write the research paper

  • December 1, 2022
  • Academic Advice

How To Write a Research Paper: The Ultimate Guide 

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Manaferra Content

Regardless of the degree or program, you enroll in, writing research papers is inevitable. The process can seem daunting due to the time and effort it takes. But with the proper approach, you’ll make it. 

This article will guide you on how to write a research paper perfectly, including how to write a thesis statement for a research paper, how to write a conclusion for a research paper, etc. More specifically, there are nine steps you need to follow to pave the way to a successfully written research paper.

But before that, let’s learn what a research paper is.

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper can be considered an extended version of an essay. The research paper aims to present your interpretation, argument, or evaluation. In contrast to essays, research papers are more complex and require deep research on a particular matter. Research papers are characterized by the inclusivity of the presentation of other scientists’ opinions.

A research paper is more than a summary, collection of other sources, or literature review. At its core, the research paper analyzes and argues your point of view, further backed up by other studies. 

Completing a research paper is a challenging task. But, with our help, you can start and build your way to a good end. Let’s get started!

How To Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper sounds easy; you pick the topic, develop your argument, research what other studies have said, and conclude it. Those are the general rules. But writing a successful research paper requires you to be more attentive, consistent, and detailed. 

The following steps will guide you through a more detailed process of writing a research paper. 

Get familiar with the assignment

Writing a research paper takes more than just listening to the instruction while your professor explains. Because many students are not cautious enough to carefully listen and analyze every given step, they end up with a poorly graded assignment or, in the worst case, even fail. 

Spend some time reading every instruction, and when in doubt, ask questions! Professors are always open to answering any questions you might have.

Choose a topic for your research paper

Deciding on a topic is usually time-consuming since there are so many topics available. If you need help deciding on a topic, think about what you are passionate about, but always remember to stay within the lines of the instructions. When choosing a topic, keep the following in mind:

Do the research and take notes

Now it’s time to research what different scholars have written about the topic. Since this step requires a lot of reading and comprehension, it’s crucial to know how to read scholarly articles effectively and efficiently. The pieces you will go through will be lengthy, and sometimes only a few parts within those papers will be helpful. That’s why it is essential to skim and scan. 

Secondly, find reliable sources. Visit sites such as Google Scholar, and focus on peer-reviewed articles since they contain information that has been reviewed and evaluated. 

Next, keep track of what you have read so far. It’s vital to save everything you have read and consider influential in one place. Instead of going back and forth between different sites, you can have everything in one place. You can bookmark the sources or link those sources to a document. That will save you valuable time when you start writing. 

And remember: always stay focused and within your topic area.

Formulate your thesis statement

Research until you reach your own opinion or argument on the topic, otherwise known as a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an introductory statement that puts forward your explanation or point within the paper. When formulating a thesis statement, remember the following:

Checking in with your professor after you have developed a clear, persuasive thesis statement can be helpful. Ask them whether they agree your thesis statement is the right one. And if you get a positive answer, you’re ready for the next step.

Create an outline for your research paper


Even if it’s not required by your instructor, creating an outline will help you greatly in the long run. A structure will simplify the writing process, regardless of length or complexity. It should contain detailed information for the arrangement of each paragraph and identify the smaller components per each paragraph in order, such as the introductory sentence and the supporting evidence. 

The outline will create a visual board and help you define what to include and where. And most importantly, in this part, you can identify possible mistakes and not have them in your drafts.

Write your first draft

And now you’ve made it to the real deal. The work you’ve done till this point matters a lot. If you succeed in having a good topic, a strong thesis with backup evidence, and an already structured paper, half of the job is already done—you just have to fill in the blanks at this point. 

As you first start writing, remember that this is the first draft. Trust your memory and avoid going between sources and your paper. This way, you can prevent plagiarism and be original instead. Start with the introduction and the body, and work through a conclusion.


Introductions to research papers are always unique. It is the part where you set up the topic and hook your reader. Additionally, you must provide background to the existing research, position your approach, and put forward the thesis statement. Furthermore, you need to explain why your topic deserves immediate attention.

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An introduction highlights all you’ve gathered from your research. While it may seem fine to write the introduction first, we suggest you focus on the body of the paper first. Then you’ll find it simple to build a clear summary.

This is the longest part of the research paper. You are required to support your thesis and build the argument, followed by citations and analysis.

Place the paragraphs in a logical arrangement so each key point flows naturally to the next one. Similarly, organize the sentences in each paragraph in an organic structure. If you have carefully arranged your notes and created an outline, your thoughts will automatically fall into place when you write your draft.

After introducing your topic and arguing your points, the conclusion will bring everything together. Focus on developing a stimulating and informative conclusion. Make it possible for readers to understand it independently from the rest of the paper.

These are some of the suggestions that will lead to a well-written conclusion:

Write your second draft

Usually, the first draft is followed by a second one. However, before proceeding with the process, highlight the errors and points you would prefer to avoid including in the final draft. With the help of a second draft, you will be able to notice mistakes and create a definitive outline for the final draft. Furthermore, you can communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively by creating multiple drafts.

Cite sources and prepare a bibliography

Citations are what characterize the research paper. The importance of citations lies in reliability: citing sources will make your writing more reliable. But how do you cite correctly? The problem is that there is more than just a set of rules. If your professor has set no rules, you can ask them. After being given the right instructions on what citation style to use, do plenty of research and make sure to cite correctly. 

Edit, edit, and edit some more


Now it’s time to strive for perfection. Start editing with a fresh perspective. Firstly, focus on the content. It would be beneficial to create a checklist you can follow. You can produce a list that follows the instructions of your professor. If everything checks right, you can submit it. Otherwise, you’ll need to work toward perfecting the paper. Here are some things you need to check: 

It is also crucial to edit for grammar. Plenty of online tools, such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, can help you during the process. You can also ask your peers to check it after you’ve done your part. Their fresh perspective will pick up on many things you might have missed.

The Bottom Line

Writing a research paper is one of the essential parts of academics. The process might seem straightforward, but there are many steps you should carefully follow. And remember: always stay on track with your progress; otherwise, you will get lost in tasks. 

We hope by the time you have read this guide, you’ve been able to pick up the essential parts. But if you haven’t, you can go through it again.

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11.1 The Purpose of Research Writing

Learning objectives.

Why was the Great Wall of China built? What have scientists learned about the possibility of life on Mars? What roles did women play in the American Revolution? How does the human brain create, store, and retrieve memories? Who invented the game of football, and how has it changed over the years?

You may know the answers to these questions off the top of your head. If you are like most people, however, you find answers to tough questions like these by searching the Internet, visiting the library, or asking others for information. To put it simply, you perform research.

Whether you are a scientist, an artist, a paralegal, or a parent, you probably perform research in your everyday life. When your boss, your instructor, or a family member asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, you locate relevant information, analyze your findings, and share your results. Locating, analyzing, and sharing information are key steps in the research process, and in this chapter, you will learn more about each step. By developing your research writing skills, you will prepare yourself to answer any question no matter how challenging.

Reasons for Research

When you perform research, you are essentially trying to solve a mystery—you want to know how something works or why something happened. In other words, you want to answer a question that you (and other people) have about the world. This is one of the most basic reasons for performing research.

But the research process does not end when you have solved your mystery. Imagine what would happen if a detective collected enough evidence to solve a criminal case, but she never shared her solution with the authorities. Presenting what you have learned from research can be just as important as performing the research. Research results can be presented in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular—and effective—presentation forms is the research paper . A research paper presents an original thesis, or purpose statement, about a topic and develops that thesis with information gathered from a variety of sources.

If you are curious about the possibility of life on Mars, for example, you might choose to research the topic. What will you do, though, when your research is complete? You will need a way to put your thoughts together in a logical, coherent manner. You may want to use the facts you have learned to create a narrative or to support an argument. And you may want to show the results of your research to your friends, your teachers, or even the editors of magazines and journals. Writing a research paper is an ideal way to organize thoughts, craft narratives or make arguments based on research, and share your newfound knowledge with the world.

Write a paragraph about a time when you used research in your everyday life. Did you look for the cheapest way to travel from Houston to Denver? Did you search for a way to remove gum from the bottom of your shoe? In your paragraph, explain what you wanted to research, how you performed the research, and what you learned as a result.

Research Writing and the Academic Paper

No matter what field of study you are interested in, you will most likely be asked to write a research paper during your academic career. For example, a student in an art history course might write a research paper about an artist’s work. Similarly, a student in a psychology course might write a research paper about current findings in childhood development.

Having to write a research paper may feel intimidating at first. After all, researching and writing a long paper requires a lot of time, effort, and organization. However, writing a research paper can also be a great opportunity to explore a topic that is particularly interesting to you. The research process allows you to gain expertise on a topic of your choice, and the writing process helps you remember what you have learned and understand it on a deeper level.

Research Writing at Work

Knowing how to write a good research paper is a valuable skill that will serve you well throughout your career. Whether you are developing a new product, studying the best way to perform a procedure, or learning about challenges and opportunities in your field of employment, you will use research techniques to guide your exploration. You may even need to create a written report of your findings. And because effective communication is essential to any company, employers seek to hire people who can write clearly and professionally.

Writing at Work

Take a few minutes to think about each of the following careers. How might each of these professionals use researching and research writing skills on the job?

A medical laboratory technician or information technology professional might do research to learn about the latest technological developments in either of these fields. A small business owner might conduct research to learn about the latest trends in his or her industry. A freelance magazine writer may need to research a given topic to write an informed, up-to-date article.

Think about the job of your dreams. How might you use research writing skills to perform that job? Create a list of ways in which strong researching, organizing, writing, and critical thinking skills could help you succeed at your dream job. How might these skills help you obtain that job?

Steps of the Research Writing Process

How does a research paper grow from a folder of brainstormed notes to a polished final draft? No two projects are identical, but most projects follow a series of six basic steps.

These are the steps in the research writing process:

Each of these steps will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter. For now, though, we will take a brief look at what each step involves.

Step 1: Choosing a Topic

As you may recall from Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , to narrow the focus of your topic, you may try freewriting exercises, such as brainstorming. You may also need to ask a specific research question —a broad, open-ended question that will guide your research—as well as propose a possible answer, or a working thesis . You may use your research question and your working thesis to create a research proposal . In a research proposal, you present your main research question, any related subquestions you plan to explore, and your working thesis.

Step 2: Planning and Scheduling

Before you start researching your topic, take time to plan your researching and writing schedule. Research projects can take days, weeks, or even months to complete. Creating a schedule is a good way to ensure that you do not end up being overwhelmed by all the work you have to do as the deadline approaches.

During this step of the process, it is also a good idea to plan the resources and organizational tools you will use to keep yourself on track throughout the project. Flowcharts, calendars, and checklists can all help you stick to your schedule. See Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , Section 11.2 “Steps in Developing a Research Proposal” for an example of a research schedule.

Step 3: Conducting Research

When going about your research, you will likely use a variety of sources—anything from books and periodicals to video presentations and in-person interviews.

