How to write a research paper

Learning How To Write A Research Paper

What is a Research Paper?

The word “research paper” is very alien to students in schools. Nonetheless, one becomes familiar with it in college. But what does a beginner think about a research paper? They just want a shortcut to learning how to write a research paper.

Is it about reading piles of books, articles? Most people can recall working with various sources of information. However, a research paper is beyond a collection of all the sources or sum of all the information about a topic or review of the literature. 

It focuses on arguing a point or analyzing a point of view. One should remember that a research paper should include one’s thinking backed up with information and views of others. This should be done irrespective of what type of research paper one is writing.

Other professions work with a similar approach. A lawyer researches and reads multiple cases in order to support his own case. On the other hand, a scientist reads many case studies to gain evidence for a scientific principle.  A history student writing on partition might interview a partition survivor and read books, newspaper articles to find support or develop a viewpoint.

 Moreover, a research paper is a detailed expanded essay that shows the author’s evaluation or interpretation. One uses their personal knowledge and thought related to a subject while writing it. It should include building upon one’s idea about a subject and a  known attempt to discover what the experts know. 

This writing involves a thorough survey of a field of knowledge to find the best and most valuable information in that field. All of this can seem very scary. Even if one decides to write one, the most difficult question to answer is ‘how to write a research paper’. 

How to Write a Research Paper?

Most college students write a research paper before they graduate. Moreover, it is recommended too. But this decision of writing a research paper can turn very fruitful for a student. 

However, all students come across a similar problem of how to write a research paper, where to start from, or how to write references for a research paper. The questions and doubts can be endless. Writing a paper can be messy but a linear process on how to write a research paper can help a lot along the way. 

Understanding Your Work

Before starting any task, it is important to understand your work. A Google search on how to write a research paper will list many steps that will be more or less similar. These steps are the tasks one needs to perform to successfully complete a research paper. 

A few suggested steps for anyone starting to work are:

  1. If this is a part of the assignment then clarify any doubts you have with your professor.
  2. The next step is to realize the goal, length specifications, submission method, formatting for the assignment.
  3. Work in an organized manner. Create a bulleted list of the major points where you can cross items once they are completed.
  4. Carefully note your timeframe and plan, devote your time accordingly. Additionally, be careful with the word limit. The time and word limit are two points where one needs to be realistic.

Choosing a Topic for Your Research Paper

There are multiple ways to find and finalize an idea/topic for the research paper:

  • It includes the classic brainstorming with pen and paper or discussing the same with a classmate or professor. 
  • One can also try freewriting. This method asks one to take a broad topic and write continuously about it for two or three minutes. It can help to identify related topics that one could find interesting.
  • Additionally one can gain inspiration from other research. The recommendations sections or discussions of research papers have ideas for other specific topics that demand detailed research.

If you have found the broad subject area, then the next step is to narrow it down. This means to choose a specific topic that one finds interesting. In addition to this, one should ensure that the topic is possible to research and meets the criteria for the assignment.

Example of The Topic

A paper following the timeline of partition would not be specific or original. On the other hand, a specific topic can be a paper on the experience of female survivors during partition.

Starting Your Research Paper

Title Page

A title page is the first paper of a research paper. An overview of the research should be delivered with the title page. Careful structuring is important to give it a professional outlook.

A title page should include the following:

  • A running head
  • Research paper title
  • Page number
  • Name of the student
  • Student’s affiliations

Three styles can be used to structure a title page. These are APA, MLA, or Chicago style to format the title page. However, the choice can depend on the instructions provided by the faculty.

A guideline can help the student to draft a title page that matches these instructions. Following is a step-by-step guide on how to create a research paper title page:

  1. Firstly, begin with the title page written in a third way down on the document. The heading should be centrally aligned. After the title leaves two spaces and writes your name. The name should include first name, initials of a middle name, and the last name. Write full official names without including any title. 

  2. A group effort should mention all the names. So write the name of all members separated by a comma.

  3. Add the name of the course and the course code as well. While the date of submission is optional. However, if one chooses to mention it, do so after the course title.


The next section is the Acknowledgement. It is a space to thank everyone who helped in this academic writing. It can include participants in research, teachers and supervisors, family, and friends who supported them during the work. However, it is important to note that this section is optional.


An abstract in a research paper refers to a preview that highlights the main points. As a result, readers can decide whether they want to view the entire work. Moreover, these abstracts are crucial as many journal editorial boards screen manuscripts considering these abstracts.

