Researching Your Topic
- For instance, you might start with a general subject, like British decorative arts. Then, as you read, you home in on transferware and pottery. Ultimately, you focus on 1 potter in the 1780s who invented a way to mass-produce patterned tableware.
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.
- Authoritative, credible sources include scholarly articles (especially those other authors reference), government websites, scientific studies, and reputable news bureaus. Additionally, check your sources' dates, and make sure the information you gather is up to date.
- Evaluate how other scholars have approached your topic. Identify authoritative sources or works that are accepted as the most important accounts of the subject matter. Additionally, look for debates among scholars, and ask yourself who presents the strongest evidence for their case.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- You’ll most likely need to include a bibliography or works cited page, so keep your sources organized. List your sources, format them according to your assigned style guide (such as MLA or Chicago ), and write 2 or 3 summary sentences below each one.  X Research source
- Imagine you’re a lawyer in a trial and are presenting a case to a jury. Think of your readers as the jurors; your opening statement is your thesis and you’ll present evidence to the jury to make your case.
- A thesis should be specific rather than vague, such as: “Josiah Spode’s improved formula for bone china enabled the mass production of transfer-printed wares, which expanded the global market for British pottery.”
Drafting Your Essay
- Your outline is your paper’s skeleton. After making the outline, all you’ll need to do is fill in the details.
- For easy reference, include your sources where they fit into your outline, like this: III. Spode vs. Wedgewood on Mass Production A. Spode: Perfected chemical formula with aims for fast production and distribution (Travis, 2002, 43) B. Wedgewood: Courted high-priced luxury market; lower emphasis on mass production (Himmelweit, 2001, 71) C. Therefore: Wedgewood, unlike Spode, delayed the expansion of the pottery market.
- For instance, your opening line could be, “Overlooked in the present, manufacturers of British pottery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries played crucial roles in England’s Industrial Revolution.”
- After presenting your thesis, lay out your evidence, like this: “An examination of Spode’s innovative production and distribution techniques will demonstrate the importance of his contributions to the industry and Industrial Revolution at large.”
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.
- After setting the context, you'd include a section on Josiah Spode’s company and what he did to make pottery easier to manufacture and distribute.
- Next, discuss how targeting middle class consumers increased demand and expanded the pottery industry globally.
- Then, you could explain how Spode differed from competitors like Wedgewood, who continued to court aristocratic consumers instead of expanding the market to the middle class.
- The right number of sections or paragraphs depends on your assignment. In general, shoot for 3 to 5, but check your prompt for your assigned length.
- If you bring up a counterargument, make sure it’s a strong claim that’s worth entertaining instead of ones that's weak and easily dismissed.
- Suppose, for instance, you’re arguing for the benefits of adding fluoride to toothpaste and city water. You could bring up a study that suggested fluoride produced harmful health effects, then explain how its testing methods were flawed.
- Sum up your argument, but don’t simply rewrite your introduction using slightly different wording. To make your conclusion more memorable, you could also connect your thesis to a broader topic or theme to make it more relatable to your reader.
- For example, if you’ve discussed the role of nationalism in World War I, you could conclude by mentioning nationalism’s reemergence in contemporary foreign affairs.
Revising Your Paper
- This is also a great opportunity to make sure your paper fulfills the parameters of the assignment and answers the prompt!
- It’s a good idea to put your essay aside for a few hours (or overnight, if you have time). That way, you can start editing it with fresh eyes.
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.
- The passive voice, such as “The door was opened by me,” feels hesitant and wordy. On the other hand, the active voice, or “I opened the door,” feels strong and concise.
- Each word in your paper should do a specific job. Try to avoid including extra words just to fill up blank space on a page or sound fancy.
- For instance, “The author uses pathos to appeal to readers’ emotions” is better than “The author utilizes pathos to make an appeal to the emotional core of those who read the passage.”
