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How to Write a Research Paper: the LEAP approach (+cheat sheet)

In this article I will show you how to write a research paper using the four LEAP writing steps. The LEAP academic writing approach is a step-by-step method for turning research results into a published paper .

The LEAP writing approach has been the cornerstone of the 70 + research papers that I have authored and the 3700+ citations these paper have accumulated within 9 years since the completion of my PhD. I hope the LEAP approach will help you just as much as it has helped me to make an real, tangible impact with my research.

What is the LEAP research paper writing approach?

I designed the LEAP writing approach not only for merely writing the papers. My goal with the writing system was to show young scientists how to first think about research results and then how to efficiently write each section of the research paper.

In other words, you will see how to write a research paper by first analyzing the results and then building a logical, persuasive arguments. In this way, instead of being afraid of writing research paper, you will be able to rely on the paper writing process to help you with what is the most demanding task in getting published – thinking.

The four research paper writing steps according to the LEAP approach:

LEAP research paper writing step 1: L

I will show each of these steps in detail. And you will be able to download the LEAP cheat sheet for using with every paper you write.

But before I tell you how to efficiently write a research paper, I want to show you what is the problem with the way scientists typically write a research paper and why the LEAP approach is more efficient.

How scientists typically write a research paper (and why it isn’t efficient)

Writing a research paper can be tough, especially for a young scientist. Your reasoning needs to be persuasive and thorough enough to convince readers of your arguments. The description has to be derived from research evidence, from prior art, and from your own judgment. This is a tough feat to accomplish.

The figure below shows the sequence of the different parts of a typical research paper. Depending on the scientific journal, some sections might be merged or nonexistent, but the general outline of a research paper will remain very similar.

Outline of a research paper, including Title, Abstract, Keywords, Introduction, Objective, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, References and Annexes

Here is the problem: Most people make the mistake of writing in this same sequence.

While the structure of scientific articles is designed to help the reader follow the research, it does little to help the scientist write the paper. This is because the layout of research articles starts with the broad (introduction) and narrows down to the specifics (results). See in the figure below how the research paper is structured in terms of the breath of information that each section entails.

How to write a research paper according to the LEAP approach

For a scientist, it is much easier to start writing a research paper with laying out the facts in the narrow sections (i.e. results), step back to describe them (i.e. write the discussion), and step back again to explain the broader picture in the introduction.

For example, it might feel intimidating to start writing a research paper by explaining your research’s global significance in the introduction, while it is easy to plot the figures in the results. When plotting the results, there is not much room for wiggle: the results are what they are.

Starting to write a research papers from the results is also more fun because you finally get to see and understand the complete picture of the research that you have worked on.

Most importantly, following the LEAP approach will help you first make sense of the results yourself and then clearly communicate them to the readers. That is because the sequence of writing allows you to slowly understand the meaning of the results and then develop arguments for presenting to your readers.

I have personally been able to write and submit a research article in three short days using this method.

Step 1: Lay Out the Facts

LEAP research paper writing step 1: Prepare charts and graphics, and describe what you see

You have worked long hours on a research project that has produced results and are no doubt curious to determine what they exactly mean. There is no better way to do this than by preparing figures, graphics and tables. This is what the first LEAP step is focused on – diving into the results.

How to p repare charts and tables for a research paper

Your first task is to try out different ways of visually demonstrating the research results. In many fields, the central items of a journal paper will be charts that are based on the data generated during research. In other fields, these might be conceptual diagrams, microscopy images, schematics and a number of other types of scientific graphics which should visually communicate the research study and its results to the readers. If you have reasonably small number of data points, data tables might be useful as well.

Tips for preparing charts and tables

  • Try multiple chart types but in the finished paper only use the one that best conveys the message you want to present to the readers
  • Follow the eight chart design progressions for selecting and refining a data chart for your paper: https://peerrecognized.com/chart-progressions
  • Prepare scientific graphics and visualizations for your paper using the scientific graphic design cheat sheet: https://peerrecognized.com/tools-for-creating-scientific-illustrations/

How to describe the results of your research

Now that you have your data charts, graphics and tables laid out in front of you – describe what you see in them. Seek to answer the question: What have I found?  Your statements should progress in a logical sequence and be backed by the visual information. Since, at this point, you are simply explaining what everyone should be able to see for themselves, you can use a declarative tone: The figure X demonstrates that…

Tips for describing the research results :

  • Answer the question: “ What have I found? “
  • Use declarative tone since you are simply describing observations

Step 2: Explain the results

LEAP research paper writing step 2: Define the message, discuss the results, write conclusions, refine the objective, and describe methodology

The core aspect of your research paper is not actually the results; it is the explanation of their meaning. In the second LEAP step, you will do some heavy lifting by guiding the readers through the results using logic backed by previous scientific research.

How to define the Message of a research paper

To define the central message of your research paper, imagine how you would explain your research to a colleague in 20 seconds . If you succeed in effectively communicating your paper’s message, a reader should be able to recount your findings in a similarly concise way even a year after reading it. This clarity will increase the chances that someone uses the knowledge you generated, which in turn raises the likelihood of citations to your research paper. 

Tips for defining the paper’s central message :

  • Write the paper’s core message in a single sentence or two bullet points
  • Write the core message in the header of the research paper manuscript

How to write the Discussion section of a research paper

In the discussion section you have to demonstrate why your research paper is worthy of publishing. In other words, you must now answer the all-important So what? question . How well you do so will ultimately define the success of your research paper.

Here are three steps to get started with writing the discussion section:

  • Write bullet points of the things that convey the central message of the research article (these may evolve into subheadings later on).
  • Make a list with the arguments or observations that support each idea.
  • Finally, expand on each point to make full sentences and paragraphs.

Tips for writing the discussion section:

  • What is the meaning of the results?
  • Was the hypothesis confirmed?
  • Write bullet points that support the core message
  • List logical arguments for each bullet point, group them into sections
  • Instead of repeating research timeline, use a presentation sequence that best supports your logic
  • Convert arguments to full paragraphs; be confident but do not overhype
  • Refer to both supportive and contradicting research papers for maximum credibility

How to write the Conclusions of a research paper

Since some readers might just skim through your research paper and turn directly to the conclusions, it is a good idea to make conclusion a standalone piece. In the first few sentences of the conclusions, briefly summarize the methodology and try to avoid using abbreviations (if you do, explain what they mean).

After this introduction, summarize the findings from the discussion section. Either paragraph style or bullet-point style conclusions can be used. I prefer the bullet-point style because it clearly separates the different conclusions and provides an easy-to-digest overview for the casual browser. It also forces me to be more succinct.

Tips for writing the conclusion section :

  • Summarize the key findings, starting with the most important one
  • Make conclusions standalone (short summary, avoid abbreviations)
  • Add an optional take-home message and suggest future research in the last paragraph

How to refine the Objective of a research paper

The objective is a short, clear statement defining the paper’s research goals. It can be included either in the final paragraph of the introduction, or as a separate subsection after the introduction. Avoid writing long paragraphs with in-depth reasoning, references, and explanation of methodology since these belong in other sections. The paper’s objective can often be written in a single crisp sentence.

Tips for writing the objective section :

  • The objective should ask the question that is answered by the central message of the research paper
  • The research objective should be clear long before writing a paper. At this point, you are simply refining it to make sure it is addressed in the body of the paper.

How to write the Methodology section of your research paper

When writing the methodology section, aim for a depth of explanation that will allow readers to reproduce the study . This means that if you are using a novel method, you will have to describe it thoroughly. If, on the other hand, you applied a standardized method, or used an approach from another paper, it will be enough to briefly describe it with reference to the detailed original source.

Remember to also detail the research population, mention how you ensured representative sampling, and elaborate on what statistical methods you used to analyze the results.

Tips for writing the methodology section :

  • Include enough detail to allow reproducing the research
  • Provide references if the methods are known
  • Create a methodology flow chart to add clarity
  • Describe the research population, sampling methodology, statistical methods for result analysis
  • Describe what methodology, test methods, materials, and sample groups were used in the research.

Step 3: Advertize the research

Step 3 of the LEAP writing approach is designed to entice the casual browser into reading your research paper. This advertising can be done with an informative title, an intriguing abstract, as well as a thorough explanation of the underlying need for doing the research within the introduction.

LEAP research paper writing step 3: Write introduction, prepare the abstract, compose title, and prepare highlights and graphical abstract

How to write the Introduction of a research paper

The introduction section should leave no doubt in the mind of the reader that what you are doing is important and that this work could push scientific knowledge forward. To do this convincingly, you will need to have a good knowledge of what is state-of-the-art in your field. You also need be able to see the bigger picture in order to demonstrate the potential impacts of your research work.

Think of the introduction as a funnel, going from wide to narrow, as shown in the figure below:

  • Start with a brief context to explain what do we already know,
  • Follow with the motivation for the research study and explain why should we care about it,
  • Explain the research gap you are going to bridge within this research paper,
  • Describe the approach you will take to solve the problem.

Context - Motivation - Research gap - Approach funnel for writing the introduction

Tips for writing the introduction section :

  • Follow the Context – Motivation – Research gap – Approach funnel for writing the introduction
  • Explain how others tried and how you plan to solve the research problem
  • Do a thorough literature review before writing the introduction
  • Start writing the introduction by using your own words, then add references from the literature

How to prepare the Abstract of a research paper

The abstract acts as your paper’s elevator pitch and is therefore best written only after the main text is finished. In this one short paragraph you must convince someone to take on the time-consuming task of reading your whole research article. So, make the paper easy to read, intriguing, and self-explanatory; avoid jargon and abbreviations.

How to structure the abstract of a research paper:

  • The abstract is a single paragraph that follows this structure:
  • Problem: why did we research this
  • Methodology: typically starts with the words “Here we…” that signal the start of own contribution.
  • Results: what we found from the research.
  • Conclusions: show why are the findings important

How to compose a research paper Title

The title is the ultimate summary of a research paper. It must therefore entice someone looking for information to click on a link to it and continue reading the article. A title is also used for indexing purposes in scientific databases, so a representative and optimized title will play large role in determining if your research paper appears in search results at all.

Tips for coming up with a research paper title:

  • Capture curiosity of potential readers using a clear and descriptive title
  • Include broad terms that are often searched
  • Add details that uniquely identify the researched subject of your research paper
  • Avoid jargon and abbreviations
  • Use keywords as title extension (instead of duplicating the words) to increase the chance of appearing in search results

How to prepare Highlights and Graphical Abstract

Highlights are three to five short bullet-point style statements that convey the core findings of the research paper. Notice that the focus is on the findings, not on the process of getting there.

A graphical abstract placed next to the textual abstract visually summarizes the entire research paper in a single, easy-to-follow figure. I show how to create a graphical abstract in my book Research Data Visualization and Scientific Graphics.

Tips for preparing highlights and graphical abstract:

  • In highlights show core findings of the research paper (instead of what you did in the study).
  • In graphical abstract show take-home message or methodology of the research paper. Learn more about creating a graphical abstract in this article.

Step 4: Prepare for submission

LEAP research paper writing step 4: Select the journal, fulfill journal requirements, write a cover letter, suggest reviewers, take a break and edit, address review comments.

Sometimes it seems that nuclear fusion will stop on the star closest to us (read: the sun will stop to shine) before a submitted manuscript is published in a scientific journal. The publication process routinely takes a long time, and after submitting the manuscript you have very little control over what happens. To increase the chances of a quick publication, you must do your homework before submitting the manuscript. In the fourth LEAP step, you make sure that your research paper is published in the most appropriate journal as quickly and painlessly as possible.