Importance of Abstract in How to Write a Research Paper

There are chances that a research paper will be rejected if the abstract does not leave a good impression. Additionally, it should grab attention. 

It is important to note that readers will access the abstract after an electronic search. For every published research paper, the abstract is the first and mostly the only thing is shown. Moreover, readers will consider reading the entire paper if they find the abstract valuable and interesting. 

This highlights the importance of an abstract. Consequently, it is important to write a good abstract. However, many people are faced with the same as how to write an abstract for a research paper. 

Structure of Abstract

Any research paper in the social sciences is generally descriptive. This means it describes the topic and findings of the research. But it doesn’t give any specific details regarding the methods and results. 

Structure of Abstract

On the other hand, in scientific writing abstracts are usually structured differently. They include and describe the methods, results, backgrounds, conclusions. However, this can be with or without subheadings.

Next, how does one fit all these important points from the entire paper? How can a paragraph of 200-300 words contain: 

  • Why the research was performed
  • What were the aims behind conducting the research
  • How were the aims met
  • What were the findings from the research

This brings us back to the original question i.e. how to write an abstract for a research paper. This is not a very easy job, but the following section can help in the same. 

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

Following is a 10-step guide to make writing an abstract easier:

  1. Write the abstract after you have finished writing the entire paper.
  2. Choose the key objectives and conclusions from the Introduction and Conclusion sections.
  3. Pick the main phrases and sentences from the Methods section.
  4. Use the Results section to recognize the primary results.
  5. The next step is to arrange the phrases and sentences selected in the steps above. This arrangement should be according to this sequence: Introduction, Methods, Results, and last but not the least Concussion.
  6. While composing the paragraph takes care that the paragraph does not include the following: 
    • Anything new which is not present in the paper
    • Group names or undefined abbreviations
    • Unwanted details of the methods used
    • Discussion of earlier literature or reference citations
  1. After deleting the additional information, (as mentioned in step 6) link the sentences to make sure that there is a flow. The following order is suggested for the same: 
    • Purpose
    • Basic study design
    • Methodology
    • Techniques used
    • Important findings
    • Overview of your understandings
    • Conclusions
    • Implications
  1. Make sure that the information presented in the paper and abstract is consistent.
  2.  Ask a classmate, friend, or colleague to assess your abstract. This can include checking other the purpose, methods, aim, and conclusions are well stated.
  3. Confirm to check if the abstract fulfills the guidelines of the target journal. (Type of abstract, word limit, recommended subheadings, etc).

Some Important Tables and Lists

Table of Contents

The list of all the chapters, subheadings, and their respective page numbers should be entered in the table of contents. This will give the reader an outline of the structure. Consequently, they can quickly navigate the document.

Make sure that all the parts of the research paper are entered in the table of contents. This should include the appendices. One can also generate a table of contents in Word automatically, provided you used heading styles.

Think of this as your professor, some online source, or fellow who helped you with ‘how to write a research paper’. Because this table of contents helps a reader in how to read a research paper!

Lists of Figures and Tables

A numbered list should be created if many tables and figures are used in the research paper. The Insert Caption feature in Word can automatically generate this list. 

List of Abbreviations

An alphabetized list of abbreviations can be included if there are too many of them. This can help the reader to easily search the meaning.


Many times a research paper contains highly specialized terms that are generally not familiar to the readers. Hence, adding a glossary can be a great idea. 

Just list the terms alphabetically and explain the terms with a short description.


One important thing to remember is that if you want your readers to cite your paper then you should read it first. We can assume that the title and the abstract section of your paper are really good. Hence, your peers are convinced to see the entire paper. 

Next, it’s the introduction section which will ensure that the readers: 

  • start reading it 
  • continue reading it
  • find it interesting enough to pull them in
  • show them around which means guide them to other sections like, Results, Methods,  Discussion, and Conclusion 

The question in your mind right now will be ‘how to write an introduction for a research paper’. Because there is clearly a need for a good introduction. But what exactly is an introduction?

The introduction section of your research paper answers the following:

  • Why you have chosen this particular topic for research
  • From all the other topics in the field, why is this specific so important
  • Why have you adopted that specific method 

And many more. One can perceive the Introduction as something that highlights the gap in knowledge which the rest of their paper will fill. Additionally, it can define or claim their territory within the wide expanse of research.

research paper

Presenting background information to set the context is another job of the introduction section.  One can do this by explaining the research problem they considered. Along with this, there can be a review of any approach used in the past.

