Nova A.
Nova A.

Writing A Research Paper - A Step by Step Guide

12 min read

Published on: Nov 23, 2017

Last updated on: Mar 16, 2023

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A research paper is a type of academic paper that is based on original and in-depth research work. The process of writing a research paper is indeed complicated and time-taking. Thus, it contributes largely to a student’s grade.

It requires strong communication and research skills to learn the art of paper writing. However, if you are confused about how to start the writing process, following the proper steps can make it easier for you.

Therefore, we have created a step-by-step guide for you to write a perfect research paper.

Research Paper Definition

A research paper is an expanded essay that contains a detailed analysis and interpretation of the argument. It also involves an in-depth survey of a field of knowledge for finding the best possible information.

A research paper can be defined as a type of academic writing that is usually done as a class assignment. Similarly, it requires the writer to conduct independent research and writing on a topic in a scientific manner.

Types of Research

Below are the two main types of research.

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research

How to Start a Research Paper?

A good research paper must follow a proper structure and format. The first important step in the writing process is to start your paper perfectly.

To start a research paper, follow the below steps.

  1. Read the guidelines to start early
  2. Brainstorm to choose a research paper topic
  3. Conduct research and find relevant material
  4. Organize your research and prepare an outline
  5. Create a strong thesis statement
  6. Start from the main body

It is important to know about the steps involved in starting and writing the research paper. It will be a big help in your writing process. Continue reading to learn more about successful techniques to make this process as effective as possible.

How to Write a Research Paper?

To write a research paper, follow the steps given below.

1. Understand the Paper Requirements

The first step requires a proper and thorough understanding of the assigned topic and research paper structure. It will help you complete the assignment successfully and easily by following all the requirements.

Below are the tips to develop your understanding of the research paper:

  • Read the instructions carefully. If you find something confusing, clarify it with your professor right away.
  • Understand the main purpose of the research paper. It may include informing people or encouraging them to take a certain course of action.
  • Also, identify the deadline, word count, submission method, and formatting style.
  • Make a list of the key points that you need to cover.
  • Consider the timeframe to start, write, and edit your research paper.

2. Consider the Target Audience

Considering the target audience is the most crucial step while writing a paper. It is because their knowledge and expertise level can influence the following elements:

  • The author’s writing style
  • Word choice
  • The type of relevant information required to explain the concept

A master’s level research paper is usually written for the expert audience. However, if you are writing an undergraduate paper, it can be both for a general and expert audience.

3. Choose the Right Research Paper Topic

Brainstorm ideas to choose the right topic for your research paper. Most students are often assigned to their topics. Nevertheless, if you are given the opportunity to choose a topic yourself, choose it wisely.

Discuss with your professor or a subject specialist to figure out a unique approach. Moreover, try freewriting which can help in narrowing down a broad topic.

Apart from this, you can also get inspiration from other research work. Some research papers include ideas for other topics in their discussion and recommendation sections.

Think of something challenging that will interest your audience as well. It will help you stay engaged while conducting research as you are sure to discover new things and enlighten your audience with new information.

Similarly, don’t select too technical or general topics. Instead, choose an original and specific idea that is possible to research. Also, keep in mind and stay focused on the criteria of your research paper while selecting a topic.

Here are some amazing research paper topics.

  • Can different generations work in the same place?
  • Can social media marketing help to improve the brand image?
  • The creation of particular learning methods for blind children.
  • A link between mental health and child obesity.
  • The death sentence should be activated in every country of the world.

If you need more ideas, we have compiled a list of good research paper topics to help you choose one for your paper.

We have also divided these topics into different categories like education, law, health, or psychology research topics for your ease.

4. Conduct Thorough Research

A writer should conduct thorough research to find relevant ideas, focus, and direction to the topic. These will help in supporting your viewpoint and avoiding any biases.

Also, address the below questions.

  • Is there a gap in the previous research work?
  • Are there any recent developments in your chosen subject?
  • Are there any headed debates going on that you can address?
  • Do you have a unique perspective on the topic to talk about?

Here you can develop your research questions and a strong argument for your paper. Similarly, you can also determine any possible flaws or adjustments in the topic.

5. Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

After conducting the research, the next step is to develop a strong thesis statement. It serves as a central argument that establishes the purpose and position of your research paper. Also, provide solid evidence and reasoning to support your thesis statement.

Similarly, a research paper thesis should be concise, clear, and to the point. This two-line sentence is considered as a guide throughout the writing process. A writer can further do more research to revise it.

Refer to the below documents to write a perfect thesis statement.

Preparing a Research Paper Proposal

A research proposal aims to explain the need to analyze a research problem by considering more realistic approaches. An in-depth literature review plays an important role in creating a good research proposal.

Here are some questions you should address while writing a research proposal.

  • What are you planning to accomplish?
  • Why do you want to accomplish it?
  • How will you plan to approach or accomplish it?

With these questions, a writer will be able to plan and prepare a research study. Similarly, a research proposal must include the following sections.

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract and table of contents
  3. Introduction
  4. Background and significance
  5. Literature review
  6. Research design and methods
  7. Hypothesis and discussion
  8. Conclusion
  9. Citations

Create a Research Paper Outline

Create a detailed outline to organize all your thoughts in one place. It serves as a mind map or layout of your writing process. Similarly, it is also used to plan the paper before even starting to write it.