How to select a scientific Journal for your research paper

The best way to find a journal for your research paper is it to review which journals you used while preparing your manuscript. This source listing should provide some assurance that your own research paper, once published, will be among similar articles and, thus, among your field’s trusted sources.

paper writing steps

After this initial selection of hand-full of scientific journals, consider the following six parameters for selecting the most appropriate journal for your research paper (read this article to review each step in detail):

  • Scope and publishing history
  • Ranking and Recognition
  • Publishing time
  • Acceptance rate
  • Content requirements
  • Access and Fees

How to select a journal for your research paper:

  • Use the six parameters to select the most appropriate scientific journal for your research paper
  • Use the following tools for journal selection: https://peerrecognized.com/journals
  • Follow the journal’s “Authors guide” formatting requirements

How to Edit you manuscript

No one can write a finished research paper on their first attempt. Before submitting, make sure to take a break from your work for a couple of days, or even weeks. Try not to think about the manuscript during this time. Once it has faded from your memory, it is time to return and edit. The pause will allow you to read the manuscript from a fresh perspective and make edits as necessary.

I have summarized the most useful research paper editing tools in this article.

Tips for editing a research paper:

  • Take time away from the research paper to forget about it; then returning to edit,
  • Start by editing the content: structure, headings, paragraphs, logic, figures
  • Continue by editing the grammar and language; perform a thorough language check using academic writing tools
  • Read the entire paper out loud and correct what sounds weird

How to write a compelling Cover Letter for your paper

Begin the cover letter by stating the paper’s title and the type of paper you are submitting (review paper, research paper, short communication). Next, concisely explain why your study was performed, what was done, and what the key findings are. State why the results are important and what impact they might have in the field. Make sure you mention how your approach and findings relate to the scope of the journal in order to show why the article would be of interest to the journal’s readers.

I wrote a separate article that explains what to include in a cover letter here. You can also download a cover letter template from the article.

Tips for writing a cover letter:

  • Explain how the findings of your research relate to journal’s scope
  • Tell what impact the research results will have
  • Show why the research paper will interest the journal’s audience
  • Add any legal statements as required in journal’s guide for authors

How to Answer the Reviewers

Reviewers will often ask for new experiments, extended discussion, additional details on the experimental setup, and so forth. In principle, your primary winning tactic will be to agree with the reviewers and follow their suggestions whenever possible. After all, you must earn their blessing in order to get your paper published.

Be sure to answer each review query and stick to the point. In the response to the reviewers document write exactly where in the paper you have made any changes. In the paper itself, highlight the changes using a different color. This way the reviewers are less likely to re-read the entire article and suggest new edits.

In cases when you don’t agree with the reviewers, it makes sense to answer more thoroughly. Reviewers are scientifically minded people and so, with enough logical and supported argument, they will eventually be willing to see things your way.

Tips for answering the reviewers:

  • Agree with most review comments, but if you don’t, thoroughly explain why
  • Highlight changes in the manuscript
  • Do not take the comments personally and cool down before answering

The LEAP research paper writing cheat sheet

Imagine that you are back in grad school and preparing to take an exam on the topic: “How to write a research paper”. As an exemplary student, you would, most naturally, create a cheat sheet summarizing the subject… Well, I did it for you.

This one-page summary of the LEAP research paper writing technique will remind you of the key research paper writing steps. Print it out and stick it to a wall in your office so that you can review it whenever you are writing a new research paper.

The LEAP research paper writing cheat sheet

Now that we have gone through the four LEAP research paper writing steps, I hope you have a good idea of how to write a research paper. It can be an enjoyable process and once you get the hang of it, the four LEAP writing steps should even help you think about and interpret the research results. This process should enable you to write a well-structured, concise, and compelling research paper.

Have fund with writing your next research paper. I hope it will turn out great!

Learn writing papers that get cited

The LEAP writing approach is a blueprint for writing research papers. But to be efficient and write papers that get cited, you need more than that.

My name is Martins Zaumanis and in my interactive course Research Paper Writing Masterclass I will show you how to  visualize  your research results,  frame a message  that convinces your readers, and write  each section  of the paper. Step-by-step.

And of course – you will learn to respond the infamous  Reviewer No.2.

Research Paper Writing Masterclass by Martins Zaumanis

Hey! My name is Martins Zaumanis and I am a materials scientist in Switzerland ( Google Scholar ). As the first person in my family with a PhD, I have first-hand experience of the challenges starting scientists face in academia. With this blog, I want to help young researchers succeed in academia. I call the blog “Peer Recognized”, because peer recognition is what lifts academic careers and pushes science forward.

Besides this blog, I have written the Peer Recognized book series and created the Peer Recognized Academy offering interactive online courses.

Related articles:

Six journal selection steps

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Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

paper writing steps

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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Referencing in Word

Can you help me with a full paper template for this Abstract:

Background: Energy and sports drinks have gained popularity among diverse demographic groups, including adolescents, athletes, workers, and college students. While often used interchangeably, these beverages serve distinct purposes, with energy drinks aiming to boost energy and cognitive performance, and sports drinks designed to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical exertion.

Objective: To assess the nutritional quality of energy and sports drinks in Egypt.

Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study assessed the nutrient contents, including energy, sugar, electrolytes, vitamins, and caffeine, of sports and energy drinks available in major supermarkets in Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza, Egypt. Data collection involved photographing all relevant product labels and recording nutritional information. Descriptive statistics and appropriate statistical tests were employed to analyze and compare the nutritional values of energy and sports drinks.

Results: The study analyzed 38 sports drinks and 42 energy drinks. Sports drinks were significantly more expensive than energy drinks, with higher net content and elevated magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Energy drinks contained higher concentrations of caffeine, sugars, and vitamins B2, B3, and B6.

Conclusion: Significant nutritional differences exist between sports and energy drinks, reflecting their intended uses. However, these beverages’ high sugar content and calorie loads raise health concerns. Proper labeling, public awareness, and responsible marketing are essential to guide safe consumption practices in Egypt.

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Knowing how to write an essay can help you out significantly in both, your academic and professional life. An essay is a highly versatile nonfiction piece of writing that not only tests your knowledge of a topic but also your literary and argumentative skills.     

Each essay requires the same basic process of planning, writing, and editing. Naturally, we’ve used these stages to group our steps on how to write an essay. So w ithout further ado, let’s get into it! Here are the eight steps to write an essay:

Stage 1: Planning

1. Pick an appropriate research topic

In certain cases, your teacher or professor may assign you a topic. However, in many cases, students have the freedom to select a topic of their choice. Make sure you choose a topic that you’re well versed in and have significant knowledge of. 

Having prior knowledge of the topic will help you determine the subsequent steps to write an essay. It will also make your research process considerably easier.

2. Form an appropriate thesis statement

A thesis statement is the central idea or premise your essay is based on. It is usually a sentence or two long and is included in the introduction of the essay. The scope of your thesis statement depends on the type of your essay and its length.

For instance, the scope of the thesis statement for a 500–1000 word school essay will be narrower than a 1000–5000 word college essay. A rule of thumb is that your essay topic should be broad enough to gather enough information, but narrow enough to address specific points and not be vague. Here’s an example: 

The invention of the airplane by the Wright Brothers in 1903 revolutionized transportation and paved the way for modern aviation. It represents a monumental achievement in human history that forever changed the course of human civilization.

3. Create an essay outline

Creating a well-organized essay outline not only gives structure and flow to your essay but also makes it more impactful and easy to understand. The idea is to collect the main points of information that support or elaborate on your thesis statement. You can also include references or examples under these main points. 

For example, if your thesis statement revolves around the invention of the airplane, your main points will include travel before the invention of the airplane, how it was invented, and its effects on modern-day travel. Take a look:

The Wright Brothers’ invention had a massive impact on modern-day travel. The subsequent growth of the aviation industry led to increased accessibility of air travel to the general public.

Stage 2: Writing

4. Write a comprehensive introduction

After creating the basic outline, it is important to know how to write an essay. Begin your essay by introducing your voice and point of view to the reader. An introduction is usually a paragraph or two long and consists of three main parts:

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

Let’s better understand this with the help of an example:

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane in 1903 revolutionized the way humans travel and explore the world. Prior to this invention, transportation relied on trains, boats, and cars, which limited the distance and speed of travel. However, the airplane made air travel a reality, allowing people to reach far-off destinations in mere hours. This breakthrough paved the way for modern-day air travel, transforming the world into a smaller, more connected place. In this essay, we will explore the impact of the Wright Brothers’ invention on modern-day travel, including the growth of the aviation industry, increased accessibility of air travel to the general public, and the economic and cultural benefits of air travel.

Let’s understand how to construct each of these sections in more detail.

A. Construct an attractive hook

The opening sentence of an essay, also known as the hook, should include a powerful or startling statement that captures the reader’s attention. Depending on the type of your essay, it can be an interesting fact, a surprising statistic, or an engaging anecdote. 

B. Provide relevant background information

While writing the introduction, it’s important to provide context or background information before including the thesis statement. The background information may include the time before a groundbreaking invention, the pros and cons of a significant discovery, or the short- and long-term effects of an event.

C. Edit the thesis statement

If you’ve constructed your thesis statement during the outlining stage, it’s time to edit it based on the background information you’ve provided. Observe the slight changes we’ve made to the scope of the thesis statement in the example above. This accommodates the bits of information we’ve provided in the background history.

5. Form relevant body paragraphs

Body paragraphs play a crucial role in supporting and expanding the central argument presented in the thesis statement. The number of body paragraphs depends on the type of essay as well as the scope of the thesis statement.

Most school-level essays contain three body paragraphs while college-level essays can vary in length depending on the assignment.

A well-crafted body paragraph consists of the following parts:

  • A topic sentence
  • Supporting information
  • An analysis of the information
  • A smooth transition to the next paragraph

Let’s understand this with the help of an example. 

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane revolutionized air travel. They achieved the first-ever successful powered flight with the Wright Flyer in 1903, after years of conducting experiments and studying flight principles. Despite their first flight lasting only 12 seconds, it was a significant milestone that paved the way for modern aviation. The Wright Brothers’ success can be attributed to their systematic approach to problem-solving, which included numerous experiments with gliders, the development of a wind tunnel to test their designs, and meticulous analysis and recording of their results. Their dedication and ingenuity forever changed the way we travel, making modern aviation possible.

Here’s a detailed overview of how to construct each of these sections.

A. Construct appropriate topic sentences

A topic sentence is the title of the body paragraph that elaborates on the thesis statement. It is the main idea on which the body paragraph is developed. Ensure that each topic sentence is relevant to the thesis statement and makes the essay flow seamlessly. 

The order of topic sentences is key in creating an impactful essay. This order varies depending on the type of essay you choose to write. These sentences may be arranged chronologically, in the order of importance, or in a cause-and-effect format.

B. Provide supporting information

It is necessary to provide relevant supporting information and evidence to validate your topic statement. This may include examples, relevant statistics, history, or even personal anecdotes.

You should also remember to cite your sources wherever you use them to substantiate your arguments. Always give researchers and authors credit for their work!

C. Analyze the supporting information

After presenting the appropriate evidence, the next step is to conduct an in-depth analysis. Establish connections and provide additional details to strengthen the link between your topic sentence and the supporting information. 

Depending on the type of essay, this step may also involve sharing your subjective opinions and key takeaways.

D. Create a smooth transition

In case you plan to create multiple body paragraphs, it is crucial to create a seamless transition between them. Transitional statements not only make the essay less jarring to read but also guide the reader in the right direction.

However, these statements need not be too lengthy and complicated. Use words such as “however”, “in addition to”, and “therefore” to convey transitions.

6. Construct an impactful conclusion

An impactful conclusion creates a lasting impression on the mind of the reader. Although it varies in length depending on the specific essay, the conclusion is typically a paragraph long.