Last but not the least, mention the objectives of the study. This part should contain the details or the same question that is answered later in the paper.

How to Write an Introduction to a Research Paper?

A rule of thumb in this writing is that the introduction is 10% of the total word count of the body in a research paper. This means it should be 400 words distributed in three paragraphs in a 4000-word paper. 

So now let us understand how to write an introduction for a research paper in a four-step process: 

The first few sentences are generally broad. This initial part is like a warm-up for the readers for the detailed information that is provided later. However, the introductory sentences should not be much broad.

The first sentence has introduced a broad field. Consequently, the next sentence can point to a particular area from that broad field.

The first part indicates that the author is moving to a specific part of the research. Hence, this part includes some statistics to highlight the importance or seriousness of the problem.


A paper-based on controlling cholera with the help of controlling measures can mention:

  • Number of people affected on a periodic basis
  • Cost of treating an infected person
  • Number of person-hours lost

Another way to bring out the importance of the topic can be by highlighting the possible benefits after finding a solution. This can include more production, possible savings; etc. Moreover, this approach focuses on the positive.

For example, mention that X dollars can be saved annually if we are successful in preventing malaria. 

Use this section to mention any past attempt. Additionally, do not forget to add how your research is different from them. This can have a change in geographical setting, change in instruments used, increase in the sample; etc.

Mention Specific Objectives of Your Research to Conclude this Section

This part of the introduction provides the reader with more specific details. For example, earlier the importance of controlling cholera was mentioned. However, this concluding part will specify the methods of control used and how they were assessed. 

Make sure you do not add too much detail in this section. This is because the detail might be to the Materials and Methods section.

There are multiple and very different ways of constructing the objective. The more common constructions are using: 

  • Questions
  • Hypotheses
  • Infinitives

The Methods and Results section of a research paper is comparatively easier to write. While the introduction and discussion are more difficult. However, this four-step procedure will ease your ‘how to write an introduction for a research paper’ dilemma. 

A quick last tip: One does not have to write the introduction section first. However, if you choose to write it first then make sure that you revise it after completing the paper. As a result, the Introduction section will be easier to write and also more effective and interesting. 

 Prof. Dr.S.B. Siwach
 Prof. Dr.S.B. Siwach

Literature Review

Literature review refers to a survey of academic sources that give an outline of a specific topic. These are a collection of the most important and relevant publications concerning that topic. As a result, a reader gets a detailed look at who has said what on the topic. 

The most basic elements of a literature review are: 

  • Discussion of the gaps in research
  • Description of the publication
  • Overview of the publication’s central points
  • An examination of the publication’s contribution to the particular topic

Why is Learning How to Write a Literature Review, An Important Part of How to Write a Research Paper? 

The purpose of a literature review is to give a  meaningful written account of the current state of research. It is about a selected topic. This: 

  1. Recognizes areas of previous scholarship.
  2. Positions each source with respect to its contribution to the understanding of certain issues, areas of research. This can be according to the theory under study.
  3. Explains the connection of the sources selected to one another.
  4. Recognizes new ways to interpret and creates awareness about the gaps in earlier research.
  5. Indicated the way ahead i.e. for future and further research

How to Write a Literature Review For a Research Paper?

The length of the project determines the length and depth of a literature review. For example, if it is a 10-page argument paper then one can include 5-6 sources to review. This is because one will also establish their argument. However, there are no hard rules for how many reviews are to be included. 

One can decide this while using their own judgment. Additionally, consulting instruction about their expectations can also be a good option.  

Still, many people face a similar challenge i.e. how to write a literature review for a research paper.

To make this process easier, follow this five-step process: 

An argument paper should contain a thesis statement with a clear position. While for scientific theories, form a hypothesis to evaluate. On the other hand, a self-contained review of writings should contain the project’s purpose. 

Moreover, mention the purpose of the project as the literature review will be anchored to a particular point of view. 

Study a good number of texts that are close or closely linked to your topic. These should be written by known and regarded scholars. The main aim is to understand the main scholar in a particular academic field. Moreover, ensure that the most related publications of these scholars are included. 

Summarize each publication. The next step is to give the context for the importance of the publication while linking to the main points of one’s thesis, hypothesis, or project statement. 

Literature Review

The critical question is how do the two relate. Hence, make sure to establish their relevance to the discussion. 