Your sources will include both primary sources and secondary sources . Primary sources provide firsthand information or raw data. For example, surveys, in-person interviews, and historical documents are primary sources. Secondary sources, such as biographies, literary reviews, or magazine articles, include some analysis or interpretation of the information presented. As you conduct research, you will take detailed, careful notes about your discoveries. You will also evaluate the reliability of each source you find.

Step 4: Organizing Research and the Writer’s Ideas

When your research is complete, you will organize your findings and decide which sources to cite in your paper. You will also have an opportunity to evaluate the evidence you have collected and determine whether it supports your thesis, or the focus of your paper. You may decide to adjust your thesis or conduct additional research to ensure that your thesis is well supported.

Remember, your working thesis is not set in stone. You can and should change your working thesis throughout the research writing process if the evidence you find does not support your original thesis. Never try to force evidence to fit your argument. For example, your working thesis is “Mars cannot support life-forms.” Yet, a week into researching your topic, you find an article in the New York Times detailing new findings of bacteria under the Martian surface. Instead of trying to argue that bacteria are not life forms, you might instead alter your thesis to “Mars cannot support complex life-forms.”

Step 5: Drafting Your Paper

Now you are ready to combine your research findings with your critical analysis of the results in a rough draft. You will incorporate source materials into your paper and discuss each source thoughtfully in relation to your thesis or purpose statement.

When you cite your reference sources, it is important to pay close attention to standard conventions for citing sources in order to avoid plagiarism , or the practice of using someone else’s words without acknowledging the source. Later in this chapter, you will learn how to incorporate sources in your paper and avoid some of the most common pitfalls of attributing information.

Step 6: Revising and Editing Your Paper

In the final step of the research writing process, you will revise and polish your paper. You might reorganize your paper’s structure or revise for unity and cohesion, ensuring that each element in your paper flows into the next logically and naturally. You will also make sure that your paper uses an appropriate and consistent tone.

Once you feel confident in the strength of your writing, you will edit your paper for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and formatting. When you complete this final step, you will have transformed a simple idea or question into a thoroughly researched and well-written paper you can be proud of!

Review the steps of the research writing process. Then answer the questions on your own sheet of paper.

Key Takeaways

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How to Write a Research Paper: The Ultimate Guide

write the research paper

Research papers are an essential part of any academic journey. Whether you’re in high school or pursuing a doctoral degree, writing a research paper is a vital skill to have. It requires careful planning, critical thinking, and effective communication skills. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper.

research paper writing

Table of Contents

Step 1: Choose a Topic

The first step in writing a research paper is to choose a topic that interests you. The topic should be relevant to your field of study and should be something that you are passionate about. Start by brainstorming a list of potential topics and then narrow down the list to a specific area of interest. You can also consult with your instructor or advisor for guidance on choosing a topic.

Step 2: Conduct Research

Once you have selected a topic, the next step is to conduct research. Start by gathering information from reliable sources such as books, academic journals, and reputable websites. Take notes as you read and organize the information according to its relevance to your topic.

Step 3: Develop a Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the main idea of your research paper. It should be a clear, concise statement that summarizes the purpose of your research. Your thesis statement should be located in the introduction section of your research paper.

Step 4: Create an Outline

An outline is a roadmap for your research paper. It helps you organize your thoughts and ideas and ensures that your paper flows logically. Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each section should have a clear purpose and should be supported by evidence from your research.

Step 5: Write the Introduction

The introduction is the first section of your research. It should grab the reader’s attention and provide a brief overview of your research topic . The introduction should end with your thesis statement.

Step 6: Write the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you present your research findings and provide evidence to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on a specific idea or argument and should be supported by evidence from your research. Be sure to cite your sources properly using the appropriate citation style.

Step 7: Write the Conclusion

The conclusion is the final section of your research paper. It should summarize your main findings and restate your thesis statement in a new way. The conclusion should also provide a call to action or a suggestion for further research.

Step 8: Revise and Edit

Once you have completed the first draft of your research paper, it’s time to revise and edit. Start by reading your paper aloud to identify any awkward sentences or unclear ideas. Make sure that your paper flows logically and that your ideas are well-supported by evidence. Check your citations to ensure that they are accurate and formatted correctly.

Step 9: Proofread

Proofreading is the final step in the writing process. It involves checking your paper for spelling and grammar errors. You can use a spelling and grammar checker or enlist the help of a friend or colleague to proofread your paper for you.

Step 10: Submit Your Paper

Congratulations! You have completed your research paper. Before submitting your paper, double-check that you have followed all of the instructions provided by your instructor or advisor. Make sure that your paper is formatted correctly and that your citations are accurate.

Tips for Writing a Successful Research Paper

Start Early: Research papers take time and effort to complete. Start early to avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you have enough time to conduct thorough research.

Use Reliable Sources: Use reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites to gather information for your research paper.

Organize Your Thoughts: Use an outline to organize your thoughts and ideas and ensure that your paper flows logically.

Mistakes to avoid while writing a research paper:

Writing a research paper can be a challenging task, and there are several mistakes that one should avoid while writing to ensure that the paper is well-written, well-structured, and informative. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Lack of Clarity: Your paper should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid using complicated language or jargon that may confuse the reader. Write in a way that is easily understood by the intended audience.

Poor Organization: Organize your paper in a logical and coherent way. Ensure that your paper has a clear and concise introduction, body, and conclusion. Your ideas should flow logically from one paragraph to another.

Lack of Research: Ensure that you have conducted adequate research and have cited your sources appropriately. Failure to conduct thorough research can lead to incomplete or inaccurate information.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious offense and can result in severe consequences. Ensure that you have cited all your sources properly and have not copied content from other sources without permission.

Inaccurate Data: Ensure that you have used accurate data in your research. Inaccurate data can invalidate your research and make your paper less credible.

Poor Editing: Ensure that you proofread your paper and edit it carefully before submission. Poor editing can lead to mistakes, errors, and a poorly written paper.

Lack of Focus: Ensure that your research paper has a clear focus and does not stray off-topic. Staying focused can make your research more coherent and informative.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your research is well-written, informative, and has a greater chance of being accepted by journals and other publications.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

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Writing a Research Paper

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The pages in this section provide detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.

The Research Paper

There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.

Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.

The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:

The Research Paper

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Table of Contents

A major of the film course presents various opportunities for students, and one has to know what they are interested in as this knowledge determines their future career life.

The major in film studies cover various issues. For instance, this field comprises of the different study areas in film education. Furthermore, it is a broad area of learning ranging from writing scripts and screenplays to lighting a stage. It also includes camera equipment to directing videos. Although there are various things that I would like to know; I still have a series of questions concerning the major. To begin with, what are the different study areas in film studies? What courses are there likely to be part of every study area? What does each study area entail and where can I apply the knowledge in the career industry? Is film production the same as television studies for a film industry specialization? Therefore, there are various study areas for a film specialty, and each area of specialization may need students to be passionate about them so that they can succeed in their studies and future as well.

Notecards have been useful to screen writers as they help in the development of various scenes of a script. Each notecard is used to represent a different scene. Additionally, they are useful for those scripts with an action sequence as they highlight the actions for a particular scene. Below are samples of notecards a screen writer would use.

Notably, learners encounter different areas when majoring in film studies. As such, the need for a thorough understanding of each course arises as well as what it entails. Further, there exist four areas of majoring in film, and they include mass communication, animation studies, film studies, and film production. Besides, each study area is unique with its requirements and specializations. Every particular major in film studies is inclined towards a passion and interest, thus showing that the identification of what an individual wants to achieve is vital for his or her present and future works.

Film production involves starting to work with technical equipment such as cameras as well as the basics of lighting and software used for editing images. Graphics are also part of film production where directing, animation, and cinematography are the most likely courses (Foster). Moreover, writing for film and production planning is an area that a film production major cover extensively. Owing to this reason, this field is expected to test students by using different tasks in making short films as part of coursework. Thus, photography and theatre classes are a prerequisite for this major. Therefore, an individual is expected to have enough knowledge in such areas before majoring in film studies.

On the other hand, film studies encompass the exploration of famous movies while producing research papers regarding their topic (Villarejo 57). As such, creativity is needed and a passion for theatre arts as well. Moreover, extensive research on the already existing iconic films is required for this major while analyzing the effect of such films in society as well as citing their importance both politically and socially. As such, students interested in this field are likely to encounter film technology, social issues, and video art as courses. At the same time, they are expected to have studied creative writing, art, and history before joining the studies.

Additionally, mass communication has a bias towards news reporting rather than creative writing. In this case, students are likely to explore new-gathering techniques as well as overall presentation (Harris and Sanborn 102). Aside from that method, they are also required to encounter the history of news and its effects on the society. Writing for magazines, newspapers, and web information is part of what students would meet in their studies. It is also crucial that mass communication major students equip themselves with knowledge on the basics of camera and studio TV production. Furthermore, these situations are most likely to be encountered in their professional lives.

The animation is yet another film major that encompasses drawing both traditionally and digitally. In this case, possible courses may include 3-D modeling and digital animation. The basics of the film are taught in animation classes, and skills such as editing software and technical learning equipment are acquired as well (Demory and Pullen 86). Moreover, courses such as the history of animation, sound design, and storyboarding are likely to be encountered in animation classes.

What are the opportunities that a film major presents? With a degree of major in film studies, students are well equipped with education in liberal arts and understanding of various cultures. As such, the chances of employment for people with majors in film studies are broadened as they possess a scalable ability and have had diverse knowledge of multiple cultures (Bhakta 55). Moreover, the different skills of employment allow major film graduates to pursue both either directly or indirectly as long as they are careers related to film studies. Further, the film industry is competitive, thus showing that there is the need to be always on the lookout for opportunities in the major area that arises.

Furthermore, as a student in a film major, excellent communication skills as well as information gathering abilities are paramount as they play a significant part when looking for employment. Therefore, while studying this field, it is apparent that learners will gain enough knowledge that will be useful in their careers. Additionally, report writing and identification of a wide range of information resources with the use of the newest technologies will be gained. Moreover, film majors teach students teamwork and management skills where they can achieve team goals while motivating and providing encouragements to other members of an organization. Planning and organizational skills are also acquired. Owing to this effect, students learn to set targets or beat deadlines while making efficient use of time and data as well as other resources.

Moreover, double majors are useful in the film industry as they involve combining two essential subjects. In this case, they have a competitive advantage of increasing the chances of being employed in the manufacturing of cinema. Besides, they depict possession of a variety of skills that can be useful in an employment firm (Larson 25). Aside from that, gaining experience in film majors while in school is a significant milestone in the career life of an individual; and most cases, one may stand a chance to land a job immediately after graduating. Notably, the first step to having a successful career in the film industry is ensuring that the passion is given the priority before the salary that a person is most likely to earn in his or her career lifetime. Therefore, a major in film necessitates a self-searching moment where students identify their passions and what they would like to explore in the film industry.