- Read your essay out loud to help ensure you catch every error. As you read, check for flow as well and, if necessary, tweak any spots that sound awkward.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
- It’s wise to get feedback from one person who’s familiar with your topic and another who’s not. The person who knows about the topic can help ensure you’ve nailed all the details. The person who’s unfamiliar with the topic can help make sure your writing is clear and easy to understand.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Remember that your topic and thesis should be as specific as possible. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
- Researching, outlining, drafting, and revising are all important steps, so do your best to budget your time wisely. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute to write your paper. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 5 Not Helpful 1
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/evaluating-print-sources/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/conducting_research/research_overview/index.html
- ↑ https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/writing/graduate-writing-lab/writing-through-graduate-school/working-sources
- ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/chapter-5-putting-the-pieces-together-with-a-thesis-statement/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/developing_an_outline/index.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/essay-structure
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/counterarguments
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/formandstyle/writing/scholarlyvoice/activepassive
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/reading-aloud/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/index.html
About This Article
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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You must have heard about Research Paper , right? But do you ever think about to write one? If yes, then you must come across various questions like, “What are the approaches for writing a Research Paper” or “What is the format of a Research Paper?” or many more. No worries!! In this article we will guide you about all the aspects of writing a Research Paper.
Firstly, let us understand what exactly a research paper is. A research paper is a piece of document written by students, professionals or others on a particular topic with a deep and genuine research study. However, writing a research paper is not a kind of task that has to be done in a few days. It takes a lot of research work and study. But you must note that the skills that you develop while writing a research paper will be very helpful to you in achieving your career goals. The approaches for Writing an Effective Research paper are listed below:
1. Choose the Topic
The first step while writing a research paper is to decide the topic. You can pen down various topics and can choose one of them as per your relevancy. While looking for a topic, you can ask several questions to yourself as – “Am I comfortable with this domain?” or “Will I be able to do deep research study of this topic?” or “What innovative stuff I can provide in this particular field?” , etc. And if you find a positive response from your side, go for that topic. Also, discuss the topic with your mentors and guides to know the worthiness of the topic.
2. Narrowing the Topic
After choosing the topic, you must check whether it is quite specific or general. If the topic is very broad, then you have to explore more to narrow down the topic as the research paper should be more topic-specific rather than being generic. You can consult with your mentor and guide regarding this.
3. Gather the Information
Here the most important part comes! You must have to dive into the world of research study. In today’s era, the Internet is the best source to get any information. Although, all the information provided on the Internet is not reliable so you have to explore more and more from various sources. It must be remembered that the research strategy should be in specific directions and meet the required objectives. There are various other sources from where you can get the relevant information as you can discuss it with your mentors, study the journals, etc.
4. Filtration and Drafting of Information
Once you have done with the information gathering process, now you have a lot of information about the topic. So what you have to do is deeply analyze the information and filter it down. You have to avoid all the unnecessary stuff for a genuine research paper. After filtration, there is a need to draft all the information in a structured way for final writing (it can be formal or informal) . In the drafting process, all the aspects are covered like information accuracy, no spelling error, no unnecessary information, etc. Also, proofread it once to check the relevancy of the content with the topic.
Now, you have to write all this gathered information in the Research Paper Outline which consists of:
Apart from the Research Paper, for any type of content, the title is the primary thing that grabs the attention of the readers. In numerous instances, the readers decide whether to read your article or not just by looking at the title. The title of the research paper should be very catchy and expressive. It must signify the main objective of the research paper in just a few words. A research paper generally has a title length of around 15-20 words. Also, try to avoid unnecessary phrases from the title such as ‘Research based on…’ or ‘Paper for…’ , etc.
The abstract is like a summary of your research paper. It helps the reader to understand what the research paper is all about by briefly explaining the key findings documented in the research paper. The word length of it should be around 200-250 words.
The ‘Introduction’ section must have adequate information about the topic which thoroughly depicts the purpose of your study. The topic should be clearly explained and the reason for the study of that particular topic can be described in this section. Also, try to explain the points that why your research paper is worth to study for your readers. Keep an eye on spelling and grammar mistakes and maintain the simplicity and accuracy of sentences and phrases.
4. Procedures and Methods
This section is the core of the Research Paper as your actual study work, research findings, methodologies, approaches and all are stated here. Be specific about your topic and try to avoid unnecessary information. You can use tables, flowcharts, pie charts, etc. for showing the statistics.
The ‘Result’ section consists of all the outcomes of your research. Here, all the outcomes of the research procedure are stated and noted down for further process. Analyze and filter the data obtained after performing research procedures and make it presentable in the form of tables, graphs or charts. The word length of this section can be varied as per the rest of the sections.