Imagine the literature review section as an argument. To develop this argument. This can include what were the initial ideas, how did they develop, and mature to the academic discussion of publications. 

While writing the literature review mention the name of the author as well as the publication year. However, one will still need to collect detailed citations for every entry at the end of the review. 

As per the course requirement, follow the APA, MLA, or Chicago style guidelines. Moreover, these steps will be an easy answer to how to write a literature review for a research paper.

Some Concluding Elements


This part of the research paper includes a detailed explanation of the ways and means to conduct the research. The main aim of a research methodology is to describe the techniques that are currently used or will be used in the research. These techniques further help to get information that is expected to be available at the end of particular research.

A good methodology will leave a good impression of the research paper on the readers. Often the introduction or literature review is ignored. However, this research methodology section is from which the entire research paper is judged.

This will change the question from how to write a research paper to how to write a good methodology in a research paper. The question can be answered in the following section.

How To Write a Good and Impressive Research Methodology?

This is a Four-Step Process:

Step 1: Explain The Approach Adopted For The Research

Start this section with an introduction about the overall approach adopted for the research. This includes what was the problem that you worked on and what was the type of data required to answer the same.

  • Quantitative methods are perfect for ranking, categorizing, measuring, recognizing patterns, and making generalizations. Example- survey
  • Qualitative methods are best for explaining, contextualizing, and getting a detailed view of particular concepts or phenomena
  • Whereas mixed-methods permit a combination of both numerical functions or measurement and detailed exploration

Step 2: Explain The Methods Used For Data Collection And Selection

After giving an overview, the next step is to provide the necessary details. Mention and explain the tools, procedures followed, and materials that were used to collect data. Additionally, describe the criteria followed to choose participants and/sources.

Quantitative Methods
  • Experiments
  • Surveys
  • Existing data
Qualitative Methods
  • Observation of participants
  • Focus groups or interviews
  • Existing data

Step 3: Describe The Method of Analysis Used

The third step includes indicating the way one processed and analyzed the data. However, avoid describing the details. Be careful to not discuss any results of the research.

Quantitative Methods

The analysis is based on numbers in quantitative research. Moreover, the methods section can include:

  • How was the data prepared before the analyzing process started 
  • The name of the software used to analyze
  • Which statistical methods are used in the research
Qualitative Methods

The analysis is based on images, observations, and language in qualitative research. The methods can include the following: 

  • Narrative analysis: Interpreting the meaning of storytelling structures after looking at it
  • Content analysis: Categorising and coding the ideas, concepts, and themes
  • Discourse analysis: Viewing communication and meaning in link to their larger social context

Step 4: Assess and Explain the Methods Chosen

The methodology selected should explain the reason behind choosing the specific methods. This is especially applicable if one does not adopt the most basic or common approach to their topic. Additionally, talk about why other methods cannot be used and how the current approach gives new value and understanding.

One can also mention the limitations of the adopted approach. However, focus on justifying it and highlighting its strengths to do the same.


The Results section of a research paper gives details about the main solution or answers. These are obtained after methods applied to collect and analyze information. Consequently, these solutions or findings are presented in logical sequences.

The main purpose of this section is to break down the findings that present its importance to the research question. However, the later evaluation is given to the reader in the Discussion section.

This section appears before the discussion. While many journals present the Results and Discussion sections together. Moreover, this section is a space where the author is supposed to answer what they did in their research.

The Results section can include the findings in the form of data being presented through charts, tables, and other figures. Additionally, this can have secondary findings, reports based on participants, data collection; etc.

How to Write the Results Section of a Research Paper?

Every study is different which makes it difficult to define a particular way of writing and presenting the results section. The specific area of research determines the layout as well as the content of the results section. However, the steps below can give an idea to someone searching how to write a research paper for the results section:

First Step

Target journals or publishers might provide some guidelines which are important to consider for this section. Additionally, it might be beneficial to read the research papers they have already published especially those with some similarities.

Second Step

Consider the requirements and work on the results section. 

Third Step

One can prepare figures and tables to present the data.

Fourth Step

Use the findings and organize them to draft the final results section.

Fifth Step

Go through the draft again. Revise this section until it is the same you want the readers to obtain. Moreover, remove spelling errors and check for other errors.


The discussion section works on the meaning, significance, and applicability of the results obtained.  This section of a research paper should focus on describing and assessing what one found. Consequently, showing its links with the literature review and research question. Moreover, an argument should be made in favor of the overall conclusion of the research.