To sum up, it is encouraged that students who want to major in film studies should embark on extensive research on the available subjects of the cinema industry. Furthermore, passion is of utmost importance for any particular field that students choose to pursue. It is also essential to seek experience while in school. By doing so, it would make it easy in landing employment opportunities immediately after graduation. As such, students who are interested in majoring film studies should strive to sharpen their communication skills as it is essential in their future careers. Additionally, for animation major, students should be equipped with knowledge on the latest emerging animation technologies. Besides, film studies may need an extensive historical research on various existing movies while concluding their significance to the society. Further, for film production, there is a need for creativity when coming up with scripts. Owing to this reason, it should frequently be done to enrich student portfolios and increase their rate of employment. Moreover, a double major is a great way to take up film studies since an individual will increase the chances of being employed. Therefore, it is crucial for students to be conversant with the facts underlying a major in film before deciding the field to pursue their passion as it increases the chances of career success.

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Research Hypothesis: The Essential Requirements and Guidelines

27 Feb 2023

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❔ What is a Hypothesis in Research?

Research Question vs Hypothesis

Null hypothesis.

📔 Hypothesis Essential Requirements

🎓 How to Formulate an Effective Research Hypothesis

📋 Research Hypothesis Example

Writing research requires students to have a deep knowledge not only of the subject but also of the requirements for the project. There are a lot of structural units that form an integral part of research writing.

Knowing the right methods and carrying out background research will get you to new discoveries. In this article, we will talk about such a technique as a research hypothesis. We will analyze in detail the features of using a good research hypothesis, its types, and meanings, the peculiarities of independent and dependent variables as well as the connection with the research topic.

This article will guide you as you write your paper and give you the key techniques to follow all the requirements.

What is a Hypothesis in Research?

Let's start by clarifying the term "research hypothesis". This is a kind of assumption or idea that the author of the study puts forward for further investigation. A hypothesis requires proof and is not true until confirmatory experiments have been carried out.

In the context of the research project, a hypothesis is necessary for the presentation of the expected directions and results of the work. This idea must be clearly stated to follow a logical chain and help to write your research and do further experiments. The ultimate goal of your research is to confirm or disprove the hypothesis. Not to be confused with the research question.

Let's list the main types of hypotheses and find out the differences they may present for an academic research:

Null hypothesis

Alternative hypothesis

Simple hypothesis

Complex hypothesis

Statistical hypothesis

Empirical hypothesis

Causal hypothesis

Directional hypothesis

Associative hypothesis

Logical hypothesis

Being aware that there are different kinds of research hypotheses will help you build your own with less effort. Many researchers adhere to the approach that there are only two varieties: Null hypothesis and Alternative hypothesis. However, we will consider what is the essence of the most used methods.

The Null hypotheses is a statement with two or more variables. The Null hypothesis proposes there is no connection between those variables. This type of inference is very often used in the course of scientific research in the field of statistics, medicine, biology and many other sciences. The Alternative hypothesis states the opposite information to the Null Hypothesis, and aims to prove that there is a relationship between two variables.

A Simple hypothesis presents a correlation between only two variables, single dependent variable and single independent variable. While Complex hypothesis states the presence of connection between several dependent variables and independent variables.

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The differences between these two critical techniques in writing a scientific paper should be explained so that you have no doubts. A research question is a question that is raised in the course of observations and to which the researcher seeks to answer.

While a hypothesis is an assumption that must be proven or refuted in the course of the study. These two concepts are different by nature, the research question has an inquisitive function, while a research hypothesis predicts the outcome of the experiment.

Now we will take a closer look at the most used, basic scientific method. Null hypothesis states that there is no interconnection between two variables that are being studied. To formulate the Null Hypothesis, you need to present your testable prediction about relevant variables as a negative statement.

The original hypothesis might state that the variables do not have differences, there is no influence of factors, there is no effect, the characteristics of which are equal to zero, with no statistical significance.

The purpose of scientific experiments is to disprove the Null Hypothesis, that is, to prove the positive relationship between independent and dependent variables. For example, you are a scientist in the field of mental health, and you face with the necessity of writing a psychology research paper .

Studying a popular theory, and presenting a null hypothesis: When a teenager uses social media, it will not impact their self-esteem. Alfred that your aim is to carry out a comprehensive, thorough investigation to prove or disprove this prediction.

Alternative Hypothesis

Let's now talk about the opposite of the Null Hypothesis, which is the Alternative Hypothesis. This kind of inference is an opposite idea to the one supported by the Null Hypothesis. It is also sometimes called an experimental hypothesis, as it reveals the subject of future scientific research.

The essence of this hypothesis involves proposing the relationship between two variables, more precisely that one variable influences the independent variable. The experimental hypothesis predicts how exactly the outcome may be affected during experimental manipulations.

At the same time the Alternative hypothesis can be divided into two groups: Directional hypothesis and Nondirectional hypothesis. Directional hypothesis states that the researchers expect a positive or negative outcome. While non directional hypothesis does not make predictions on the possible influence on the dependent variable.

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Hypothesis Essential Requirements

A good research hypothesis sets the direction for your further research study. If you manage to formulate it correctly, then this will give a significant impetus to experiments.

However, if the basis of your scientific research paper is not specifically, or vaguely explained, then your experiments may go into a dead corner. To avoid such problems, let's look at what an effective research hypothesis should look like.

By following these guidelines, you will be able to accurately formulate a compelling hypothesis that will serve as a reliable core and help you write a research paper fundamentally. It will also be very helpful to study few examples of good research hypotheses in order to have a better understanding of the issue.

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How to Formulate an Effective Research Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an effective methodological tool that helps us structure our work. That is why it is very important to pay attention to the correct formulation and designation of a strong hypothesis.

Preliminary research is also required before formulating your assumptions. General knowledge of the field of study will help you accurately identify problems in the subject of study. Namely, this is the basis for the construction of supporting assumptions.

A hypothesis itself is a scientific method in a form of assumption that is formed based on a theory. Therefore, the key to successful research is the choice of a reliable experimental and theoretical base. Brilliant research is based on previous, and no less brilliant research. Therefore, your assumptions must come from evidence-based sources, otherwise, they may lead to false results.

To formulate a hypothesis, you need to study the research problem. This means that preliminary research is indispensable, and it is precisely what a hypothesis begins with. If you find it challenging to manage the study on your own you can opt for research paper help from professional writers.

It is necessary that your predictions correspond to the object of study, do not create contradictions between existing and received knowledge, and are also testable. Be careful not to use banal facts as a basis for building a hypothesis, otherwise you will severely limit the field for experiments.

In the course of conducting previous research, you will be able to highlight certain factors in the theory that need additional observation. Perhaps these phenomena deviate from the general vector of the functioning of the theory.

Talking about variables, they should be well elaborated, to avoid any misconceptions. Find out what your independent variable would be, it is the one you are about to substitute to get new research data. Then figure out what you’d dependent variable stands for, which is what the research measures. Subsequently you have to determine what kind of relationship exists between them.

Once you have identified the necessary factors, you are ready to begin formulating your hypothesis. Or if you still struggle to start the research, then it may be useful for you resort to writing service professional help. This should be done in such a way that the hypothesis explains the cause of the problem. Then you have to test your assumptions by conducting an experiment, or by looking for correlations between the dependent variable and independent variable.

As difficult as it may be to formulate a good hypothesis, this is a key step to successful, structured work. Any knowledge comes through a long process of learning theory and then reconciling skills in practice. That is why we are confident in your abilities, and we wish you success in creating a research hypothesis. We hope this article has become informative for you and clarified the key concepts necessary for a good scientific hypothesis.

Research Hypothesis Examples

Increased exposure to sunlight will result in higher rates of photosynthesis in spinach plants. Individuals with a higher level of emotional intelligence will have more successful personal relationships. Access to higher education will decrease income inequality within a society. An increase in temperature will result in an increase in the average kinetic energy of gas molecules. Increasing the concentration of a reactant in a chemical reaction will increase the rate of reaction. The presence of a black hole at the center of a galaxy will affect the motion of stars within the galaxy. Changes in the Earth's magnetic field will result in changes in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes. The introduction of non-native species to an ecosystem will disrupt the food chain and result in decreased biodiversity. The use of written language will result in the development of more complex societies. An increase in the minimum wage will result in decreased unemployment rates within a society.

Why must a hypothesis be testable?

What is a directional and non-directional research hypothesis, why do we need an alternative hypothesis, what is an empirical hypothesis, was this article helpful, thanks for your feedback.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Updated August 24, 2022

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If you’re a college student, you will probably have to write at least one college-level research paper before you graduate. Writing a good research paper can be daunting if you have never done it before. We’re here to help.

This guide walks you through everything you need to do to write an effective, impactful research paper . . . and get the good grade you’re after!

Here are the steps and resources you need to write a strong research paper, as well as a checklist to go over to be sure you wrote a good paper. Research writing can be a challenge, but with a little practice, it can become an important part of your academic and professional toolkit.

The Process

The following steps will help you write a research paper, starting with nothing but an assignment or prompt and ending up with a well-crafted essay. The steps are:

Step 3: Research

Step 7: Write

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Step 1: Get Familiar with the Assignment

This may sound obvious, but it’s very important to understand what your teacher or professor is asking for before you start writing your research paper. Many students skip this step, and then wonder why they receive a low grade on a paper they worked hard on or were excited about. It’s often because they didn’t read the instructions.

Spend time going over the assignment. Look at everything your instructor has provided you with. Carefully read the writing assignment, prompts, grading rubric, or any other materials you’ve received. It might even be helpful to highlight and take notes on the assignment. Take time to understand exactly what you are being asked to write and how you will be graded on it. And if you aren’t sure, ask! Ask your teacher for clarification before you even pick a topic. That way, you will be sure you are on the right track.

Step 2: Pick a Topic

Once you understand what you’re being asked to write in your research paper, it’s time to decide what to write about. This can be daunting, but don’t get too bent out of shape. It can be very helpful to write about something you’re interested in or passionate about, but don’t worry about choosing the perfect topic. In many cases, a controversial topic can be ideal, so that you can exercise your ability to objectively explain differing positions, and even defend one if the assignment calls for that.

Use the guidelines given by your instructor to help pick your paper topic. If you have a topic that you love, but you’re having trouble fitting it into the guidelines, choose another topic. It will be easier on you in the long run to write about a topic that fits the assignment. It’s important to be engaged in the topic you’re writing about it, but you don’t have to love it. It’s also good to realize that you can use this research writing assignment as an opportunity to learn about something new. You will be somewhat of an expert in the topic by the end of this process, but you don’t have to know everything right now.

The Savvy Student’s Guide to Study Skills

And now what you have been waiting for — research! This step is pretty flexible; different people will research for a paper in different ways. However, it’s important to stay focused and move pretty quickly. After all, you still have to write your research paper.

Several key things to remember as you research are: 1) skim, 2) find reliable resources, and 3) don’t ignore information.

First off, skimming. You don’t have to read in-full everything ever written about your topic. In fact, you probably can’t. Get comfortable reading through things quickly. Learn how to identify key points and arguments without getting bogged down and reading every word.