It consists of

  • A restated thesis statement
  • Summary of the main points
  • The broader implications of the thesis statement

Here’s an example of a well-structured conclusion:

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane forever changed history by paving the way for modern aviation and countless aerospace advancements. Their persistence, innovation, and dedication to problem-solving led to the first successful powered flight in 1903, sparking a revolution in transportation that transformed the world. Today, air travel remains an integral part of our globalized society, highlighting the undeniable impact of the Wright Brothers’ contribution to human civilization.  

Let’s take a closer look at how to construct each of these sections.

A. Restate the thesis statement

Your conclusion should call back to your original argument or thesis statement.

However, this does not mean repeating the thesis statement as is. The essence of your argument should remain the same, but it should also be modified and evolved as per the information presented in your essay.

B. Summarize important points

A powerful conclusion not only lingers in the reader’s mind but also provokes thought. You can create a strong impression on the reader by highlighting the most impactful points of your essay.

C. State the greater implications

End your essay with the most powerful and impactful part: the larger perspective. This can‌ include a question you’d like to leave the reader with, the broader implications and impact of your thesis statement, or the long-term, lingering effects of your experience. 

Make sure to include no new evidence or arguments, or to undermine your findings in any way. 

Stage 3: Editing

7. Review your essay

Knowing how to write an essay is just one part of essay writing. Properly reviewing and editing your essay is just as important. Make sure to spend enough time going over your essay and adding any bits of information that you’ve missed. 

This is also a good time to make minor structural changes in your essay.

8. Thoroughly proofread your essay

After making the necessary structural changes, recheck your essay word by word. It is important to not only correct major grammatical and spelling errors but also minor errors regarding the phrasing or tone of voice.

You can either choose to do this by yourself, ask a friend for assistance, or hire an essay proofreading service to go over your writing. To construct a fool-proof, error-free essay, it is helpful to have a trained pair of eyes go over it. Professional proofreaders can spot errors that are not visible to most people and set the right tone for your essay. 

Now that you know the basics of how to write an essay, it’s time to learn about the specifics. Feel free to dig into the articles below and keep reading!

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How to Write a Research Paper

Mastering the Art of Research Paper Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

Undergrads often write research papers each semester, causing stress. Yet, it’s simpler than believing if you know how to write a research paper . Divide the task, get tips, a plan, and tools for an outstanding paper. Simplify research, writing, topic choice, and illustration use!

A research paper is an academic document that involves deep, independent research to offer analysis, interpretation, and argument. Unlike academic essays, research papers are lengthier and more detailed, aiming to evaluate your writing and scholarly research abilities. To write one, you must showcase expertise in your subject, interact with diverse sources, and provide a unique perspective to the discussion. 

Research papers are a foundational element of contemporary science and the most efficient means of disseminating knowledge throughout a broad network. Nonetheless, individuals usually encounter research papers during their education; they are frequently employed in college courses to assess a student’s grasp of a specific field or their aptitude for research. 

Given their significance, research papers adopt a research paper format – a formal, unadorned style that eliminates any subjective influence from the writing. Scientists present their discoveries straightforwardly, accompanied by relevant supporting proof, enabling other researchers to integrate the paper into their investigations.

This guide leads you through every steps to write a research paper , from grasping your task to refining your ultimate draft and will teach you how to write a research paper.

Understanding The Research Paper

A research paper is a meticulously structured document that showcases the outcomes of an inquiry, exploration, or scrutiny undertaken on a specific subject. It embodies a formal piece of academic prose that adds novel information, perspectives, or interpretations to a particular domain of study. Typically authored by scholars, researchers, scientists, or students as part of their academic or professional pursuits, these papers adhere to a well-defined format. This research paper format encompasses an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. 

The introduction provides context and outlines the study’s significance, while the literature review encapsulates existing research and situates the study within the broader academic discourse. The methodology section elucidates the research process, encompassing data collection and analysis techniques. Findings are presented in the results section, often complemented by graphical and statistical representations. Interpretation of findings, implications, and connection to existing knowledge transpire in the discussion section. 

Ultimately, the conclusion encapsulates pivotal discoveries and their wider import.

Research papers wield immense significance in advancing knowledge across diverse disciplines, enabling researchers to disseminate findings, theories, and revelations to a broader audience. Before publication in academic journals or presentations at conferences, these papers undergo a stringent peer review process conducted by domain experts, ensuring their integrity, precision, and worth.

Academic and non-academic research papers diverge across several dimensions. Academic papers are crafted for scholarly circles to expand domain knowledge and theories. They maintain a formal, objective tone and heavily rely on peer-reviewed sources for credibility. In contrast, non-academic papers, employing a more flexible writing style, target a broader audience or specific practical goals. These papers might incorporate persuasive language, anecdotes, and various sources beyond academia. While academic papers rigorously adhere to structured formats and established citation styles, non-academic papers prioritize practicality, adapting their structure and citation methods to suit the intended readership.

The purpose of a research paper revolves around offering fresh insights, knowledge, or interpretations within a specific field. This formal document serves as a conduit for scholars, researchers, scientists, and students to communicate their investigative findings and actively contribute to the ongoing academic discourse.

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Research Paper Writing Process – How To Write a Good Research Paper

Selecting a suitable research topic .

Your initial task is to thoroughly review the assignment and carefully absorb the writing prompt’s details. Pay particular attention to technical specifications like length, formatting prerequisites (such as single- vs. double-spacing, indentation, etc.), and the required citation style. Also, pay attention to specifics, including an abstract or a cover page.

Once you’ve a clear understanding of the assignment, the subsequent steps to write a research paper are aligned with the conventional writing process. However, remember that research papers have rules, adding some extra considerations to the process.

When given some assignment freedom, the crucial task of choosing a topic rests on you. Despite its apparent simplicity, this choice sets the foundation for your entire research paper, shaping its direction. The primary factor in picking a research paper topic is ensuring it has enough material to support it. Your chosen topic should provide ample data and complexity for a thorough discussion. However, it’s important to avoid overly broad subjects and focus on specific ones that cover all relevant information without gaps. Yet, approach topic selection more slowly; choosing something that genuinely interests you is still valuable. Aim for a topic that meets both criteria—delivering substantial content while maintaining engagement.

Conducting Thorough Research 

Commence by delving into your research early to refine your topic and shape your thesis statement. Swift engagement with available research aids in dispelling misconceptions and unveils optimal paths and strategies to gather more material. Typically, research sources can be located either online or within libraries. When navigating online sources, exercise caution and opt for reputable outlets such as scientific journals or academic papers. Specific search engines, outlined below in the Tools and Resources section, exclusively enable exploring accredited sources and academic databases.

While pursuing information, it’s essential to differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources entail firsthand accounts, encompassing published articles or autobiographies, while secondary sources, such as critical reviews or secondary biographies, are more distanced. Skimming sources instead of reading each part proves more efficient during the research phase. If a source shows promise, set it aside for more in-depth reading later. Doing so prevents you from investing excessive time in sources that won’t contribute substantively to your work. You should present a literature review detailing your references and submit them for validation in certain instances. 

Organizing And Structuring The Research Paper

According to the research paper format , an outline for a research paper is a catalogue of essential topics, arguments, and evidence you intend to incorporate. These elements are divided into sections with headings, offering a preliminary overview of the paper’s structure before commencing the writing process. Formulating a structural outline can significantly enhance writing efficiency, warranting an investment of time to establish one.

Start by generating a list encompassing crucial categories and subtopics—a preliminary outline. Reflect on the amassed information while gathering supporting evidence, pondering the most effective means of segregation and categorization.

Once a discussion list is compiled, deliberate on the optimal information presentation sequence and identify related subtopics that should be placed adjacent. Consider if any subtopic loses coherence when presented out of order. Adopting a chronological arrangement can be suitable if the information follows a straightforward trajectory.

Given the potential complexity of research papers, consider breaking down the outline into paragraphs. This aids in maintaining organization when dealing with copious information and provides better control over the paper’s progression. Rectifying structural issues during the outline phase is preferable to addressing them after writing.

Remember to incorporate supporting evidence within the outline. Since there’s likely a substantial amount to include, outlining helps prevent overlooking crucial elements.

Writing The Introduction

According to the research paper format , the introduction of a research paper must address three fundamental inquiries: What, why, and how? Upon completing the introduction, the reader should clearly understand the paper’s subject matter, its relevance, and the approach you’ll use to construct your arguments.

What? Offer precise details regarding the paper’s topic, provide context, and elucidate essential terminology or concepts.

Why? This constitutes the most crucial yet challenging aspect of the introduction. Endeavour to furnish concise responses to the subsequent queries: What novel information or insights do you present? Which significant matters does your essay assist in defining or resolving?

How? To provide the reader with a preview of the paper’s forthcoming content, the introduction should incorporate a “guide” outlining the upcoming discussions. This entails briefly outlining the paper’s principal components in chronological sequence.

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Developing The Main Body 

One of the primary challenges that many writers grapple with is effectively organizing the wealth of information they wish to present in their papers. This is precisely why an outline can be an invaluable tool. However, it’s essential to recognize that while an outline provides a roadmap, the writing process allows flexibility in determining the order in which information and arguments are introduced.

Maintaining cohesiveness throughout the paper involves anchoring your writing to the thesis statement and topic sentences. Here’s how to ensure a well-structured paper:

  • Alignment with Thesis Statement: Regularly assess whether your topic sentences correspond with the central thesis statement. This ensures that your arguments remain on track and directly contribute to the overarching message you intend to convey.
  • Consistency and Logical Flow: Review your topic sentences concerning one another. Do they follow a logical order that guides the reader through a coherent narrative? Ensuring a seamless flow from one topic to another helps maintain engagement and comprehension.
  • Supporting Sentence Alignment: Each sentence within a paragraph should align with the topic sentence of that paragraph. This alignment reinforces the central idea, preventing tangential or disjointed discussions.

Additionally, identify paragraphs that cover similar content. While some overlap might be inevitable, it’s essential to approach shared topics from different angles, offering fresh insights and perspectives. Creating these nuanced differences helps present a well-rounded exploration of the subject matter.

An often-overlooked aspect of effective organization is the art of crafting smooth transitions. Transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and larger sections are the glue that holds your paper together. They guide the reader through the progression of ideas, enhancing clarity and creating a seamless reading experience.

Ultimately, while the struggle to organize information is accurate, employing these strategies not only aids in addressing the challenge but also contributes to the overall quality and impact of your writing.

Crafting A Strong Conclusion 

The purpose of the research paper’s conclusion is to guide your reader out of the realm of the paper’s argument, leaving them with a sense of closure.

Trace the paper’s trajectory, underscoring how all the elements converge to validate your thesis statement. Impart a sense of completion by ensuring the reader comprehends the resolution of the issues introduced in the paper’s introduction.

In addition, you can explore the broader implications of your argument, outline your paper’s contributions to future students studying the subject, and propose questions that your argument raises—ones that might not be addressed in the paper itself. However, it’s important to avoid:

  • Introducing new arguments or crucial information that wasn’t covered earlier.
  • Extending the conclusion unnecessarily.
  • Employing common phrases that signal the decision (e.g., “In conclusion”).

By adhering to these guidelines, your conclusion can serve as a fitting and impactful conclusion to your research paper, leaving a lasting impression on your readers.

Refining The Research Paper

  • Editing And Proofreading 

Eliminate unnecessary verbiage and extraneous content. In tandem with the comprehensive structure of your paper, focus on individual words, ensuring your language is robust. Verify the utilization of active voice rather than passive voice, and confirm that your word selection is precise and tangible.

The passive voice, exemplified by phrases like “I opened the door,” tends to convey hesitation and verbosity. In contrast, the active voice, as in “I opened the door,” imparts strength and brevity.