Discussion and conclusion are included as a single chapter in some research. While others combine the results and discussion sections. However, to be sure one can talk to the supervisor or look at the research paper from the field.

While there are no steps for the discussion section, it can include some key elements.

Important Elements

  • A Summary of the Findings: The results section should start with a summary of the key findings. This does not mean repeating the data. The statement should aim to provide an overall result that clearly answers the main research question. However, note that this cannot be more than one paragraph.
  • Provide Personal Interpretations: The results obtained might be very obvious to you but it’s not the same case with readers. Hence, the author should provide importance to their readers. It should include how the results answer the research questions.

This can be in the form of explaining whether the results met the expectations, describing the unexpected results with their importance: etc.

  • Discuss and Explain the Implications: One should not forget to link their results to the work they surveyed in the literature review section. This discussion should present the findings with the current knowledge, the new understanding, and their consequences to the field. 

This should inform the contributions of the research and which gives the readers a reason to care.

  • Accept and Recognize the Limitations:  Every research has some limitations. This will show their credibility.  Limitations are not the same as errors. They just give the exact picture that a reader should get from the study.
  • Mention the Recommendations: After a detailed discussion of the results, the next step is to state the recommendations for practical application or future research.


The conclusion serves as the final section of a research paper. This last paragraph includes a summary of the entire work and maybe even some forecasts for the future.

conclusion in research paper

Unlike popular belief, this conclusion is extremely important. The best of the work can be harmed with a poor conclusion. Whereas a good conclusion can leave a great impression. As a result, the reader might want to explore the subject more. 

What is the Purpose of a Conclusion in a Research Paper? 

A research paper is different from a regular essay. It has many sections rather than the usual introduction, body, and conclusion. Additionally, it is serious work that looks at a problem to provide some findings or solutions. This makes how to write a research paper a very common question. 

All of this makes the conclusion a very important section of a research paper. Moreover, it explains the results of the research, analysis, and gives an overview of the entire work. Certain predictions for the future are also listed.

However, without a good conclusion, one can leave a final good impression on the reader. 

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper?

The hints mentioned below can help one in writing a good conclusion: 

Restate the selected topic for research. Explain the same and it’s importance in not more than a few sentences. However, make sure that this part is a simple, brief, clear, and easy read. 

Do not add anything new to this section. This is because you have entered everything related to the research in the other sections. The restating of the topic should not extend two sentences. 

Next, begin with thesis restatement. Do not rewrite it. Just try to rephrase the same in your own words and stay on the same topic. 

Reemphasize Central Points From the Research Paper

Form a short summary of the key points covered in the research paper. This will serve as a reminder for the audience about the research. 

One trick here is to reread the body and write the most valuable ideas, concepts, and facts. Make a note to not repeat the exact same thing using the same language, words, and phrases. 

Describe the Importance of the Points

This particular part is not very necessary. One should ask their professor or supervisor. However, one should talk about the future of the topic. 

“So what?”

The “so what” section is the space of the conclusion where one must explain the importance of the subject. This gives a wider context of the subject to the readers. For example, if the topic is a neighboring nation, then one can explain its importance to its own country. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Use the correct transition words. They help in tying multiple ideas into a single piece. There are various categories of transition words. It is important to choose them according to the topic and academic level. Just print them out on paper and use them.  
    Moreover, these can ensure a smooth read. As a result, it is a symbol of a good writer. 
    1. Prepare a short description of every section. This ensures voice to all the ideas. At the same time, make sure that an idea is linked to the one mentioned just earlier. 
    2. Read all the tasks and instructions. Many students forget to do this. Consequently, many important tasks are missed. Do this before writing the conclusion. 
    3. Keep everything together. Research papers that have a strongly connected introduction and conclusion sections are considered the best. ‘Full circle’ is the name of this approach. 
  • Ask a question in the introduction and in the conclusion restate the same. However, don’t forget to add a thorough answer this time. 
    • Make your readers think. Ask you, readers, instead of giving them the answers. This can be a good approach to social and political topics. Readers will have the freedom to think and analyze on their own. 

However, it cannot be used in all research papers like science-based ones. 

Reference List

The writer should include exact details of the sources that are cited in the research paper. This forms the reference list. However, a consistent reference style is very crucial to follow. Different styles have different strict and particular requirements for formatting sources in the reference list. 

Harvard referencing and Vancouver referencing are the commonly used styles in universities of the United Kingdom. Generally, departments mention the referencing styles that they want students to use. 