Next, find reliable resources. Although this may run contrary to what you’ve been told, you can use Wikipedia to write a research paper. But, you cannot use that as a final source. You can use general sources like Wikipedia to get familiar with a topic, find keywords that can further drive your research, and quickly understand large amounts of information. But, for the information you use in your paper, you have to find reliable resources.

Take what you have learned from a Google search or Wikipedia article and dig deeper. Check out the sources on the article, use keywords from your internet search to search an academic database, or ask an expert whether or not what you learned is valid and if it is, where you can find a reliable source stating the same thing. So, just to be clear: you can use Wikipedia as a starting point in your research, but you should not cite Wikipedia as one of the primary sources for your research paper.

Finally, don’t ignore information. You can find an article that says anything you want it to say. Did researchers recently discover that octopus DNA is made of alien DNA from outer space? Are the spires on the Cinderella Castle at Disney World removable in case of a hurricane? Did a cook attempt to assassinate George Washington by feeding him poisoned tomatoes? You can find articles testifying that all three of the previous claims are true; however, when you dig deeper, it’s clear that they’re not. Just because you find one article stating that something is true, that does not necessarily mean it is a proven fact that you can use in your research.

Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic. This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.

Step 4: Organize Your Research

So you have all of this information, now what to do with it? Step four is all about getting organized. Like research, different people have different preferences here. It can also depend on your assignment. Some sort of bibliography (literally “book writing,” this is a list of the books, articles, and other sources you have used in your research) is helpful when it comes to organizing your research.

If your teacher requires you to turn in a bibliography with your research paper (think back to step #1; you ought to already know exactly what the assignment is by now!), create a bibliography that meets the requirements for the paper. If you are just making one just for yourself, think about how you would like to organize your research. It might make sense to bookmark resources on your web browser or make a digital bibliography that allows you to link the resources you found. You might prefer a printed list of your resources or you might want to write down all you have learned that is relevant to your project on notecards or sticky notes and organize your research paper on a table or the floor.

Step 5: Form a Thesis

Now that you understand what you’ve been asked to do, have chosen a topic that fits the assignment, and have researched and organized that research, you’re ready to articulate your own opinion, argument, or assertion. Even if you aren’t arguing for or against anything, your paper needs a thesis. A thesis is a short statement that you — as researcher and author — put forward for the readers of your paper as what you are trying to explain or prove.

A starting point when writing a thesis might be to write a one-sentence answer to the question: what is your paper about? The answer might be something like the following examples:

See, that wasn’t so hard. But, what is important to remember, is that this is just a starting point. Many students stop right there, and then don’t understand why their instructor graded them poorly on their thesis statement. A thesis needs to be definitive, and should not be about you. So, you might change the above answers to statements like:

The relationship between dogs and humans goes both ways; not only are dogs man’s best friend, but human interactions have influenced the way that modern dogs’ behavior and anatomy.

Many universities require freshmen students to live on campus for their first year, which keeps students out of trouble, helps students get better grades, and increases their likelihood of staying in school.

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, marriage is seen as a number of things, including as a social mobility tool, as a mistake, and as a beneficial partnership .

Can you see the differences between the first set of sentences and the second set of thesis statements? It might take a few tries, but work to eliminate words and phrases like “I think,” or “My paper is about.”

It is also very important not to be too vague. Don’t be afraid to make a strong statement. If you look at the above examples, each of them makes a specific point about the topic. Another key to crafting a strong thesis statement is making sure that your thesis is arguable. That doesn’t mean it’s controversial or particularly opinionated, but it does mean that someone could disagree.

For example, someone might argue that humans haven’t influenced dogs all that much, that requiring freshman students to live on campus isn’t a good thing, or that marriage in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is all about romance. (Another way to check whether or not your statement is arguable: Is Pride and Prejudice a book? Yes. So the statement, “Pride and Prejudice is a book written by Jane Austen,” doesn’t work as a thesis because no one could disagree. There is no point in writing an entire essay about that obvious fact.) Checking whether or not someone could argue with your thesis statement is a good way to make sure you have written a strong, specific thesis statement that will guide you as you write your paper and earn a good grade for your efforts.

After you have worked to create a specific, arguable, definitive thesis statement, this is another place that it could be helpful to check in with your professor, a writing center tutor, or another trusted educator or mentor. Show them your thesis statement and ask them if they think itis a powerful thesis that you will guide you as you build your essay.

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Step 6: Create an Outline

Like a bibliography, the way that you create your outline may depend on your assignment. If your teacher asked you to turn in an outline, be sure to make an outline that follows the example, guidelines, or requirements you have been given. If you aren’t required to write an outline, it can still be a helpful tool as you build your research paper.

Creating an outline is really about structuring your paper. Don’t be too formulaic, but it can be helpful to follow patterns and guides. In high school you might have written three- or five-paragraph essays, and it’s okay to use those same patterns for a college research paper, but be sure that whatever format you choose makes sense for your paper. If you have two main points in your thesis, three or five main sections might not work for your research paper. If the assignment asks you to introduce a topic, explain different opinions on the topic, and then choose and explain your opinion, then your paper probably needs three main sections, one for each of those objectives.

As you create an outline, think critically about what you are trying to explain or communicate in your research paper and what structure allows you to do that in a clear, organized way. It usually makes sense to have an introduction and conclusion, but what goes between will vary based on the contents of your essay.

The outlining stage of producing your argument is a great time to think about bad forms of argumentation you should avoid. If you aren’t familiar with logical fallacies, take some time to review the most common fallacies ; your grade could depend on it!

The Savvy Student’s Study Skills: Writing

And then, finally, it’s time to actually write your paper. You might feel like you should have started writing sooner, but, rest assured: the work you have done up to this point is important. It will help you create a strong, clear, interesting research paper.

As you write, don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words, using the perfect grammar, or crafting the perfect title. There is time to perfect your research paper as you edit. Right now, you just need to write.

It might be helpful to look over your research before you start writing, but don’t write directly from your research. If you’re looking back and forth between your resources and your paper as you begin writing, it’s easy to copy ideas without really creating your own work. You have done a lot of work already, so trust that and work from memory as you write your research paper. It’s okay to look up a specific quote or statistic, but in general your ideas should be your own at this point.

Working from your own ideas will help you avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the uncredited use of someone else’s words or ideas, whether you meant to use them without credit or not. This sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow the steps outlined in this guide, you can be confident that you’ve created your own essay that builds on the ideas, writing, and work of others, without stealing, copying, or plagiarising.

If you quote something word-for-word, you need to cite your source. Use quotation marks and mention the source of the quote. You will also need to include more information about the quote on a Works Cited or References page. If you paraphrase, that is, you don’t use the exact words, but do use someone’s idea, it’s still important to give credit. You don’t need quotation marks here, but it is important to mention where the idea comes from.

If something is a common fact (generally accepted if you can find the fact stated, without credit, in three or more credible sources), you don’t need to mention where the idea comes from. For example, Bill Gates is a billionaire who founded Microsoft. That is a common fact; you can find it stated in numerous trustworthy sources. But if your paper is about the why behind Bill Gates’ wealth, fame, and success, then you’re going to need to credit and cite specific quotes and statistics, as well as theories about why the Microsoft billionaire is so successful.

Step 8: Edit for Content

Now that you’ve got a paper written, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You have done a lot of work to get to this point! And then, get back to work. You still need to edit your paper before it’s ready to turn in. Remember how you weren’t supposed to worry about being perfect? You still don’t need to worry, but it is time to make your paper as perfect as you possibly can.

Start by editing for content. This means thinking about structure, organization, wording, and length. You carefully organized your paper when you created an outline. Now that you have written your paper, does that organization still make sense? If so, great. If not, what do you need to move around? Look carefully at how you’ve worded your sentences. Did you communicate what you meant to get across? Can you make your paper clearer or easier to understand? This is also a good point to think back to Step 1. Does your paper include everything the assignment asked for? If not, where can you include the missing pieces?

If your paper is too long or too short, now is the time to cut it down or build it up to an acceptable length. Don’t just delete your conclusion because your paper is too long. Don’t waste your time playing with the font size and margins to try to make your essay longer. Be careful and thoughtful about these edits. If you need to take something out, what makes sense to cut and how can you re-organize your paper so that it maintains a strong structure? If you need to lengthen your paper, don’t just randomly add words or repeat things you have already said. Think about where you could expand or what you can add that fits in with the rest of your paper, further develops the ideas you are presenting, or adds valuable information to your research paper.

Once you have made all the changes you think necessary, read back through your paper again to be sure it all makes sense. Especially when working on a computer, it is easy to leave or delete a word, sentence, or paragraph that you didn’t mean to. If you are tired of looking at your research paper, give it to a friend, mentor, or teacher and ask them to take a look at your paper and let you know what they think of the content.

Step 9: Edit for Grammar

It is also important to edit for grammar. This might seem daunting, but there are lots of tools and resources that can help. Check out resources like Grammarly or Strunk and White’s Elements of Style if you’re unsure of what to do with commas, semicolons, or run-on sentences.

Like editing for content, editing for grammar might take a few run-throughs. If you need to take a break, that’s fine. It can even help you come back to your paper feeling more focused, which is key to catching and fixing mistakes.

Step 10: Re-read and Submit your Research Paper

Once you’ve finished Steps 1–9, it’s definitely time to take a break. Give your paper a day or two (or an hour or two, if you are running short on time) and give it a final read-through. It can be helpful to print a copy of your paper and read a hard-copy if you have only read through it on a screen thus far. You might notice mistakes or formatting issues that your eyes missed while reading on your computer. Once you have read your research paper for a final time and double checked that your paper does everything the assignment is asking for, it is time to submit.

Be sure to follow any instructions you have been given about turning in your research paper. Also give yourself time to troubleshoot if things go wrong. If you try to print your paper five minutes before class starts, what are you going to do if your printer is out of toner? If you are supposed to submit your paper online at midnight and the wifi is down when you login to submit your assignment at 11:58 PM, even though that is unfortunate, it is still something you could have avoided by logging on with enough time to solve any problems that arise before the deadline. Your teacher will appreciate and respect your preparedness, and it will likely impact your grades positively.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your instructor for help, but be reasonable and responsible about it. If you log on the day before and see that the place where you are supposed to turn in your assignment is locked or unavailable, send your teacher an email so that they can help you submit your paper before it is due. Just don’t expect them to help you in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or minutes before an assignment is due. Some instructors might, but you are just lucky at that point. If you prepare and give yourself time to turn in an assignment, you don’t have to count on getting lucky about whether or not your professor is sitting at their computer and available to help you at the very moment you email them.

Your Teacher or Professor

When writing a research paper for a teacher or professor, it is important to step back and think about why they asked you to write this essay in the first place. More than likely, they are giving you an opportunity to learn something. Learning often involves trial-and-error, making mistakes, and asking lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a question; in fact, don’t be afraid to ask your instructor lots of questions! However, do remember to be respectful of them, their time, and efforts. It is important to follow any directions that you have been given by your teacher or professor, to take responsibility and not expect them to do your work for you, and to listen to the answers and advice they share with you. Working with your teacher and asking them for help is an often overlooked resource when it comes to writing research papers. Be sure to take advantage of this help; your paper will be all the better for it.