Each word employed in your paper should serve a distinct purpose. Strive to eschew the inclusion of surplus words solely to occupy space or exhibit sophistication.

For instance, the statement “The author uses pathos to appeal to readers’ emotions” is superior to the alternative “The author utilizes pathos to appeal to the emotional core of those who read the passage.”

Engage in thorough proofreading to rectify spelling, grammatical, and formatting inconsistencies. Once you’ve refined the structure and content of your paper, address any typographical and grammatical inaccuracies. Taking a break from your paper before proofreading can offer a new perspective.

Enhance error detection by reading your essay aloud. This not only aids in identifying mistakes but also assists in evaluating the flow. If you encounter sections that seem awkward during this reading, consider making necessary adjustments to enhance the overall coherence.

  • Formatting And Referencing 

Citations are pivotal in distinguishing research papers from informal nonfiction pieces like personal essays. They serve the dual purpose of substantiating your data and establishing a connection between your research paper and the broader scientific community. Given their significance, citations are subject to precise formatting regulations; however, the challenge lies in the existence of multiple sets of rules.

It’s crucial to consult the assignment’s instructions to determine the required formatting style. Generally, academic research papers adhere to either of two formatting styles for source citations:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Moreover, aside from MLA and APA styles, occasional demands might call for adherence to CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style), AMA (American Medical Association), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) formats.

Initially, citations might appear intricate due to their numerous regulations and specific details. However, once you become adept at them, citing sources accurately becomes almost second nature. It’s important to note that each formatting style provides detailed guidelines for citing various sources, including photographs, websites, speeches, and YouTube videos.

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Tips For Writing An Effective Research Paper 

By following these research paper writing tips , you’ll be well-equipped to create a well-structured, well-researched, and impactful research paper:

  • Select a Clear and Manageable Topic: Choose a topic that is specific and focused enough to be thoroughly explored within the scope of your paper.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research: Gather information from reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and credible websites. Take thorough notes to keep track of your sources.
  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the main argument or purpose of your paper.
  • Develop a Well-Structured Outline: Organize your ideas into a logical order by creating an outline that outlines the main sections and their supporting points.
  • Compose a Captivating Introduction: Hook the reader with an engaging introduction that provides background information and introduces the thesis statement.
  • Provide Clear and Relevant Evidence: Support your arguments with reliable and relevant evidence, such as statistics, examples, and expert opinions.
  • Maintain Consistent Tone and Style: Keep a consistent tone and writing style throughout the paper, adhering to the formatting guidelines of your chosen citation style.
  • Craft Coherent Paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or point, and transitions should smoothly guide the reader from one idea to the next.
  • Use Active Voice: Write in the active voice to make your writing more direct and engaging.
  • Revise and Edit Thoroughly: Proofread your paper for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and sentence structure. Revise for clarity and coherence.
  • Seek Peer Feedback: Have a peer or instructor review your paper for feedback and suggestions.
  • Cite Sources Properly: Accurately cite all sources using the required citation style (e.g., MLA, APA) to avoid plagiarism and give credit to original authors.
  • Be Concise and Avoid Redundancy: Strive for clarity by eliminating unnecessary words and redundancies.
  • Conclude Effectively: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Provide a sense of closure without introducing new ideas.
  • Stay Organized: Keep track of your sources, notes, and drafts to ensure a structured and organized approach to the writing process.
  • Proofread with Fresh Eyes: Take a break before final proofreading to review your paper with a fresh perspective, helping you catch any overlooked errors.
  • Edit for Clarity: Ensure that your ideas are conveyed clearly and that your arguments are easy to follow.
  • Ask for Feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from peers, instructors, or writing centers to improve your paper further.

In conclusion, we’ve explored the essential steps to write a research paper . From selecting a focused topic to mastering the intricacies of citations, we’ve navigated through the key elements of this process.

It’s vital to recognize that adhering to the research paper writing tips is not merely a suggestion, but a roadmap to success. Each stage contributes to the overall quality and impact of your paper. By meticulously following these steps, you ensure a robust foundation for your research, bolster your arguments, and present your findings with clarity and conviction.

As you embark on your own research paper journey, I urge you to put into practice the techniques and insights shared in this guide. Don’t shy away from investing time in organization, thorough research, and precise writing. Embrace the challenge, for it’s through this process that your ideas take shape and your voice is heard within the academic discourse.

Remember, every exceptional research paper begins with a single step. And with each step you take, your ability to articulate complex ideas and contribute to your field of study grows. So, go ahead – apply these tips, refine your skills, and witness your research papers evolve into compelling narratives that inspire, inform, and captivate.

In the grand tapestry of academia, your research paper becomes a thread of insight, woven into the larger narrative of human knowledge. By embracing the writing process and nurturing your unique perspective, you become an integral part of this ever-expanding tapestry.

Happy writing, and may your research papers shine brightly, leaving a lasting mark on both your readers and the world of scholarship.

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Mastering the art of essay writing – a comprehensive guide.

How write an essay

Essay writing is a fundamental skill that every student needs to master. Whether you’re in high school, college, or beyond, the ability to write a strong, coherent essay is essential for academic success. However, many students find the process of writing an essay daunting and overwhelming.

This comprehensive guide is here to help you navigate the intricate world of essay writing. From understanding the basics of essay structure to mastering the art of crafting a compelling thesis statement, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the tools and knowledge you need to write an outstanding essay that will impress your teachers and classmates alike.

So, grab your pen and paper (or fire up your laptop) and let’s dive into the ultimate guide to writing an essay. Follow our tips and tricks, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and confident essay writer!

The Art of Essay Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

Essay writing is a skill that requires practice, patience, and attention to detail. Whether you’re a student working on an assignment or a professional writing for publication, mastering the art of essay writing can help you communicate your ideas effectively and persuasively.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key elements of a successful essay, including how to choose a topic, structure your essay, and craft a compelling thesis statement. We’ll also discuss the importance of research, editing, and proofreading, and provide tips for improving your writing style and grammar.

By following the advice in this guide, you can become a more confident and skilled essay writer, capable of producing high-quality, engaging essays that will impress your readers and achieve your goals.

Understanding the Essay Structure

When it comes to writing an essay, understanding the structure is key to producing a cohesive and well-organized piece of writing. An essay typically consists of three main parts: an introduction, the body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Introduction: The introduction is where you introduce your topic and provide some background information. It should also include your thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument that you will be discussing in the essay.

Body paragraphs: The body of the essay is where you present your supporting evidence and arguments. Each paragraph should focus on a separate point and include evidence to back up your claims. Remember to use transition words to link your ideas together cohesively.

Conclusion: The conclusion is where you wrap up your essay by summarizing your main points and restating your thesis. It is also a good place to make any final thoughts or reflections on the topic.

Understanding the structure of an essay will help you write more effectively and communicate your ideas clearly to your readers.

Choosing the Right Topic for Your Essay

Choosing the Right Topic for Your Essay

One of the most crucial steps in writing a successful essay is selecting the right topic. The topic you choose will determine the direction and focus of your writing, so it’s important to choose wisely. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect topic for your essay:

Choose a topic that you are passionate about or interested in. Writing about something you enjoy will make the process more enjoyable and your enthusiasm will come through in your writing.
Do some preliminary research to see what topics are available and what resources are out there. This will help you narrow down your choices and find a topic that is both interesting and manageable.
Think about who will be reading your essay and choose a topic that will resonate with them. Consider their interests, knowledge level, and any biases they may have when selecting a topic.
Take some time to brainstorm different topic ideas. Write down all the potential topics that come to mind, and then evaluate each one based on relevance, interest, and feasibility.
Try to choose a topic that offers a unique perspective or angle. Avoid overly broad topics that have been extensively covered unless you have a fresh take to offer.

By following these tips and considering your interests, audience, and research, you can choose a topic that will inspire you to write an engaging and compelling essay.

Research and Gathering Information

When writing an essay, conducting thorough research and gathering relevant information is crucial. Here are some tips to help you with your research:

Make sure to use reliable sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Avoid using sources that are not credible or biased.
As you research, take notes on important information that you can use in your essay. Organize your notes so that you can easily reference them later.
Don’t rely solely on one type of source. Utilize a variety of sources to provide a well-rounded perspective on your topic.
Before using a source in your essay, make sure to evaluate its credibility and relevance to your topic. Consider the author’s credentials, publication date, and biases.
Make sure to keep a record of the sources you use in your research. This will help you properly cite them in your essay and avoid plagiarism.

Crafting a Compelling Thesis Statement

When writing an essay, one of the most crucial elements is the thesis statement. This statement serves as the main point of your essay, summarizing the argument or position you will be taking. Crafting a compelling thesis statement is essential for a strong and cohesive essay. Here are some tips to help you create an effective thesis statement:

  • Be specific: Your thesis statement should clearly state the main idea of your essay. Avoid vague or general statements.
  • Make it arguable: A strong thesis statement is debatable and presents a clear position that can be supported with evidence.
  • Avoid clichés: Stay away from overused phrases or clichés in your thesis statement. Instead, strive for originality and clarity.
  • Keep it concise: Your thesis statement should be concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary words or phrases.
  • Take a stand: Your thesis statement should express a clear stance on the topic. Don’t be afraid to assert your position.

By following these guidelines, you can craft a compelling thesis statement that sets the tone for your essay and guides your reader through your argument.

Writing the Body of Your Essay

Once you have your introduction in place, it’s time to dive into the body of your essay. The body paragraphs are where you will present your main arguments or points to support your thesis statement.

Here are some tips for writing the body of your essay:

  • Stick to One Main Idea: Each paragraph should focus on one main idea or argument. This will help keep your essay organized and easy to follow.
  • Use Topic Sentences: Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Provide Evidence: Support your main points with evidence such as facts, statistics, examples, or quotes from experts.
  • Explain Your Points: Don’t just state your points; also explain how they support your thesis and why they are important.
  • Use Transition Words: Use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and create a smooth flow between paragraphs.

Remember to refer back to your thesis statement and make sure that each paragraph contributes to your overall argument. The body of your essay is where you can really showcase your critical thinking and analytical skills, so take the time to craft well-developed and coherent paragraphs.

Perfecting Your Essay with Editing and Proofreading

Perfecting Your Essay with Editing and Proofreading

Editing and proofreading are essential steps in the essay writing process to ensure your work is polished and error-free. Here are some tips to help you perfect your essay:

  • Take a Break: After writing your essay, take a break before starting the editing process. This will help you look at your work with fresh eyes.
  • Focus on Structure: Check the overall structure of your essay, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Make sure your ideas flow logically and cohesively.
  • Check for Clarity: Ensure that your arguments are clear and easy to follow. Eliminate any jargon or confusing language that might obscure your message.
  • Grammar and Punctuation: Review your essay for grammar and punctuation errors. Pay attention to subject-verb agreement, verb tense consistency, and proper punctuation usage.
  • Use a Spell Checker: Run a spell check on your essay to catch any spelling mistakes. However, don’t rely solely on spell checkers as they may miss certain errors.
  • Read Aloud: Read your essay aloud to yourself or have someone else read it to you. This can help you identify awkward phrasing or unclear sentences.
  • Get Feedback: Consider getting feedback from a peer, teacher, or writing tutor. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions for improving your essay.

By following these editing and proofreading tips, you can ensure that your essay is well-crafted, organized, and free of errors, helping you make a strong impression on your readers.

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

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With proper planning, knowledge, and framework, completing a research paper can be a fulfilling and exciting experience. 

Though it might initially sound slightly intimidating, this guide will help you embrace the challenge. 

By documenting your findings, you can inspire others and make a difference in your field. Here's how you can make your research paper unique and comprehensive.

