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  • Adam Muller Adam Muller
  • November 25, 2022
  • 12 min read

How to write a research paper in 9 steps

How to write a research paper in 9 steps

You have opened a blank document and realized you have no idea where to begin writing your research report. Indeed, academic writing is difficult and distinctive from other forms of writing in many ways. If this is your first time writing a research paper, you may find the process to be daunting.

Writing a research paper quickly increases the difficulty level. Things are about to get very difficult. Further, you will get into serious trouble if you do not figure out quickly how to write a decent research paper that is more than just a well-written document.

It can seem daunting at first, but writing a research paper becomes much less of a chore once you know the proper procedures to follow. A methodical strategy is all that is required. Using a detailed guide will make this process a breeze. Hence, I wrote the following tutorial.

You will learn the specific actions to follow in order to complete a research paper and hand it in on time, as well as the benefits of taking these actions. Topic selection, research, writing, editing, proofreading, and everything in between are all included.

You can use this manual as a starting point and end up with a high-quality research report in no time. Okay, then, let us begin.

What is a Research Paper

For the most part, a research paper is an extended essay that showcases the author’s own independent study. It is a formal piece of writing that presents the author’s own ideas and analysis of a topic. Term papers, dissertations, and peer-reviewed scientific articles are all examples of research papers.

Who then is required to compose a study?

Although everybody has the ability to produce a research paper, those with advanced degrees or academic credentials are the ones most likely to have their works published in peer-reviewed publications. The objective is to disseminate your work to a wider audience.

A Detailed Outline of the Research Paper Writing Process

Step 1: Objective Setting

The first step in learning how to write a research paper rapidly is to establish goals. To what end must you compose this research paper?

The decision to write a research paper might be influenced by a few factors:

  1. Your school or employer may insist that you complete this step before moving on to the next.
  2. For example, it could be to disseminate your unique research findings to the appropriate audiences.
  3. Whether you are an aspiring professor or a seasoned business executive, here are some tips for getting forward.
  4. In your study report, you are merely sharing your personal experience with others; you have no ulterior motives.

Writing a research paper for a class will demand a different strategy than writing one for a professor’s class. You can keep yourself on track and complete your research paper with ease if you set clear and reasonable objectives and goals.

In order to determine your assignment goals, consider the following:

  • Is there a particular reason you need to create a research paper?
  • When is it due, exactly?
  • How do you organize a research paper?
  • Do you have a minimum or maximum word count?
  • Is there something specific you would like to talk about?
  • Which academic journal would you like to submit your study to?

Based on your responses, establish assignment goals that are both attainable and difficult. If you are a graduate student and your university requires you to prepare a research paper, you will be provided with certain goals to focus on. It will help you out tremendously in your current role. You must simply maintain adherence to them.


Step 2: Plan

Making a strategy to get your research paper where you want it to go is the next logical step after identifying goals. The best way to learn how to do a research paper is to first learn how to design one. It is recommended that you make use of a Gantt chart when planning your research piece.

With the use of a Gantt chart, you may organize your research paper and plan out the many steps involved in writing it (discussed later in this guide). You will not have to worry about missing deadlines because you can get critical work done on time.

As an example, if you need to respond to a journal’s call for papers by submitting a research paper, you should start working on it as soon as possible. The use of Gantt charts is quite useful in this situation. Tasks can be prioritized and a schedule made accordingly.

Even if your research paper has a word limit of 3,000, it still cannot be written in one sitting. You will need to gather information and run it via some sort of statistical software. Data gathering and analysis might take months, which is when things become difficult. If someone else is collecting data on your behalf, you still need to exercise prudent data management. Planning and time management are essential.

Use Software in Your Planning

You will need to rely on several parties for various aspects of the research process, including data collection, analysis, interpretation, reporting, editing, etc., thus, careful preparation is vital. Setting priorities and having a solid plan outlining milestones, who will do it, when it begins, and when it will be finished is essential when working with different people and various resources.

However, there are other services, like statistical tools, that require you to have specialized access through your university. You will need a 30-day current key from your school to use SmartPLS for data analysis. Ensure that you examine the collected data within 30 days and request a new key to avoid having to repeat these activities, which can take several days.

Without proper preparation, you risk losing access to essential university resources, which will dramatically extend the time required to complete your research piece.

Step 3: Choose a Topic

Choose your paper’s topic thoughtfully; it will function as the paper’s foundation. It will be quite difficult to get back on track if you pick the wrong topic.

You can select a subject for your research paper in one of two ways:

  1. Suppose you need to submit a research paper as part of your degree program. In that case, your advisor or academic institution will provide you with instructions. Keep to the rules. Decide on a subject that truly fascinates you.
  2. Research papers intended for publishing in a journal necessitate identifying a journal, reading its scope, reading author criteria, and finally selecting a topic that is likely to be accepted by the journal.