The ‘Conclusion’ section leads back to the introduction section as whatever you stated there, now you have to describe it evidently that how you achieved it. It will be based on the outcomes of the research study and methodologies (which you have already mentioned in the ‘Result’ section) . It is a summarization of the outcomes of your research work.
The ‘Recommendation’ section is not mandatory and it is created as per the requirement and relevancy with your research paper. But keep in mind that whatever you mention in this section, it must be logical and based on your research analysis. You just can’t throw random things, that you think might be useful, in this section.
In context of Research Paper , it will be beneficial to understand the scenario of ‘Scholarly Articles’ . Scholarly Articles refers to those journal articles which are written by scholars or someone who is an expert in a particular field. If you are looking for a research document for a specific topic, these articles prove to be very helpful and much more relevant. You can find these articles on Google Scholar .
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How to write a research paper.
A big paper can seem tough, but anyone can write one with these steps.
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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
- Carry out research on a specific topic and interpret what that research means.
- Divide your paper up into an introduction, literature review, methods, results, and a discussion or conclusion.
- List every source you use in your paper in a bibliography or throughout your writing using footnotes or parentheses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Chicago style The Chicago Manual of Style is the preferred format for much of the arts, history, and business.
- Modern Library Association style (MLA) English majors, theater students, and other humanities majors usually write in MLA style.
- American Psychology Association (APA) The APA stylebook is the guiding light for psychology, education, and sciences.
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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Write a Research Paper
A guide on how to write academic papers.
This guide aims to help you write a research paper.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Outline Examples
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
This guide contains an overview on writing academic papers such as the term paper, thesis, research paper or other academic essays written in the format of the research paper .
We have tried to integrate thoughts from the APA-format and the MLA-format .
Many students wonder about the writing process itself. The outline of the academic paper is very similar for most branches of science.
Creating an extended outline may help structure your thoughts, especially for longer papers. Here are a few samples outlines for research papers .
We have also created a couple of articles with general tips and help on research papers.
When writing a scientific paper, you will need to adjust to the academic format . The APA writing style is one example of an academic standard frequently used.
By the way, here is another great resources on how to write a research paper.
Preparing to Write a Research Paper
Usually, the purpose of a research paper is known before writing it. It can be formulated as a research paper question , a thesis statement or a hypothesis statement .
If you do not know what to write about, you will have to look for ideas for research paper topics .
Structure of a Research Paper
The structure of a research paper might seem quite stiff, but it serves a purpose: It will help find information you are looking for easily and also help structure your thoughts and communication.
Here is an example of a research paper . Here's another sample research paper .
An empiric paper frequently follows this structure:
Additional Parts for Some Academic Papers
The following parts may be acceptable to include in some scientific standards, but may be inappropriate for other standards.
- Table of Contents (Usually placed right before or right after the abstract)
- Acknowledgments (Sometimes placed before the abstract and sometimes at the end of a paper)
- Appendices (Placement: After all the other parts)
Other Technical Issues
When correcting papers, we have been surprised by the many students struggling with intext citations . Although the standards are somewhat different, citations in the text should not be too difficult to master. The most used standards for referencing in research papers are APA-standard and MLA-standard .
Some paper formats allow you to include footnotes in the text, while some do not allow footnotes.
Authors frequently want to include tables and figures in the text.
Sometimes the format or standard prohibits the authors from entering tables and figures directly into the text (where you want your table). Sometimes they have to be included after the main text.
Standards and Formats
Please observe that most scientific fields (and paper formats) have their own specific rules and standards of writing.
You will have to check with your faculty or school to know exactly how to write the paper - the guide is meant as an overview of academic papers in general.
Publication of your article can be a very time-consuming process.
After writing the academic paper, the researchers submit it to a journal . Typically you start with the most regarded journal and then work yourself down the list, until a journal accepts the article.
Scientific journals use peer review process , which is a panel of other researchers (most likely in the same field) who review the work, to ensure that the quality of the paper.
Publication bias is a well known phenomenon, as the peer review process often rejects "null results". A journal rejection does not necessarily mean that you do not have a chance to resubmit the journal though.
- Advantages of peer reviews
- Disadvantages of peer reviews
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How to Write a Research Paper from Scratch?