  • What is a research paper?

Research papers allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. These papers are usually lengthier and more detailed than typical essays, requiring deeper insight into the chosen topic.

To write a research paper, you must first choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the field of study. Once you’ve selected your topic, gathering as many relevant resources as possible, including books, scholarly articles, credible websites, and other academic materials, is essential. You must then read and analyze these sources, summarizing their key points and identifying gaps in the current research.

You can formulate your ideas and opinions once you thoroughly understand the existing research. To get there might involve conducting original research, gathering data, or analyzing existing data sets. It could also involve presenting an original argument or interpretation of the existing research.

Writing a successful research paper involves presenting your findings clearly and engagingly, which might involve using charts, graphs, or other visual aids to present your data and using concise language to explain your findings. You must also ensure your paper adheres to relevant academic formatting guidelines, including proper citations and references.

Overall, writing a research paper requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail. However, it is also an enriching experience that allows you to delve deeply into a subject that interests you and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your chosen field.

  • How long should a research paper be?

Research papers are deep dives into a topic. Therefore, they tend to be longer pieces of work than essays or opinion pieces. 

However, a suitable length depends on the complexity of the topic and your level of expertise. For instance, are you a first-year college student or an experienced professional? 

Also, remember that the best research papers provide valuable information for the benefit of others. Therefore, the quality of information matters most, not necessarily the length. Being concise is valuable.

Following these best practice steps will help keep your process simple and productive:

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

Before diving into your intended topic or beginning the research phase, take some time to orient yourself. Suppose there’s a specific topic assigned to you. In that case, it’s essential to deeply understand the question and organize your planning and approach in response. Pay attention to the key requirements and ensure you align your writing accordingly. 

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

Where applicable, speaking to your professor or research supervisor for further clarification

2. Choose your research topic

Select a research topic that aligns with both your interests and available resources. Ideally, focus on a field where you possess significant experience and analytical skills. In crafting your research paper, it's crucial to go beyond summarizing existing data and contribute fresh insights to the chosen area.

Consider narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of the topic. For example, if exploring the link between technology and mental health, delve into how social media use during the pandemic impacts the well-being of college students. Conducting interviews and surveys with students could provide firsthand data and unique perspectives, adding substantial value to the existing knowledge.

When finalizing your topic, adhere to legal and ethical norms in the relevant area (this ensures the integrity of your research, protects participants' rights, upholds intellectual property standards, and ensures transparency and accountability). Following these principles not only maintains the credibility of your work but also builds trust within your academic or professional community.

For instance, in writing about medical research, consider legal and ethical norms , including patient confidentiality laws and informed consent requirements. Similarly, if analyzing user data on social media platforms, be mindful of data privacy regulations, ensuring compliance with laws governing personal information collection and use. Aligning with legal and ethical standards not only avoids potential issues but also underscores the responsible conduct of your research.

3. Gather preliminary research

Once you’ve landed on your topic, it’s time to explore it further. You’ll want to discover more about available resources and existing research relevant to your assignment at this stage. 

This exploratory phase is vital as you may discover issues with your original idea or realize you have insufficient resources to explore the topic effectively. This key bit of groundwork allows you to redirect your research topic in a different, more feasible, or more relevant direction if necessary. 

Spending ample time at this stage ensures you gather everything you need, learn as much as you can about the topic, and discover gaps where the topic has yet to be sufficiently covered, offering an opportunity to research it further. 

4. Define your research question

To produce a well-structured and focused paper, it is imperative to formulate a clear and precise research question that will guide your work. Your research question must be informed by the existing literature and tailored to the scope and objectives of your project. By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers.

5. Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction. It serves as an overall guide to summarize the overall intent of the research paper for you and anyone wanting to know more about the research.

A strong thesis statement is:

Concise and clear: Explain your case in simple sentences (avoid covering multiple ideas). It might help to think of this section as an elevator pitch.

Specific: Ensure that there is no ambiguity in your statement and that your summary covers the points argued in the paper.

Debatable: A thesis statement puts forward a specific argument––it is not merely a statement but a debatable point that can be analyzed and discussed.

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

Psychology thesis example: "We're studying adults aged 25-40 to see if taking short breaks for mindfulness can help with stress. Our goal is to find practical ways to manage anxiety better."

Environmental science thesis example: "This research paper looks into how having more city parks might make the air cleaner and keep people healthier. I want to find out if more green spaces means breathing fewer carcinogens in big cities."

UX research thesis example: "This study focuses on improving mobile banking for older adults using ethnographic research, eye-tracking analysis, and interactive prototyping. We investigate the usefulness of eye-tracking analysis with older individuals, aiming to spark debate and offer fresh perspectives on UX design and digital inclusivity for the aging population."

6. Conduct in-depth research

A research paper doesn’t just include research that you’ve uncovered from other papers and studies but your fresh insights, too. You will seek to become an expert on your topic––understanding the nuances in the current leading theories. You will analyze existing research and add your thinking and discoveries.  It's crucial to conduct well-designed research that is rigorous, robust, and based on reliable sources. Suppose a research paper lacks evidence or is biased. In that case, it won't benefit the academic community or the general public. Therefore, examining the topic thoroughly and furthering its understanding through high-quality research is essential. That usually means conducting new research. Depending on the area under investigation, you may conduct surveys, interviews, diary studies , or observational research to uncover new insights or bolster current claims.

7. Determine supporting evidence

Not every piece of research you’ve discovered will be relevant to your research paper. It’s important to categorize the most meaningful evidence to include alongside your discoveries. It's important to include evidence that doesn't support your claims to avoid exclusion bias and ensure a fair research paper.

8. Write a research paper outline

Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper. An outline will include your topic, thesis statement, key headings, short summaries of the research, and your arguments.

9. Write your first draft

Once you feel confident about your outline and sources, it’s time to write your first draft. While penning a long piece of content can be intimidating, if you’ve laid the groundwork, you will have a structure to help you move steadily through each section. To keep up motivation and inspiration, it’s often best to keep the pace quick. Stopping for long periods can interrupt your flow and make jumping back in harder than writing when things are fresh in your mind.

10. Cite your sources correctly

It's always a good practice to give credit where it's due, and the same goes for citing any works that have influenced your paper. Building your arguments on credible references adds value and authenticity to your research. In the formatting guidelines section, you’ll find an overview of different citation styles (MLA, CMOS, or APA), which will help you meet any publishing or academic requirements and strengthen your paper's credibility. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your school or the publication you are submitting to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your citations.

11. Ensure your work is original

It is crucial to ensure the originality of your paper, as plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you should use proper paraphrasing and quoting techniques. Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Quoting involves directly citing the source. Giving credit to the original author or source is essential whenever you borrow their ideas or words. You can also use plagiarism detection tools such as Scribbr or Grammarly to check the originality of your paper. These tools compare your draft writing to a vast database of online sources. If you find any accidental plagiarism, you should correct it immediately by rephrasing or citing the source.

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

One of the essential qualities of excellent writers is their ability to understand the importance of editing and proofreading. Even though it's tempting to call it a day once you've finished your writing, editing your work can significantly improve its quality. It's natural to overlook the weaker areas when you've just finished writing a paper. Therefore, it's best to take a break of a day or two, or even up to a week, to refresh your mind. This way, you can return to your work with a new perspective. After some breathing room, you can spot any inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors, typos, or missing citations and correct them. 

  • The best research paper format 

The format of your research paper should align with the requirements set forth by your college, school, or target publication. 

There is no one “best” format, per se. Depending on the stated requirements, you may need to include the following elements:

Title page: The title page of a research paper typically includes the title, author's name, and institutional affiliation and may include additional information such as a course name or instructor's name. 

Table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find specific sections of your paper.

Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the purpose of the paper.

Methods : In this section, describe the research methods used. This may include collecting data , conducting interviews, or doing field research .

Results: Summarize the conclusions you drew from your research in this section.

Discussion: In this section, discuss the implications of your research . Be sure to mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.

Tables, charts, and illustrations: Use tables, charts, and illustrations to help convey your research findings and make them easier to understand.

Works cited or reference page: Include a works cited or reference page to give credit to the sources that you used to conduct your research.

Bibliography: Provide a list of all the sources you consulted while conducting your research.

Dedication and acknowledgments : Optionally, you may include a dedication and acknowledgments section to thank individuals who helped you with your research.

  • General style and formatting guidelines

Formatting your research paper means you can submit it to your college, journal, or other publications in compliance with their criteria.

Research papers tend to follow the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guidelines.

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

CMOS is a versatile style guide used for various types of writing. It's known for its flexibility and use in the humanities. CMOS provides guidelines for citations, formatting, and overall writing style. It allows for both footnotes and in-text citations, giving writers options based on their preferences or publication requirements.

American Psychological Association (APA):

APA is common in the social sciences. It’s hailed for its clarity and emphasis on precision. It has specific rules for citing sources, creating references, and formatting papers. APA style uses in-text citations with an accompanying reference list. It's designed to convey information efficiently and is widely used in academic and scientific writing.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

MLA is widely used in the humanities, especially literature and language studies. It emphasizes the author-page format for in-text citations and provides guidelines for creating a "Works Cited" page. MLA is known for its focus on the author's name and the literary works cited. It’s frequently used in disciplines that prioritize literary analysis and critical thinking.

To confirm you're using the latest style guide, check the official website or publisher's site for updates, consult academic resources, and verify the guide's publication date. Online platforms and educational resources may also provide summaries and alerts about any revisions or additions to the style guide.

Citing sources

When working on your research paper, it's important to cite the sources you used properly. Your citation style will guide you through this process. Generally, there are three parts to citing sources in your research paper: 

First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. 

Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists. 

In-text citations include the author's surname and the date of the citation. 

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your research paper. They may also be summarized within a reference list at the end of the paper. 

A reference list includes all of the research used within the paper at the end of the document. It should include the author, date, paper title, and publisher listed in the order that aligns with your citation style.

10 research paper writing tips:

Following some best practices is essential to writing a research paper that contributes to your field of study and creates a positive impact.

These tactics will help you structure your argument effectively and ensure your work benefits others:

Clear and precise language:  Ensure your language is unambiguous. Use academic language appropriately, but keep it simple. Also, provide clear takeaways for your audience.

Effective idea separation:  Organize the vast amount of information and sources in your paper with paragraphs and titles. Create easily digestible sections for your readers to navigate through.

Compelling intro:  Craft an engaging introduction that captures your reader's interest. Hook your audience and motivate them to continue reading.

Thorough revision and editing:  Take the time to review and edit your paper comprehensively. Use tools like Grammarly to detect and correct small, overlooked errors.

Thesis precision:  Develop a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your paper. Ensure that your thesis aligns with your research's overall purpose and contribution.

Logical flow of ideas:  Maintain a logical progression throughout the paper. Use transitions effectively to connect different sections and maintain coherence.

Critical evaluation of sources:  Evaluate and critically assess the relevance and reliability of your sources. Ensure that your research is based on credible and up-to-date information.

Thematic consistency:  Maintain a consistent theme throughout the paper. Ensure that all sections contribute cohesively to the overall argument.

Relevant supporting evidence:  Provide concise and relevant evidence to support your arguments. Avoid unnecessary details that may distract from the main points.

Embrace counterarguments:  Acknowledge and address opposing views to strengthen your position. Show that you have considered alternative arguments in your field.

7 research tips 

If you want your paper to not only be well-written but also contribute to the progress of human knowledge, consider these tips to take your paper to the next level:

Selecting the appropriate topic: The topic you select should align with your area of expertise, comply with the requirements of your project, and have sufficient resources for a comprehensive investigation.

Use academic databases: Academic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR offer a wealth of research papers that can help you discover everything you need to know about your chosen topic.