Step 4: Gather Data on Your Topic

Since it is a research paper, the earlier you gather information, the better.

Get a jump on refining your topic and writing your thesis statement by reading up on related research as soon as possible. Doing preliminary research can clear up any questions you have and point you in the direction of the best resources.

The best places to find sources are the internet and libraries. Keep in mind that not all websites are equal when conducting research online. To limit your search results to credible academic resources, you can use one of the search engines we include in the “Tools and resources” section.

As you look for information, keep in mind the distinction between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are accounts from first-hand witnesses, such as newspaper articles or autobiographies, and secondary sources are accounts from a greater distance.

It is more efficient to skim sources rather than read each prospective source in its entirety when you acquire information for your study. If you find a source that could be helpful, bookmark it so you can return to it later. If you do not narrow your focus, you will waste time on resources that are not useful and may be put to better use elsewhere.

You should provide an explanation of your sources and present them to an authority figure in a literature review when such a need is placed on you. You should still start thinking about possible sources early on, even if a literature study is not required.

Step 5: Develop a Theis Statement

Create a thesis statement that briefly describes the topic of your research paper based on your findings from the preliminary study. This is the sentence that typically introduces the topic to the reader and sets the tone for the rest of the writing.

A solid thesis statement is a perfect method to introduce a research paper since it establishes the context for the reader and makes it easy for other researchers to assess whether they may utilize your study to further their own work. Similarly, you should examine and assess the applicability of the thesis statements in multiple research studies.

A strong thesis statement summarizes the main points of the paper without giving too much away. When you cannot quite put your thoughts into words, ask yourself a question and see if you can answer it.

The question “Does separating students with ADHD improve their learning?” would be a good place to start if you were writing a paper on the topic of isolating children with ADHD from the rest of the student body. The answer (based on preliminary investigation) can provide a solid foundation for the thesis statement.

Step 6: Collect Supporting Evidence

How to undertake the actual research for your academic paper is the next step in the process of writing one. At this stage, you will sift through the materials you gathered to date in search of the information you need to write your paper.

Reading each source and making notes is the standard procedure for gathering supporting evidence. Please avoid diluting your paper’s focus with irrelevant details, no matter how engaging they may be. Remember to take note of the page numbers; you will need them for your citations and to help you locate the content again later.

Another typical strategy is using bibliography cards in addition to underlining passages and making notes. These are essentially index cards containing a piece of information or a quotation on one side and the bibliographical details (such as the source, the page number, and the subject heading) on the other. While not required, some students find bibliography cards helpful in keeping their research organized, particularly when it comes time to draft an outline.

Step 7: Develop an Outline

Many learners lack the know-how to properly structure an outline for a research paper. To ensure that all topics are covered, research papers, more so than informal essays, benefit greatly from outlines.

Create a list of the major sections and subheadings you will need to include in your outline. Before presenting your proof, think about how you can effectively organize the data you acquired.

Consider the best order to give the material once you have a list of what you want to talk about. Which of these smaller themes should be placed adjacent to one another? Is there a particular subtopic whose presentation in a different order would cause confusion? For material that is easily understood, a chronological presentation may be the best choice.

Remember to incorporate your proof into the outline as well. To make sure you leave nothing out , consider making an outline, as you probably have a lot you want to include.

Step 8: Write a Draft

As soon as you have completed your outline, you can move on to drafting the body of your research paper. This is the most time-consuming and labor-intensive stage, but if you have organized your sources and created a detailed outline, you should be fine.

Research paper introductions might be challenging to write if you have no experience doing so. That is why it is so important to craft your thesis statement in advance. You should include your thesis statement first in the introduction, and save supporting material for the paper’s body.

Your paper’s meaty main body material goes here. You should typically break up the body of a research paper, in contrast to an essay, into sections with their own headers. Follow the sections of your outline.

Step 9: Cite Your Sources and add a Reference

One of the most obvious differences between a research paper and other sorts of nonfiction writing, such as personal essays, is the requirement to incorporate citations. This is because a research article requires citations. Essential to demonstrating the integrity of one’s research and validating the accuracy of one’s data is the supply of proper attribution. You must present citations in the proper format due to their importance. The problem stems from the fact that there are multiple sets of regulations in effect concurrently.

Remember to Proofread

Finally, you should proofread your research paper to make sure it is error-free. We advise reviewing it twice: once to fix major problems like missing or extraneous sections or poorly organized paragraphs, and once to check on minor issues like poor word choice, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes. Rather than attempting to edit everything in one sitting, splitting it up into two sessions will allow you to concentrate on each section individually.


What citations do I apply in my paper?

There are two styles in academic research papers:

The Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Internet search engine Google Scholar

Some of the most notable resource libraries include Google Scholar, Zotero, and FocusWriter



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