Like Psychology, students mostly use the APA style, while Humanities students use MHRA. On the other hand, law students use OSCOLA. Moreover, consult the supervisor in case of doubts regarding this issue.

How to Write References for a Research Paper?

One of the most confusing things, when one learns how to write a research paper, is to learn how to write references for a research paper. The steps mentioned below for different methods will make this easier:

  1. Begin with the author’s last name and first initial

2. Mention the year in which the paper was published

3. Next, enter the title of the research paper

4. Add information related to where the paper was discovered

5. Every time a statement is mentioned from a particular research paper, mention it. The   last name of the author with the year the paper was published should be written for this

  1. Start with the name of the author

2. Mention the title of the research paper

3. Write the year and place of publication of the study

4. Provide any other information available to locate the paper

5. Consult the instructor for guidelines regarding in-text citations

  1. Begin with the author’s name

2. Mention the title of the research paper

3. List the paper’s location

4.   State the author’s name in parentheses with the page number where the information is provided. This is applicable when one cites something from a different research paper.

  1. Begin with the author’s last name and first initial

2. Use a sentence case to give the title

3. Provide the details of the journal, if it was published

4. Include the information regarding location, if the paper hasn’t been published

5. Prepare a bibliography while writing the paper. This should include the citations noted in the text. Moreover, add a superscript number in the research paper whenever a citation is to be made.  

One of the most confusing things, when one learns how to write a research paper, is to learn how to write references for a research paper. The steps mentioned below for different methods will make this easier:


Appendices refer to the raw data or some additional information. This is usually given at the end or after the citation page with the references in the text. The supervisor can suggest its placement if it’s an assignment. 

Moreover, some extra insights are delivered to the reader with these appendices.  

This is not a part of the end of the main body of the research paper because: 

  • This supports the major points of the paper. However, not every reader would be interested in reading this additional information. The main body will be irrelevant if this is included. 
  • Space crunch may not allow one to include this in the main text

According to the need, one can include the types mentioned in their appendices: 

  • Graphs or charts
  • Maps, Drawings, diagrams
  • Texts or paragraph
  • Examples along with photographs, illustrations, images
  • List of recommended readings
  • Links to useful websites

Content of an Appendices

Raw Data

The appendices of a research paper are where one can enter the raw data collected during the research of the topic. This can include any data that can support the facts presented in the paper. Additionally, it can help readers to understand the points mentioned in the main body.

Calculations and statistical information can be included as raw data when they help in explaining the points from the research paper. One will have to present them as references in the main body.

Visual Documents

Images, charts, graphs, maps, tables, drawings, and diagrams are some visual aids created while doing the research. Readers can easily understand the point with this medium. Along with this, visual content in appendices means that it will not take the limited space available for the main text. One can just reference them, giving readers the freedom to read them or not.

Visual documents from other researchers can also be used. However, citing them correctly is important to let the readers know that it is someone else’s work. 

Instruments Used in Research

Information about the instruments used in the research can be helpful for some readers. Hence, add this in the appendix. Camera, Video recorder, Tape recorder are some examples of instruments used in the research. These should also be mentioned.

The readers should be able to understand how the devices were used while taking interviews, surveys, or conducting the research. The methods and techniques of the research will be clearly understood with this. 

Interviews Transcripts and Surveys

Survey question answers, transcripts of the interview, and any correspondence should be added as a part of the appendix. Photocopies of handwritten notes or digital copies can be included. This will depend on whether the paper is written on a physical medium or in a word processor.

Tips to Create Perfect Appendices

  • Do a quality check. Make sure that it is free from any spelling and punctuation errors. Once can proofread on their own or use spell check if using a computer. The other option can be asking someone to read it and give feedback. Moreover, a good appendix will ensure that the paper looks proper and complete.
  • Check the paper to make sure that the appendices are cited correctly in the text. The title used in the real appendices should be used for this.
  • Last but not the least, make sure that you revise the appendices. The length should not be too long. Ask for feedback for any addition, removal, or correction.

The Important Task of Editing and Proofreading

Completing a research paper and figuring out how to write a research paper is indeed a difficult task. A big feeling of relief is followed after this tiresome task. However, the work on the research paper is still not completed. 

Task of Editing and Proofreading

It is important to edit and proofread the entire paper in order to make sure it’s good to go. Though both proofreading and editing are different processes, some common tips for both are:

  • Completing writing is a very difficult and time-taking task. This would motivate you to complete the paper soon. However, proofreading and editing at the same time will make one skip many errors. 