Critically evaluate sources: It is important not to accept research findings at face value. Instead, it is crucial to critically analyze the information to avoid jumping to conclusions or overlooking important details. A well-written research paper requires a critical analysis with thorough reasoning to support claims.

Diversify your sources: Expand your research horizons by exploring a variety of sources beyond the standard databases. Utilize books, conference proceedings, and interviews to gather diverse perspectives and enrich your understanding of the topic.

Take detailed notes: Detailed note-taking is crucial during research and can help you form the outline and body of your paper.

Stay up on trends: Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field by regularly checking for recent publications. Subscribe to newsletters, follow relevant journals, and attend conferences to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements. 

Engage in peer review: Seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the rigor and validity of your research . Peer review helps identify potential weaknesses in your methodology and strengthens the overall credibility of your findings.

  • The real-world impact of research papers

Writing a research paper is more than an academic or business exercise. The experience provides an opportunity to explore a subject in-depth, broaden one's understanding, and arrive at meaningful conclusions. With careful planning, dedication, and hard work, writing a research paper can be a fulfilling and enriching experience contributing to advancing knowledge.

How do I publish my research paper? 

Many academics wish to publish their research papers. While challenging, your paper might get traction if it covers new and well-written information. To publish your research paper, find a target publication, thoroughly read their guidelines, format your paper accordingly, and send it to them per their instructions. You may need to include a cover letter, too. After submission, your paper may be peer-reviewed by experts to assess its legitimacy, quality, originality, and methodology. Following review, you will be informed by the publication whether they have accepted or rejected your paper. 

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

Beginning your research paper with a compelling introduction can ensure readers are interested in going further. A relevant quote, a compelling statistic, or a bold argument can start the paper and hook your reader. Remember, though, that the most important aspect of a research paper is the quality of the information––not necessarily your ability to storytell, so ensure anything you write aligns with your goals.

Research paper vs. a research proposal—what’s the difference?

While some may confuse research papers and proposals, they are different documents. 

A research proposal comes before a research paper. It is a detailed document that outlines an intended area of exploration. It includes the research topic, methodology, timeline, sources, and potential conclusions. Research proposals are often required when seeking approval to conduct research. 

A research paper is a summary of research findings. A research paper follows a structured format to present those findings and construct an argument or conclusion.

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Writing a Paper: Writing a Paper

Writing a paper.

The Walden Writing Center staff is dedicated to ensuring your transition to a writing intensive program is a smooth one. In the pages listed on the left you will find all the information you need to master the craft of scholarly writing.

If you are new to scholarly writing, it may be helpful to remember that writing is a process, not an event. Some common steps in the life cycle of a writing project are outlined below. Click each step to access information and resources on that topic, or navigate through our interactive "Life Cycle of a Paper" project at the bottom of the page.

Good luck with your scholarly writing, and if you have questions, Ask OASIS .

Writing Process

Click on each step to find out more about each part of the writing process.

 
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Note that these videos were created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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The Writing Process

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In this section

Subsections.

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.

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How to Write a Paper

Last Updated: April 8, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. There are 11 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. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 323,810 times.

Whether you’re in high school or university, writing papers is probably a big part of your grade for at least some of your classes. Writing an essay on any topic can be challenging and time consuming. But, when you know how to break it down into parts and write each of those parts, it’s much easier! Follow the steps in this article for help writing your next paper from start to finish.

Pre-Writing

Step 1 Choose a topic and research it.

  • If you have an idea for a topic that isn’t listed, feel free to ask your instructor if it would be okay to write about something that isn’t on the list they provided.
  • In some cases, the teacher or professor might just provide an assignment sheet covering the logistics of the paper, but leave the topic choice up to you. If this happens, it can be helpful to come up with a short list of ideas on your own, then choose the best one.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for guidance on choosing a topic if you’re having trouble deciding.

Step 2 Start by analyzing primary sources and looking for points to argue.

  • Note that there are different types of papers including research papers, opinion papers, and analytical essays. All of them need a thesis statement and all of them require you to do research and review various sources in order to write them.

Matthew Snipp, PhD

  • Keep in mind that a thesis is not a topic, a fact, or an opinion. It is an argument based on observations and findings that you are trying to prove in your paper, like a hypothesis statement in a science experiment.

Step 3 Write a brief thesis statement that tells readers what you’re arguing.

  • An example of a thesis statement for a research paper is: “The Soviet Union collapsed because of the ruling class’s inability to tackle the economic problems of the common people.” This tells the reader what point you are going to back up with evidence in the rest of your paper.
  • A thesis statement for an opinion paper might read something like: “Libraries are an essential community resource and as such should receive more funding from local municipal governments.”
  • An analytical essay’s thesis statement could be: “JD Salinger makes heavy use of symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye in order to create feelings of melancholy and uncertainty in the novel.”

Step 4 Make a list of major points to support your thesis as an outline.

  • For example, if your thesis is about why the government needs to do more to protect wetland ecosystems, main supporting points could be: “effects of wetland loss in the US,” “current lack of laws protecting wetlands,” and “benefits of saving wetlands.”
  • These major points form the body of your paper, in between your introduction and your conclusion.

Step 5 Write supporting ideas and arguments under each major point.

  • For example, under a main point that says “employment conditions affect the mental health of workers,” your sub-points might be: “high levels of stress are directly related to mental health” and “workers in low-skill positions tend to have higher levels of stress.”

Step 1 Start the introduction...

  • For example, you could write something like: “Did you know that cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest?”

Step 2 State the specific topic of your paper.

  • For example, you might write something like: “It’s common for apps and social media to be demonized as a waste of time and brain space, but not all such technology should be considered mindless entertainment. In fact, many apps and social media networks can be used for educational and academic purposes.”

Step 3 End the intro with your thesis statement.

  • Make sure the background information about your topic that you include in your intro flows nicely into your thesis.

Step 4 Discuss your major points in detail in the body of your paper.

  • Think of each paragraph as kind of a mini essay in and of itself. Each paragraph should be a self-contained chunk of information that relates to the overall topic and thesis of your paper.
  • Supporting evidence can be things like statistics, data, facts, and quotes from your sources

Step 5 Connect your body paragraphs in a logical way.

  • For example, put a paragraph about the reasons behind the collapse of the Soviet Union before a paragraph about the changes to Eastern European societies in the 90s, because the collapse of the Soviet Union directly led to many of those changes.
  • If your first body paragraph discusses the extent of deforestation in the Amazon over the past decade, and your second paragraph is going to explain how that affects animal extinction, state the shift in focus by writing something like: “The deforestation of the Amazon over the last decade has resulted in a drastic reduction of natural habitats for many species.”

Step 6 Start your conclusion...

  • For example, if your thesis in your intro was “The use of technology can benefit children because it improves developmental skills,” restate it something like this: “The use of technology contributes to children’s well-rounded development from a young age.”

Step 7 Sum up your main supporting points and how they support your argument.

  • For example, you might write something like: “Deforestation is directly linked to climate change and increasingly extreme weather across the world, which is why global governments must take more action to stop illegal logging.”

Step 8 End by stating what the significance of your argument is.

  • For example, say something like: “Ignoring the realities of deforestation and climate change has grave implications for all of us. If we don’t start putting more pressure on governments to act, your children or grandchildren will be living in a very different world from that which we inhabit today.”

Citing Sources

Step 1 Write an MLA-style works cited page for humanities papers.

  • Humanities subjects include language arts and cultural studies.
  • Note that these are just the basic rules for writing an MLA-style works cited page. For a full list of rules regarding all things MLA and citations, refer to an MLA handbook.
  • Note that there is some crossover between certain subjects, in which case more than 1 style of works cited or reference page may be acceptable.
  • Always review your assignment rubric or ask your professor which style of citations they prefer before writing your reference or works cited page.

Step 2 Cite references in...

  • Social sciences include psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
  • Refer to an APA style guide for complete rules about how to list different types of sources.

Step 3 Cite sources in...

  • Check a Chicago Manual of Style for more specific instructions about citations.
  • Note that Chicago style is more commonly used for published works. If you’re a student, your professor might instruct you to use MLA format for your papers.

Revising, Editing, and Proofreading

Step 1 Analyze your paper and eliminate unnecessary information.

  • Anywhere from a few hours to a day is a good amount of time to wait before you start revising your paper. The point is to come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.
  • If you can, get a roommate, a family member, a friend, or a classmate to read your paper too. Ask them for advice on ways you could make your argument and your evidence more clear or relevant.
  • Here are 3 questions to ask yourself as you read each sentence and piece of information in your paper: Is this really worth saying? Does this say what I want it to say? Will readers understand what I’m saying?

Step 2 Tighten and clean up the language.

  • It helps to read your paper out loud as you do this. Listen for awkward pauses, phrases, and sentence structure, and revise them so the writing flows better.
  • Try copying and pasting your essay into the free online tool called “Hemingway.” The app suggests many different ways to make your writing clearer, more direct, and more readable.

Step 3 Edit for repetition and look for better words to use.

  • Take this sentence as an example: “The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the collapse of local governments and economies across Eastern Europe.” Instead of using “collapse” twice, replace the second instance with “crumbling.”

Step 4 Proofread for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

  • It’s also a good idea to paste your paper into a third-party tool, like Grammarly, for a final spelling and grammar check. Not every program catches everything, so it’s better to be on the safe side!

Sample Research Papers

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Sample Essays

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Expert Q&A

Matthew Snipp, PhD

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  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis
  • ↑ Matthew Snipp, PhD. Research Fellow, U.S. Bureau of the Census. Expert Interview. 26 March 2020.
  • ↑ https://library.piedmont.edu/c.php?g=521348&p=3564584
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/introductions-conclusions
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html
  • ↑ https://aut.ac.nz.libguides.com/APA6th/referencelist
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/

About This Article

Matthew Snipp, PhD

To write a paper, review the assignment sheet and rubric, and begin your research. Decide what you want to argue in your paper, and form it into your thesis statement, which is a sentence that sums up your argument and main points. Make an outline of the argument, and then start writing the introduction to the paper, which grabs your reader's attention and states the thesis. Then, include at least 3 paragraphs of supporting evidence for your argument, which makes up the body of the paper. Finally, end the paper with a conclusion that wraps up your points and restate your thesis. For tips from our academic reviewer on refining your paper and making a strong argument, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Although has been studied in detail, insufficient attention has been paid to . You will address a previously overlooked aspect of your topic.
The implications of study deserve to be explored further. You will build on something suggested by a previous study, exploring it in greater depth.
It is generally assumed that . However, this paper suggests that … You will depart from the consensus on your topic, establishing a new position.

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:

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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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Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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The Five Steps of Writing an Essay

Mastering these steps will make your words more compelling

  • Tips For Adult Students
  • Getting Your Ged

paper writing steps

  • B.A., English, St. Olaf College

Knowing how to write an essay is a skill that you can use throughout your life. The ability to organize ideas that you use in constructing an essay will help you write business letters, company memos, and marketing materials for your clubs and organizations.

Anything you write will benefit from learning these simple parts of an essay:

  • Purpose and Thesis

Introduction

Body of information.

Here are five steps to make it happen:

Purpose/Main Idea

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Before you can start writing, you must have an idea to write about. If you haven't been assigned a topic, it's easier than you might think to come up with one of your own.

Your best essays will be about things that light your fire. What do you feel passionate about? What topics do you find yourself arguing for or against? Choose the side of the topic you are "for" rather than "against" and your essay will be stronger.

Do you love gardening? Sports? Photography? Volunteering? Are you an advocate for children? Domestic peace? The hungry or homeless? These are clues to your best essays.

Put your idea into a single sentence. This is your thesis statement , your main idea.