Research Librarians

Another often-overlooked resource is the research librarian. Did you know that, in addition to tons of books and online materials, college and university libraries often have staff whose job it is to help answer your questions? Research librarians specialize in research (it might sound obvious, but take a second to get excited about how much this could help you and your research paper!). These librarians usually specialize in particular fields and subjects, so you can get specific, expert help that pertains to your topic. They can help you search for resources, connect you with experts in the field your researching, or give you suggestions about the direction of your research and writing.

Writing Centers

In addition to research librarians, many college and university libraries often house writing centers. While research librarians can help you more with your research, writing center staff can help you actually write your research paper. You can usually schedule an online or in-person appointment with a tutor or instructor that will help you through any step of the writing process. You might want to visit a writing center early on as you develop the concept for your paper, in the middle as you struggle to think of how to discuss one of your key points, or right before you turn in your paper to be sure it’s in near-perfect shape before it goes to your professor for a grade. Many professors even give you extra credit for taking advantage of writing center services. Win-win!

As mentioned earlier in this guide, you can use Wikipedia for introductory research. But, because Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone and therefore aren’t 100% credible, your professor will likely frown on citing it as a source for your research paper. So, do not use Wikipedia as a primary source for your research paper. When it comes to writing research papers, the references section of a Wikipedia page is one of your best friends. Just like you should be citing your sources at the end of your research paper, Wikipedia articles link to their primary sources. You can use the list of references to find books, articles, and other material that can help you find reliable, relevant primary sources for use in your research.

Academic Databases

Your instructor may require you to use peer-reviewed academic articles as some or all of the sources for your research paper. As a college student, you probably have access to a number of academic databases that you can use to find scholarly articles. If you are unsure of how to search for articles in an academic database, it’s worth asking your professor or a research librarian to help you learn. This skill will be a useful one to have, and you will be easily finding trustworthy, interesting sources in no time.

OWL at Purdue

This is not a nocturnal bird that lives at a university in Indiana, but rather the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University. This online resource offers a number of helpful writing materials, including information on how to cite sources, grammar rules, choosing a topic, and even how to write a research paper. You can search for specific help, or browse resources by category. This free website is a must-visit online resource when writing a college research paper.

Grammarly is like a super-powered spell checker. It’s a free Chrome extension that allows you to edit your writing. You can copy and paste your paper into the Grammarly editor and get spelling and grammar advice that is easy to implement. If you’re looking for additional help or want to use the software without leaving Microsoft Office, check out Grammarly Premium or Grammarly for Microsoft Office. However, it’s important to remember when using this software (or any spelling or grammar checker!) that it is a computer and therefore doesn’t always understand your writing. You need to go over each suggestion made by the software and make sure that it is indeed correcting an error or improving a sentence and not changing something that you meant to say. That being said, Grammarly is great at catching errors and provides easy-to-understand explanations of spelling and grammar suggestions so you can knowledgeably make changes to your research paper.

The Elements of Style — William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Style guides may be mostly a thing of the past. You have probably used a spell checker or Googled where to put a comma, but you may never have opened a style guide. However, this book, The Elements of Style, has helpful advice and information about writing. If you are looking for guidance when it comes to editing your paper, picking up a copy of this book may be just what you need. The book consists of different sections, some with specific grammar and writing rules and definitions and others with general writing advice. One rule that is worth knowing, even if you don’t read The Elements of Style is Rule #17: “Omit needless words.” Keep that in mind as you edit your paper; it will help you craft a clear, strong, concise research paper that your teacher will enjoy reading (and even grading!).

Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)

You might feel like we keep saying this (we do . . . ), but it’s for a good reason: know what your research paper assignment is asking for. That is especially important when it comes to formatting your paper. There are several different formatting styles and each has specific rules and guidelines. The main three are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Your instructor likely gave you instructions on which style to use, and if not you can ask which they prefer. Each style has a different name for the list of sources you attach at the end of your paper, different rules about headers and page numbers, etc. Many teachers will deduct points from your grade if you don’t adhere to the style they have asked you to for your research paper; some teachers may not accept the paper at all. You can find more information about whatever style you are working with in a style guide or from OWL at Purdue.

If you are crafting a paper from scratch, start by reading through the above steps to learn how to write a strong research paper. If you have already written a paper, go over this checklist to ensure that it is ready to turn in.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Chris Hadley, PhD . Chris Hadley, PhD is part of the wikiHow team and works on content strategy and data and analytics. Chris Hadley earned his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from UCLA in 2006. Chris' academic research has been published in numerous scientific journals. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 45 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 4,107,911 times.

Whether you’re in a history, literature, or science class, you’ll probably have to write a research paper at some point. It may seem daunting when you’re just starting out, but staying organized and budgeting your time can make the process a breeze. Research your topic, find reliable sources, and come up with a working thesis. Then create an outline and start drafting your paper. Be sure to leave plenty of time to make revisions, as editing is essential if you want to hand in your best work!

Sample Research Papers and Outlines

write the research paper

Researching Your Topic

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Tip: If you need to analyze a piece of literature, your task is to pull the work apart into literary elements and explain how the author uses those parts to make their point.

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Drafting Your Essay

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Tip: Some people prefer to write the introduction first and use it to structure the rest of the paper. However, others like to write the body, then fill in the introduction. Do whichever seems natural to you. If you write the intro first, keep in mind you can tweak it later to reflect your finished paper’s layout.

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Revising Your Paper

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Tip: Try to give yourself at least 2 or 3 days to revise your paper. It may be tempting to simply give your paper a quick read and use the spell-checker to make edits. However, revising your paper properly is more in-depth.

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About This Article

Chris Hadley, PhD

To write a research paper, start by researching your topic at the library, online, or using an academic database. As you conduct your research and take notes, zero in on a specific topic that you want to write about and create a 1-2 sentence thesis to state the focus of your paper. Then, create an outline that includes an introduction, 3 to 5 body paragraphs to present your arguments, and a conclusion to sum up your main points. Once you have your paper's structure organized, draft your paragraphs, focusing on 1 argument per paragraph. Use the information you found through your research to back up your claims and prove your thesis statement. Finally, proofread and revise your content until it's polished and ready to submit. For more information on researching and citing sources, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Research Paper: Tips and Strategies

If you are a student, researcher or academic professional, at some point, you will need to learn how to write a research paper. It's an essential component of academic writing that involves exploring a particular topic or subject in-depth, analyzing it, and presenting your findings. Writing a research paper can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding and exciting experience.

What Is A Research Paper?

It’s an academic document that presents findings and arguments from a research study. It follows a structured format and aims to communicate results to scholars, researchers, general public. It typically includes an introduction that presents a problem or question, a literature review that summarizes prior research on topic, methodology section that explains approach, a results section that presents study's findings, a conclusion that summarizes the main points and implications. Research papers are critical tools for advancing knowledge in a specific field.

Research Paper Writing Tips On Paper Length

When it comes to writing, one of the most common questions is, "How long should a research paper be?" Answer is not always straightforward, as length can depend on several factors. Requirements for this assignment may be outlined by your instructor, in which case it is important to follow those guidelines closely. In general, most papers are between five and fifteen pages long, although longer papers may be necessary for more complex topics. Ultimately, length should be determined by the amount of information needed to fully explore and analyze a topic rather than an arbitrary word count. If you hire best essay help , top-notched writers will complete a task of an appropriate length, following your specific instructions.

How To Write A Good Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Completing a quality research paper is a complex task that requires a combination of various skills, such as critical thinking, analysis, effective communication. It involves identifying a question or issue, gathering and analyzing information, and presenting findings clearly and concisely. One of the most important aspects of writing any paper is planning. Here are some steps on how to write a research essay:

STEP 1. Understand assignment:  This includes carefully reading instructions, all additional guidelines provided by your instructor or professor, as well as identifying purpose, scope, paper requirements. By understanding your assignment, you can ensure that you are on the right track and that your writing meets necessary criteria.

STEP 2. Choose your topic: Once you understand your assignment, next step is to choose a topic for your paper. This can be a challenging step, as you want to select a topic that is both interesting and relevant to your assignment. How to do a research paper? Consider brainstorming ideas, doing some preliminary research, consulting with your professor or instructor to choose a topic that is appropriate for your assignment.

STEP 3. Gather preliminary research: this involves conducting a broad search of academic and non-academic sources, such as books, journal articles, websites, or other relevant materials, to gather information as well as ideas about your topic. You can use this research to refine your topic, develop your thesis statement, identify key themes or concepts.

STEP 4. Write a thesis statement: how do you write a research paper good? Just work hard on your thesis statement. This is a concise statement that summarizes the main argument or point of your paper. Your thesis statement should be clear, specific, debatable. It should guide your paper’s focus. It is important to revise and refine your thesis statement as you continue to research and develop your paper.

STEP 5. Make research paper outline:  Creating an outline is an essential step in write my research paper process . It helps you organize your thoughts, identify gaps in your research, and make certain that your paper flows logically. If you need inspiration, check how to write a research paper example outline:

I. Introduction

II. Literature Review

III. Methodology

IV. Results

V. Discussion

VI. Conclusion

In case you still struggle with completing a proper APA research paper outline , it is wise to hire a writing expert for academic assistance.

STEP 6. Organize your notes: Don't miss any critical information while writing your paper. Sort and categorize your research notes by topic, subtopic, or theme. Organizing your notes helps you develop an outline and identify the structure of your paper.

STEP 7. Literature Review: How to make a research paper credible? Add a literature review. It is a critical step in writing a research paper. It involves a thorough analysis of the existing literature and research surrounding your chosen topic. The literature review helps you identify research gaps, assess the credibility of sources, provides a foundation for your research paper.

STEP 8. Effectively citing & referencing your sources: When writing a paper, it is crucial to acknowledge and give credit to the sources of information that you have cited. Proper citation and referencing of sources are essential to avoid plagiarism and provide readers with access to the sources. Apply appropriate citation styles such as APA, MLA, or Chicago to cite your sources effectively. Formatting your assignment is critical, so you may edit my research paper alone or ask an expert to do it for you.

STEP 9. Preparing Figures, Tables, Assigning Authorship: This is among critical steps to write a research paper. Figures and tables visualize data, making it easier for readers to understand and interpret discoveries. Assigning authorship is essential when writing a paper with multiple authors to ensure everyone is credited for their contribution. Ensuring that all figures, tables, and authorship are appropriately cited and formatted according to required style is important.

STEP 10. Pick research question: Once you have conducted preliminary research and reviewed literature, the next step is to refine your research question. A well-formulated question should be specific, relevant, and answerable. It should be your guide to writing a research paper and developing a clear thesis statement.

STEP 11. Research Methodology: Involves a systematic approach to investigate a research problem. When creating paper, one must first identify the research question and conduct a literature review to gather relevant information. Next, a research design and data collection methods must be defined, followed by data analysis and conclusion drawing. Methodology is essential for accuracy, validity, and reliability of findings. It aids researchers in structuring their research projects, organizing data and analyzing results to derive meaningful conclusions. Choosing a suitable methodology for research paper essay that aligns with questions and data available is crucial.