All students, especially in tertiary education institutions, have come across a research paper assignment. It is usually a demanding piece of writing due to the amount of time needed to research and write it. Just going through a sample research paper is not enough. You should first know what this type of assignment entails.
What Is a Research Paper: Assignment Definition
So, what is a research paper? Think of it as some advanced kind of essay assignment. However, it differs from the conventional essay in that you are required to collect information about a thesis statement. Your write-up will be based on original research, analysis, and interpretation of your study’s results. It is usually done as a doctoral dissertation, a master’s thesis, or a term paper.
There are two types of research essays:
- Qualitative research essays. Here, you are supposed to explore a subject. This article aims to rely upon some information by explaining the motivations, reasons, and opinions that underly a particular problem. You should strive to unearth the current trends of ideas that intently interrogate a problem. This paper could provide a basis for qualitative research. The techniques for data collection in qualitative are not strictly structured.
- Quantitative research articles. The purpose of this essay is to quantify a problem by generating statistics around the issue. Therefore, you need to gather numerical data. The process is similar to qualitative research in that you are chiefly concerned with the opinions surrounding a topic. However, you quantify these opinions by giving them values. The numbers can then inform on facts and trends about the problem. The methods used to collect the data, in this case, are structured.
These two types can be categorized further into two groups—argumentative and analytical.
Argumentative Research Essay
Here, students decide on a clear position on a matter and support this with evidence. Hence, your thesis statement becomes the position and your paper the supporting information that adds substance to it. In a nutshell, tell your audience what you think, the background, and what are the facts that support this idea. Unlike an argumentative essay, this article needs to have a solid conclusion that you support throughout your writing.
Since you aim to convince your audience of your claims, also provide counter-arguments to them. Show the readers that your ideas were investigated.
Analytical Research Essay
Here, you should craft a thesis statement, gather supporting references, and investigate these sources to support the original ideas you have meticulously.
Your instructor would ideally have a topic for you to analyze. This usually is in the form of a question. Several keywords would be in the subject you are given:
- Compare—note the likeness and disparities between two conflicting or competing ideas.
- Discuss—delve into the details surrounding your topic. Examine the different ideas and issues.
- Evaluate—ascertain the significance of your ideas by using statistics drawn from the figures you have gathered in your study.
Now, these different forms of writing have been understood; it is time to delve into how to start a research paper.
How to Start a Research Paper from The Ground Up
Writing a research paper should commence after the research part has been done comprehensively. You cannot put the cart before the horse. In this case, too, you need first to do your study before you can document it. The initial stage is working on finding viable research paper topics. If your instructor has not provided one for you then:
- Revolve around what you find interesting for research paper ideas.
- Pick a couple and find if they have enough credible sources that you can use in your writing.
- Confer with your instructor so that they can approve one of your topics. You can also ask them to advise you on good research paper topics you can use.
Once you have a subject, the next step is to compile your sources. Remember, their credibility is of chief concern. Therefore, follow these guidelines for searching:
- Go to a library. Go through their catalog, periodical indexes, and bibliography that your instructor has suggested.
- Talk to a librarian to assist you in finding books, journals, and publications that are vital to your study.
- You can use the many online databases available.
- Google Scholar is a terrific place to get credible sources.
Take notes of what the sources inform you about the subject you have chosen. Once you have gathered enough material, it is time to work on your first draft. Assume that your research paper outline is the first draft. Ensure you organize your thoughts logically before you can begin writing. This organization is what your framework helps you achieve. At this stage, you have a chance to discard the unnecessary information from your study regardless of how interesting it may be.
A research paper outline example you can follow is first to pen your thesis statement. Afterward, interrogate the main points you have addressed. Also, how do they flow from the introduction to the conclusion of your article? Pen the points down in order. Have the supporting ideas written under each main one, in order as well. An excellent research paper outline template you can use is:
- Pen your topic.
- Why is this problem you want to address significant?
- What background is relevant to the problem?
- Pen down your thesis statement.
- What are the supporting points?
- What are the results of your study?
- What have you concluded?
- What can you recommend?
If you are satisfied with the outline you have created, it is time to handle how to write an introduction for a research paper.