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Choose a title for your essay that expresses your primary idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb.

Your title should make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.

Here are a few ideas:

  • America Needs Better Health Care Now
  • The Use of the Mentor Archetype in _____
  • Who Is the She-Conomy?
  • Why DJ Is the Queen of Pedicures
  • Melanoma: Is It or Isn't It?
  • How to Achieve Natural Balance in Your Garden
  • Expect to Be Changed by Reading _____

Some people will tell you to wait until you have finished writing to choose a title. Other people find that writing a title helps them stay focused. You can always review your title when you've finished the essay to ensure that it's as effective as it can be.

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Your introduction is one short paragraph, just a sentence or two, that states your thesis (your main idea) and introduces your reader to your topic. After your title, this is your next best chance to hook your reader. Here are some examples:

  • Women are the chief buyers in 80 percent of America's households. If you're not marketing to them, you should be.
  • Take another look at that spot on your arm. Is the shape irregular? Is it multicolored? You could have melanoma. Know the signs.
  • Those tiny wasps flying around the blossoms in your garden can't sting you. Their stingers have evolved into egg-laying devices. The wasps, busying finding a place to lay their eggs, are participating in the balance of nature.

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The body of your essay is where you develop your story or argument. Once you have finished your research and produced several pages of notes, go through them with a highlighter and mark the most important ideas, the key points.

Choose the top three ideas and write each one at the top of a clean page. Now go through your notes again and pull out supporting ideas for each key point. You don't need a lot, just two or three for each one.

Write a paragraph about each of these key points, using the information you've pulled from your notes. If you don't have enough for one, you might need a stronger key point. Do more research  to support your point of view. It's always better to have too many sources than too few.

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You've almost finished. The last paragraph of your essay is your conclusion. It, too, can be short, and it must tie back to your introduction.

In your introduction, you stated the reason for your paper. In your conclusion, you should summarize how your key points support your thesis. Here's an example:

  • By observing the balance of nature in her gardens, listening to lectures, and reading everything she can get her hands on about insects and native plants, Lucinda has grown passionate about natural balance. "It's easy to get passionate if you just take time to look," she says.

If you're still worried about your essay after trying on your own, consider hiring an essay editing service. Reputable services will edit your work, not rewrite it. Choose carefully. One service to consider is Essay Edge .

Good luck! The next essay will be easier.

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  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay in 8 Quick Steps

Literary Analysis Essay

A good literary analysis involves more than just summarizing a story or poem. It's about digging deep into the text to understand its themes, characters, and writing techniques. In this article, we'll explore how to do just that. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the game, these tips will help you learn how to write a literary analysis essay that'll impress your readers. Let's dive in!

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?

Writing a good literary analysis is like taking a closer look at a painting to understand what makes it beautiful. In this section, we'll break down the steps to help you write a literary analysis essay on a book or poem. We'll explore things like characters, themes, and writing style so you can really understand what the author is trying to say. If you’re in a hurry, our experts can write paper for you overnight according to your particular instructions.

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?

Choose Your Original

Select a source that intrigues you or one assigned by your instructor. Opt for a work that resonates with you emotionally or intellectually, as this connection will fuel your evaluation and keep you engaged throughout the process. Whether it's a classic novel, a contemporary poem, or a play, ensure that the content is rich in themes, characters, and stylistic devices to provide ample material for scrutinizing.

Read Carefully and Analyze

Once you've chosen your source, read it attentively, making notes on significant passages, character developments, and recurring themes. Pay close attention to the author's writing style, language choices, and penmanship devices such as imagery, symbolism, and foreshadowing. Analyze how these elements contribute to the overall meaning and impact of the original, and consider how they evoke emotions or convey the author's message to the reader. If you need critical analysis essay examples , here are some compelling samples for your inspiration and motivation.

Formulate a Thesis Statement

After thoroughly analyzing the text, formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that encapsulates your interpretation or claim about the work. Your thesis should assert a specific claim or perspective regarding the work's meaning, theme, or literature elements, providing a roadmap for your composition and guiding your reader's understanding of your assignment's purpose.

Develop Your Argument

With your thesis statement in mind, develop a coherent argument supporting your text interpretation. Draw on evidence from the original, including quotations, plot details, and character interactions, to substantiate your claims and illustrate your examination. Consider how each piece of evidence contributes to your overall argument and use it to build a persuasive case for your interpretation of the material. By the way, you can ask our experts, ‘ do my PowerPoint presentation ,’ and our specialists will address such an assignment, too.

Need a Quality Literary Analysis Fast?

Our literature writers are the best experts for the job!

Outline Your Document

Create a detailed outline that organizes your ideas and evidence logically and sequentially. Divide your paper into an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, each addressing a specific aspect of your exploration. Outline the main points you'll discuss in each paragraph and the evidence you'll use to support them, ensuring a clear and structured progression of ideas throughout your document.

Write Your Introduction

Begin with an engaging introduction that provides context for your brainstorming and introduces your thesis statement to the reader. Hook your audience with an intriguing opening line or a thought-provoking question, then provide background information about the document and its author to orient your reader. Finally, present your thesis, outlining the main points you'll address in your speculation and setting the stage for the rest of your work.

Craft Your Body Paragraphs

In the main body, develop each point of your argument in separate paragraphs, providing evidence from the work to support your claims. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea or statement of the paragraph, then follow it with evidence from the original, such as quotations or textual survey, to illustrate and substantiate your point. Analyze each piece of evidence in relation to your thesis, explaining how it supports your interpretation of the source and contributes to your overall argument.

Conclude Thoughtfully

Finally, conclude your assignment with a thoughtful conclusion summarizing your arguments and reinforcing your thesis. Review the main points you've discussed in your paper, highlighting your key insights or discoveries about the text. Avoid introducing new information or arguments in your conclusion; reiterate the significance of your research and its broader implications for understanding the manuscript. End your work with a compelling closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on your reader and encourages further reflection on the work's meaning and significance. Shop for an essay for sale if both your schedule and budget are tight.

Is Your Literary Analysis Deadline Too Short?

Keep calm and use a professional service!

paper writing steps

What Is a Literary Analysis Essay?

It is a type of academic writing that examines and interprets a work, such as a novel, poem, or play. It aims to delve into the deeper layers of the text to uncover its themes, characters, symbolism, and stylistic devices.

What Is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

The purpose of this essay is to critically analyze a piece of literature, providing insights into its meaning, significance, and artistic techniques employed by the author. By dissecting the elements of the text, the paper seeks to understand how they contribute to the overall message or purpose of the work.

How to Start off a Literary Analysis Essay?

To start off such an essay, begin by introducing the work and its author, providing context for the research. Then, craft a thesis statement that presents your interpretation or claim about the source's meaning or significance. Finally, outline the main points you'll address in your document to guide the reader through your composition.

  • the how-to section was made more specific;
  • added FAQs.
  • https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/HOWTOWRITEALITERARYANALYSISESSAY_10.15.07_001.pdf
  • https://germanna.edu/sites/default/files/2022-03/Literary%20Analysis.pdf

SAT Essay

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Workshop titled “First Steps in Research: Research Paper Writing for Beginners”

On 24th May 2024, AIUB Computer Club organized a workshop named “First Steps in Research: Research Paper Writing for Beginners” at 8:00 PM via Microsoft Teams. The workshop was conducted by Md. Saef Ullah Miah ( Assistant Professor and Program Assessor at IQAC-AIUB ).  He is also a former president of the AIUB computer club.

Mr. Mirza Saikat Ahmmed (Assistant General Secretary, AIUB Computer Club) extended a warm welcome to Mr. Miah to commence the workshop.  The primary objective of the workshop was to guide beginners through the process of writing a research paper and to impart knowledge on the key aspects of effective research writing.  Mr. Miah initiated the session by expressing his gratitude to the attendees and proceeded to provide an overview of the research process, defining the concept of research. In easy words, he explained that research is discovering new information and how impactful it can be for society. The speaker outlined the general categories of research and provided a brief overview of each type of research paper, emphasizing the importance of having one’s work reviewed by a community of distinguished individuals actively engaged in research. He then addressed that “peer review” is very important in writing a research paper and talked about the importance of writing a research paper which is to apply for a master's degree abroad. Furthermore, Mr. Miah underscored the critical role of ‘peer review’ in the research paper writing process. He also discussed the relevance of publishing research papers, particularly for those aspiring to pursue a master’s degree abroad. He also stated that publishing research is crucial for gaining experience as a researcher and for achieving recognition within the academic community.

Mr. Miah did a quick review of the workshop to assess the understanding of the participants by taking a short quiz. Following the recap quiz, he discussed five methods for writing a research paper, with a particular focus on conference paper writing. He explained that conference paper writing is often more approachable than journal writing, making it a suitable starting point for beginners interested in research. He then outlined the common elements of a research paper, including the Title, Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and References.

The speaker also provided guidance on the step-by-step process of writing a conference paper. Through a Google Form, participants were able to gain individual insights into each step of writing a conference paper. Mr. Miah facilitated an interactive session, assisting participants as they selected their topics. The next step involved searching for information using tools such as Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library, and Elsevier. He demonstrated the use of these tools with practical examples, showing how they make information readily accessible.

Mr. Miah further discussed how journals’ online pages are available in two formats: open-access and paywall. He noted that conference papers are often behind paywalls. He then demonstrated how to locate desired research papers using Google Scholar, Research Rabbit, and ResearchGate, and guided participants on discovering recent research papers, suggesting that Research Rabbit is often more relevant than Google Scholar. He introduced tools for research paper writing, such as Elicit, Research Rabbit, and Google Scholar, and described the step-by-step process of writing a conference paper, starting with formulating a research question or hypothesis and then designing the methodology. He covered data finding and primary data collection, continuing the interactive session by explaining each step in detail.

In the meantime,  Mr. Abhijit Bhowmik  ( Special Assistant for the Office of Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Computer Science at AIUB ) joined the workshop expressed his appreciation to Mr. Miah for conducting such an informative session for the students. He also acknowledged Mr. Miah’s past contributions as the founder and president of the AIUB Computer Club. Mr. Bhowmik then motivated and encouraged those who were extremely interested in doing research work in the future. The speaker mentioned that there will be a detailed workshop in the future on tools for research work. He discussed the use of Microsoft Word, the most popular tool for writing papers, and emphasized the importance of revising work with online tools like Grammarly. He advised seeking feedback from peers and professional researchers and provided overall feedback on the conference paper submission process.

The honorable speaker , Md. Saef Ullah Miah wrapped up the workshop with a beneficial Q&A session. Mr. Ahmmed then took the floor to express gratitude to the speaker and thanked everyone for attending the informative workshop. The workshop was open to all the students. Around one hundred and ninety people joined the workshop and showed their enthusiasm. The workshop proved to be highly informative, covering the fundamental steps of writing a research paper for beginners.

Post Title

  • The D.C. Brief

Calls for Biden to Step Aside Are About to Get Deafening

This article is part of The D.C. Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox.

For Democrats who tuned into Thursday night’s debate looking to calm their worries about President Joe Biden’s age and acuity, they came away with zero remedy. Within 10 minutes of the CNN-hosted event’s start, some of even Biden’s most loyal supporters found themselves asking if the nomination was, in fact, settled.

How bad was it? Vice President Kamala Harris rushed to join the clean-up, booking late-night cable appearances.

“Yes, there was a slow start but a strong finish,” said Harris, whose prospects for replacing her boss on the top of the ticket were getting hard scrutiny in real time as the debate unfolded. “Listen, people can debate on style points, but ultimately, this election and who is the President of the United States has to be about substance, and the contrast is clear,” she said on CNN in a show of unity with her boss.