So the best thing to do is to keep the paper aside for some time. Go out and clear your head. Take a fresh look and start on this bit.

  • Some people find it easier to work on a screen. Whereas others like working with a physical printed copy. Choose the medium and start working!
  • Editing and proofreading demand attention and concentration. This makes it necessary to find a peaceful place to work.
  • Getting a fresh perspective is very important. Changing the style, spacing, size or color can be a way to do this. This can trick the brain to believe that it is something new.
  • These tasks can be very draining. Hence, one can divide the work into blocks and work in with time intervals.


The first thing that one does after preparing the final draft is editing. This revolves around making sure that the paper is well-structured and organized; etc. The editing process is carried out on several levels:


This includes making sure that the facts are accurate, arguments are complete and the text is relevant to the larger topic. This basically asks to recheck whether the required content is correctly added.

Checking the Overall Structure

The correct sequence of the sections of a research paper is necessary for a good research paper. Additionally, one needs to make sure that there are smooth transitions between paragraphs and the information is related. Moreover, this checks the skills developed while learning ‘how to write a research paper’.

Proper Structure within Paragraphs

This includes checking that one paper presents one idea. The addition or removal of sentences becomes an important step here. Hence, this will make the paragraph to convey a proper idea.


A reader should be able to understand the text. This requires the text to be written clearly. So some important things to take care are:

  • Checking whether each sentence delivers the correct and complete meaning
  • Making sure that the reader will be able to figure out what the pronouns refer to in a sentence
  • Using easy terms ad words
  • Choosing the correct words to explain the ideas and concepts

Check the following:

  •  The tone used matches the one requires (formal, informal: etc)
  •  Proper use of gendered language
  • Limited use of passive voice
  • Sentence length and variation
  • Remove unnecessary phrases like “there is” or “due to the fact that..”

Citations are very important in any research paper. So go through the paper and confirm that all the quotes, ideas, and paraphrases used are properly cited to the correct sources. Additionally, check the format as well. 


Checking spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and punctuations form the proofreading process which is the last stage of editing. This step is really important because any error can distract the reader and not convey the proper meaning of the content. Moreover, a good error-free paper will naturally leave a good impression.

There are no steps to be followed in this process. One can find out a way that is the best for them. However, some tips are listed below.

  • Many people end up using spell checkers. But they have a limited dictionary which means some specific words might show as errors even if they are not. On the other hand, many misspelled words will not be corrected. For example, the appropriate word might be ‘” their” but the checker will allow “there”.
  •  Grammar checkers are more problematic. They can be the use of passive voice. But their limited set of rules might not show all the errors.
  • One type of error at a time should be the motto. This means if you are looking for grammatical errors then don’t start correcting spellings in the middle. Moreover, working on many errors at the same time can lose focus.

Some ways to make this difficult process easier is to work on short parts at a time, go slow, and circle punctuation marks. Moreover, remember that proofreading is a continuous learning process where ignorance can be a proofreader’s worst enemy. On the other hand, a proper systematic strategy will be a best friend.

Benefits of Learning How to Write a Research Paper

The research process requires one to think deeply about the subject and even form opinions. This is critical thinking! Without using these skills, no opinion will be formed for the research paper.

After reading and developing these points, the next step is to express it. Writing this in the most meaningful way for readers will be possible only after developing critical thinking. 

Developing Good Communication Skills

The writer will write keeping in mind their readers. Drafting and editing are carried out to make the research paper easier for readers. 

Beginners struggle to learn how to write a research paper. Even some learned individuals face the same challenge. As a result, they have to consult and interact with many people. 

Both of the above-mentioned cases, help in developing the much-required communication skills. 

Strengthening Research Skills

One has to consume a lot of information while researching. The process starts with how, what, and why. The next thing one does is to move to the required content and evaluate it. 

In this search to find the answer to the research question, one learns a lot about researching in general. 

How to write a research paper

Organization of Literally Everything

Writing a research paper is one huge task. It demands several steps to be followed. Handling this much data will teach how to organize it in the best manner. 

Other than the organization of documents, one will learn how to organize work and schedule things. Being punctual will naturally be one of the benefits. 

Other Benefits

One becomes more creative during this process. Responsibility and working with the self becomes easier. Additionally, a good research paper will mean a good editor too! 