How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
A research paper introduction is what determines if your audience would continue reading the rest of your article. Have a strong statement that opens your study and captures the attention of the person reading. This section should provide a contextual background for your research. Elaborate on the purpose of the study and how you will approach answering the research question. Here, the type and category of the study should guide you. Conclude this section with your thesis statement. In short:
- Tell us the context by stating the core argument. We, your audience, need to make sense of this subject just in case we are hearing about it for the first time.
- So, why is your idea valuable? Make your audience care about reading your study. Make it compelling and clear to those reading it.
- What is the main argument? What position have you taken concerning the topic?
When you are done introducing your audience to your study, write the body. Employ the outline you developed to guide your research. Your essay needs to focus on the main points and not the sources. The references should only provide credibility to your ideas. Expound the ideas thoroughly as you flow from section to section.
Concluding the Study
Your conclusion should summarize the results of your study. You can have some call to action in this section of your paper. You should also give your recommendations at the end. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the abstract research paper section is done after everything else. The abstract is about 300 words, and it is like a compressed version of your entire study. Now, it might seem challenging to summarize your whole research to fit into a single page. Nevertheless, there is a tip to help you compact your paper. A research paper example of an excellent abstract should answer the following questions:
- What does your research aim to do?
- What issues have you studied?
- What design have you employed for your study?
- What results have come up from your study?
- What is your interpretation of the results?
- Finally, provide a summary of your conclusions.
Research Paper Citation Formats
Many academic institutions require this paper to be fulfilled in two referencing styles. Thus, it is vital to know how to develop your study in conformance with these styles.
An APA research paper format decides the tone, margins governing the page, the correct spacing, and the citation method. You require a title page that would have the essay title, the name of the author, the name of your educational institution, and the running head. For in-text citations, you need to write the last name of the author, a comma, then the year of publication. Enclose these details inside parentheses.
The last section in this format is the list of references. The order of the details from the source should be first, the surname of the author(s). Follow by the year when the literature was published, then its title. The city/location of the publishing house, along with their name. Separate these two with a comma. Finally, the source of the source, especially if it was from an online database.
An MLA research paper format a title page, but each page should have a header of the surname; then the page number flush with the right margin. As you write your paragraphs, make sure to indent the first line in each of them. In-text citations are written the same way as in APA, but there is no comma. When it comes to the last section—Works Cited—has its way of listing your sources. First, the order of writing them begins with the author then the name of the literature. Follow this with the names of other contributors, later the version and number of the research. Finally, the publishing house, date it was published and where this house is located.
Arrange your sources in alphabetical order. The page margins in this section are the same in the entire document—one inch away from the page’s edge. However, after the first line of each source, the rest are indented away from the left margin.
How to Do a Research Paper Brilliantly
You may have done impeccable research, and you have mastered the research paper format. However, if your writing skills are not up to par with what your instructors expect, you will not get the marks you deserve. Ergo, you should also know how to do a research paper excellently. So, how do you improve your writing skills?
It is crucial to get back to the basics of the English language to understand grammar fully. Grammar governs how we use English in communication. Your vocabulary is vital, as well. Broaden it by reading a lot of literature to learn new words. Your writing needs to be engaging, and the variety of the words you use can help you grab your audience’s attention.
Get Assistance Writing Through Impeccable Samples
When you are swamped by the sheer number of assignments you have to do, finding adequate time to do your research essay might not be feasible. Also, if you have a job and you are a student too, time to complete such an assignment would be elusive to find. Time is not the only constraint when it comes to doing a study. Writing skills and in-depth knowledge of your subject area is vital. You need to understand the topic you want to study comprehensively. This can be a tricky endeavor for students who find the subject of their writing complicated. A student who does not speak English natively would find the writing task challenging.
If you want to learn how to write a research paper, we have free samples to get you going. If the above situations sound familiar, then you can learn from our examples. Since they have been expertly written, you can gain vital knowledge of the format, referencing style, grammar, and appropriate diction. Thus, seemingly complicated tasks like crafting excellent college research paper topics become a bit easier to do. Access our website and save time through learning from exceptional examples today.
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Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate. This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft. Table of contents
Using what you found in your preliminary research, write a thesis statement that succinctly summarizes what your research paper will be about. This is usually the first sentence in your paper, making it your reader's introduction to the topic. A thesis statement is the best answer for how to start a research paper.