At times jarring and deserving of double-takes, the evening left Democratic insiders gobsmacked . His campaign team tried to mask the disaster but there was no denying things did not go as planned. And with a painful 53 days until Democrats have their next big night in front of a national audience with the opening of their nominating convention in Chicago, the fumbling impression left Thursday evening is going to be the image that endures for a stretch.

Biden has faced pivotal nights like this before, the most analogous being his March State of the Union. Then, as now, voters were looking more at Biden’s performance than substance. The fears about the President’s capabilities faded somewhat when Biden nailed that performance. No one would say anything close to that on Thursday.

At times seeming to seize up and at others appearing confused, Biden rambled his way through a 90-minute session against former President Donald Trump. While it evened-out as the night progressed and Biden loosened up, the initial burst of anxiety among Democrats was not the prototypical bed-wetting that the President’s inner circle has proven adept at brushing off. The split-screen was impossible to ignore: Trump was not only more restrained than is typical for him, but he looked steadier even as he dodged specific questions in favor of populist platitudes.

Read more : Trump’s Debate Strategy Was to Let Biden Bury Himself

Biden took the stage with small, slow steps. He often steadied himself with both hands on his lectern. He looked down during some uncomfortable moments, appearing to zone out. And some of his answers veered wildly away from their intended marks, such as his invocation of Americans murdered by those in the country illegally. The question in play? About abortion rights.

"I spent half my career being criticized for being the youngest,” Biden said when asked directly about his age. Then, unprompted, he started talking about computer chips. “This guy is three years younger and a lot less competent,” he said of Trump.

There are some facts that no performance—even a flawless one—can erase or reverse. These are the two oldest presumptive nominees in history. The presidency takes a toll on everyone, and both men moved into the Oval Office as not-young men. At the time of their first head-to-head debate in 2020, they seemed like patrician party elders trying to steady a nation wrecked by a pandemic. Four years have not helped either look younger, and there is no denying that Biden, in particular, looks a little less steady, his voice a bit thinner, his jabs a little duller. Certainly, this Biden is not the man who stopped the panic inside Democratic circles in 2012 after Barack Obama’s objectively terrible first debate against Mitt Romney. 

The stakes for such an evening are always high. Americans are facing a choice between an 81-year-old sage with a literal senatorial vein and forgetful streak or a 78-year-old blowhard dragging behind him felony convictions and looming indictments. At the core of the decision is one posed by Ronald Reagan in the lone debate of the 1980 presidential race: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Read More : Our Exclusive Interview with President Joe Biden

The debate comes at a moment of a tight campaign, with Trump narrowly leading in most national polls and sitting stronger in the handful of states that will ultimately decide the race. Trump has narrowed Biden’s fundraising advantage and seems to have paid no real price for his 34 felony convictions in New York. And, it’s not exactly a secret even among Biden’s biggest defenders that the incumbent needed to knock it out of the park on Thursday .  

"I really don't know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either,” Trump said in an early moment that thwacked hard. “We’re trying to justify his presidency,” he said later.

Biden’s showing did little to remedy that reality. Message chains among Washington Democrats devolved as the night unfolded into crippling anxiety. “Unintelligible must have been the [closed captioning],” one senior Democrat strategist mused. “It would have been the most honest.”

Panic is not too strong of a word to describe some of those conversations . More than a few text chains were asking who knew the Democratic National Committee rules about how a nominee is locked in. Every elder strategist who still hopes to be part of the Biden orbit seemed to have found themselves on flights Thursday evening, unable to comment because they claimed they weren’t even watching.

Trump is, at his core, a showman with few beliefs of his own. Biden, who has a half-century of debating under his belt and spent a week secluded at Camp David practicing for the debate, did not put on a matching spectacle. Instead, Biden tried to prosecute the fact-based case against Trump while his predecessor danced around the specifics and hurled invective back across the eight-foot gap between the men.

“He gets paid by China. He’s a Manchurian candidate,” Trump said.

A cheap shot, sure. But it’s one that rings much louder than almost anything Biden had at the ready. 

“If he wins this election, our country doesn’t stand a chance,” Trump said, reverting to vague warnings. 

A disturbing echo of that sentiment kept coming through: if Biden remains the nominee, Democrats might not, either.

There were still small reasons for Democrats to hold out hope, however faint. Trump remains a petty figure who continues to insist the 2020 election was rigged and thus illegitimate. He continues to vow retribution against those who he thinks wronged him. “Joe could be a convicted felon,” Trump said. “This man is a criminal.” And Trump—who is a convicted felon—continued to hurl inaccurate statements and fling innuendo all while flagrantly misrepresenting his own histories.

"The only person on this stage that is a convicted felon is the man I am looking at right now,” Biden said.

Biden also tried to fact-check Trump and landed some rehearsed barbs. “You have the morals of an alley cat,” Biden said in one honed line, ticking through a litany of Trump’s history.

But Biden’s rejoinders were no match for Trump’s antagonism. It was clear Biden had prepared, but he suffered from the curse of someone who memorizes a script without understanding any of its subtext. To summon the words he hammered home, he often appeared to be staring off into space.

Trump, meanwhile, just showed up and was himself with a coded appeal to his base supporters.

“You’ve destroyed the lives of so many people,” Trump said, accusing Biden of ruining the lives of innocent individuals connected to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He continued to insist that the protestors who sacked Capitol Hill were escorted in by police. And, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump continued to indulge in the Big Lie that he had actually won but the results were rigged.

“There’s no evidence at all,” Biden said.

He was right. But that’s the norm when it comes to Trump. What isn’t the norm—at least not to most Americans—is seeing a President seeming to sleepwalk through 90 minutes of live television.

Make sense of what matters in Washington. Sign up for the D.C. Brief newsletter .

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Hillary Clinton: I’ve Debated Trump and Biden. Here’s What I’m Watching For.

Facing away from each other, Hillary Rodham Clinton stands onstage on the left and Donald Trump stands on the right.

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Mrs. Clinton was the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

Last week I had the time of my life at the Tony Awards introducing a song from “Suffs,” the Broadway musical I co-produced about the suffragists who won women the right to vote. I was thrilled when the show took home the awards for best original score and best book.

From “Suffs” to “Hamilton,” I love theater about politics. But not the other way around. Too often we approach pivotal moments like this week’s debate between President Biden and Donald Trump like drama critics. We’re picking a president, not the best actor.

I am the only person to have debated both men (Mr. Trump in 2016 and, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race, Mr. Biden). I know the excruciating pressure of walking onto that stage and that it is nearly impossible to focus on substance when Mr. Trump is involved. In our three debates in 2016, he unleashed a blizzard of interruptions, insults and lies that overwhelmed the moderators and did a disservice to the voters who tuned in to learn about our visions for the country — including a record 84 million viewers for our first debate.

It is a waste of time to try to refute Mr. Trump’s arguments like in a normal debate. It’s nearly impossible to identify what his arguments even are. He starts with nonsense and then digresses into blather. This has gotten only worse in the years since we debated. I was not surprised that after a recent meeting, several chief executives said that Mr. Trump, as one journalist described it, “could not keep a straight thought” and was “all over the map.” Yet expectations for him are so low that if he doesn’t literally light himself on fire on Thursday evening, some will say he was downright presidential.

Mr. Trump may rant and rave in part because he wants to avoid giving straight answers about his unpopular positions, like restrictions on abortion, giving tax breaks to billionaires and selling out our planet to big oil companies in return for campaign donations. He interrupts and bullies — he even stalked me around the stage at one point — because he wants to appear dominant and throw his opponent off balance.

These ploys will fall flat if Mr. Biden is as direct and forceful as he was when engaging Republican hecklers at the State of the Union address in March. The president also has facts and truth on his side. He led America’s comeback from a historic health and economic crisis, with more than 15 million jobs created so far, incomes for working families rising, inflation slowing and investments in clean energy and advanced manufacturing soaring. He’ll win if that story comes through.

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  8. Ultimate Guide to Writing an Essay: Tips and Tricks

    Here are some tips for writing the body of your essay: Stick to One Main Idea: Each paragraph should focus on one main idea or argument. This will help keep your essay organized and easy to follow. Use Topic Sentences: Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

  9. How to Write a Research Paper

    8. Write a research paper outline. Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper.

  10. Writing a Paper

    Some common steps in the life cycle of a writing project are outlined below. Click each step to access information and resources on that topic, or navigate through our interactive "Life Cycle of a Paper" project at the bottom of the page. Good luck with your scholarly writing, and if you have questions, Ask OASIS.

  11. How to Write a Research Paper: A Step by Step Writing Guide

    Along with Meredith Harris, Mitchell Allen. Hannah, a writer and editor since 2017, specializes in clear and concise academic and business writing. She has mentored countless scholars and companies in writing authoritative and engaging content. Writing a research paper is made easy with our 7 step guide. Learn how to organize your thoughts ...

  12. How to Write a Research Paper

    This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics. "Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College) This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which ...

  13. The Writing Process

    The Writing Process. These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the ...

  14. Writing a Research Paper

    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.

  15. A Complete Guide to the Writing Process: 6 Stages of Writing

    A Complete Guide to the Writing Process: 6 Stages of Writing. Every writer works in a different way. Some writers work straight through from beginning to end. Others work in pieces they arrange later, while others work from sentence to sentence. Understanding how and why you write the way you do allows you to treat your writing like the job it ...

  16. 6 Ways to Write a Paper

    Pre-Writing. Download Article. 1. Choose a topic and research it. Typically, your teacher or instructor provides a list of topics to choose from for an essay. Read the assignment rubric, make sure you understand it, and pick a topic that interests you and that you think you can write a strong paper about. [1]

  17. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    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.

  18. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new ...

  19. How to Write a Research Paper: 11-Step Guide

    Step 2: Organize Your Schedule. Once you've read the rubric, note in your planner or on your calendar when your research paper is due. Then, make a schedule so that you can accomplish this task in small steps rather than over the course of one (likely stressful) night. Having a plan in place can help you feel better and write a stronger ...

  20. Writing a Paper

    Just get your thoughts on paper. Draft an introduction that grabs your reader's attention, states your topic, and explains the point of your paper. Write body paragraphs that logically support your thesis statement. Put the information you researched into your own words. Draft a conclusion that reflects on and summarizes the main points of ...

  21. How to Write an Essay in 5 Steps

    Title. STOCK4B-RF / Getty Images. Choose a title for your essay that expresses your primary idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb. Your title should make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.

  22. 2024 Personal Essay Writing Challenge: Next Steps

    Step 2: Revise the Personal Essays. Use the month of July to revise and tweak what you've written for the challenge. Maybe try combining a couple essays into one essay, or insert dialogue, description, or whatever else you wish to try.

  23. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay in 8 Quick Steps

    In this section, we'll break down the steps to help you write a literary analysis essay on a book or poem. We'll explore things like characters, themes, and writing style so you can really understand what the author is trying to say. If you're in a hurry, our experts can write paper for you overnight according to your particular instructions.

  24. Workshop titled "First Steps in Research: Research Paper Writing for

    Wednesday 26 June 2024. On 24th May 2024, AIUB Computer Club organized a workshop named "First Steps in Research: Research Paper Writing for Beginners" at 8:00 PM via Microsoft Teams. The workshop was conducted by Md. Saef Ullah Miah (Assistant Professor and Program Assessor at IQAC-AIUB).He is also a former president of the AIUB computer club.

  25. Calls for Biden to Step Aside Are About to Get Deafening

    Calls for Biden to step aside are about to get deafening after a debate that left Democratic insiders gobsmacked, writes Philip Elliott for The D.C. Brief.

  26. Opinion

    Last week I had the time of my life at the Tony Awards introducing a song from "Suffs," the Broadway musical I co-produced about the suffragists who won women the right to vote.