It consists of the key topics, arguments, and evidence that will be included in the sections of your paper. Thus, take enough time to create a well-structured outline.

Below given are the components of an effective research paper outline.

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Body
  6. Literature Review
  7. Methods
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Conclusion
  11. Bibliography
  12. Appendix

Writing the First Draft

Write the first draft of your research paper. You can polish this section later on. Here the main goal is to:

  • Draft rough ideas into arguments.
  • Add details to the arguments.
  • See how the final outcome will look like.
  • Follow a proper research paper format.
  • Pay close attention to the organization of the paragraphs and sentences.
  • Explain the ideas and the significance of your findings clearly.
  • Keeping the arguments flexible so that they can be changed later if needed.
  • Do proper citation.

Remember, it is not necessary to write the introduction first. Some writers prefer to write the difficult sections first while others choose to start with the easiest one. Use your outline as a map to guide you throughout the different parts of a research paper.

Write an Abstract

The abstract of the research paper is the summary of the entire paper. When writing one, explain each section of your paper briefly and highlight the main points that you are going to discuss.

Keep in mind that the abstract should not be more than 250 words or less than 150 words. It roughly makes almost half of a page. Thus, keep a strict check on word choice and count.

Check out the document given below to understand better.

You can further learn how to write an abstract by reading our detailed blog.

Write a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction of a research paper should address ‘What’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ questions. It should be concise and without any arguments. The reader must be able to answer what the paper is about after reading this section.

Below is a detailed description of the questions.

  • What? Be specific about the topic. Introduce historical background and define difficult terms and theories.
  • Why? It is the most important part of an introduction. It aims to discuss any new insights you are offering with your research study.
  • How? This section will tell the audience about how your paper will proceed. Thus, it should present all the main elements that will be discussed in your research work.

Check out the below given example to get a better idea of writing a perfect introduction.

Crafting a Perfect Literature Review

After the introduction, the next part of the research paper is the literature review. Here, a writer needs to discuss the existing literature about the research problem.

For this, try to locate scholarly or peer-reviewed research articles on the same topic. Study it thoroughly and highlight the similarities between the research article and your study.

Discuss the past, the present state, and the expected future of the issue in your literature review section. Also, provide a detailed insight into the previously conducted research in the field.

You can also refer to our blog to learn how to write a literature review.

Drafting the Research Paper Body Paragraphs

Use the research paper outline as a guide to draft your body paragraphs. It will help you present the information, supporting details, and arguments logically.

The main element is to stay on track by using the thesis statement. Provide strong evidence and examples to support the main idea.

Moreover, each paragraph should start with a compelling topic sentence and include no more than a single idea. Also, look for smooth transitions between the body paragraphs.

Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

The conclusion is the last section of your writing draft that gives a sense of closure. It will provide a brief summary of the entire paper. Similarly, also mention how you have proved your main idea by using the research questions.

Nevertheless, do not introduce new arguments or information that may leave an open-ended question in the minds of the audience. But you can suggest a possible course of action or prospects for future research to conclude your research paper.

Lastly, a writer should also avoid adding unnecessary details to increase the word count only.

Write the Second Draft

After roughly organizing your thoughts in the first draft, begin writing the second draft of your paper. Keep in mind the below aspects to write a second draft perfectly.

  • Ensure if you have answered the main argument effectively.
  • Identify any assumptions that you may require to include.
  • Rearrange and structure the ideas logically.
  • If you find any old and irrelevant ideas, cut them out. Instead, add new and unique approaches.
  • Make a work cited list.

Revising and Proofreading

Revising and proofreading is the last step of your writing process. It is done to ensure that the paper is well-developed and free of mistakes.

Similarly, it is also used to confirm the following points of your paper:

  • If the paper has met all the requirements?
  • Check for the logical order of paragraphs.
  • No irrelevant details should be there.
  • Look for grammatical, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.
  • Identify wrong sentence structures.
  • Check for consistency with the font, headings, page numbers, and format.
  • Make sure that all sources are properly referenced by using a specific citation style guide.

You can proofread your research paper by reading it aloud. it will help you consider each word more closely. Moreover, you can also hire someone to proofread it for you.

Read the document given below to get a better understanding of writing a research paper.

Research Paper Examples

You will be able to work on your research paper without any difficulty after reading this blog. However, if you are still confused about how to do a research paper, explore the research paper examples to learn more.

Hire an Expert Writer for Your Research Paper!

The above-mentioned complete guide will help you write a perfect research paper. However, we understand that it is quite difficult for students who lack good writing and research skills.

In such a case, academic and professional writing companies are proved to be helpful. It is a common practice and indeed a smart thing to do.

Though it is challenging to find a legit writing company that can provide help at affordable rates. Below are the attributes of a reliable writing service.

  • Plagiarism free work
  • Free essay and paper samples
  • U.S-based qualified writers
  • Direct contact with the writer
  • Able to meet a strict deadline
  • Secure and confidential payment system
  • Free and unlimited revisions

If you are looking for a service with these attributes, is the best option. We are a legit essay writing service where you can hire an expert writer for your research papers. 

Our team has the right knowledge and expertise to write paper within the given deadline. Thus, contact us now to place your order and get professionally written by a professional paper writer at affordable rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main purpose of a research paper?

The main purpose of a research paper is to bring together different views, evidence, and facts from books, articles, and interviews. It will interpret the information into your own writing so that you can share these with other writers as well as an audience of readers. 

Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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