STEP 12. Writing Results, Analysis, Discussion, Conclusion: Final step is to present and interpret the results. Results should be presented clearly and concisely with tables, graphs, and other visual aids. The analysis should interpret the results, drawing conclusions and making connections with existing literature. The discussion should contextualize the results and explain their significance in the broader context of the research question. Finally, the conclusion should summarize the findings, discuss their implications, and suggest future directions for research.

STEP 13. Write your first draft: After creating the outline, the next step in how to write a proper research paper is to start writing the first draft. The first draft should be written with the aim of getting your ideas down on paper without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation. Focus on the content and research paper structure, ensuring that it aligns with the outline and meets the requirements of the assignment. After completing the first draft, take a break and return to the paper later with a fresh perspective. Review the draft and make revisions, ensuring that the content is well-organized and flows logically. Repeat the revision process until you are satisfied with the final product.

STEP 14. Write a research paper:  It’s the most critical step. It is where you apply the research, discoveries, and analysis to develop a coherent, well-structured paper. If you worry how long is a research paper, start by creating an outline that aligns with your thesis statement and research question. The research paper should have a clear introduction, body, conclusion. Assure that your writing is clear, concise, focused.

Research Paper Guidelines Checklist

The last writing step is to review your paper. Here's a checklist that students may use for evaluation:

By following this checklist or hiring research proposal writing service , students can ensure that they have written a well-organized, well-researched, and well-written task that meets their assignment requirements.

What To Write In A Research Paper: Tools & Resources

Your teacher or professor фку an excellent resource. They provide guidance on the research process, suggest helpful resources and materials, and offer feedback on your work. They also answer any questions you have and provide you with clarification on the assignment or topic.

Why it's good: Teachers and professors have extensive knowledge and experience in the field and offer valuable insights into paper writing.

How it works: Schedule a meeting with their professor to discuss their paper, ask for feedback and clarification, and receive guidance on the process.

Research librarians are experts in information research and help students locate relevant resources, give tips on writing a research paper. They provide guidance on how to use library databases and other research tools, as well as help with citation and referencing.

Why it's good: Librarians are skilled at discovering and evaluating sources, which may save students time and effort in their research.

How it works: Visit the research desk at their school or university library or schedule an appointment with a research librarian to receive assistance with their research.

Writing centers provide students with resources and support for writing, including help with brainstorming, organizing, drafting, and revising their research paper. Writing center staff provide feedback and guidance on the writing process, grammar, and style.

Why it's good: Writing centers assist learners in improving their writing skills and producing better assignments. They explain what is research paper writing, how it should be structured, organized, referenced.

How it works: Students may plan an appointment with a writing center tutor or attend writing workshops to receive guidance and support for their task.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is a valuable resource for background information and general knowledge about a topic. However, it is essential to note that Wikipedia should not be used as a primary source for academic research.

Why it's good: Wikipedia has a quick overview of a topic and helps learners get started with their research.

How it works: Students may search for a topic on Wikipedia and read the articles to gain a general understanding of the topic. They may find the references and external links at the bottom of the page to find additional resources. However, it's important to evaluate the credibility of these sources before using them in your paper.

Academic databases are collections of academic journals, articles, and other resources that are available online. These databases can be beneficial for locating peer-reviewed sources and scholarly articles that are relevant to your topic.

Why it's good: Academic databases offer a wide range of reliable and authoritative sources on how to write an academic research paper.

How it works: Access academic databases through their school or university library, and search for articles using keywords or subject headings.

Google Scholar is a search engine that may be utilized to find scholarly literature, including articles, theses, books, conference papers. It provides a broad search of academic sources from a variety of disciplines.

Why it's good: Google Scholar offers a quick and easy way to find scholarly sources. It is free of charge.

How it works: Search for scholarly articles or other sources related to their research topic on Google Scholar using keywords, phrases.

OWL Purdue (Online Writing Lab at Purdue University) is a website that offers writing resources, including tips on grammar, punctuation, citation. It also provides guidance on writing different types of academic papers, information about research paper length.

Why it's good: OWL Purdue offers a comprehensive set of writing resources that can help students improve their writing skills and produce better papers.

How it works: Access OWL Purdue online and use the resources to improve their writing skills and learn about citation styles.

Grammarly is an online writing assistant that checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, style. It offers suggestions for improving writing and can provide feedback on sentence structure, word choice, clarity.

Why it's good: Grammarly catches errors and improves their writing style, which makes their papers more compelling. Include scanning your final text via Grammarly into your steps to writing a research paper.

How it works: Install the Grammarly browser extension or use the online platform to check their writing for errors and receive suggestions for improvement.

Zotero is a free, open-source citation management tool that is used to organize and manage sources for research papers. It allows to collect, store, and cite sources in various citation styles.

Why it's good: Zotero saves time and effort in managing sources and formatting citations, which makes their how to structure a research paper process more accurate and professional.

How it works: Download and install the Zotero browser extension or standalone application to collect and manage sources for their research paper. Zotero can automatically generate citations and bibliographies in various citation styles.

Google Charts is a tool that allows you to create charts, graphs, and other visualizations using data. It’s a way to present research discoveries or data in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format.

Why it's good: Google Charts help students communicate findings more effectively and make their paper more engaging.

How it works: Access Google Charts online and use the tool to create charts and graphs with their research data.

The Elements of Style is a book that provides guidance on English language usage and style, including grammar, punctuation, and writing style. It is a widely used reference for academic writing. If you wonder what does a research paper look like, definitely check this book.

Why it's good: It offers clear and concise guidance on writing style and grammar, which produce more effective and polished papers.

How it works: Access this style book or online resources to learn about English language usage and style. Follow the guidance to improve writing style and clarity.

Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) are sets of guidelines that provide specific instructions for formatting and citing sources in academic writing. The most commonly applied style research paper guide includes MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago.

Why it's good: Style guides provide standardized rules for citing sources and formatting papers. It helps learners produce accurate and professional papers that meet academic standards.

How it works: Refer to a style guide to learn how to format their research paper, including headings, margins, font size. They can also utilize the style guide to learn how to properly cite sources in-text and in the bibliography or works cited page. The specific rules for each citation style may vary, so it's important for students to consult the appropriate style guide for their research paper.

Entrust Writing A Research Paper To Us

Writing a good research paper may be a complicated task, but with the correct approach and resources, it can be a rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined in this article, you may complete, organize, and polish a research paper that meets academic standards. However, for some students, writing may still feel overwhelming. Our research paper service offers expert writers who create high-quality research papers on behalf of the student. We also guarantee no plagiarism and meet urgent deadlines. Don't hesitate, take action today and give yourself the best chance at academic success.

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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

Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources

You will need to look at the following types of sources:

Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information

The following systems will help keep you organized:

Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself

Consider the following questions:

Writing the Introduction

In the introduction you will need to do the following things:

Writing the Body

Writing the Conclusion

Revising the Final Draft

write the research paper

Academic and Professional Writing

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Reading Poetry

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Using Literary Quotations

Play Reviews

Writing a Rhetorical Précis to Analyze Nonfiction Texts

Incorporating Interview Data

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Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics

Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing

Job Materials and Application Essays

Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs

Resume Writing Tips

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Cover Letters

Business Letters

Proposals and Dissertations

Resources for Proposal Writers

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Research Papers

Planning and Writing Research Papers

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Creating Poster Presentations

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Advice for Students Writing Thank-You Notes to Donors

Reading for a Review

Critical Reviews

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How to Write a Research Paper – A Complete Guide

You must have heard about Research Paper , right? But do you ever think about to write one? If yes, then you must come across various questions like, “What are the approaches for writing a Research Paper” or “What is the format of a Research Paper?” or many more. No worries!! In this article we will guide you about all the aspects of writing a Research Paper.

Firstly, let us understand what exactly a research paper is. A research paper is a piece of document written by students, professionals or others on a particular topic with a deep and genuine research study. However, writing a research paper is not a kind of task that has to be done in a few days. It takes a lot of research work and study. But you must note that the skills that you develop while writing a research paper will be very helpful to you in achieving your career goals. The approaches for Writing an Effective Research paper are listed below:

1. Choose the Topic

The first step while writing a research paper is to decide the topic. You can pen down various topics and can choose one of them as per your relevancy. While looking for a topic, you can ask several questions to yourself as – “Am I comfortable with this domain?” or “Will I be able to do deep research study of this topic?” or “What innovative stuff I can provide in this particular field?” , etc. And if you find a positive response from your side, go for that topic. Also, discuss the topic with your mentors and guides to know the worthiness of the topic.

2. Narrowing the Topic

After choosing the topic, you must check whether it is quite specific or general. If the topic is very broad, then you have to explore more to narrow down the topic as the research paper should be more topic-specific rather than being generic. You can consult with your mentor and guide regarding this.

3. Gather the Information

Here the most important part comes! You must have to dive into the world of research study. In today’s era, the Internet is the best source to get any information. Although, all the information provided on the Internet is not reliable so you have to explore more and more from various sources. It must be remembered that the research strategy should be in specific directions and meet the required objectives. There are various other sources from where you can get the relevant information as you can discuss it with your mentors, study the journals, etc.

4. Filtration and Drafting of Information

Once you have done with the information gathering process, now you have a lot of information about the topic. So what you have to do is deeply analyze the information and filter it down. You have to avoid all the unnecessary stuff for a genuine research paper. After filtration, there is a need to draft all the information in a structured way for final writing (it can be formal or informal) . In the drafting process, all the aspects are covered like information accuracy, no spelling error, no unnecessary information, etc. Also, proofread it once to check the relevancy of the content with the topic.

Now, you have to write all this gathered information in the Research Paper Outline which consists of:

Apart from the Research Paper, for any type of content, the title is the primary thing that grabs the attention of the readers. In numerous instances, the readers decide whether to read your article or not just by looking at the title. The title of the research paper should be very catchy and expressive. It must signify the main objective of the research paper in just a few words. A research paper generally has a title length of around 15-20 words. Also, try to avoid unnecessary phrases from the title such as ‘Research based on…’ or ‘Paper for…’ , etc.

2. Abstract

The abstract is like a summary of your research paper. It helps the reader to understand what the research paper is all about by briefly explaining the key findings documented in the research paper. The word length of it should be around 200-250 words.

3. Introduction

The ‘Introduction’ section must have adequate information about the topic which thoroughly depicts the purpose of your study. The topic should be clearly explained and the reason for the study of that particular topic can be described in this section. Also, try to explain the points that why your research paper is worth to study for your readers. Keep an eye on spelling and grammar mistakes and maintain the simplicity and accuracy of sentences and phrases.

4. Procedures and Methods

This section is the core of the Research Paper as your actual study work, research findings, methodologies, approaches and all are stated here. Be specific about your topic and try to avoid unnecessary information. You can use tables, flowcharts, pie charts, etc. for showing the statistics.