An increase in the ability to deal with details is another improvement to be noted after this. Moreover, completing a research paper comes with a great feeling of achievement! 


Writing a research paper seems very interesting. However, learning how to write a research paper might be a bit tricky. The process can be made easier with a positive attitude that is open to asking for help from fellow classmates and supervisors. 

Most of the time, students have the freedom to choose the topic for their research paper. This freedom should be used to make things easier. Don’t choose a topic only because research on it might sound impressive. Things will get complicated with this approach. Choosing a topic that interests you is the most effective and simple way here. 

Doing the research might sound very boring. But it can be fun if you have chosen a good topic. Moreover, try experimenting with multiple sources. 

Books, published articles, journals, and the internet can be very helpful. This will ensure well-detailed research and the one where you don’t get bored because of the same environment. 

The Ultimate Learning Experience

Finding a good place to work is important during the entire process of writing a research paper. The question that you should ask before how to write a research paper is where to write a research paper. 

A place full of distractions and noise will require you to spend more time than you already do. Working on a research paper is already time taking which can become very boring for some people. So the solution here is to select a quiet peaceful place to work. This will increase your efficiency.

Additionally, take breaks and divide the work. This great effort would also call for recreation time. All of this will be possible if you have made a good schedule. While you make this, remember to be realistic. Give yourself enough time to complete it with breaks. 

Make a note of whatever you read and come across during the research. Things might turn out to be useful later. 

The thought of writing a research paper might be very scary. But in the end, it’s important. You might think that you are just learning how to write a research paper but it’s more than that. Everyone learns how to manage time, work, and even themselves while writing a research paper! 


1. How do I write a research paper and publish it? 

The first step is to start brainstorming. One up with your research problem. Discover the best-suited methodology. Learn the required techniques for this methodology.

 What will be the research output? Think about how this is applicable in a real-life setting i.e. in your field. Now after this, do the actual research. In case of any problem, return to the brainstorming part and think harder to find a solution.
Writing the research paper. Form as many drafts you want. This should be until you are satisfied. Keep correcting which means editing and proofreading for errors. Be open to asking for help from a senior or professor. 

This is especially applicable to young researchers. Just make sure they are from the same field as you are. Ask them for feedback and suggestions to improve the draft.
Finding ‘the’ journal for your manuscript- Go through the title of different journals from a publishing website. Even publishers like Elsevier, springer offer this service where you can search for a journal. The title and abstract of your research paper are used for this. 
Preparing your research paper for that journal- After finding the appropriate journal just register yourself. Read the author’s guidelines. This will tell you how to format your paper.
It includes writing in a reference style and ensuring proper citation. The style of stating headings, subheadings, or the kind of abstract will depend on their guidelines. However, save all the manuscripts as they will be helpful later. 

The next step is to submit this formatted research paper. For this, log in to your journal and submit it step by step. 
The journal will do selections and ask for revisions. In case of rejection, you will have to work again. Find a new journal and work accordingly. This is where the manuscript saved earlier will be helpful.

2. How do I search for a research question?

Start with a good background search on the main topic. The next thing to do is to ask the following questions: 
What seems like the most interesting thing? What seems fun and which one topic am I passionate about? 
Which topic is very important and not very general?
From the list, which topic will be more useful for me if I decide to continue studying in the same field?  
Which topic will bring out the best of me as a researcher and thinker? 
From all the topics, which seems more realistic for my assignment? 
The last question is not necessarily helpful if there are many answers to the fourth question. 

3. What are some strategies to overcome difficulties while writing a research paper? 

Always remember that outlines are a researcher’s best friend. The easier way to work can be: 
Start with a blank page and write down important ideas. You can group them into bubbles and make links between them. For example, the “impact of a disease” can be linked to “the preventive measures of the disease”. 

Brainstorming is the main objective here. Use circles, cross, arrows to remember everything going on in your mind. The paper is your free space to develop good ideas. 

Then answer the ” what, who, why, and how”. The “what” should contain what you want to be presented in the paper. In addition to this, what should answer the main and critical results from this research paper? 

“Who” refers to the readers. The people who are going to read this. The “why” part is over important to give you a direction. This should ask the reason i.e. why are the results obtained very important. Additionally, why should the readers care about your paper and research in general?

 The “how” can include the structure details. Like how many sections or word limit for each section; etc. Write as much as you want about this. 
When you decide to move to your desktop, keep a check on your screen time. Relax and take breaks. Use different don’t styles and prepare bullet points when needed. 

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