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How do I start a research paper?

Its due thursday!!!!!

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Denise M. | Ms. Denise, English TeacherMs. Denise, English Teacher

To write a great research paper, select a topic that interests you.

Talk about your topic with other people, and notice the different questions that come up.  As you explain what you're learning - or what you want to learn - and garner feedback, you'll be honing the focus of what you want to write about and how to write it.

Looking for answers to raised questions will start you on your way.  Use appropriate resources to find information.  The resources can include media, as well as standard texts, books, and interviews. Generally, the number of sources that you need will be listed in the assignment or rubric.

Note the names of your resources, page numbers, urls, and dates of interviews (and why your interviewees are credible) because you'll need to cite your information.

The structure of your paper should include a beginning paragraph or two and give a clear indication of the purpose and content of the paper.  A thesis statement is imbedded here.

The body of the paper should typically read in chronological order like a story.

The closing should briefly summarize or recapture the purpose of the paper and include a statement about why the information is significant to you and to the world at large.

Get going!

Donna Ann P. | Experienced English Tutor: Essays, Term Paper Emergencies, and ESLExperienced English Tutor: Essays, Term ...
4.8 4.8 (329 lesson ratings) (329)

Hi Lucy:

Before writing a research paper, I encourage my students to spend a few minutes doing a brief outline.  List your topic and the points in support of the topic that you want to discuss in more detail.  Then gather your reference materials and start writing.  Keep a bibliography style manual close at hand to assist you in listing references. 

Write a brief introduction.  Then discuss each subtopic one by one.  While I am not based in Illinois, I regularly teach via shared screens on Skype. This allows the student to see the edits to the paper instantly. I am accustomed to providing students with late night term paper assistance.  Feel free to respond with more questions.  Good luck!

Woody G. | History, geography, and political science tutorHistory, geography, and political scienc...

I assume this research paper is not based on the scientific method of research but rather a general paper based on research in periodicals, books, and perhaps on the internet. The first step is to select an area of interest and do a library or google search for information. The next step is to collect and read the information from your research. Then begin to put words onto paper...I tell students to just write and organize it later. The first paragraph should be a general overview of the topic, then the body of the paper follows. A well-written research paper will involve several drafts and re-writes. If you have to submit a bibliography, be sure to keep track of your references. Also be sure to cite your references correctly if you quote directly or paraphrase the information. Be sure to use the correct style and format (APA, Chicago, etc) for your discipline area.

There is a lot to do and a very short time to get it done. The first step is to start gathering information and go from there.  Good luck!


Valerie F. | You CAN, I will helpYou CAN, I will help

STEP ONE:    Always start a research paper with a thesis. A thesis is the main point which will be supported throughout the paper).  

STEP TWO:  Brainstorm Ideas -  Jot down main points that you wish to include as supporting ideas.   A good way to brainstorm is by using a bubble graph which has a main bubble in the center (containing your thesis) and extends out to several other bubbles (each containing one supportive idea and specific supportive examples and information pertaining to that idea).  Continue to modify your ideas and supporting data (taking out and adding on) until all information seems balanced.

STEP THREE:  Using the ideas, examples, and information you accumulated during brainstorming, create an outline which shows a general perspective order and natural flow.  I advise leaving extra room in each section for new examples or information you may find as you research.

STEP FOUR:  Research your thesis.. Look for statistics, expert or respected opinions, or any other information that supports your thesis.  Make note of all useful information you find and be sure to include source information in your notes

STEP FIVE:  Create a rough draft in sentence/paragraph form which follows the flow of your outline and includes each  piece of  information you attained through research with the appropriate topic.

STEP SIX:  I highly recommend that the rough draft of a research paper always be reviewed through a spelling and grammar checker (can be a live person or automated, but I recommend BOTH) and an automated plagiarism checker.

STEP SEVEN: Create your final draft taking great care to address and resolve all issues suggested in step six.  I recommend repeating step six after the final draft is complete to be safe.  

Writing a good research paper is no easy or fast task.  It takes time, thought, research, careful attention to details, and hard work.  Many research papers will go through many drafts before being perfected.  Good Luck ! 


Noureddine D. | Academic French, social, and political science tutor.Academic French, social, and political s...

This is the short version of research paper and the simplest.

First, it is important to write a thesis statement, which is a log line that explains which topic you are about to write. You have to explain in this first line what is the instrumental question to your topic is. However, prior to develop your paper outline, and when you have the topic in hands and the thesis statement written , you can search on the internet or in book chapters where you topic relate then you can paraphrase, explain and cite this authors who agree or do not agree with you, and finally reference them in a form of citation .

However, you can develop then the question you wrote as a thesis statement into an outline, first from the beginning as an introduction explaining to the reader what you are about to write. Then you can expand it then you develop it by explaining why, where and when and which method you used to reach this conclusion. This development of you question lead gradually to a conclusion in findings confirming everything what you just said and probably you own opinion whether argumentative or in agreement with all these authors you have cited which lead you to conclude by this final statement in form of a paragraph and explaining what resulted from you research.