The ‘Result’ section consists of all the outcomes of your research. Here, all the outcomes of the research procedure are stated and noted down for further process. Analyze and filter the data obtained after performing research procedures and make it presentable in the form of tables, graphs or charts. The word length of this section can be varied as per the rest of the sections.

6. Conclusion

The ‘Conclusion’ section leads back to the introduction section as whatever you stated there, now you have to describe it evidently that how you achieved it. It will be based on the outcomes of the research study and methodologies (which you have already mentioned in the ‘Result’ section) . It is a summarization of the outcomes of your research work.

7. Recommendation

The ‘Recommendation’ section is not mandatory and it is created as per the requirement and relevancy with your research paper. But keep in mind that whatever you mention in this section, it must be logical and based on your research analysis. You just can’t throw random things, that you think might be useful, in this section.

In context of Research Paper , it will be beneficial to understand the scenario of ‘Scholarly Articles’ . Scholarly Articles refers to those journal articles which are written by scholars or someone who is an expert in a particular field. If you are looking for a research document for a specific topic, these articles prove to be very helpful and much more relevant. You can find these articles on Google Scholar .

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Writing a Research Paper - NMU Writing Center

Writing Center

Writing a Research Paper

Research papers are a bit different than other types of papers, like personal essays or lab reports. We've put together these step-by-step tips to help you navigate the process: 

For more information on how to write a successful academic paper, please see our section on The Writing Process . 

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How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps

Matt Ellis

A research paper outline is a supporting document that lists all the topics to include in a paper in the intended order, usually divided by paragraphs. The typical outline of a research paper also consists of other details like subtopics and evidential sources to help the writer stay organized. Some even have individual sentence topics and early ideas for phrasing. 

Want to know how to write a research paper outline? This guide explains step by step what to include and how to write one yourself, including research paper outline examples. 

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What is a research paper outline? 

The outline is an integral part of how to write a research paper . The main purpose of a research paper outline is to structure the topics, data, and all other inclusions in the paper (like direct quotes) so you stay organized and don’t forget anything. 

Conventionally, writers compose outlines after choosing a thesis statement and sourcing research evidence, but before writing the first draft . Making structural changes is far more efficient in the outlining phase than after you write the first draft; you can remove certain topics early on without wasting time writing them and add new topics before the drafting phase so you can write everything all at once. 

The typical outline of a research paper is broken up into sections and paragraphs , listing each paragraph’s topic and the related evidence or data to include therein. The depth of detail can change depending on your writing style or the requirements of the paper, as we explain below. 

Are there different kinds of research paper outlines?

In short, you decide what details to include in your research paper outline, although the requirements of the assignment influence what’s necessary. For example, a basic college research paper outline for a one-page assignment might contain only a list of four or five paragraph topics, whereas a formal research paper for a scientific study might outline each sentence in all five parts of a research paper: introduction, review of literature, methods, results, and discussion. 

Research paper outlines can be one level, two level, and so on, depending on their intricacy. One-level outlines display just the section headings or main topics, while four-level outlines get very detailed with paragraph and sentence breakdowns. 

There are three popular formats for research paper outlines: alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal . Below, we’ll explain the details of each and illustrate their differences with the research paper outline examples, focused on the same topic: “Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Who’s the Best Basketball Player?”

Alphanumeric research paper outline

Alphanumeric is the most common outline format—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, specific points for each subtopic as Arabic numerals, and further details for individual points as lowercase letters. 

You would write the information in quick blurbs—just a few words—instead of complete sentences. 

Alphanumeric research paper outline example

I.  Michael Jordan

A. Career Highlights

1. Six NBA Championships

a. Six NBA Finals MVP

2. US Olympics Basketball Team

a. 1984 Gold Medalist

b. 1992 Gold Medalist

3. Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections

a. Three NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards

B. Achievements

1. Record-holder scoring average

a. Regular season (30.12 points per game)

b. Playoffs (33.45 points per game)

2. Other accolades

a. 1996 Space Jam

b. Owner of Charlotte Hornets

II. LeBron James

1. Four NBA Championships

a. Four NBA Finals MVP

a. 2008 Gold Medalist

b. 2012 Gold Medalist

3. Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selections

1. Philanthropy

a. LeBron James Family Foundation

b. Social activism

a. 2021 Space Jam

b. First player to accumulate $1 billion as an active player

III. Analysis and Discussion

A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better

Full-sentence research paper outline 

Full-sentence research paper outlines have the same organization as alphanumeric outlines—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, subtopic points as Arabic numerals, and details for each point as lowercase letters. 

However, the significant difference is that you would write the information in incomplete sentences instead of quick blurbs. The advantage is that your outline is more specific and easier to share with colleagues when working as a team. The disadvantage is that it takes a little longer to write. 

Full-sentence research paper outline example

I. Michael Jordan is often considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

A. Jordan’s career in basketball is full of accomplishments and accolades. 

1. During his career, Jordan won six NBA Championships.

a. Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP all six times he was eligible. 

2. Jordan twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team. 

a. Jordan’s first Olympics was in 1984 when he won the gold medal.

b. Jordan won a second gold medal as part of the 1992 “Dream Team.” 

3. Jordan was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game fourteen times.

a. Jordan won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times. 

B. Jordan’s legacy encompasses achievements on and off the court.

1. Jordan still holds a couple of significant records in the NBA. 

a. Jordan holds the record for the highest average of points per game  during the regular season (30.12 points per game).

b. Jordan also holds the record for the highest average of points per  game in the playoffs (33.45 points per game).

2. Jordan has notable success even when not playing basketball. 

a. Jordan starred in the original 1996 film Space Jam.

b. Today, Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets.

II. LeBron James is often considered Jordan’s strongest rival for the greatest basketball player. 

A. James’s career mimics, and in some cases surpasses, that of Jordan’s career. 

1. During his career, James won four NBA Championships. 

a. James was named NBA Finals MVP all four times he was eligible. 

2. Like Jordan, James twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team. 

a. James won the 2008 gold medal as part of the US basketball team.

b. James won the gold medal again in 2012. 

3. James was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game eighteen times. 

a. James won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times. 

B. James has a rich life outside of basketball as well. 

1. More than Jordan, James is known for his philanthropic work. 

a. James started the LeBron James Family Foundation charity. 

b. James fearlessly took public stances on controversial social issues.

2. Aside from charity, James has a few other distinctions from his lifetime. 

a. James starred in the 2021 Space Jam remake. 

b. James is the first NBA player to accumulate $1 billion as a player.

III. Considering the highlights of both athletes’ careers, who is better? 

A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better. 

Decimal research paper outline 

Decimal research paper outlines forgo the alphanumeric system and instead use a system of numbers with increasing decimal points—with main topics listed as whole numbers (1 or 1.0), subtopics with one decimal point (1.1), points under a subtopic with two decimal points (1.1.1), and further details with three decimal points ( 

Each new piece of information uses the subsequent number (1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.), so you always know where you are in the outline. You would write the content for each line in quick blurbs, just like the original alphanumeric formal. 

Decimal research paper outlines are the most thorough but can get complicated. They’re recommended for writers who prefer technical precision or for lengthy outlines with many topics and subtopics. 

Decimal research paper outline example

1 Michael Jordan

1.1 Career Highlights

1.1.1. Six NBA Championships

1.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team

1.1.3 Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections

1.2 Achievements

1.2.1 Record-holder scoring average

1.2.2 Other accolades

2 LeBron James

2.1 Career Highlights

2.1.1 Four NBA Championships

2.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team

2.1.3 Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selection

2.2 Achievements

2.2.1 Philanthropy

2.2.2 Other accolades

3 Analysis and Discussion

3.1 Of course, Michael Jordan is better 

7 steps to follow when outlining a research paper 

1   choose your thesis and gather sources.

Your outline is not the first step in writing a research paper. Before that, you first need to choose a thesis and then gather primary and secondary sources to back it up. 

Your thesis is essentially what the research paper is about. Your thesis is given to you in some assignments, but sometimes, as with independent research, you’ll have to develop one on your own. 

Once you’ve settled on a thesis, you’ll need evidence to support it. Collect all the relevant sources and data early on so that you know what to write about. Researching often reveals new aspects of your topic that you hadn’t known about before. It may dispel any misinterpretations you have—better to find out you’re wrong sooner rather than later. For help on how to cite your sources, use our free Citation Generator . 

Keep in mind that the outline is just one part of writing a research paper. If you want to read more advice, take a look at our full guide on how to write a research paper . 

2   Make a list of all the topics, subtopics, and points you want to cover

Go through your research and note each topic, subtopic, and supporting point. Be sure to keep related information together. Remember that everything you discuss in your paper should relate to your thesis, so omit anything that seems tangential. 

If you’ve highlighted any specific passages or quotes from your sources, feel free to include them too. They aren’t necessary for all research paper outlines, but they save you time when you’re in the middle of writing your first draft. 

3   Choose the best type of research paper outline for the assignment

Choose the type of research paper outline that best matches your topic, the assignment’s length, and the complexity of your paper. Simple papers only require simple outlines, but more advanced topics with lots of research can benefit from more detailed outlines. 

Consider whether you’re sharing your outline with other team members or whether you’re writing it solo. Likewise, consider the length and amount of topics. The decimal format can help organize long papers, but feel free to stick with alphanumeric if it makes you comfortable. 

4   Consider the structure and sequence of your topics

Before actually writing the research paper outline, think long and hard about the order in which you present your topics. What is the most logical sequence? What structure would communicate most clearly to your readers, who may be unfamiliar with these topics? 

Keep in mind that some topics only make sense if they come after other topics. Before presenting new findings or revelations, you may want to add background or contextual information first. All other factors being equal, a chronological sequence is often the most logical structure. 

5   Create the framework for your outline

Rather than writing your research paper outline entirely at once, start with just the framework. Try putting the main topics in order without yet including any subtopics or supporting points. 

Starting with the framework gives you a clear look at the backbone of your research paper. Now would be a good time to rearrange the order if there’s a problem or add a new topic if you find something is missing. It’s never too late to go back and conduct more research to flesh out the areas you feel are lacking. 

6 Add in more details

After you’re satisfied with the framework, go ahead and add the details. Most research paper outlines benefit from including the paragraph structure , so feel free to add lines about your topic sentence, development/support sentences, and conclusion for each paragraph. 

If you want to get meticulous, you can add a few notes about sentence structure . Be careful of getting too detailed, though—otherwise, you’re writing a first draft instead of an outline! 

7 Revise to improve structure

Finally, check your completed outline to see if there’s room for improvement. This is your last chance before you begin the first draft. 

Double-check that all your topics are presented in the optimal order for your reader. Also, look over your research notes again to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Once your outline is the way you want it, it’s time to begin writing your research paper. 

Research paper outline FAQs

What is a research paper outline.

A research paper outline is a supporting document that defines the structure of a research paper. The author creates the outline before the first draft to stay on track when writing . 

How is a research paper outline structured?

Research paper outlines are generally divided into sections, paragraphs, and individual sentences or points. The amount of detail in a research paper outline varies depending on the writer’s style, the assignment requirements, and the complexity of the topic. 

What are the different formats of research paper outlines?