The five steps in this article will help you put together an effective introduction for either type of research paper. Table of contents Step 1: Introduce your topic Step 2: Describe the background Step 3: Establish your research problem Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper Research paper introduction examples
Follow these three tips to turn good research paper topics into great papers. #1: Figure Out Your Thesis Early Before you start writing a single word of your paper, you first need to know what your thesis will be. Your thesis is a statement that explains what you intend to prove/show in your paper.
How To Write a Research Paper Writing a research paper sounds easy; you pick the topic, develop your argument, research what other studies have said, and conclude it. Those are the general rules. But writing a successful research paper requires you to be more attentive, consistent, and detailed.
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.
You may already use Microsoft Word to write papers, but you can also use for many other tasks, such as collecting research, co-writing with other students, recording notes on-the-fly, and even building a better bibliography! Explore new ways to use Microsoft Word below. Getting started The basics Cool stuff Getting started
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.
Here are the general rules to follow when citing a research paper in an APA style format: Book: Last Name, First Initial. (Year of Publication). Title of the work. Publisher. Example: Thompson, S. (1982). The Year of the Wolf. Preston and Buchanan. Magazine: Last Name, First Initial.
Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics.
you can research easily Write out topic and brainstorm. Select your paper's specific topic from this brainstorming list. In a sentence or short paragraph, describe what you think your paper is about. Step 4: Initial Planning, Investigation, and Outlining Write down the nature of your audience ideas & information you already possess
Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic Try to find a topic that truly interests you Try writing your way to a topic Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
For the last several decades, the boost of technologies produced a wide variety of possibilities for the apparel producers by supplying this market with new methods of sewing, innovational materials, and functionality. The design of highly effective, functional, and attractive sportswear requires a thorough research of new tendencies existing ...
Papers do not (yet) write themselves but AI can speed up the research process and improve writing. For students, I think its most important role is as a writing coach and tutor—one that is available 24/7 and does not get tired or annoyed. Here is my hypothesis: the quality of average papers written with ChatGPT will improve significantly, but ...
For more information on writing research papers in APA style, please checking out the following pages. Here you'll find details on multiple aspects of the research paper writing process, ranging from how the paper should be structured to how to write more effectively. Structure and Format - the critical components of each section of an APA ...
Yes, ChatGPT can write you an essay as it has been trained on a wide range of text. However, there are some downsides to using it for that purpose. For one, it lacks logical reasoning and critical ...
Layouts, References, and Citations: Stages of Writing a Research Paper. Stage 1: How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper. Stage 2: Developing the Perfect Topic. Stage 3: Searching for Sources. Stage 4: Thesis Statement is Central Point of Structure. Stage 5: Going on a Quest: Researching and Experimenting.
Use double-spaced text throughout your paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point). Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
Step 4: Create a working research paper title. To create a working title, remove elements that make it a complete "sentence" but keep everything that is important to what the study is about. Delete all unnecessary and redundant words that are not central to the study or that researchers would most likely not use in a database search.
You'll most likely need to include a bibliography or works cited page, so keep your sources organized. List your sources, format them according to your assigned style guide (such as MLA or Chicago ), and write 2 or 3 summary sentences below each one.  3 Come up with a preliminary thesis.
The title of the research paper should be very catchy and expressive. It must signify the main objective of the research paper in just a few words. A research paper generally has a title length of around 15-20 words. Also, try to avoid unnecessary phrases from the title such as 'Research based on…' or 'Paper for…', etc. 2. Abstract
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. Conduct original research. Research papers can draw on three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
After writing the academic paper, the researchers submit it to a journal. Typically you start with the most regarded journal and then work yourself down the list, until a journal accepts the article. Scientific journals use peer review process, which is a panel of other researchers (most likely in the same field) who review the work, to ensure ...
First, the order of writing them begins with the author then the name of the literature. Follow this with the names of other contributors, later the version and number of the research. Finally, the publishing house, date it was published and where this house is located. Arrange your sources in alphabetical order.
Each Aphrodite Research Papers example you spot here can do one or several of these things for you: give you a clue about a noteworthy topic; motivate you to come up with an unusual outlook on a well-explored question; showcase the best writing practices you can employ; and/or present you with proper structure templates. Apply this valuable ...