Three popular formats for research paper outlines are alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal .

write the research paper

How to Write a Research Paper

write the research paper

If you already have a headache trying to understand what research paper is all about, we have created an ultimate guide for you on how to write a research paper. You will find all the answers to your questions regarding structure, planning, doing investigation, finding the topic that appeals to you. Plus, you will find out the secret to an excellent paper. Are you at the edge of your seat? Let us start with the basics then.

Research Paper Writing Services

What is a research paper.

How to Write a Research Paper

You probably know the saying ‘the devil is not as black as he is painted’. This particular saying is absolutely true when it comes to writing a research paper. Your feet are cold even with the thought of this assignment. You have heard terrifying stories from older students. You have never done this before, so certainly you are scared. What is a research paper? How should I start? What are all these requirements about?

Luckily, you have a friend in need. That is our writing service. First and foremost, let us clarify the definition. A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides information about a particular topic that you’ve researched . In other words, you choose a topic: about historical events, the work of some artist, some social issues etc. Then you collect data on the given topic and analyze it. Finally, you put your analysis on paper. See, it is not as scary as it seems. If you are still having doubts, whether you can handle it yourself, we are here to help you. Our team of writers can help you choose the topic, or give you advice on how to plan your work, or how to start, or craft a paper for you. Just contact us 24/7 and see everything yourself.

5 Reasons for Writing a Research Paper

Why should I spend my time writing some academic paper? What is the use of it? Is not some practical knowledge more important? The list of questions is endless when it comes to a research paper. That is why we have outlined 5 main reasons why writing a research paper is a good thing.

If you want to write a research paper, you will have to learn how to manage your time. This type of assignment cannot be done overnight. It requires careful planning and you will need to learn how to do it. Later, you will be able to use these time-managing skills in your personal life, so why not developing them?

You cannot know something before you try it. This rule relates to writing as well. You cannot claim that you cannot write until you try it yourself. It will be really difficult at the beginning, but then the words will come to your head themselves.

Writing a research paper is all about investigation and analysis. You will need to collect data, examine and classify it. These skills are needed in modern life more than anything else is.

Once you do your own research, it gives you the feeling of confidence in yourself. The reason is simple human brain likes solving puzzles and your assignment is just another puzzle to be solved.

When you write your paper, you should always remember that you are writing it for someone to read. Moreover, you want this someone to believe in your ideas. For this reason, you will have to learn different convincing methods and techniques. You will learn how to make your writing persuasive. In turns, you will be able to use these methods in real life.

What is the Difference between Report and Thesis Papers?

A common question is ‘what is the difference between a report paper and a thesis paper?’ The difference lies in the aim of these two assignments. While the former aims at presenting the information, the latter aims at providing your opinion on the matter. In other words, in a report paper you have to summarize your findings. In a thesis paper, you choose some issue and defend your point of view by persuading the reader. It is that simple.

A thesis paper is a more common assignment than a report paper. This task will help a professor to evaluate your analytical skills and skills to present your ideas logically. These skills are more important than just the ability to collect and summarize data.

How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Research comes from the French word  rechercher , meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.

How to Write a Research Paper

It is not a secret that the majority of students hate writing a research paper. The reason is simple it steals your time and energy. Not to mention, constant anxiety that you will not be able to meet the deadline or that you will forget about some academic requirement.

We will not lie to you; a research paper is a difficult assignment. You will have to spend a lot of time. You will need to read, to analyze, and to search for the material. You will probably be stuck sometimes. However, if you organize your work smart, you will gain something that is worth all the effort – knowledge, experience, and high grades.

The reason why many students fail writing a research paper is that nobody explained them how to start and how to plan their work. Luckily, you have found our writing service and we are ready to shed the light on this dark matter.

We have created a step by step guide for you on how to write a research paper. We will dwell upon the structure, the writing tips, the writing strategies as well as academic requirements. Read this whole article and you will see that you can handle writing this assignment and our team of writers is here to assist you.

How to Start a Research Paper?

How to Start a Research Paper

It all starts with the assignment. Your professor gives you the task. It may be either some general issue or specific topic to write about. Your assignment is your first guide to success. If you understand what you need to do according to the assignment, you are on the road to high results. Do not be scared to clarify your task if you need to. There is nothing wrong in asking a question if you want to do something right. You can ask your professor or you can ask our writers who know a thing or two in academic writing.

It is essential to understand the assignment. A good beginning makes a good ending, so start smart.

Learn how to start a research paper .

Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper

We have already mentioned that it is not enough to do great research. You need to persuade the reader that you have made some great research. What convinces better that an eye-catching topic? That is why it is important to understand how to choose a topic for a research paper.

First, you need to delimit the general idea to a more specific one. Secondly, you need to find what makes this topic interesting for you and for the academia. Finally, you need to refine you topic. Remember, it is not something you will do in one day. You can be reshaping your topic throughout your whole writing process. Still, reshaping not changing it completely. That is why keep in your head one main idea: your topic should be precise and compelling .

Learn how to choose a topic for a research paper .

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper

If you do not know what a proposal is, let us explain it to you. A proposal should answer three main questions:

In other words, proposal should show why your topic is interesting and how you are going to prove it. As to writing requirements, they may differ. That is why make sure you find out all the details at your department. You can ask your departmental administrator or find information online at department’s site. It is crucial to follow all the administrative requirements, as it will influence your grade.

Learn how to write a proposal for a research paper .

How to Write a Research Plan?

How to Write a Research Plan

The next step is writing a plan. You have already decided on the main issues, you have chosen the bibliography, and you have clarified the methods. Here comes the planning. If you want to avoid writer’s block, you have to structure you work. Discuss your strategies and ideas with your instructor. Think thoroughly why you need to present some data and ideas first and others second. Remember that there are basic structure elements that your research paper should include:

You should keep in mind this skeleton when planning your work. This will keep your mind sharp and your ideas will flow logically.

Learn how to write a research plan .

How to Do Research?

How to Do Research

Your research will include three stages: collecting data, reading and analyzing it, and writing itself.

First, you need to collect all the material that you will need for you investigation: films, documents, surveys, interviews, and others. Secondly, you will have to read and analyze. This step is tricky, as you need to do this part smart. It is not enough just to read, as you cannot keep in mind all the information. It is essential that you make notes and write down your ideas while analyzing some data. When you get down to the stage number three, writing itself, you will already have the main ideas written on your notes. Plus, remember to jot down the reference details. You will then appreciate this trick when you will have to write the bibliography.

If you do your research this way, it will be much easier for you to write the paper. You will already have blocks of your ideas written down and you will just need to add some material and refine your paper.

Learn how to do research .

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

To make your paper well organized you need to write an outline. Your outline will serve as your guiding star through the writing process. With a great outline you will not get sidetracked, because you will have a structured plan to follow. Both you and the reader will benefit from your outline. You present your ideas logically and you make your writing coherent according to your plan. As a result, this outline guides the reader through your paper and the reader enjoys the way you demonstrate your ideas.

Learn how to write an outline for a research paper . See research paper outline examples .

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

Briefly, the thesis is the main argument of your research paper. It should be precise, convincing and logical. Your thesis statement should include your point of view supported by evidence or logic. Still, remember it should be precise. You should not beat around the bush, or provide all the possible evidence you have found. It is usually a single sentence that shows your argument. In on sentence you should make a claim, explain why it significant and convince the reader that your point of view is important.

Learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper . See research paper thesis statement examples .

Should I Write a Rough Draft for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft

Do you know any writer who put their ideas on paper, then never edited them and just published? Probably, no writer did so. Writing a research paper is no exception. It is impossible to cope with this assignment without writing a rough draft.

Your draft will help you understand what you need to polish to make your paper perfect. All the requirements, academic standards make it difficult to do everything flawlessly at the first attempt. Make sure you know all the formatting requirements: margins, words quantity, reference requirements, formatting styles etc.

Learn how to write a rough draft for a research paper .

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Let us make it more vivid for you. We have narrowed down the tips on writing an introduction to the three main ones:

Remember to include the thesis statement in your introduction. Usually, it goes at the end of the first paragraph.

You should tell the main topics you are going to discuss in the main body. For this reason, before writing this part of introduction, make sure you know what is your main body is going to be about. It should include your main ideas.

When you finish the main body of your paper, come back to the thesis statement and introduction. Restate something if needed. Just make it perfect; because introduction is like the trailer to your paper, it should make the reader want to read the whole piece.

Learn how to write an introduction for a research paper . See research paper introduction examples .

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper?

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper

A body is the main part of your research paper. In this part, you will include all the needed evidence; you will provide the examples and support your argument.

It is important to structure your paragraphs thoroughly. That is to say, topic sentence and the evidence supporting the topic. Stay focused and do not be sidetracked. You have your outline, so follow it.

Here are the main tips to keep in head when writing a body of a research paper:

See? When it is all structured, it is not as scary as it seemed at the beginning. Still, if you have doubts, you can always ask our writers for help.

Learn how to write a body of a research paper . See research paper transition examples .

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Writing a good conclusion is important as writing any other part of the paper. Remember that conclusion is not a summary of what you have mentioned before. A good conclusion should include your last strong statement.

If you have written everything according to the plan, the reader already knows why your investigation is important. The reader has already seen the evidence. The only thing left is a strong concluding thought that will organize all your findings.

Never include any new information in conclusion. You need to conclude, not to start a new discussion.

Learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper .

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper, usually 100-200 words. You should provide the main gist of your paper in this short summary. An abstract can be informative, descriptive or proposal. Depending on the type of abstract, you need to write, the requirements will differ.

To write an informative abstract you have to provide the summary of the whole paper. Informative summary. In other words, you need to tell about the main points of your work, the methods used, the results and the conclusion of your research.

To write a descriptive abstract you will not have to provide any summery. You should write a short teaser of your paper. That is to say, you need to write an overview of your paper. The aim of a descriptive abstract is to interest the reader.

Finally, to write a proposal abstract you will need to write the basic summary as for the informative abstract. However, the difference is the following: you aim at persuading someone to let you write on the topic. That is why, a proposal abstract should present your topic as the one worth investigating.

Learn how to write an abstract for a research paper .

Should I Revise and Edit a Research Paper?

How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper

Revising and editing your paper is essential if you want to get high grades. Let us help you revise your paper smart:

If you need assistance with proofreading and editing your paper, you can turn to the professional editors at our service. They will help you polish your paper to perfection.

Learn how to revise and edit a research paper .

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

First, let us make it clear that bibliography and works cited are two different things. Works cited are those that you cited in your paper. Bibliography should include all the materials you used to do your research. Still, remember that bibliography requirements differ depending on the formatting style of your paper. For this reason, make sure you ask you professor all the requirements you need to meet to avoid any misunderstanding.

Learn how to write a bibliography for a research paper .

The Key Secret to a Good Research Paper

Now when you know all the stages of writing a research paper, you are ready to find the key to a good research paper:

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How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on January 3, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

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Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

To guide your introduction , include information about:

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

To determine your budget, think about:

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. & George, T. (2023, January 03). How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-process/research-proposal/

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